Websites are the face of any modern business and with millennials dominating the workforce in today’s era, they turn out to be an imperative online identity for any business or establishment. Websites help companies showcase the various solutions, products, and relevant information to the existing/prospective customers. Even traditional brick-and-mortar firms realize the importance of having an online presence as it helps them connect with a wide consumer base. Moreover, concepts such as the SEO-and-SEM methodologies, which help websites get noticed, are used extensively in the current times where the competition has scaled to manifold proportions.
Therefore, It is vital for the website to be nearly immaculate in design and streamlined from a SEO perspective for better awareness, thereby resulting in leads and attracting the potential customers in their respective niche.
For example, the Google website (https://www.google.com) sets a superlative precedent, owing to its highly-intuitive design and near-perfect SEO implementation; moreover, it is tailored for an outstanding user experience- to infer, a clear yardstick for advanced and meaningful web designing projects.
The following image displays the Google website and stresses on why it is so important to have a website with simplified usability and an optimal user experience.
Figure 1 – Google Search web page tailored for optimal results
Without wasting too much time over needless rhetoric, let’s directly jump-start with the essential tips and hacks:
- Importance of a streamlined web design
- Hacks & Techniques for an intuitive web design
Importance of a streamlined web design
Every website is made for a specific purpose. When a user completes the desired course of action in line with the objective of that website, then it fits the bill perfectly. This action results in Website Conversion. Website conversions are of several types, based on the functional aspect of the website. For example, some websites ask the user to fill in the ingrained forms or sign up for a newsletter. In an e-commerce website, a successful payment for a selected product/service is deemed as a website conversion. Some websites are designed with an intention of attracting prospective customers- in such a scenario, any action by the visitor that helps generate leads (for example, effective social media sharing and sharing blogs on specific Social media portals) is a type of website conversion.
Figure 2 – Website Conversion
Sometimes, users do not perform the desired action on the website due to an ambiguous web design implementation. Therefore, the website should be simplistic and should rank high on the ease-of-use factor. Good aesthetics for web design is of no use if it fails on the usability front.
For example, if the user cannot find the Checkout button easily on an e-commerce website (despite spending quite some time on the website), then the users will get frustrated and may opt to buy the product from some other e-commerce portal. This leads to a loss in revenue owing to incompetent navigational design.
Thus, it is essential that the website is designed immaculately and helps achieve the critical goals it was designed for. Moreover, in today’s era, a website is the first impression of any business as users try to find the information about the company before dealing with the vendor. Trustworthiness and word-of-mouth publicity still holds good in any business.
This blog deals with some methods and strategies that can make your sites more potent and coherent from a web designing perspective.
Hacks & Techniques for an intuitive web design
A domain name is a unique address to help identify your website. Think deeply and select an appropriate name for your website so that it has a massive impact all over the web in line with your relevant business goals. Try to make it unique and promote it using Content Marketing and Social media strategies.
Following is a image that shows the structure of a web address inclusive of its bifurcations (Reference: – https://moz.com/learn/seo/domain)
Figure 3 – Structure of a web domain name
Consider the following website – https://www.filmdistrictdubai.com/
Figure 4 – Domain name & HTTPS
In this case, filmdistrictdubai.com is the domain name; HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol and the “s” at the end depicts that it is a secure site.
- Domain names, such as .com, .org, or .net are called domain suffixes. These suffixes help identify the type of website; for example, .com signifies that it is a commercial website, while the .org suffix will generally represent organizations. Some suffixes indicate the country code and location of the target audience. For example, https://www.google.co.in/ suggests that this Google homepage is localized for India. https://www.wikipedia.org/ (Wikipedia), https://in.yahoo.com/ (Yahoo India), and https://www.amazon.com/ (Amazon United States) are typical websites you come across on a daily basis on the web.
- Most of the common domain names are already in use by companies for their businesses/organizations. However, some domain names are available if the existing organizations have not renewed it. Extreme care should be taken while selecting the available domain names, especially if they have been used prior by an organization/entity. A comprehensive background check is required to ensure that it has not been a fraudulent website or contains malicious content or something that has a negative aspect to it. Also, the domain name should be relevant to your corporation’s products/solutions or niche.
HTTP or HTTPS
HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol while HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol and the additional “S” indicates that it is a secure site.
- HTTPS is a preferable option as it comes with password encryption and other dependable layers of protection, thereby reassuring the customers in critical actions (such as financial transactions or payments) on an online portal.
Figure 5 – HTTP + SSL = HTTPS
For example, fin-tech companies and banks use HTTPS and not the HTTP protocol to signify the security of the site. In short, it denotes reliability and trust-worthiness of the website.
- Best practices from a user perspective include checking the https word in the URL, especially during financial transactions for enhanced payment security.
- HTTPS is faster; moreover, the Google search bots find it to be more credible; the usage of the HTTPS protocol makes it more effective from a Google Analytics perspective. It also provides a much-needed boost to the SEO aspects of the website owing to immense reliability and surety .
Adding WWW or not in the web address
Adding WWW or not to a website domain name is a topic for hot debate. However, https://www.filmdistrictindia.com and https://filmdistrictindia.com are different websites. Generally, if you use the same content on both the websites, then it would result in duplicate content. In such a scenario, Google will definitely penalize your site and adversely affect the rankings (as it is considered a Black Hat SEO technique).
Therefore, the best option would be redirecting one URL to the other using the 301 permanent redirection methodology.
Figure 6 – 301 Direct
Ensure that one of the URLs is filtered as you would want only a particular URL to display information or initiate action on your website, adhering to the SEO protocols.
- Do not use irrelevant characters in your URLs (such as @,$,and !) as it takes an extensive effort for Google bots to understand these characters. Moreover, being irrelevant, it will dampen your SEO implementation.
Figure 7 – Clear & Concise vs. Ambiguous website address
- Avoid using underscores ( _ ) in your URL; instead use hyphens (-) as it is a preferred practice, compared to underscores. Do not use space as it shows up as an awkward character.
- For example, https://www.filmdistrictindia.com/corporate20%video is an example of using spaces in the URL; see how unclear it looks. Instead, use https://www.filmdistrictindia.com/corporate-video, which not only looks relevant but also much more accessible and easy-to-remember. However, using hyphens is not a good SEO practice; therefore, use hyphens only if necessary.
- Keep the URL concise and simple since the search engines will be able to understand and index it quickly.
- Though it is important to use keywords, do not clutter the URL with similar/multiple keywords; keep it as suitable as possible as Google bots are adept at understanding whether the domain name is indeed relevant to the website- Google wants to display the most apt and befitting content for the search query of their users.
An excellent idea for searching good Keywords or Domain names relevant to your business verticals is to use the UberSuggest toolkit.
Following is a web page where you can use the UberSuggest utility.
Figure 8 – UBERSUGGEST
Choosing themes can abstract your design worries significantly. Following are some aspects that web designers need to look out for:
- Content Width can be selected by looking at the free/paid templates including those Boxed-width themes for a business-oriented professional look.
- Home page headers are essential and need to be selected based on the relevant business needs. Choose the positions like Fixed position, Top Horizontal, Side vertical, and horizontal bottom.
- Brand logo positioning must be implemented, either in the top-center, top-left, or bottom as per the requirements and from an easy-to-view outlook .
- You can also go to reference sites to choose an appropriate website theme, template design or prototypes.
Following is a link which sheds light on the art of choosing an exemplary website template/theme design:
- Ensure that the theme has tutorials or docs explaining its functionality. Also, refer to several reviews and developer information prior to making a choice.
- Always, purchase premium templates/themes preferably as they get updated regularly, come out with supporting docs, and provide technical support, if the need be.
- Choose a light-weight design as the page load times are crucial, considering important characteristics such as website conversions and bounce rates to mention a few.
- Check for cross-browser functionality to ensure that the template/theme is quite consistent across major browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera and Edge among others. The theme should be responsive so that it works on devices of different screen sizes such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops.
Studies have suggested that websites with enhanced navigational capabilities result in more pages being viewed per site apart from the home page. In addition to traffic, the other vital factor includes the time spent on the site by visitors, thereby leading to lesser bounce rates and more website conversions.
Usually, most websites have the header, body, and the footer sections when it comes to their structure.
The header section comprises the top portion of the page with a logo, a heading, buttons with call-to-action attributes, contact numbers, products, and services.
The body is the wide area that consists of the most important content, which can vary from forms, critical information, or product/service information, depending on the marketing strategies and type of the website.
The following screenshot displays the Header and Body section of the web page:
Figure 9 – Header & Body sections
The footer section comprises the copyright information, quick links, and the contact notes.
The following screenshot shows the footer section of a website:
Figure 10 – Footer section
Best practices on designing the header, footer and body is explained on the following website:
Further on, you can use breadcrumb type of navigation, slider menus, or top-bar navigation with Scrolling and fixed-bar features, based on the desired layout and the business needs.
Contact Us section
The Contact Us section helps build trust-worthy relationships with the customers.
- Ensure that this page is functional as your website visitors are more likely to click on it to know about the credentials and essential information related to the company.
- The Contact Phone Number, Email Id, and links, including Social media icons, should be tested for active functional accuracy. Use contact forms or the subscribe functionality to collect customer data and build/retain professional relationships. It also helps gain insight into analysis and trend statistics of the customers.
- You can also use a Chat-box embedded on your website in the form of a slider item; alternatively, use a sticky form that can be expanded on clicking the dialog box, despite scrolling below on the web page. Chat-boxes help you gather information, respond to basic queries, and initiate proactive chats, subsequently enhancing the overall customer experience.
Figure 11 – Online & Offline forms and Chat-box
- Meanwhile, set an automated email/chat response thanking the visitors for filling and sending their details/information. It reassures the site visitors/users that you will get in touch with them at the earliest.
- Add a Google Map that depicts your location or the physical address. You can add a map and the location by observing the instructions on the following website:
Figure 12 – Google Map location for an organization
With the advent of top-notch mobility-on-the-go technologies, smart phones are a preferred choice compared to bulky devices such as laptops or desktops. In developed as well as emerging economies, a majority of the population end up using smart phones rather than viewing the sites on a desktop.
- Mobile-ready responsive sites are a given and are no longer an optional attribute. Web design frameworks opt for a mobile-first designing paradigm and 80% of the users tend to check the smart phones for web surfing and buying products on a regular basis.
Figure 13 – Desktop Site for the Foundation Framework
Figure 14 – Mobile responsive site for the same Foundation Framework
- Web design frameworks like Bootstrap and Foundation are mobile-first frameworks (See the preceding images) wherein you design a site for a mobile phone and then tweak it for the desktops and tablets rather than the other way around.
- Images and video quality should be of top-quality, regardless of the screen-size or device type. Make use of navicons and slider menus for easier usability and navigation. Zoom in/out functionality, high speed page loading, code compatibility, use of HTML5 instead of Flash, and mobile-friendly patterns should be tested before releasing the website for the users.
We have seen the various techniques and tactics for streamlining your web designing projects. With globalization, the world is a round-the-clock marketplace. In today’s era, a website is one of the early points of interaction with a majority of customers; therefore,it is vital that your website is simplistic and functional, meaning the users should be able to locate information quite quickly and not get confused in a matrix of intricate web design. Ultimately, an intuitive and user-friendly website is critical as it helps attract more traffic and achieve business objectives- specifically in this digital era where user experience is decisive.