A successful website plays a key role in a modern digital marketing strategy. In fact, other elements of the strategy complement what the website brings to the table. Therefore, you cannot afford to get it wrong with your website.
Owning a website goes beyond simply having it out there. It should be professional because it gives your prospective customers the first impression of your business. If you don’t present yourself in the best light through good website design, you are passing up a glorious opportunity. Websites are flexible. They can be molded to fit the vision of your company. You can optimize your website’s design so that it markets your brand to the right audience.
Here are 8 ways you can personalize the content and design of your website to yield the best results:
1. Use Pictures of Real People in Your Content
We, humans, are social beings. In modern society, we crave to connect with other people both in real life and over the internet. One of the most powerful elements we use to foster these connections online is images. When you see a product attached to a photo of happy people using the product, your subconscious infers that the product must be good. With regards to marketing, you can use images of real people enjoying your product. Avoid the generic stock photos on the internet if you want to sell a product or service.
To understand why images are so powerful, consider how social media works. Social media is very good at enabling people to build intimate connections with other people. When you post your engagement photos and share them with your friends, they feel closer to you than if you merely posted a stock photo downloaded from the internet.
Using real images convinces people that you are legit. The best way to go about it is to use high-quality photographs of real customers and staff – it builds camaraderie with your prospective clients and adds a personal touch.
With a landing page entirely text-based, you will still close many leads; however, if you place a picture of a happy customer in the background, people will respond more favorably because you will have nurtured a personal connection with your clients. People react indifferently to stock photos. You can bet that they know what a stock photo looks like. Hire a professional photographer if you cannot take proper pictures on your own.
2. Organize Your Content Using Good Structure
People consciously and subconsciously judge the credibility of your products based on how organized your website looks. A disorganized website will butcher your reputation irrespective of how good your products are. To look professional and trustworthy, ensure that the content on your site is well organized.
A good structure has the following benefits:
- It enhances the user experience
- It is good for SEO because it optimizes web crawling and enables search engines to develop site links
Structuring your content feels like a daunting task. It certainly will if you do not have any guiding principles to use during your planning process.
To this end, these principles will ease your planning:
- Group your content: Put related concepts under the same group.
- Place your grouped content in a hierarchy: it also enables you to plan your URL structure.
- Use a shallow hierarchical structure: When the structure is too deep, you will bury vital information too far for users and web crawlers to find.
When you have a good structure, your content will look professional and it will be more appealing to prospective customers. Search engines will have an easier time locating your content and presenting it to your prospective clients.
3. Use A Minimalistic Homepage Design
When a prospective client visits your website, they rarely read all the words you write on your main page. They merely scan through it for a few seconds before they decide whether or not they want to spend more time on your content. Irrespective of how amazing your products or contents are, visitors quickly parse through the images, headings, and main keywords. If they feel like they are really interested in what you offer, they quickly move on. Even experts from web design perth acknowledge that simplicity is the key to success.
Do the following to make it as easy as possible for people to know what your website is all about at a quick glance:
- Use lists (both ordered and unordered)
- Divide the content into headings and subheadings
- Use icons and images: The saying “an image is worth a thousand words” comes to mind.
- Use fewer items on the menu and fewer fields on forms
- Use one CTA per page. Websites that use more targeted information make life easier for their visitors.
They do not overwhelm them with information (irrespective of how useful it is) because short-termism is rampant these days.
You have to understand that people make most decisions based on emotions rather than rational. People follow the path of least resistance because their emotions tell them to do so. This phenomenon is most evident in sales. When a willing visitor feels like it is getting too difficult to make sense of your content and it is easier to just look for the information about the product elsewhere (competitors), they will leave your website. You have to do something to minimize the bounce rate. If you want to get the most out of these initial interactions, do not bombard people with a lot of clutter because they do not have the time to sort through all the irrelevant information in search of the important details.
4. Improve Loading Speed
In the world we live in, people do not have a minute to spare. This reality is particularly palpable in the realm of internet marketing. If people have to wait one entire minute for your site to load, a good number of them will not stick around. It is harsh but true.
Instead of cursing the world for not being patient enough to wait for your marvelous content, there are a few tweaks to your design you can implement to hasten those loading speeds:
- Use Flash judiciously: Use it sparingly because a significant chunk of your visitors will not have the right flash player, to begin with. And that’s before we get to the part where it slows your site down and is a nightmare for web crawlers (Very bad for SEO!).
- Use smaller images: If you must use images, you should strike a balance between quality and memory used. Ideally, you should have high-quality images that take up a smaller memory and download faster. •
- Use CSS: Use it to style your pages because it reduces the size of the page (memory-wise), is good for SEO, and is easy to work with.
- Use Thumbnails: If you have an e-commerce website, use a small image that loads quickly while giving your visitor an impression of the product. If they are interested in your product, they will take action to view a more detailed image. People have become accustomed to websites that load in 10 seconds. If you do not adapt, you will not survive for long.
5. Optimize Your Design for Mobile
Smartphones have made it convenient for people to access the internet on the go. You, therefore, have to make your website mobile-friendly. A mobile-responsive design is the way to go because it works perfectly on desktops, smartphones and tablets.
Here are some useful practices to optimize your site for mobile:
- Make navigation easier: Since the screens are smaller, you should place your menu strategically to make it easier for the visitors to view the menu and scroll through the content.
- Make it easier to touch: Since visitors use fingers, make your design easy to navigate with fingers of different sizes.
- Optimize the images for smaller screens.
- Use a separate mobile version of the website: This one is a bit expensive
- Use CTAs that are mobile friendly: Use well-dimensioned banners.
- Do not use pop-ups: People detest them because they can be intrusive and a bit annoying.
- Do not use Flash:
- Use browser caching to enable the device to store the source files used to load the website when the user opens the page.
A mobile-friendly website results in higher conversion rates because most traffic on the internet is going through these devices. Google has also adopted a mobile-first approach in their search engine algorithm – responsive websites are favored in the rankings.
6. Optimize For Easier Navigation
Once your visitors decide to learn more about your product or service, they should find all the information they need easily. It not only makes your website user-friendly, but it also makes it easier for search engines to index the content of your website.
To optimize navigation:
- Having structured your content, place the principal elements of your URL structure prominently on your header. It makes it easier for people to find the important information.
- Use the footer to your advantage: Since you cannot squeeze everything at the top, it is better to place the majority of your important links on the footer.
- Use the sidebar judiciously: Many developers have realized that sidebars distract people from the content. It is better to remove it and use other methods to navigate the website than have it distracting your visitors.
- Link your Logo to the homepage
- Use an anchor menu: It makes it easier for people to go to any part of the website very quickly.
There are other useful practices that you can integrate to great effect. Make it easier for people to read what you are offering and they will stick around.
7. Use Long Sales Pages
If you observe top marketers, they prioritize long informative sales pages over short ones. They create one long page and put a lot of information in it. Why is this method more popular than breaking the content down into pages? Doesn’t it make more sense to divide the content into pages that provide small chunks of information that are easier to digest? Everything we have discussed so far has been about working with the emotional mind of your prospective customers. This goes back to the path of least resistance we referred to earlier. People prefer to scroll through content rather than click through a bunch of pages to access the same information.
Rather than spread information across many pages, it is more effective to place it all on one page and use navigation tools to enable your visitors to read through it.
Ensure that the information you put together on each page is related. If you have information about a product, this would be a good technique to employ. Arrange it systematically and your visitors will thank you for it. They love scrolling!
8. Improve Access to the Disadvantaged
Do not make the mistake of forgetting that there are people who may be interested in your content, but because they have a hindrance, they cannot reach it.
These people include:
- People with slow internet connections
- The visually impaired
- People who are colorblind
To make your site more available to people with weak data connections, make your website load faster. Make your website lean by minimizing the memory it uses and by using good code.
For color blind people, use colors that they can perceive so that they can learn more about your products if the imagery is a fundamental aspect of your marketing.
As for your blind visitors, use descriptive image ALT attributes so that they can understand the images you use. ALT attributes also play an important role in image-based search engine rankings. This matter often goes unnoticed if you follow the conventional way of doing things. Nevertheless, just because people ignore it doesn’t diminish its importance. The society is becoming more appreciative of the difficulties other people face and making life easier for them is crucial.
You do not have to settle for what the industry dictates. You can break the mold, albeit cautiously – some standards have been established for special reasons; break them and you risk sabotaging your marketing efforts. Since websites are flexible, you can customize yours to suit your audience. Knowing who your visitors are and what they like, you can make it informative and easy to use.