What makes a great website? How to avoid building an annoying website

Image: Wireframes: how to build a great website Image: Wireframes: how to build a great website

When it comes to the time to build or redesign your website, you’ll hear many opinions about the next look and features it should have. Many (amateur) web designers will sell you the new UI, UX and SEO practices in the market – generally those used by big companies, without thinking about the context of your website.

Yes! Context.

Just like selling any physical product, your website should be designed thinking about the context it is going to be used. But this is not a topic to go deep in this article.

The reality is that the internet is full of ugly looking, slow and frustrating websites, that instead of helping companies make money, they just make the loose money.

Have in mind that the primary goal of your website should be to increase your sales. Whether by allowing visitors to buy it online or driving them to your physical store or office. Your design and strategies should be aligned with this goal.

To help you build a website that delights your visitors, here is a list of the things you need to improve or avoid on your website.

Design

The first rule when it comes to creating amazing websites is: remove instead of adding. Don’t waste your visitors' time showing “cool” design features that he’s not interested in. Unless you’re a web designer or agency (who generally needs fancy websites), keep your website simple. Minimal.

Forget about the cool UI trends you see around there. They’ll come and go. Focus on sharing your company’s vision and sale pitch in a “clean” and not confusing screen.

Break up the content and items of your website in a way that it creates appealing negative and white spaces. By adding enough space between paragraphs, titles, buttons, links, and images on your website, you make it easy to navigate and ensures the visitor is not going to click in unwanted items.

When it comes to reading content on your website, make sure you chose the right font pairings. Know which fonts will be suitable for your projects.

Which pairings are the best ones? There is no specific answer to that question. Understand the industry and clients of your company or the company you’re developing the website for. Fonts used on the website of a musician might not be suitable to use in a bank or corporate website.

Try to pair different groups of fonts. Serifs and sans-serif, Sans-serifs with script, or find pairings within the same group. The most important thing is finding the right pairings and they should not be thousands. 2 – 3 fonts shall be enough.

Careful with the usage of flashy animations and content. Too much innovation or creativity in your website can ruin the experience of the user. Too much everything won’t be good. Too many images, too many colors, too much text, too many 2D/3D animations will force users to leave your website and also compromise the loading time of it.

Don’t expose visitors to incredibly new features, unless you want to face the risk of waste time trying to explain to them how it works.

Create the best-looking landing page. Spend a good amount of time thinking about the homepage of your website. It is the first thing your user sees once he arrives there. So, make sure you pick the right hero image, the background, the right welcome message, the right title and the proper font-weight

Offer good experiences to your user once he arrives, engages (with) and leaves the website. Don’t save your efforts building the best imaginable experiences.

Once you get everything on top checked, remind yourself that more than 70% of internet traffic comes from smartphones, and the number is growing as more people buys them. Your website should be designed to follow this trend. Among all trends, this is the one that can’t be ignored.

Switch your web development approach. Think mobile-first and make sure your website structure fits the different screen sizes available.

Everything you chose to apply to your website should be aligned with your brand guidelines. Your website and your outbound strategies should be aligned.

Usability

  • How your users interact with your website?
  • Is it easy to navigate?
  • Can they identify a link on the text?
  • Do they know on which page they are?
  • Can they go back to your homepage easily?

These are things that your web design process should answer.

The users of your website must find the things they are looking for easily. The navigation of your website should not only be easy but also pleasant.

As for the navigation, make sure you use a standard approach to differentiate links from the text in your website. Keep the menu of your website in a visible place. Don’t mix it with the content of the body.

Use call to actions and search boxes to make the navigation of your website easier.

When performing operations such as buying items online, changing personal information, subscribing to newsletters or any other action that results in an update to your website’s database or CRM and submission of personal data, confirm your visitors’ intention before submitting. After the submission of data, show your visitor a message stating if it was a successful or failed submission.

Avoid using intrusive pop-ups in your webpages or setting videos to autoplay.

Another thing you should do is remove the damn ad banner from your website. If you can’t remove it because you have bills to pay, at least don’t add many and place them somewhere it doesn’t conflict with the navigation of the website.

Content

When adding content on your website, group it in categories. Don’t spread one topic in many pages and highlight the most relevant parts of the text to help the users find what they’re looking for.

Diversify the type of content you add to your website. From infographics, images, videos, eBooks, research papers, templates, etc., you have no reasons to rely only on text to engage your visitors.

Don’t overload your website with too many videos or audio content. 1- 2 videos or audio per page is enough. If you have to show more multimedia to your users, send them to one of your social media platforms or YouTube channel. That’s not wrong. It’s actually a good strategy. A website should be integrated with other sources of leads. By adopting this strategy, you ensure that your visitors stay close to you and are updated constantly.

When producing content for your website keep it short and use storytelling to leverage your chances of converting leads. Besides that, be consistent and maintain the same frequency when adding content to your website.

Site speed

5 to 8 seconds. That’s the amount of time your user will wait while your webpage is loaded (if they’re in a country or city with fast internet speeds).

If your website loads slowly, your users are prone to abandon it. Slow websites reduce sales and revenue of companies, because users abandon carts every time the website loads slowly, undermining customer’s satisfaction with the brand.

While some strategies to make a website load fast are related to the server-side such as reducing the number of HTTP requests, reduce the time to first byte (TTFB) and choose the right type of hosting, other easy tasks can be done, such as compressing your files, reduce the number and size of videos and images loaded on a page, modify and combine files, install a CDN, uninstall unused plugins and host videos on other platforms as mentioned above.

SEO

Many variables determine the ranking of your website.

Some of them are beyond your control, but the adoption of the site speed optimization techniques, content and usability strategies mentioned above is the first step to ensure that your website is ranked high by search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

Some SEO strategies to adopt in your website include the creation of strong titles and meta descriptions, link building, friendly URLs and avoid using broken links or duplicate content (yours or stolen from other pages).

If you don’t want to wait the time SEO takes to work (3, 6 or more months) or want to accelerate the results generated, use paid ads on Social media platforms and Google Adsense to increase your website traffic.

Final notes

The design of a website is something that should not be done rushing. Give yourself or your web designer time enough to research and determine the right elements and strategies to adopt.

We hope your next website doesn’t annoy us.

If you’re considering building a website from scratch or redesign one, give us a call or send us an email. We’ll be happy to help you grow your business and share your ideas.

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