It wasn’t long ago that spinning graphics and glittering fonts were perfectly acceptable on a website. Your professional website could easily be mistaken for a teen’s MySpace page.
When it came to structuring your site, frames were once very common, only to be later replaced by tables.
By the early 2000s, no web designer would release anything into the World Wide Web without at least one drop shadow or a Flash graphic.
We’re now in the midst of the responsive design era. And the flat design trend has taken over. We prioritise the communication of information over anything else.
When it comes to designing your website, it’s important to understand what has been tried and tested in the past. From here, we can determine what is required for your website to be fully functional and effective in 2019.
Here are just some of the elements that are completely vital for your website in 2019 and beyond…
Having a secure website is no longer optional. It’s not only essential for websites with payment portals; all websites need to have a secure certificate.
This helps to build trust with your audience by displaying the padlock symbol.
Google will also trigger a warning message when navigating to a non-HTTPS website from their SERP. This could be a huge issue for those who rely on organic traffic.
When we redesign websites, we start with a sitemap. This helps us to understand the most logical structure for a website.
It’s not uncommon for websites to grow organically. This means that new pages are added over time, with little to no thought to the overall structure of the site and navigation.
Over time, you’ll find that users struggle to navigate your site and find the things that they need. This may lead to higher bounce rates or frustrated website visitors getting in touch to ask for help.
A logical structure will also help Google to better understand your website and what you have to offer. This can lead to better rankings for the most relevant pages on your site.
Clear message (above the fold)
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the possibilities of design. You want your website to look exciting and fresh, but this can sometimes come at the expense of your message.
When a user lands on your website, they should immediately know what it is that you offer.
Focus on the section above the fold, which is the portion of your website that a user will see before they scroll.
Poor navigation will turn your website into a scavenger hunt, and no one likes to have to work too hard to find the information they need.
Your menu needs to be clearly visible. It needs to be intuitive to use. And it needs to be informative. In most cases, it should be clear from your menu items exactly what you do.
Large menus can be structured in such a way that isn’t overwhelming but still allows for effective navigation. If you have a very complicated site structure, using breadcrumb navigation can help users to find their way around.
Unless you run Wikipedia, chances are you want people to use your website for more than just information. Before adding any new page to your website, ask yourself what action you would like the user to take after viewing your page.
Every page should include at least one call to action, if not more. You might ask your visitors for the following:
Just like having a secure website is no longer optional, having a mobile-friendly website is also essential. You’re leaving money on the table if users can’t easily access, navigate and make an enquiry through your website on a mobile device.
If you’re not sure if your website needs a refresh, take a look at our guide to how often you should update your website.
And if you’re ready to talk, get in touch with Auburn to find out how we can help you craft the perfect website for your business.
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