One of the biggest assets that you can add to your business is making good use of a website. Not only is an online presence necessary in today’s digital world, but a user-friendly site is tough to push to the side. Whether its generating publicity or building brand awareness and loyalty, well-made websites often make or break businesses.
First and foremost, a well-designed website can increase the number of customers – which is paramount for a business. After all, increasing visitors to your online destination – particularly for e-commerce websites – can also improve product sales and your businesses bottom line.
Another addition to utilize once your site is live is Google AdSense and AdWords. These tools will help your website generate income from each visitor. However, you’ll need to implement a blog section on your website to benefit from most advertising services, including AdSense and AdWords.
How to set up your website
The first step in creating your website is choosing what platform you want to host it on. Keep in mind, many platforms that you could use control the templates and effects that you’re able to implement within the digital destination.
For example, if you choose to create a free website on a hosting company such as Wix.com or WordPress.com, although creating your website is free of charge, you’ll end up quite limited in terms of customization and you won’t be able to make good use of SEO.
No matter what route you go, after you determine where to host your website, the next step is choosing a good theme. Keep your users and brand standards in mind when you’re choosing an aesthetic. It is also crucial to ensure your website and theme is…
Easy to read.
A clean design.
Easy to use.
Has a “good feel” to it.
Some of these aspects seem to be based on a person’s perspective – which is the way it should be when you are building a website. You should be building your website for your customers, allowing them to have the best experience possible when using the site.
Following that, you’ll want to invest in Search Engine Optimization tactics to ensure your website is in the top search results when somebody looks for an item that is related to your business or website.
One of the most important aspects of SEO – which I highly recommend that you choose to use – is content marketing. This avenue helps build brand loyalty and allows you to capitalize on your blog and make additional revenue. What’s more? You can also link social media platforms to your blog and website to better connect with clients and boost daily visitors.
Now that we’ve gone over the timeline of creating a website, let’s break down why the above elements are so important.
1. Your website should be easy to read
One of the best ways to find out what makes for good website design is determining how easy it is to read.
Now, when I say something is easy to read, I don’t mean that all the text is in size 18 bold font, but rather, the font is clean, the text is spaced out well, and the background behind the font is a neutral color, like white or off-white.
There are far too many examples of people going overboard with backgrounds, and this just creates a very unpleasant experience for the reader.
One of the worst examples of this that I have seen is an auto-repair page that utilized gray writing on the background of an open road. While the idea of the open road background ties in nicely with the theme, the gray-on-gray hid the text so much that you couldn’t even read it. So, always let readability take precedent over a creative idea – especially when it hinders the message.
Instead, model your design after the digital community Airgora, who utilizes copious white space on that oh-so-coveted neutral background to ensure every piece of text is legible.
2. Your website needs a clean design
The idea of a clean website design plays into the idea of “less is more.” Much like you have to declutter a room in your home, you should also do that on your website as well. Ensure everything has breathing room and negative space, which will allow visitors to really comprehend your brand and take the actions you want them to take. In addition, a clean website designs compliments the necessity of an easy to read website well.
So, what happens if you determine you need to “clean up” your website a bit? The first step towards rectifying this would be having the webmaster ensure the background image becomes what we call a header image. This way, you still can use the imagery you picked out, but it transforms into more of a banner that sets the tone of the website while remaining out of the way of any text.
The next step would be to change the background of the website to one of those neutral colors I mentioned earlier. Why do I recommend a hue of white? It works the best with any font and is easy on your users’ eyes. Take a cue from Morten Christensen, who created a simple grid-based website on a flat background. This allows his portfolio work to speak for itself without overwhelming the user.
3. Your website must be easy to use
Your website won’t do any good if your users don’t know how to navigate throughout it. Since you aren’t there to hold their hands, this means you’ll need to invest in creating an intuitive design that is simple to use.
By making this a priority, your users should be able to quickly find the information they desire, navigate to various pages, and easily complete a purchase without confusion. According to DesignRush, more digital destinations are investing in personalization to further boost UX, so if you have the time, capitalize on that trend as well.
For example, online stylist Stitch Fix walks users through every step of the process – both online and off – to ensure they are well-versed in exactly how to snag a new style and exactly when they can expect the payoff in real life.
The best websites are built with the user in mind, so go into your web design with that at the forefront.
4. Your website should have a good feel to it
Have you ever enjoyed a website so much that you ended up surfing for hours on end? (Guilty!)
Well, that website had a “good feel” to it – meaning, it was enjoyable for you to be on. Take that feeling you experienced while surfing the other websites you love, and replicate it on yours. Now, that doesn’t mean copy their design, words, or aesthetic (the opposite, actually…). Instead, cultivate an inviting aura on your website that users will come to covet day after day.
Take Furthermore by Equinox, for example. The luxury gym created a new online space for content their consumers will enjoy, and coupled it with a clean layout, home-y images, and topics of interest to spur endless scrolling and clicking and scrolling some more.
5. Your website has to be mobile friendly
Mobile optimization may be the most important element on this list. Why? Over half of all Internet users surf the ‘net on their mobile devices, making a smooth and cohesive experience on all mediums vital. After all, why would a consumer continue to visit your website on their smartphone if your competitor has an easy mobile experience for them.
Buzzfeed is a simple yet effective example. Their mobile design mimics their desktop homepage almost to a T, ensuring that – when we cruise around the website from the comfort of our smartphones – it is the exact same experience.
Test every aspect of your design for tablets and smartphones, and take extra care in making sure every search function, navigation tab and call to action is just as prominent in the palm of your users’ hands as it is on their desktops. Not sure where to start when designing for mobile? Check out this guide!
Conclusion: Why an Easy to Use Website is Important
Creating a beautifully branded website for your business is a necessity. By investing in a user-friendly experience and strong website design, you’ll open up opportunities to build brand loyalty, create content your users will enjoy, and likely generate additional income through content marketing and ad services. But most importantly, you’ll cultivate a destination that your consumers will crave for years to come.