A well designed website sheds good light on your business brand, offers dependable content and is also easy for your target audience to navigate. Whether it’s to get information about your services and mechandise, to make bookings or purchases, or to get contact details, your website is the platform where most potential customers will first embark via a typical search engine, given the high rate of Internet penetration worldwide. Therefore, whether your goal is to increase brand awareness or to sell a product or service, effective website design can make the difference between generating interest and losing prospects.  A website can underperform for a number of reasons, including site speed, responsiveness or navigation. The following ideas serve as reminders of what your company website should look like and aim to achieve:

1. Simple is better: The Paradox of Choice dictates that the more options you give people, the easier it is for them to choose nothing at all.  A specific end-goal should be at the core of any effective website design strategy. Having too many options on your website can overwhelm visitors and drastically increase the amount of time it takes for them to make a decision. Or they may just decide to move on to a competitor. Therefore, focus on the objective of every single page on your website.  Be clear, upfront, and honest about what you’re offering to consumers. Don’t try to hide it or make users dig for it. For example, if you want more leads, you can have a lead form pop up right when someone first clicks onto your site. If you’re trying to get more direct sales, make sure conversion points like “Add to Cart” buttons are particularly eye-catching and easy to find.

2. Use images and graphics where viable: A picture is true worth a thousand words where websites are concerned. Pictures convey a lot more information much more quickly than large blocks of text, which is something to avoid in website design and presentation. Effective website designs strategically place images and graphics to supplement and enhance content, and to subtly guide users to where you want them to go. They can act as arrows pointing towards conversion points like “Shop Now” and “Contact Us” buttons.

3. Standard familiar layouts work well: As much as novelty and creativity are much appreciated in design work, it is still a good idea to take advantage of what users are already comfortable and familiar with. A few examples of effective website design conventions to stick to are: navigation menus at the top of each page, contact information at the bottom of each page, a clickable logo at the top of the page that will redirect back to the homepage, and a search bar at the top of the page, usually on the right-hand side.

4. Don’t forget the flow: Effective website design is about more than just looking good. The information on your website must flow in a logical and easy to follow pattern. Experts have identified an “E Format” which governs the reading pattern of most web users. Users scan sites starting at the upper left corner, then move across the page to the right, then down on the left side, and back across the page to the right one or two more times. With this format in mind, a company website can locate the most important information on the top left corner of your site and the least important on the bottom right since that is the most frequently ignored spot.

5. User Experience (UX) is king: The success or failure of your website to a large extent hinges on usability and functionality, in other words, effective user experience. Keep the users and their needs in mind as you go about conceptualising and eventually designing and publishing your company website. For effective navigation, a logical page hierarchy and clickable buttons are essential. As attention span is short, and competitors beckon in search results, users should be able to find the information they are looking for your web pages in three clicks or less, and in a matter of just a couple of seconds. Unnecessary plugins, embedded videos, widgets and large images will affect page load time, which is expected to be high speed or bust.

As with most things in today’s digital age, the key to success in designing an effective website is constant optimisation. You should consistently test your company website with regard to the above-mentioned ideas, to make sure it is thoughtfully designed to maximise leads and conversions. Having outside parties, such as associates and professionals, to review can very often reveal blindspots that might have been missed, and take your company website one step further in improving user experience.