These are specific design principles I use to help your website SELL
Nailing the copy
In my opinion, the copy (the text) of a website is the single most important aspect. No matter how slick the design and imagery is, the copy contains the core information of the website. The copy should be concise while conveying all the necessary information.
Fitting on every device
In today’s online environment, over 50% of visitors arrive via mobile device.
A website should fit perfectly on mobile phones, tablets, and computers. Period. The platform I use to build sites – Squarespace – does this automatically.
Giving a concise overview on the home page
An overview quickly confirms to visitors that they have come to the right place. On my own home page I cover the following questions in about a minute: 1) what I make 2) why it's an important investment 3) samples of my work 4) client praise 5) how it works.
Showing your face
To earn a visitor’s business often requires creating a feeling of connection. This is especially true in service businesses. One way to connect is to show your face. Strangers will be more likely to reach out if they at least know who they are contacting.
Hitting all the points
By the time someone contacts you, they usually want to know 1) Is your service right for them? 2) Is it within their price range? 3) Are they confident the service will be delivered as advertised? 4) Do they connect with you as a person.
Here’s a list of things on a site that can reassure your visitor:
- Samples of work
- Packaged services
- Credible testimonials
- An informative about page
- A clear terms page
- Concisely and thoughtfully written
- Easy to navigate
- Overall, a polished presentation
With over 50% of website visitors arriving via mobile device, a website experience should be tactile, with easily clickable buttons that guide visitors through a website.
Allowing space to breathe
Plenty of photos and spacers between text blocks allow your visitors the opportunity to digest information. This is vital to keep visitors engaged throughout your website.
Using the power of 3
When presenting your visitors with options (such as product options), limiting the number of options to three gives them enough choice without overwhelming them.
Leading users to your bullseye
What does your bullseye look like? Is it when a visitor calls you? Clicks to buy your product? Subscribes to your email list? The framework and layout of the site can be set up to lead visitors to that action.
Redundancy can make a site feel bloated and sloppy instead of clean and minimalist.
Being a mind reader
Anticipating what your visitor wants to know next helps your website feel effortless. As a visitor begins to trust your website, they will relax and follow along it leads them through your presentation. This concept shares similarities with a skilled MC or auctioneer. It's all selling, baby!
Writing for busy people
Keeping a paragraph length to 50 words will help keep the attention of impatient readers. The paragraph pictured below has 47 words. This will fit nicely on a mobile screen without the user having to scroll to finish an idea. A home page should be a series of ideas contained to small snippets.
Using fixed headers
A "fixed header" is one that remains at the top of the screen even as a user scrolls down the page.
Including key search terms
It should be known what search terms a website should rank for on search engines. These words should be used throughout the website, both in the copy as well as in the metadata (page descriptions and image tags).
Defining the voice
When a visitor arrives, they want to know who is speaking to them. Just like in a book, the voice of the site should be established early.
Using contrasting fonts
Using different fonts for headings and body text can help visitors skim and scan the site. Headings are usually larger and with heavier weight than the body text. Body text should use a simple and very legible font.
Matching business cards
Using matching fonts, colors, and images on a business card can create a seamless experience from an in-person meeting through a website visit. This reinforces the coherence and trust in your brand.
Showing social proof
Sharing testimonials and social media activity can reassure visitors that others have benefited from the services/products. This can be instrumental in earning your visitor's trust.
Guiding the eyes with color
A particular highlight color can be used for buttons and links. This way, when a visitor scans a page, they can quickly see the routes of navigation.
Following guidelines, then breaking them
At the end of the day, we all know good design when we feel it. While rules and guidelines are generally helpful, sometimes I break them.