Even though the milestone of 1 billion websites was crossed in 2014, the science of web development has not come to a standstill, but rapidly evolved and sustained. As billions of websites crowd the internet, the question that can’t be ignored resurfaces- what makes a website work? One would think, if a website is live it obviously works, but we beg to differ.

Effective websites are engaging, easy to use, and delivers something of importance to the user. Theoretically, this seems to suffice but how to instill these ideas in modern-day design sensibilities is the real question.
We decode 6 principles that power successful websites-

1. Consistent (and obvious) Branding

When new users stumble on your website, the landing page itself should give them information about your business- not a large amount of data clustered closely, but enough content and graphics to convey the name of your business, its brand colors and the industry you pertain to. This helps users make a quick decision when they land on your website- whether this helps their search query effectively or if they should keep searching.

A website that encompasses consistent branding and tells the business’s story is more likely to convert traffic into leads!

2. Quick loading time

How quickly your site responds to web requests is another indicator of how your website will perform in search engine rankings. Impatience is a trait that springs widely in netizens, and await more than 3 seconds usually cues users to move on to another website. Your site’s load time can be enhanced by combining elements on your website to reduce the number of HTTP requests and load the site in its entirety much faster. There are other quick fixes to a slow site that you can read about here.

3. Seamless Navigation

It is ironic that the best websites are the ones that require users to stay on their page for minimal time to get most of the information! Ideally, your users should be able to navigate through your pages in 3-6 clicks. To facilitate effortless navigation on your website, categorize your data and create clickable links that are visible on the main page of your website. A search feature in the header is a great tool for websites with extensive content.

4. A definite visual appeal

Websites with visual clutter usually experience high bounce rates as the congestion makes it hard to decipher the information at first glance. Using grids for design helps create a page that leads the eye in a particular direction, and helps achieve symmetry. Legible typography, generous space between content, crisp images and an organised yet interesting layout is the heady mix behind an engaging website.

5. Multi-device compatibility

In 2018, Google’s mobile-first index made mobile-compatible websites soar to the top of search results, as rankings for websites not fluid with other devices plummeted. Today, Google analyses the mobile version to index and rank websites, which clearly means that websites incompatible with mobile/tablet browsers will be a no-show! Websites with responsive design (flexible mobile-friendly design that changes to fit a variety of device screens) and SEO friendly content soar up search results. As nearly 60% searches are done via mobile devices, making sure your website is responsive and fluid is not just a visibility boost, it also engages more than 50% searchers who would otherwise never find their way to your site.

6. Social media/email marketing CTAs

After your visitor has navigated through your site and processed all information about your business, a final push to act is what converts stray traffic to definite leads. Make sure that your contact information is prominently displayed on your website so that intrigued visitors can reach out to your team with convenience once your website has convinced them of your competence. Effectively utilizing this detail can draw attention to your business’s social media efforts and give you contact details of interested visitors who you can target with personalised email marketing.

7. Give Importance to SEO

Your website needs to be designed in a search engine friendly manner, which means improving the content website wide and targeting specific topics to create an authority for your site in that niche. To make it easier for search engine crawlers to read and analyze the content on your website create an XML sitemap that will guide them to the different pages on your site and inform the crawlers about when and how frequently the pages on your website are updated. Make sure you avoid using duplicate content and always add alt text to images to improve your SEO rankings.

8. Regularly Conduct A/B Tests

The design of your website needs to be updated on a regular basis, as it is not easy to get all the elements right in the first attempt. To find out where your website design is lacking, you need to run A/B tests continuously. Each element of your website design can be evaluated using A/B tests. For instance, you can create two versions of your website with different call to action buttons, to check which one the users click more frequently. Similarly, you can test your navigation, font sizes, images, colors, and so on using A/B tests. 

9. Work on Page Loading Speed

Studies have shown that 25% of users abandon websites that take over four seconds to load content. It is important to work on your page loading speed and minimize it to two seconds or less. The more elements like images and videos, you add to your website the more will be your loading speed as it slows down HTTP requests. You can utilize Google’s Page Speed Insights to keep a track of your page loading speed and incorporate the suggestions to optimize your website design for speed.

10. Make it Human

Using real human faces in your website photographs will make your website appear natural and intuitive. In general, it is our tendency to read human faces and study their expressions. If you add pictures of smiling or happy people, your users are more likely to feel positive about your company. These photographs can be used to guide your users to look at a headline or a call to action button.

Implement these 10 key principles for web design and development to build websites that attract, engage and convert. Web development aficionados would agree that websites that intrigue users with good design and engage them with optimised content create an experience for the user that holds their attention or fulfills their needs. This experience, propelled by a fast loading website and a clear directive makes users act, make purchase decisions or subscribe for more. Is your website under-performing? Read our blog on the basics of chrome-friendly websites. Get in touch with us to expand your website’s capabilities.