Web Design Principles

Bad Vs Good Website: Here Is The Difference!

According to WordPressWebsiteDesigns, the design of your website says a lot more about your business than you think! First impressions count – whether it’s your salesman greeting a new client at the door, or a visitor landing on your website. Your business can gain a lot of customers from a well-designed website. But your business can lose just as many customers if your website is badly designed.

 

Website Design is Evolving

Website design is ever evolving – those totally awesome FlashTM websites from 2001 are really not so totally awesome today. It is important that your website is always up-to-date with the latest trends because it shows that your business is on the forefront!

In most cases, you would outsource your website design to a developer in the hope that they know what they are doing. But often these web designers will produce the same website design they have been churning out since 1998. So it is important that you, as a small business owner, know the difference between bad and good website design.

 

I have a headache just from looking at this.

 

Bad Website Design – Why People Leave Your Site

Our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter with each new release of the iPhone. And our attention spans whilst browsing the internet are even shorter. If your website doesn’t provide a visitor with the information they need within 5 – 10 seconds, they will leave and find a website that does.

Here are a few things that WILL make your visitors leave your website immediately:

  • Flash! Google and Firefox have disabled the flash plugin on their browsers due to a ‘critical’ security flaw, which means your once-awesome FlashTM website no longer works… anywhere. You can read more about that here.
  • Background music! Background music should be reserved for elevators and holding whilst on the phone to Telkom. Background music interferes with a person’s browsing experience. Don’t do that.
  • Too many colours & fonts! Your website is not a Where’s Wally book! Don’t confuse your visitors with a myriad of colours and fonts, giving them a migraine as they try to find the “Contact Us” page.

Ok, now that we have that out of the way, let’s get a bit more technical. The following things are more common mistakes that might not make all of your visitors leave immediately, but making these mistakes is still hurting your business:

  • Cluttered pages. Besides just looking bad, cluttered pages are confusing and require the visitor to put in a lot of energy to find that they are looking for. Too much of this and they will leave your website.
  • Long paragraphs of text. Remember when we spoke about short attention spans? People want quick answers, they do not have time to dissect large paragraphs to find what they are looking for.
  • Bad quality images. Images that are pixelated (low resolution) will make any website look cheap and amateur.
  • No Contact Details. People are coming to your website to do one of two things: either contact you or find out about your services and then contact you.
  • Sliders. A trend a few years ago was to have “picture” sliders on your home page. People are spending less and less time on homepages in pursuit of only the info they need. They won’t spend 2 minutes waiting to read all of your sliders.

One last point: Don’t use WIX. Or any other “free” website builder for that matter. Whilst you think it might save you money – it will actually cost you more money in the long run.

 

A simple but effective website design.

Good Website Design – Getting People to Stay on Your Site

It’s really not hard to have a modern, professional website that is easy to browse and converts visitors into leads. Here are a few things you can do to ensure your website is one that engages the visitor:

  • Unique Selling Proposition. When a visitor lands on your homepage, you have 5 seconds to explain to them what you do and what makes your service different/better before they go somewhere else. Always keep that in mind when looking a web page, ask yourself “if I was a visitor who knew nothing about my business or industry, would this page make sense?” 
  • Establish Visual Hierachy. There is a key principle in design called “Visual Hierarchy” – in plain English: designers will organise and prioritise content (images, text and colours) on a webpage to establish a desired flow or to communicate a message in a specific way. If your website colour scheme is green then consider using orange or red to highlight buttons or important areas.  If you have a website that looks like a modern Jackson Pollock painting (similar to the one at the start of this article), the sheer amount of colours or fonts will override any sort of visual hierarchy, creating confusion and causing the visitor to leave.
  • Simplify Text. Keep the content on your site limited to headings sub-headings, short paragraphs of text, bullet points and lists. The easier to digest, the better.
  • Professional, high-quality photos. You want the site to be attractive with images and using large photos as a faded, decorative background can add a very nice effect. Look at these examples.
  • White space! Don’t be afraid to use space to your advantage in a website – it will allow you break up all the information on your site into digestible chunks. Websites that try cram everything onto one page that fits on your screen are confusing and overwhelming.
  • Simple navigation. Your website must be easy to manoeuvre so visitors can find what they are looking for without wasting time. This is probably the most overlooked aspect of website design – what you need to be thinking is “what is the fastest way to get a visitor from the home page (or wherever), to understand what we offer and send us an enquiry?”.
  • Use the latest website platforms. Most importantly, you need to make sure your website moves quickly and efficiently. If a visitor can’t get some pages to open or times out, they are going to end up going to your competitor. Platforms such as WordPress are constantly updated and improved, making sure that your site is always up and running beautifully.

And finally, use a professional website design company with a good track record! Ok, not to be hyper-promotional or anything but using a company like Novy Systems, who understand what makes a great website really is the first step. Trying to ‘save a few Naira’ by getting your “graphic designer” nephew to do the website will only cost you in the long run. No offence to your nephew – but he is just in it for the video game money!

Summary

First impressions matter, especially when it comes to your website. A clean, professional website will encourage trust in visitors. Having a clear website strategy is just as important as a professional design. People browsing the web have very short attention spans; if they are looking for information and solutions they want it quick.

Good or bad website design, in our eyes, is determined by how quickly your website can get that information across to the visitor. Getting this right isn’t as simple as it sounds. First, you have to really understand who your customer is, only then can you create a website that will speak to them.

Cluttered, confused websites are indicative of companies that can’t communicate efficiently with their visitors/clients. A good website design can result in a significant increase in conversions, meaning more website visitors will turn into customers.

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