Website Design for Dummies: Part 2

Website Design for Dummies: Part 2 image website homepage1Website Design for Dummies: Part 2 photoIf you missed part 1 of website design for dummies, you can find it here.

And, now. Read on to learn more about creating appealing and engaging website design.

Website design: Navigation

Probably the most critical element of your website design involves navigation — helping folks discover all the great things on your site. Here we talk about the user experience and website design has a huge impact on whether your users have a good experience on your site or not.

Here are some tips for building a positive user experience into your website design from Google developers — and they should know what they’re talking about:

If you don’t have time to listen to the whole video, here’s a summary:

  1. Be fast – visitors don’t have much patience, so you need to ensure your pages load FAST. And use a plugin to check for broken links (I use broken link checker) on your site as these are really annoying to visitors and make you look unprofessional.
  2. Make it easy for visitors to engage with the site – pre-fill forms, integrate with Facebook so users don’t have to register each time, only ask for the minimum amount of information you need.
  3. List items in a logical order. Think about how consumers will use your site and recognize that most visitors read from left to right, top to bottom. Try to put things consumers want where it’s easy for them to find. Google uses the example of putting a remember me box AFTER the login button.
  4. Let a little of the branding personality show through. Be a person. Relate to visitors as individuals. Be a little playful and make sure your site conveys trust and professionalism to visitors.
  5. Encourage conversation. Make them part of your team. The first step is listening about what folks are saying about you.
  6. Own your mistakes, don’t hide them. If folks are unhappy, apologize and give them a fix.
  7. Color, image, white space — use all these elements freely in your website design. Don’t try to cram your website full of text and ads. White space invite reading. Images convey a huge amount of information and are pleasing and inviting. The same is true for color. Just be careful to not make it too wild and stick to a particular branding. If you can’t afford to create all your images, there are lots of sites for buying or borrowing (legally) images from the web. I use 123rf.

Web design: Conversion

Unless this is just a vanity website, you’re web design is supposed to support your business. That means you want visitors to enjoy themselves, but you also want them to support you — buy product, make donations, use services, etc. So, your web design needs to balance user experience with conversion. Here are some tips for navigating that balance:

  1. Judicious use of ads. I personally avoid most advertising on this site and turn down people every week who want access to your dollars (you’re welcome). I only use 2 small ads, which are Google Adsense so they’re for product you’re likely interested in already — at least in theory. Ads just clutter up your pages and make them look too commercial.
  2. Onpage SEO is important. Be sure to optimize your pages to bring as much traffic as possible to your website.
  3. Make sharing easy. Include easy-to-use buttons to allow visitors to share your content on social networks and join your social networks. Great plugins like Social Profile Widget make this easy and professional. (Social media has an ever-increasing impact on SEO).
  4. Entice visitors to subscribe to your newsletter by offering great, free content. I invite visitors to subscribe by offering a 66 page social media guide to making money online. Grab yours today. Of course, that also means you can’t spam newsletter subscribers with ads and pressure to join your coaching program. Newsletters must also provide value to subscribers. That way, newsletters provide another opportunity to deepen your relationship with website visitors.
  5. Invite readers to enjoy other content. I use Outbrain to suggest additional posts related to the post visitors are reading. It’s a great plugin. I also share my best content — as assessed by visitors — on my homepage to steer readers to this great content. Not only does this help build your brand, it keeps visitors on you page longer, which helps your SEO.
  6. Legal disclaimers. New federal regulations require websites identify when they’re making money from the advice they’re giving. When I have a relationship with a company, I disclose that information. To cover other situations, such as affiliate links, I include a blanket statement indicating I make money (a VERY tiny amount) from links on the site, but that I would only recommend products I feel are good and appropriate for the reader. And, I’m just as likely to recommend products I make NO money off — including all the links in this post.

Need help with your website design?

We’re here. We can provide website design, although we prefer creating a complete social media strategy involving a website designed to provide optimal user experience and conversion, as well as integration with your social media marketing efforts. Learn more about how Hausman and Associates can help or subscribe to our email newsletter to learn more from this blog.

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