Best Practice for Website Design
The importance of a website for a business doesn’t need too much reinforcing. The best ones can be a digital equivalent of an introduction, business card and referral all in one. But what are the practical, tangible things that you can do as a business owner to make your website the best it can be?
We’ve got those tips and strategies right here. Let us dive in.
Simple Plus Useful Wins
This might sound like a cliché, but simple is always better when it comes to websites. When we say ‘simple’ here we don’t mean having just two colours or very little text (though you can absolutely use those techniques).
Simple here refers to the answer to the question: ‘how easy is it for a user of your website to find what they are looking for?’ So, for a restaurant, a person might be most interested in seeing the menu, followed by how to make a reservation, followed by the opening hours.
For a local healthcare provider, a person might be most interested in the staff at the clinic, what their experience is, and maybe even whether they look friendly!
Answering the question ‘what are people most likely to be looking for’ and then answering it is the best way to improve your website.
Closely related to the previous point, it is helpful to not assume you know for sure what people might be looking for when they get to your website. Getting a group of 10 or 20 people and getting them to use your website and then asking them some simple questions about what they thought is a valuable, practical way to make sure you are not missing something obvious.
A good tip is to avoid using friends and family if you can (or at least making sure they know you are after objective advice, and are not going to have your feelings hurt if they suggest an improvement!).
It is also important to consider how easy your website is to navigate. Tiny links, hidden menus or labels that aren’t clear all take away from the experience of using the website. It is also important to test your website across multiple browsers (Safari, Chrome, Firefox) and on both desktop and mobile to see if there are any weird differences between how you want it to look and how it actually looks.
Obviously, it is important for any business to stand out from the crowd. But there are also well-established norms for how we interact with websites and going too far from them has the potential to annoy your users which is the last thing you want.
Simple things like making sure that your logo is a link back to your home page, that the navigation bar is at the top or left of every page and having the ‘shopping cart’ or ‘contact us’ links clear and visible go a long way to making your website fit within how users expect to be able to interact with it.