Today, you can’t get away with ordinary website design. Actually, at no point of time could you get away with it, it’s just that a few years ago, the expectations of website visitors were not that high and you could get away with sites that had a substandard design. But, today you can’t take your visitors for granted; they are a jaded lot. They have been there, done that and seen everything. They aren’t looking for an amazing experience when they come to your website, what they are looking for is a wholly satisfying one.
As a website owner, I am sure you want to do everything that is humanely possible to guarantee the success of your website’s design. The fact of the matter is that it’s certain qualities that you bring to your site that determine its success.
So, let’s have a look at these qualities and see how focusing on them will help you improve your website’s design.
The designing elements that you choose must be relevant to the purpose of your website. The one element that you cannot take a wrong step with, when it comes to relevancy is the images used on your website.
Relevant images: If you don’t choose relevant images on your site, you are going to lose your audience, pure and simple. Here’s what you need to consider for choosing relevant images:
✔ Website Purpose: Are you selling something on the website, if yes, the product images are a must. If you are just providing information about a particular domain or your products and services, then the focus must be on the larger domain with respect to images and your services.
✔ Website niche: Which niche does your website belong to, whether it’s travel, food, software, web solutions or something else; the images should be relevant to that specific niche only.
✔ Your target audience: The interests, preferences and the demographic profile for your audience determine the images that you choose. So, for e.g. if your target is a working professional you must choose an image accordingly, and if it’s a younger audience, the images should cater to their expectations.
Relevant color: Here again the purpose of your website and emotion that it wants to get out of its visitors determines the color palette that you use on your site. Emotions play a major role in the conversion ratio of your websites. It’s emotions that in large part, which allow the visitors to your website, take a decision for/against your site.
So, if you want to generate some passion and excitement in your visitors, the relevant color here is red. It’s an energetic color that in turn energizes the people seeing it. On the other hand, if you want to showcase reliability or some plain fun, Orange can be the color of choice.
The choice of color must also be in sync with the existing color scheme of your branding paraphernalia like letterheads, business cards, etc. The color scheme should also match the kind of images that you are going to use on your site.
Relevant Content: The content on your site is also a part of the larger designing strategy as it is the play of content and images that makes an impression on your website’s visitors. So, relevant content, that is relevant to the purpose of the site and the needs of its audience, must be incorporated in the site.
Your website is your marketing vehicle, granted, but it’s not a tool for hard selling your products or services. It must be used subtly in a manner that slowly but surely makes its impression felt. Here again, the content of the site and images used play a major role.
Your content mustn’t exhort your website’s visitors to buy or try out your products or services. It must be used for the sole purpose of helping them make an informed decision. The tone of your content must be “I don’t really mind you not buying from my site; all I want you to do is make the right choice”.
Images on the other hand follow a different persuasion pattern. In this case, you must make your visitors aware that they are truly missing out on something big, if they are not choosing to use your website’s information/products/services. For e.g. if you have a website that sells cakes for special occasions, you must show images, where people are celebrating birthdays, anniversaries with your cakes. Your cakes must come across as the best things in that celebration. Don’t talk; let the image do all the talking for you. That’s subtle persuasion at its best.
The more you keep the visitors engaged on your site, the more time they spend on it, and at the end of the day, this helps you persuade them just a bit more, which can lead to more conversions. So, how can you keep the users engaged? Well, engaging content is right there at the top of the list, but that’s not enough. Embed a couple of videos on your site, this will keep them interested. Also, make sure that your site is interactive as well as, intuitive. It must be user friendly to the core, which incidentally also keeps the users interested.
Something else that you can do is ‘storify’ your content, meaning allow your content to tell a story to your website visitors, so design a website accordingly. Also, while using images, you can think about using real images. That is images of persons that your website visitors can relate to, those of real persons.
A successful website design requires talent, patience, effort and loads of thought. If these don’t come together seamlessly, then say goodbye to any hopes of designing a successful site. But what is also important that you infuse your website with the qualities mentioned here. If you give importance to relevance, subtle persuasion and user engagement, you will definitely get yourself a great website.
April 7, 2014