5 Ways To Improve Website Design

Tuesday, November 10th, 2020

Creating a professional website is one of the most important aspects of any digital marketing strategy. Your website performs a number of important tasks including to inform, explain, boost brand recognition and drive sales.

Optimising the design of your website can make a huge difference to its effectiveness and also increase conversions. What do you need to put on your website? Take a look below for our top 5 tips for things to include when designing your website.

1. Create An Effective “About Us” Page

about usEvery website should have an “About Us” section – it’s what bridges the gap between the visitor and the real people behind the scenes that are the driving force behind the business.

Why do you need an ‘About Us’ Page? As well as finding all the information they need about your product or service and confirming it it meets their needs, potential customers are also looking to make a connection with the people beyond the surface – to gain a sense of trust.

An About Us page provides an opportunity to present your case on why you’re a great company to deal with. One key principle in business that is often ignored is that people want to work with people they like. However don’t make the mistake of thinking the “About Us” page is a full on sales pitch, it’s simply reaffirming that your business has the experience and ability to serve a customers requirements. Discuss your past projects, how long you’ve been established, what backgrounds your employees have and how you go about delivering a great service.

4 Tips For An Awesome About Us Page

Building a good ‘About Us’ page, like any content on your website, is all about focusing on addressing your site visitor’s needs. Why have they come to your site? What do they want? How can I help make their visit more enjoyable? These are all questions to keep in mind when deciding on the best content for your ‘About Us’ page. Need more? Here are our 4 top tips for content for an ‘About Us’ page.

  1. Tell Your Business’ Story. You don’t need to recount every single detail from the establishment of your business to the present day, but providing an overview of your journey and progress can be a great way to connect with a user. It demonstrates that you have history and experience, and gives a sense of reliability and authenticity. It also gives customers a chance to connect with you and understand your background.
  2. Include Testimonials. Customers will often take what you have to say about your business with a grain of salt. They know you want their patronage, and this will of course slightly alter how all your text comes across. However, the words of a third party – someone else who has used your service and left a review – carry a lot more weight. Testimonials are a great and concise way of building trust and letting others speak for you.
  3. Vary Your Media. If you find yourself at a loss for words, infographics, photos and even videos can help fill the gap. Try to avoid bogging down your users with words, a visual medium can get your point across effectively.
  4. Include An Address And Contact Information. An address proves that you’re the real deal and a legit business, and contact information gives users the ability to take the next step when they want to.

An ‘About Us’ page isn’t the first thing a user will see when they land on your website, but it can still be crucially important for ensuring that they take the next step and engage your services.

2. Make A Great Contact Us Page 

If your homepage is your website’s most important page, your contact page is in most cases considered the second most important!

If you think about it, the ultimate purpose of many websites is to encourage potential customers to make contact with you  – think of your ‘Contact Us’ page as an important lead generation form.

The key to a successful contact page is simplicity and accessibility. It’s important to include clear contact details. Adding an email link is often a good way to go, but if you want to elicit further information, then you need to be sure you have a great contact form.

6 Website Contact Page Tips

Take a look here for our top 6 ‘Contact Us’ page tips and tricks.

  1. Keep Contact Forms Short And Simple. It’s really tempting to require users to fill out every bit of information about what they are looking for and what they need from you.  While this info would be great to have, the longer your form is, then then less likely it is that anyone will fill it out.
  2. Be Friendly. Contact forms generate user engagement – this is the first thing that should be considered with respect to contact forms.  Don’t order people around or DEMAND. Say please and thank you – and all the good stuff your mum taught you.
  3. Be Yourself. Don’t just copy a form from a website you like or a competitor. Make your questions relevant to your product and your company. Be personable and try to connect with your website viewers.form feild
  4. Place Labels On Top Of Fields. For best results, locate labels like this:
  5. Use Informative Error Messages. Test your form when people miss bits out. Give them precise instructions on what form field pages. For example, “There was an error processing your credit card; we were unable to verify your card number. Please check your name, credit card number, and card expiration date for correctness. Remember, these must match the card exactly.”
  6. Have A Good Call To Action At The Bottom Of Every Page. You want as many pathways to your contact page as possible. So always put a call to action at the bottom of every page. After the body copy put something like “If you’d like to know more about XYZ, then contact us today.” Link to your contact form whenever possible.

One last tip for free! After you’ve gone to all the effort of making a great contact page and form on your website, always make sure your reply to people quickly and efficiently. Surveys have shown that the longer you leave your reply the less likely the customer is to engage with you. 

Contact forms can either make a website usable or unusable, because they stand in the way of the user achieving their goal – reaching you. You wouldn’t leave your shop front door half open and the shop lights off, now would you?

3. Create Custom Graphics

graphic toolsNot every web owner is a whiz with Photoshop or other image creation programs and using the same generic stock graphics as everyone else on the web risks making your business look all too similar to your competitors.

However, there are a number of web tools and applications that allow you to create high quality, professional-looking graphics yourself. By providing a range of bases, symbols, photos and simple editing equipment, independent website owners needn’t hire a specialised graphic designer to create simple but effective graphics for your site.

3 Best Custom Graphics Creation Tools

Looking to create your own graphics and images? For those without much graphic prowess but a clear idea of what they want for their website then the following services can be a good solution. Here are our top 3 custom graphics tools.

  1. CanvaCanva allows you to create a range of different graphic designs, based on templates, that are extremely relevant to current web spaces and online marketing techniques, such as Facebook cover images, blog graphics, business cards, posters and more. These can also be used for print so it has you covered for both digital and traditional mediums. It contains basic photo editing features that allow you to use your own images as well as search through a range of pre-created stock art.
  2. Omnigraffle. A simple graphics creation software, Omni allows you to make smooth, professional graphics, documents and figures. Although it can make illustrations, it is best used for formal graphic design including maps and floor plans. The tools are easy to understand and use, taking more complicated concepts such as vectors and making them accessible for people with no prior knowledge or understanding.
  3. Piktochart. Piktochart is specially designed for creating beautiful, easy to follow infographics with a range of themes and features. They offer a number of pre-made templates for you to select and then fill with your own information, using any images you may already have, as well as selecting from their range of pre-made symbols and graphics. These can include interactive maps, charts and other forms of data presentation.

Visitors will judge your website, visually, right from the start so it’s important that your graphics are clear, on-trend and appealing. It’s definitely possible to achieve this through these services but, if in doubt, it’s better to call in a professional.

4. Use Photography And Images 

Sourcing compelling photography and/or imagery for your website is a crucial aspect of website design. In particular, photographs convey a lot about your product, premises or service.

Poor photographs will make a web site appear cheap and unprofessional. Therefore it’s essential to expend a little time, effort and resource to make sure you get the right result.

4 Types Of Website Photography/Images 

Using images and photos is a great way to present a professional and engaging website, here are a few ways to source your images and how to make the best use of them.

  1. Commissioning Photos. For specific photography needs such as food, premises, people or products, hiring a professional photographer to make the subject matter shine is a wise investment. Professional photographers have the equipment and experience to portray your business in the best possible light and this is often the best way to get an outstanding and personalised result.
  2. DIY Photos. If you need to take continual photos over a long period of time however (eg, if you run an online store that frequently gets new stock in), it may be a better investment to buy the equipment needed to take great quality photos yourself. You can often get by with very minimal equipment, but developing a more advanced set up will pay off with beautiful product photos. The correct lights, background, camera and tripod will be a one-off cost that continues to return value by making your merchandise appear professional and real. Taking your own stock photos is a good way to prove to customers that you actually have the goods in stock.
  3. Stock Photos. If you don’t have a specific product, stock photos can be a simple way to get a highly professional image at a fraction of the price of a customised shoot. There are huge libraries of stock images all over the internet, and you can purchase images in a variety of sizes. These are useful for conveying a concept rather than an actual product – for instance a business meeting or interactions with children. It suits service-based businesses and can be used to create a certain mood or atmosphere on the site. Some useful sites to find and purchase the right photo;  iStockPhoto, FreeImages.com, ShutterStock and Getty Images.
  4. Virtual Tours. One way of giving web users a fuller view of your business has become popular in recent years – virtual tours take a collage of photos of the premises and arrange them so that the user can “walk” through and look around. Google Places offers this as a service that attaches to your listing, however you must use one of their approved photographers. You can also take the photos and arrange them yourself. The key is providing confidence and enticement for the user to make the next step and visit your physical location.

Photographs make a great addition to websites, but it’s important to get them looking slick and professional to represent your website the way you want to.

5. Enhance Your Web Design With Illustrations

How Illustrations Can Enhance Your Web Design

Many website developers are turning to a new medium to express their ideas and engage readers in a new and exciting way. Illustrations are becoming an increasingly popular design solution, from business websites to blogs, and fill a range of essential functions.

Why Use Illustrations In Web Design? We live in an increasingly visual web world. With fast broadband speeds, high resolution screens and a penchant for instant appeal and gratification, illustrations are a way to communicate your product or brand quickly and effectively. Gone are the days of solely text-based pages – it’s safe to play with graphic images as an important component of your site design.

5 Ways To Use Illustrations In Web Design

When incorporating illustrations precedence goes to memorable concepts or illustrations, injected with humour and often a hint of whimsy. Readers remember these, and they can be used to communicate your business ideas in many simple ways. Here are three great ways to effectively use illustrations on your website.

  1. Personalise A Symbol/Logo. Create a symbol for your product that instantly explains and defines it, such as the Twitter bird. If your business prides itself on being creative, friendly or even just slightly out of the norm, reflect that with your illustration style.
  2. Build Engaging Content. Explain potentially dull or un-engaging facts such as business functions or user instructions in a reader-friendly way. Give people a reason to click onto your articles and blog posts. Infographics such as “How to Choose the Right Backpack” communicate information in a way that makes people want to read it. It’s that simple. Infographics are perfect for explaining difficult or dull concepts, or comparing and contrasting statistics or information.
  3. Increase Shareability. Make your website distinctly share-able – when an illustration strikes people as clever or funny, it’s more likely to get shared and spread around social media and blog sites.

A good example of illustration use on the web is Google Doodles, Google blends the old and new by intermittently revamping its classic logo for special events with a range of illustrative “doodles”. These often go viral for their wit, skill and relevance to a certain date – an amazing way of advertising. 

If you’re interested in adding the value of illustrations to your website in a simple and easy way, the team at iCons 8 provide a great platform for illustration development and design which can be added to any blog post, page or article to provide extra visual interest and engagement.

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Mark is the managing director of Avatar, a Christchurch-based web design and marketing company, that has served a wide range of clients in different industries.

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