How to improve your website design in 5 easy steps

Website design, five easy steps you can follow to improve your website. Try them now and see better results. I am Luke, one of the developers at Valkyri. We help clients with marketing their business, products and services online. Using website design we can improve the experience and performance, in terms of conversions, of a website.

In this article, I want to give you a quick breakdown of some things you can do to improve your website. Just a few places you can focus your energy to enhance your website experiences. Using website design techniques, you can improve the number of leads you get and improve the overall experience. It may not seem important but it the way people use and experience can heavily impact on the conversion rate of your site.

What is the conversion rate? Well, the conversion rate of your site is the ratio between the number of people who visit your website, to the total number of those people who contacted you for your services or purchased from your website. You can measure this is many different ways depending on the function the site serves. Your total conversion rate can be measured using your overall visitors to your website. Then use an action as your “conversion”, measure how many people performed this action on your site. Then divide the number of people who performed this action by total visitors. Finally, multiply that answer by 100 to get the percentage of conversions.

5 Easy steps to improve your website design:

1. Mobile Responsive
Mobile Responsive example

Make sure that your site can be viewed properly on a mobile device, stats show that increasingly users are browsing the internet using their phones or tablets. Google is now prioritising websites that are viewable on both mobile and desktop devices. They include mobile responsiveness as a factor for ranking on their search engine. There are loads of techniques and frameworks you can use to make your website mobile responsive.

Some of the ways to make your site mobile responsive are to serve different sized images on mobile, increase your text size on mobile. Also, make sure headings break onto a new line if they are more extensive than the screen. It would help if you tried to make sure that all of your content is easy to read. Photos and images fit onto the screen properly. I try not to serve large images or videos due to bandwidth limitations and data usage.

Due to desktop screens being landscape, the mobile layout may need to change. Because most mobile devices have a portrait layout, the width is a lot narrower than the vertical height of the device. So try to keep this in mind when designing for either device. Tablets fall under mobile devices and usually have an almost square layout, where the width and height are similar.

Most content management systems have adopted support for mobile responsive pages and help to serve your content correctly on mobile devices. If you are not sure how to make your website responsive, contact a developer who can help you. Moreover, if you are struggling to find a developer to help you, you can contact us at Valkyri, and we can help you.

2. Reduce Clutter

In terms of your overall web design or design, try to reduce and remove any unnecessary information on the page. Users can often be overwhelmed by an overload of unnecessary information on a page. I try to go over a website and think about which pieces of information are necessary on each page. You can change the layout of your main navigation menu. Another technique is to use sub-menus to your advantage, draw up a structure for your menus.

Generally, the most important links in a menu are:

  • Home button or text.
  • About Section, containing information about your business, product or service.
  • Shop – If you are selling products or services online, this is important to have so that there is a way to get your shop at all times.
  • Contact page, a page with information about how to get in touch with you. (e.g. email address, phone number, physical address)

I would recommend going through each page of your website and checking if there are any repeated bits of information that you could potentially remove. Sometimes you need to have specific details duplicated, but it is always good practice to just double check and see if you remove anything. The idea behind this is only to have elements that serve a purpose, pieces of information that are filling a role. It is up to you to decide what is important and relevant to your business.

You want the user experience of your website to be pleasant while having clear directions as to how to use your site. Have clear actions that the user can perform. Provide a button to add a product to your cart underneath a product. You want to remove clutter so that the vital information can stand clear without distractions.

3. Page Speed

Improve the load time of your website, an overlooked element of web design. You want your web page to load as soon as is possible. The time it takes for your web pages to load could be the difference between someone staying on your website or leaving the site. According to KISSMetrics, 40% of people abandon the site if it takes over 3 seconds to load. Plus, each 1-second delay in load time reduces conversions by 7%. These statistics clearly show there is a direct correlation between the time it takes to load your page and whether or not people will stay on your site.

There are a few ways of improving your page speed, by reducing the total size of items on the page. I find that the biggest issue is oversized images in terms of resolution and memory size. The reason for this is because pictures are the most common form of media on websites. You can use plugins to compress and optimise your photos that are on your site. Another option is TinyPNG, a website which compresses your images after upload.

If you have videos on your website, try to use a platform like YouTube or Vimeo as they have some of the best techniques for optimising videos. Using YouTube or Vimeo helps with reducing the amount of bandwidth used on your site, and you can take advantage of existing infrastructure. YouTube has servers around the world where they will distribute your video so that it can load faster in different continents.

Some more advanced techniques for speeding up your page are to implement lazy loading for content and to defer loading of certain scripts to your footer. The way lazy loading and deferring of scripts works is to load only the code needed to generate the content you are viewing first. In other words, the browser does not need to load images that you cannot see right away. What the browser will then do, is only load something once it comes into view.

Using plugins can be a quick way to implement these techniques. Alternatively, contact a developer to help you with implementing the changes.

4. Negative Space

The use of negative space in your website can help with directing the focus of a user to areas of importance. Negative space is any unused spaced around an object on a web page. Also commonly referred to as white space, negative space can help with providing clarity to your web page. Try to avoid cluttering objects on your web page, unless it is intentional. In web design we use space to create emphasis and to focus a users attention to critical elements of your web page.

Negative space doesn’t need to be white space. The emphasis is on the area around an object, and the background could be a colour or texture. You can also use negative space to group elements together and create a visual relationship between two objects. The two objects that form a single section on a webpage could be separated from another part of the web page using negative space.

The simple use of negative space can help with directing a user through your site. It can also help with reducing the visual overload of information which can cause users to abandon the page.

5. More Personal

Make your website more personal with personal images in your web design. Try not to use stock photos where possible. Stock photos can be great when you don’t have any other available imagery, but they can feel very generic. You want your website experience to feel more personal, using photos that are of you or your business. Try to take your product photos instead of using suppliers photos if possible. Take photographs of yourself and staff members and put them on your website.

Another way to make your website more personal is to write your content and blog articles.

Try to write your content instead of copying other articles. It may seem daunting, and you might be afraid to put your thoughts out there. You will find your style of communication will come out in your writing, and as you write more, you will get better and better at it.

All of these small things can help to make your website more personal. Millions of sites on the internet leave us feeling overwhelmed. How do you stand out as an individual or as a business who is unique to itself? An excellent way to stand out is to rewrite information you have found in your own words. You could have interesting and valuable information that you have gained through your experiences. Share that information on your website by writing short articles about your experiences.

By making your web pages and website more personal, you can improve the overall experience for people browsing.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, you can use web design and try to see if you can put some of these tips into action by making small updates to your site. Have a plan ready for your web site to guide you along the way. Put that extra thought into your site, and you will see remarkable results!
Let me know if you agree with any of the tips I have provided and feel free to add suggestions and techniques you may have found with your experience.

 

For more useful information check out these links below.

2 Responses to “How to improve your website design in 5 easy steps”

  1. Hi there would you mind letting me know which web host you’re working with? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 completely different web browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot quicker then most. Can you recommend a good hosting provider at a reasonable price? Thanks, I appreciate it!

    • Hi Oprol,

      It’s not just the provider, though currently it’s hosted on Hetzner, it’s both the location of Johannesburg/CT, and the way we write and create our projects.
      We spend a good 10-15% of our project time optimizing the site, we mostly create custom sites from scratch and have experience doing so quickly, and at reasonable prices, avoiding most of the bloat that a lot of sites have while making sure it is easily maintainable, scale-able and above all any backups are easy to re-deploy quickly (this entire site would probably take less than 5 minutes to redeploy onto another provider, besides the DNS records of course).

      We’re also in the process of updating the site a bit, the homepage will change in the next few months, but there’s been a lot of client work we’ve prioritized currently that has delayed it, we’d like it to conform more to our ideals, giving a better overview at a quicker glance, while not compromising on completeness, our designer is working on it.

      Currently we’re looking at moving quite a few clients to Azure, since we can take advantage of Kubernetes Elasticity, which would also reduce hosting costs and response latency, but this requires technical skills to bring a project up to scratch, so this would probably be a little difficult for you to implement.

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