When online visitors enter your website, you only have a few seconds on that first page to express exactly what you do, who you are and why they should browse around the rest of your site. First impressions are critical for convincing site traffic to stay put rather than clicking away to another website.
If you are new to owning a website or if you have noticed that the time spent on your website is low, there are a few tricks of the trade to help you increase conversions and sales while also reducing bounce rate. Below you will find the top ten tips to design and optimize your website without a web design team:
#1. Have a plan.
While you may feel like you should jump into designing your website head first, it pays to create an outline of how you would like it to work. Oftentimes we have found that designing a website without a clear-cut plan leads to page bloat, slow loading times and confusing navigation.
#2. Remove jargon.
You only have a few seconds to grab website visitor’s attention, so it is important to avoid jargon, keep content clean and simple, and get right to the point. Site visitors will not read through a paragraph of copy to understand your unique selling point. Instead, use bulleted lists and headings to grab readers’ attention.
#3. Use Calls to Action.
Simple, obvious calls to action make it easy for website visitors to get what they came for, and also to create an opening to learn more about who is visiting your site. Links with titles like “Click here to download” or “See color options now” cut down confusing and bounce rates.
#4. Keep navigation simple.
If you have more than a few pages, your website should be clearly outlined with a sitemap and navigation menu. Where possible, cut back on extra pages that could become broken links in the future. The best websites are easy to discover and to navigate from one page to the next. It helps to create a customer journey on paper to know exactly where your website visitors will end up.
#5. Use only great images.
The wrong image is worse than no image at all. Make sure any images you use are compressed to avoid slow loading and are as original as you can make them. They must convey your brand is a positive, uplifting way to showcase your business in the best light possible. Stock photos are acceptable, but try to personalize them if possible.
#6. Make it shareable.
Include social sharing buttons on every page, especially on blogs and original content. People love sharing online, so make it easy and your business will soon benefit. It is important to make an effort to engage online with anyone who recognizes your brand, whether the post is good or bad.
#7. Keep white space.
Studies have repeatedly shown that white space is better for reading content from a screen. Remember that eyes travel in an F pattern as they scroll, so try to accommodate readers by placing content where their eyes travel to naturally. Keep margins clean and bright by avoiding dark backgrounds and white text.
#8. Scrolling homepages are fine.
The days of above-the-fold content are long gone. Website visitors prefer scrolling home pages to clicking multiple links to get to the information they are looking for. Feel free to include reviews, testimonials and even products when running special deals or promotions. Just remember not to overload content in small text boxes and leave enough space in between sections.
#9. Optimize for mobile.
The majority of web browsing is now done on mobile devices. While it may be obvious to ensure that your website looks great on any size screen, you may not realize that you should test every page on an assortment of devices to make sure you aren’t losing site visitors along the way.
#10. Get rid of broken links.
Broken links are detrimental to websites in numerous ways. They bog down your website loading speed, kill search engine optimization, and frustrate anyone who happens to stumble across them. Use a tool like Pingdom to search for broken links, and remedy any you find as soon as possible for optimum website performance.