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10 Important web design elements

January 5, 2013

When evaluating your web page, make sure you have the following elements:

Your website is very important, it is the centerpiece of your business.   It is important that when you are building or revising your website that you consider these critical design elements.

1.  Good clean visual design that is polished and uncluttered.  Keep in mind that most people when visiting your site will decide in 10 seconds or less if your company is one that they want to do business with.  If your site is cluttered and they cannot find what they are looking for, they will just leave.  I hate to pick on insurance but I am going to.  I also don’t have to mask the names today – I don’t know these particular companies, but both specialize in building websites.  It is all about personal preferences, so while I may like one, there will be people that will like the other.  The other design elements that I will talk about, can be viewed on the sample pages below.

2.  Contact information easily located without having to search for it.   Many people today want to do business over the phone and want to call, however some prefer conducting their business by email.  You need to cater to both of these potential customers.  Have both contact methods easily found.

3. Easy navigation of site by having the page navigation either at the top, which I prefer,  or along the side.  Either way, you need to make it easy for people to navigate your site.  Speaking from personal experience, when I view a web site, I like to easily find a page about the company and some place that will tell me where the company is located.  I get frustrated if I can’t find either of these easily.

4.  Keeping important info above the fold – with the size of monitors increasing, this used to be much more important simply because many people had smaller monitors.   While it still is important, the big monitors today help us out.    Keeping important info above the fold simply means making most of the information available without having to scroll down to the bottom of the page.  In the case of my example, the other half of the website on the right was cut off.  They had just as much content below the fold as they did above it.

5.  A call to action is very important and should be prominent. There is tons of research out there and I will save it for another post, but companies that do eye mapping will show you where you should be putting your most important content.  Each site can be different, however most of the eye tool maps that I have referenced, show that the most viewed place on your web will be the top left.  Again, there are design elements that can affect the results.   What is it that you want from someone that visits your website?  Do you want them to call you? Do you want them to fill out an info form?  The action that you want, needs to be prominently placed on your web page.

6.  Mobile compatibility – with the increasing number of smart phones and portable devices, like the iPad, it is important that you view your site from several types of devices to check to make sure they are compatible.   If your site has javascript or flash then some devices may not be able to view.  This becomes increasingly more important to cater to mobile devices since that is the direction that we are heading in.

7.  Subscribe button – Do you have information that you feel is worthy of putting into the hands of customers and prospects?  If you do then it is important that you have a place to allow people to subscribe.  I won’t drill into this much, as I will cover in a separate post, but there are many services out there that you can use to help you build  and manage your email marketing campaigns.

8.  Social sharing buttons – If you are trying to build your online community, then you need to make sure that you have these on your site.  This allows people to follow you and ultimately will open up their network for your engagement.

9.  Website that includes a company blog – this will be one of the most important things that you can do to increase your visibility on the Internet.   Companies that blog get 55% more visitors then companies that do not (Source: Hubspot)   If you were to take your website as it sits now and add a blog to it, it would be the one thing that you can do for impact that will definitely help traffic and visibility.

10.  Content is king!  You need to have good, engaging, error free content.    I know that it is easier said than done, however, just stay tuned to The Sales Plan and you will find out that I am prepared to help you with that too.

11.  Patience – I know that I mentioned 10 important elements on web design, but I thought that I would throw that one in there too.   When you are building an online community, it takes time, it takes trials and eventually with persistence – it will pay off.   It’s a marathon, not a sprint!

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