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Web Design 101: Your Customer Experience Comes First

There are a ton of website-building tools for marketers, ranging from interfaces that allow simple module placement (for our less code-savvy website builders) to elaborate coding (for those who really know what they’re doing). From Wix to WordPress, website development platforms vary in complexity and pricing. However, one thing remains true: Your customer’s experience (UX) across your website should always come first when crafting your design. With 57% of people saying they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed website, UX is more important than you may have previously imagined.

Bad UX Decreases Conversions

When prospective customers visit your website to learn more about your brand, the last thing they want to deal with is plundering through a labyrinth of poorly thought-out navigation and misplaced call-to-actions. You know those websites—the ones that either have a dozen paragraphs of lengthy content on their homepage alone or the ones that have broken link upon broken link each time you hit a button or click on another page.

(Think Oprah: “You get a 404 error! You get a 404 error!”)

It takes about 50 milliseconds for users to form their opinion about your website. The phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” doesn’t apply here. Your users are judging, and they are judging hard.

In that 0.05 seconds, you’ve either lost a potential customer or increased your chances of converting a prospect into a lead. The internet truly doesn’t hand out second chances.

User-Friendly Websites Provide Better UX

So, how user-friendly is your website? Will prospects want to continue the buyer journey due to your design, or will they be one of the ones that decide to jump ship in less than a second?

The easiest way to see where your website currently stands is with a website grader. One of our marketing and sales automation partners, HubSpot, offers a free website grading tool. If you’re focused more on your search engine optimization (SEO) performance and where you can improve, take advantage of our free search engine optimization report. With 86% of people finding your business online, I can’t stress enough how important user-friendly web design is.

What you may find extremely surprising is that while technology has improved over the past five years, general website performance has actually decreased. The longer your website takes to load or the longer it takes for your prospects to find the information they want, the more likely those prospects are to leave your website. So, how do you keep them?

Invest in Responsive Mobile-First Web Design

Responsiveness is not just a trend. In the first quarter of 2021, mobile devices (excluding tablets) generated 54.8% of global website traffic. Many times as marketers, we’re working on a laptop or desktop and designing on these devices as well. We often forget that just because we’re currently using larger screen technology doesn’t mean that our end-users will be using them when browsing our website. Mobile design has never been more important, especially with Google’s most recent algorithm updates.

Decrease Your Image Sizes to Increase Load Time

Large file sizes equate to large load times, which also cause a higher bounce rate. In our society of immediacy, our patience threshold has decreased—patience runs out in seconds. A good goal to aim for when it comes to your page load time is under two seconds. If you’re under one second, you’ve hit gold. Compressing your average image file to 500 KB or less produces the best results for load time. Larger header images should be no more than 1200px wide. When considering mobile design, the smaller the image, the better. In fact, unless there is a specific purpose for the image, we recommend scrapping the entire thing for the mobile experience.

Prioritize Your Website Content

Users spend an average of 5.59 seconds looking at your website’s written content. This means that while people do scroll, the most important content on your web page should be “above the fold”. This is everything that you can see on the screen without scrolling. This spot is where you’ll want to include your value proposition as well as a strong call-to-action button that leads your prospects to a form where you can gather their information to nurture or close the sale.

Use Strategic Call-to-Actions

Strategic is the keyword here. Sometimes we get excited about the possibility of gaining a contact for our records and we become, what I am now calling, “button happy”. You know those websites—the ones that have a button after every paragraph as well as flashing GIF buttons in the sidebar, and don’t forget the CTA buttons in the header and the footer. Use CTAs in a place where you want the user to directly take an action. Users want to know what to do next but also don’t want to be screamed at. Use one of your more eye-catching, bolder colors for your CTAs to make them stand out within your web design. And more importantly, make sure those CTAs aren’t using broken links. There is nothing worse than enticing a prospective customer enough to get them to take an action only to lose the sale because redirects weren’t used. 404 errors will be the death of your lead generation tactics.

Clear Navigation Is Key

Unless you’re directing your user to a landing page, nav bars are the easiest way for your prospects to find exactly what they want and how to get in contact with you. This aspect of your website should also represent your brand personality. All design aspects should be considered as well as how you categorize your products and services.

Poor navigation can lead the user down a rabbit hole and can result in them asking themselves, “How did I even get here?” Ultimately, they’ll decide that trying to traverse your website is too much work. Website navigation should be the same on each page and a hamburger menu should be utilized on mobile. It’s even more important to make sure your “contact us” page is included. It’s a frustrating user experience when your visitor has a question and struggles to find how to ask you about it.

Increase Brand Visibility with Intelligent Web Design

In today’s global marketplace with users not only accessing your website through desktops but also mobile devices, it’s not enough to just have an online presence. It needs to be an extension of your overall brand, as the user will continue to form their opinion of your business based on your website design. Website conversions increase the more you consider the end user’s experience. Do your part to make it easier for them to take the actions you want them to take, and when you want them to take them.

If you’re looking to improve your website or get a grade on how your current website performs when it comes to UX, contact our web design marketing experts today or book your free 30-minute strategy call.

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