One of the greatest valuables in the coffers of a business is their website. Gone are the days of yellow pages and magazines; nowadays, when a consumer is looking for something, the first place he looks is the Internet. If your business has the best website and is the easiest to locate, you will be the one receiving the phone calls.
Unfortunately, an Internet search isn’t always fruitful. Sometimes it takes several minutes and a number of different sites until consumers settle on the company they like. So how do you prevent meandering and guide viewers over to your site? How do you ensure they will stay long enough to convince them why your product or service is the best?
Understanding What Happens From Search to Find
Before we offer tips to win over viewers to your site, it is important to understand what happens from the moment someone types his question on Google until he settles on a site. Does he scroll lazily through myriad pictures, or does he peruse pages of text? The truth is, most people do neither.
Research shows that when it comes to websites, decisions can be made in 1/20th of a second. Someone may find your website on the first page of Google, but if your site is not well-designed, he won’t give it more than ten seconds before searching elsewhere. That split-second decision may be based on a feeling that the site is outdated, untrustworthy, confusing, obsolete, or just plain tacky. Whatever it is, your website’s first impression may be causing viewers to conclude that there’s something better out there.
Five Web Design Tips to Win Over Viewers
If you truly want to make a good first impression with your visitors, try the following web design tips.
- Provide balance and alignment. Use an underlining grid system to design the layout of your site, using a fixed two- or three-column setup. This will enable you to establish a sense of structure and professionalism.
- Be consistent. In addition to keeping all navigational items in the exact same place from page to page, make sure you are consistent in all other page elements as well. For example, the number of columns, ad placements, headers and footers, and even your call to action should maintain similar font, color and size.
- Re-work your hierarchy. Visual hierarchy is the sequence in which the human eye perceives what it sees. For example, objects with the highest contrast against their surroundings are the ones most immediately recognized by the human mind. When designing your website, you want to make sure that your site map and your content follow these principles. What do you most want visitors to notice? Anticipate the natural path a viewer’s eye may take through the layout, and use contrast and color to draw attention to that which matters most to you.
- Use eye-catching imagery. “A picture paints a thousand words” holds new meaning in this pixel-happy age. Hire a professional photographer or select premium stock photography for your website to really take it to the next level of professionalism.
- Take your time with color scheme. This may be one of the most important elements of web design, because color sets the tone of your site like nothing else. For example, in designing a baby product site, you would likely opt for soft pastels. Whereas in a construction site, you would lean toward brighter colors like orange. Just be sure that the color scheme you choose fits well with your logo.