Most people grew up being told not to judge a book by its cover, but it seems like we didn’t learn the lesson. According to Sweor, it takes about 50 milliseconds for a web site visitor to form an initial impression about a website. By the way, that’s not half a second, that’s 0.05 seconds.
It seems that, as Internet users, we have all been spoiled by choice. We search for something on Google and know that if the first website we visit doesn’t immediately meet our needs, we can simply try the second, third, or fourth. Many people are already in the habit of opening the first four or five search engine results in separate tabs at the same time, then click through to find the one that might best suit our needs.
Even though we’ve been told for years that “content is king”, the same statistics reported by Sweor revealed that an astonishing 94 percent of negative comments made about websites are related to design. Put simply, poor website design will turn visitors away and have a direct relationship to your bottom line.
Website design is multifaceted and difficult to perfect. However, by doing your best to follow the web design best practices for 2019 and beyond, you can optimize your website’s design and dramatically increase the chance of people who click on your website actually staying there longer than 0.05 seconds.
Complex navigation will turn website visitors away faster than almost any other design element. The majority of websites today have a navigation bar that runs horizontally across the top of the page. It is a good idea to follow this same design standard on your own website, rather than leaving your visitors wondering where to go next.
The fewer navigation options, the better. For example, rather than listing different product categories on your home-page menu, have one link that says simply “Shop”. Gone are the days of having a “Home” link: instead, Internet users today know to look in the top left corner of a company’s website for a quick shortcut back to the homepage.
More Visuals, Less Text
As our collective attention span grows ever shorter, the need for less text and more visuals is becoming increasingly important on websites of all types. Homepages and landing pages should have a minimum amount of text – simply as much as is absolutely necessary to get all the pertinent information across – and should prioritize visuals as much as possible. Blog pages, articles, and other pages that are necessarily text-heavy should still have plenty of visual content to keep your visitors’ attention and to keep their fingers scrolling.
It is no longer sufficient to create a website for desktop users and then test it on a mobile device. Mobile browsing is the new normal, with more than 50 percent of website visits originating from a mobile device. It is projected that 63 percent of Internet traffic will originate from a mobile device by the end of this year, 2019.
Sweor data revealed that 85 percent of people believe that a website should look just as good or even better on a mobile device than when viewed on a desktop computer. If anything, it is surprising that this figure isn’t even higher.
This means that mobile responsivity can’t be an after-thought. All websites must be designed to be completely responsive for all devices – with no exceptions.
Bold and Proud CTAs
Every page on your website will necessarily have some kind of CTA, yet these CTAs are often hidden or buried as if the web designer was almost a little ashamed or embarrassed to be asking for something. Have you ever actively wanted to sign up for a company’s newsletter yet been unable to find the sign-up form? Have you ever wanted to purchase a product or view pricing yet been unable to find the information?
Ask yourself, what is it that you want your website visitors to do after viewing this page? Do you want them to buy something, or to call you, or to give you their email address? Whatever it is, ask them for it. If you have been marketing your website correctly, the people visiting your page want to do whatever it is that you’re asking them to do. Your CTA should be displayed in a bold, prominent position, telling people exactly what it is you want them to do.
Sweor revealed that as many as seven out of every ten websites do not have a clear CTA on the homepage.
Consistency is Key
Aim for consistency throughout every page of your website. Rather than be creative and think of multiple ways of saying the same thing, use the same wording as much as possible to develop a sense of consistency. If you look through famous, high-performing websites you will notice the same phrase used as a CTA for every product. For example, rather than having a “Buy now” button on one product, “Checkout” on another product, “click to buy” on yet another product, and “Add to cart” elsewhere, choose one phrasing and stick with it throughout your website.
The colors you choose for your website are vitally important when it comes to the overall look and feel of your website’s design. For sake of consistency, your website must match any existing color schemes already associated with your brand. If you have yet to choose a color scheme, start with your logo. Ensure that the colors you choose for your website perfectly complement your logo.
It would also be worth looking into the psychology of color when choosing the color scheme of your website to ensure that the right feelings and emotions are induced in your website visitors.
Never Stop Testing
Website design is a fluid concept, and in a very real way, the design of your website will never truly be complete or perfected. Continue to improve and optimize your website’s design by running A/B tests continuously.
The design ultimately comes down to choosing between various options, many of which could work just as well as another. By utilizing continuous A/B testing, you can obtain real data to determine the optimal wording of your CTAs, for example, or the best performing banner image, or the color scheme that resonates best with your visitors. By continuously testing individual design elements and implementing changes based on the results of your A/B tests, you can ensure that your website is performing at its absolute best on any given day.
The importance of website design cannot be understated. By following the above web design best practices, you can optimize the look and feel of your website and keep visitors on your website longer.
If you make a note of the date that you implement the above best practices, you can keep a close eye on your website analytics and note the measurable changes that come about from optimizing your website’s design.