From functionality and appearance to navigation and coding integrity, a lot goes into creating an eye-catching, user-friendly website. It doesn’t end there, either. Web developers and designers must work together to produce websites that will be located by search engines, engage customers, and stimulate conversions. Whew! That’s a lot of pressure. Fortunately, the following 24 tips will guide you through the process of creating a unique user experience that inspires viewers to become loyal brand advocates.
1. Choosing a Domain and Host
Great domain names (take a look at Google and Yahoo, for two) say so much while saying so little. In addition to being memorable, a domain name needs to accurately reflect your brand’s voice and be nearly impossible to misspell. Finding the right name for your brand is crucial, because incorporating a combination of SEO, simple spelling, and brand identity into the domain name leads to a higher chance of being located in search engine results. Simply put, businesses that are easily accessed online get more customers.
When comparing hosting packages, it’s vital to consider the nature of your website and business. Will the website be media-rich, with loads of pictures, videos, and presentations? Do you have technical support in-house, or do you need reliable, responsive support from your hosting provider? Also think about the amount of traffic your website will receive. Does the hosting company offer scalable solutions? What backup, security, and additional features are offered? Don’t forget to research reviews about the company’s performance on social media and third party websites before making a final decision.
2. Backend Services (CMS “Content Management System” / Software)
It’s impossible to develop a great website without a functional program taking care of the backend. If you think of your website as a car, you can understand why. When friends see your shiny new sports car, they look at the sleek paint job, glistening tires, and luxurious leather seating. In the world of websites, this equates to the part of your site a user experiences directly. Just like the powerful engine in your sports car, the backend of your website is where the magic really happens. Without strong backend services, your website won’t be able to “wow” your guests. Similarly, a sports car without an engine is rendered useless. One of the best “engines” for ecommerce sites is Magento, while WordPress is a customizable CMS ideal for informational sites.
3. Clean Design
One of the most important things to remember during the process of website development is to create a clean, appealing design. A quality design is attractive and easy to read with intuitive navigation. Most importantly, a clean design helps viewers focus on the value of your brand and content instead of distracting graphics and large amounts of text. Often, customers associate website designs with the quality of a particular company or product. Hence, a clean design is vital to providing a positive user experience that encourages customers to return.
4. Effective Color Scheme
Color schemes are more important than customers realize. Different colors have the ability to evoke emotional responses, such as calm, happiness, or frustration. When it comes to using colors in your website design, it’s essential to consider your company’s niche, target audience, branding, and the elements of color theory. What colors will your target audience respond to? If your color scheme is similar to your logo and branding, is it overwhelming or pleasing to look at? Are you trying to convey your brand’s voice with a bright and spunky orange or a professional, calming blue? Regardless of your choice, spending the time to research the best color options will give your visitors a good impression.
Branding is important to all businesses, both large and small. The design and placement of your brand’s logo contributes to a viewer’s overall opinion. Professionally designed logos successfully catch the customer’s eye and provide a clear picture of the brand’s unique voice. Choose a location on your site that is readily visible to visitors, such as the upper left corner, since this is where the eye naturally begins to scan a website. To further solidify your brand’s identity, consider using the same logo on packaging, print advertising, and branded apparel. When a business is consistent with branding, it provides customers with an integrated and memorable brand experience.
When thinking about functionality, there are a few matters to consider. Namely, is the website functional in the literal sense? Are there loading issues or broken links? Are the site’s security features adequate for your business’s needs? In addition to these operational issues, it’s crucial to view your website’s features from the user’s perspective. Are the contact forms, surveys, and customer feedback sections of your site working properly? One or all of these functional issues can prompt a customer to leave your site.