What are the core components of an effective website? How do you balance form and function to ensure a positive user experience?
Redesigning a website is a time-intensive process. It requires not only carefully culling through the existing website to determine what stays and what goes, but carefully reviewing analytics to determine how people use your website. When embarking upon the website design or redesign process, focus on the following:
Having one primary navigation on your website is considered a best practice. The navigation bar is typically located at the top of the site, starting with the basics on the left (About/Who We Are/What We Do) and drilling down the marketing/sales funnel as you move right, concluding with Contact Us. When working with your web design firm to determine the site’s navigation, focus on grouping content in a logical manner. For example, will people really know to look under the About tab to find your blog?
Visuals that will resonate
We get it. Some businesses are more visual than others. Likewise, some nonprofits work with minors or sensitive populations and struggle to curate a library of authentic, high-quality photography to use in their marketing. If you are using stock art on your website, focus on finding high quality images that don’t look too staged and aren’t too generic. As a client once said to us, the people on our direct mail postcards show up a lot at our industry’s tradeshows. For more details on how to choose the right images, check out our guide to custom imagery and stock art.
Messaging that hits the mark
A great website is every bit as much about the content as it is about the design. Your website is a 24/7 marketing hub for your company or cause and it is critical that people understand who you are, what you do and why it matters after visiting your website. If your company has recently added new products or services, gone through a merger or acquisition, or shifted its position in the marketplace, it may be beneficial to develop a marketing strategy, including a language platform to ensure consistency in how you talk about your organization, before embarking upon the website design or redesign process.
Did you know that one minute of video is equal in value to 1.8 million words, according to Forrester Research? The way people consume content is changing – hence why YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine – and developing a video is a smart marketing investment. Whether you build an explainer video like the one we did for our client AdminaHealth or you invest in a company profile video, this is a marketing asset that will provide value beyond your website – think social media marketing, email marketing and business presentations, for starters – and help target audiences to better understand your mission, vision, value proposition and culture.
An online newsroom
An online newsroom can help your website to appear up-to-date and further enhance your expert positioning amongst target audiences. An added bonus, every page of news – be it a company-issued news release or media placement – that you add to your website is one more piece of quality content for Google to crawl, which is beneficial to your website’s organic search engine rankings. If you decide to put a newsroom on your website, ensure a member of your internal or outsourced marketing team is accountable for keeping it updated. A newsroom that hasn’t been updated in years is more damaging to a brand than having no newsroom at all.
What do you want people to do after they consume your content? Do you want them to register for an event, schedule a demo or download a piece of premium content such as a whitepaper or ebook? Compelling calls-to-action should be peppered throughout your website and emphasize the value the client or prospect gains by completing the action.
When embarking upon the website design or redesign process, it is critical to focus on form and function. Regardless of how beautiful your website is, if it is difficult to navigate, takes a long time to load and is light on the information your target audiences are looking for, it will be difficult to realize a return on your investment.
Looking for more website design best practices? Eager to avoid common web design pitfalls? Download out web essentials guide today to learn what it takes to build a website that visitors will be raving about.