Are you wanting to improve conversion rates through your website? What changes can you make on your website in order to maximize your client satisfaction and encourage them to contact you? Even if you are thinking of revamping your website, which designer tips should you follow?
In this podcast episode, Sam Carvalho speaks about 10 tips to follow for a great website.
In This Podcast
- Visual design
- Information accessibility
- Mobile friendly
Your website design must be easily navigable, and your menu items should be accessible from any page on your website. Viewers on your website should always be able to tell where they are on your website and be able to see how to get where they want to go from there.
Remember, there is a fine line between an interactive menu and an annoying one, so functionality is important.
- Logo on the top left corner and main navigation to the right
- Place all services under a ‘service’ dropdown, instead of placing them all individually
2. Visual design
People are visually orientated and therefore using great graphics is a good way to make your website appealing to your users. You only have a few seconds to impress your new website visitor, and with good graphics, you can let them know that your business is trustworthy and professional.
Keeping this in mind, it is important not to go overboard with visuals. Scrolling text, animation, and flash intros should be used sparingly and only to emphasize a point for maximum effect. With a visual design, less is more, and do not be afraid to make use of white space in order to keep your website clean and not crowded.
Content is the backbone of your website. It plays a major role in your search engine placement and it contains the information that your visitors are looking for in the first place. Your website text should be informative, easy to read, and concise. Well thought out web content and copy will do more than anything else to make your website design engaging, effective, and popular.
No matter how informative and aesthetically pleasing your website is, it will not work if it is not web-friendly. It is important that your website designers make use of meta tags, alt tags, and are well versed in SEO. There are many factors that affect your search engine placement and the visual appearance of your site, so make sure your web designers are capable – or hire a professional.
A truly effective website design engages viewers from the get-go and holds their attention throughout every page, as well as influences them to contact you, also known as ‘conversion’, your website’s ultimate goal. Again, it must be said that there is a fine line between interaction and annoyance, so make sure the level of interaction never outweighs the benefit.
Observe your page load time, you can use tools like Google’s Page Speed Insights to check this. If it is too slow, then you may need to look at adding a caching plugin or optimizing your images. You can catch to your web developer about this.
6. Information accessibility
Not all your viewers will have time, or perhaps the interest, to view your whole website in one sitting. They may need to only find a phone number or address and for this reason, it is important to place this kind of key information in plain sight in an easily accessible area.
People read in a F, E and Z pattern. For observation sake, ask your friends and family to check out your budding website and watch where they go.
Consider creating a FAQ page too. This is where your audience can go to learn more about your company, products, and services. For many people, the FAQ page is the second page they visit right after the homepage.
A successful website anticipates what your visitor is thinking when landing on your page and caters directly to their needs, arranging elements in a way that makes sense. If a visitor is searching for one of your products or services on a search engine directory, it is important that your website has a landing page that is directly relevant to what they searched for.
Your website should be a direct reflection of your business and brand. Your visitor should immediately make a visual connection between your logo, print material, and physical location. This not only contributes to the memorability of your branding but also adds a level of credibility and enhances the overall image of the business.
Your website has the potential to be the most successful client generator for your business and, therefore, emphasis must be placed on helping potential new clients find services they need in order to get into contact with your business. Providing your potential clients with the tools they need to do business with you in an easy, enjoyable way will increase your website conversion.
Make sure you have clear and visible calls to action on every page of your website and that you are tracking website conversions to see what areas of your sales funnel you can improve on.
10. Mobile Friendly
Recently, more than 60% of internet users prefer to view websites on their smartphones, therefore make sure your website is optimized for both mobile and iPads or Tablets. Responsive web design is the best because it portrays web content well, regardless of the kind of device it is being shown on. Search engines like Google also check mobile compatibility in order to prepare search results for mobile devices.
- 6 Elements to Include in Your Brand Style Guide | MP 41
- 10 Web Design Mistakes to Avoid | MP 16
- Simplified SEO
- Email Sam at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Design Services With Sam
- Apply to work with us
Meet Sam Carvalho
Sam Carvalho is a graphic designer living in Cape Town, South Africa, with over five years of experience in both design and marketing, with a special interest and experience in the start-up environment.
She has been working with Practice of the Practice since 2016 and has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs take their practices to the next level by enhancing their visual branding. She loves working with a variety of clients on design-intensive tasks and is always up for a challenge!
Thanks For Listening!
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Marketing a Practice podcast is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a network of podcasts seeking to help you market and grow your business and yourself. To hear other podcasts like Beta Male Revolution, Empowered and Unapologetic, Imperfect Thriving, or Faith in Practice, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.
Welcome to the Marketing a Practice podcast with me, Sam Carvalho, where you will discover everything you need to know about marketing and branding your business. To find out more about how I can help you brand your business, visit www.practiceofthepractice.com/branding. And if you’d like to see some examples of my design work, be sure to follow me on Instagram @samanthacarvalhodesign.
Hi, there. Thanks so much for joining me today on the Marketing a Practice podcast. I hope you’re having a great day and I’m so glad that you’re here.
Today I thought we would talk about the most important elements of web design. So I’ve previously done an episode earlier on in my podcast on the most common mistakes made in web design. So if you haven’t given that one a listen, be sure to do so. But I wanted to kind of swap around the narrative for today’s episode and talk about the most important elements to keep in mind with regards to web design because as a business owner, your website is one of the most important tools you have in your arsenal to get more and better clients. So what separates a good website from a bad website, or a good one from a great one? I wanted to put together some qualities that a great website will need. So let’s get started.
First and foremost, your navigation. The website design should be easy to navigate, and the menu items should be easily accessible from any page. The viewer should always know exactly where they are on the website and have easy access to where they would like to be. Just remember that there’s a fine line between an interactive menu and an annoying one, so functionality should be the idea. So I usually recommend sticking with kind of rule of thumb or best practice, which is to have your logo in the top left corner of your website and then to have your main navigation to the right of that logo. Another thing to keep in mind is to limit your main navigation. So if you do have a lot of information, or a lot of kind of headings that you want to include on your website, or sections, then rather place them in drop-downs.
So, for example, I know a lot of you will have a number of different service offerings. So you won’t just offer counseling for depression, you’ll maybe offer counseling for anxiety, for couples, a whole bunch of things. But rather than placing those individual service offerings in your navigation, rather have in your navigation, a heading that says services, and then have a drop down menu and in the drop down menu, you can list all the services that you offer. That way you make sure that your main navigation still only consists of about, I would say maximum, five or six headings. More than that, and it’s just kind of cluttered and confusing. And then have drop downs with any other headings or sections that you want to include on your website. So kind of think about how you can group things just to simplify it, and make it a lot more user friendly for the person coming to your website. And again, make sure that your main navigation is always visible and always accessible. So if a person is scrolling, the main navigation needs to kind of stay fixed at the top of the screen. Even if the person is scrolling through your website, it shouldn’t disappear and the person has to kind of scroll to the top if they want to change pages or anything like that. And again, on mobile, it will usually become what they call a burger icon. So in the top right hand side of the screen, you’ll usually see those three lines which kind of indicate, again, it’s kind of known that that contains the main navigation or the menu. So kind of just check the layout on mobile, make sure that it’s as user friendly as on desktop and that your main navigation is always accessible, always visible, and that it’s simple. So that’s kind of first and foremost when it comes to what to think about web design.
The second is the visual side of things. So as we know, and as I’ve mentioned previously on this podcast, people are visually oriented creatures. Therefore, utilizing great graphics is a good way to make your website more appealing. Your website only has a few seconds to impress your visitor and/or potential client, and let them know your business is trustworthy and professional. Having said that, it’s important to not go overboard, visually speaking. Things like scrolling text, animation, and flash intros should be used sparingly. And if you are going to use them at all, only to emphasize a point for maximum effect. Always remember that less is more and consider making use of whitespace to avoid having a crowded website.
The third tip, or the third most important element when it comes to web design is content. So ultimately, aside from navigation and visual design, content is the backbone of your website. Not only does it play a major role in your search engine placement, it is what most visitors are looking for from your website in the first place. So while they may kind of make assumptions when arriving on your website within the first few seconds, based on what they visually see on visual design, the next thing they’re going to kind of get into if they haven’t already bounced is your content, because ultimately, that’s why they’ve arrived on your site; they want to read more about you. So therefore, your website text should be informative, easy to read, and concise. Well thought out web content and copy will do more than anything else to make your website design engaging, effective, and popular. So again, making sure… you know, usually even with content as with design, less is more. So not including too much content on your homepage, making sure that you divide your content up into sections with headings and bullet points so it’s easily scannable. When it comes to your service pages, including more content there than you would on your homepage because you do want to provide as much information as possible and also optimize your content for SEO. But again, using user friendly jargon, so the way we would normally speak to one another, not necessarily all the terminology that you learned in grad school. Those are just some things to keep in mind when it comes to your content.
We actually also have just had a copywriter join the Practice of the Practice team. So if you are looking for someone to help you with your web copy, whether it’s to optimize it for SEO, or just to make it more user friendly, or to even just expand on what you already have, then feel free to make use of Adrian’s services. You can head on over to practiceofthepractice.com/copywriting to find out more.
I do apologize for the dog that’s barking in the background if any of you can hear that. These are the joys of complex living, so hopefully it won’t last too long. But getting on to number four, when it comes to the most important elements of web design is to ensure that it is web friendly. So when we speak about web friendly, we’re talking about SEO. So no matter how informative, beautiful and easy to use your website is, it’s useless unless it’s web friendly. It is important that your web designers know the keys to making your website work on all major browsers, and that they utilize things like meta tags, [unclear] tags, and are fully versed in SEO. Many factors affect your search engine placement and visual appearance of your site, so make sure your web designers know their stuff, or hire a professional to optimize this for you. And again, we usually recommend making use of Jessica Tappana over at Simplified SEO Consulting. She does great work, especially with counselors and therapists websites in ensuring that their search engine ranking is improved greatly. I think she’s helped a few people get on page one of Google. So if you need help with your SEO, if it’s something that you don’t think your web developers or web designers did properly, then definitely be sure to reach out to Jessica Tappana. You can just head on over to simplifiedseoconsulting.com and we’ll have that link in the show notes as well. So again, definitely keep SEO in mind, because obviously no matter how beautiful your website is, if nobody can find it, then kind of defeats the point.
The fifth element to keep in mind when it comes to web design is interaction, so how are people going to interact with your website. A truly effective web design engages visitors immediately and continues to hold their attention through every page, as well as influences them to contact you. This is known as conversion and it’s ultimately your website’s main goal, right? Obviously, you want everybody, if possible, who comes to your website to convert and end up contacting you. Again, there is a fine line between interacting and annoyance. So make sure that the level of interaction never outweighs the benefits. And something that comes to mind with this point is things like pop ups. So I know there’s different opinions on pop ups and kind of different sides of it, if you will. And I can kind of see both sides, but more lean towards not having pop ups. I know people have them to sign up for the email list, or even to contact them or for various reasons, but especially on mobile… so, again, cannot drill this point enough, but mobile is so important to keep in mind when it comes to your website. Because while a pop up on a desktop isn’t necessarily going to take up the whole screen so it’s, you know, not too much of an annoyance to just click the cross and close it and carry on browsing, when it’s on your mobile, it literally takes the whole screen and can often be a mission to try and find that little X in the top right corner to close it down. At that point, you’re so annoyed and frustrated that you just bounce off the website and you’re over it. So just always keep in mind, when you are setting up your website, how people are going to interact with it and make sure that yeah, it’s always just more beneficial than it is frustrating.
Another thing to keep in mind and to pay attention to is your page load time. So, use tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights to check this. Again, we’ll have a link for that in the show notes. And if your website is too slow, you may look at adding a caching plugin, or optimizing or compressing your images. And if that sounds like jargon that you do not understand, then chat to your web developer about that because the amount of time it takes to load your website is also going to affect the user’s interaction with your website.
So number six is information accessibility. So not all visitors to your website are interested in or have the time to peruse the entire site. So while we said that your content is important, again, most people browsing websites these days literally are only interested in spending a few minutes on your website and that’s that. So that’s why we said earlier, keep your text minimal and make it easily scannable. But when people arrive on your website, they may need to access only a phone number, or address, or just a bit of information. For this reason, it’s important to place key information in plain sight, in an area that’s easily accessible. And a nice way to do that is by making use of whitespace around important information, because that automatically emphasizes it. We’ve all had the experience of not being able to locate some needed information on a website and the result is always a frustrated visitor. And ultimately, a frustrated visitor won’t stay on your site long and is not likely to return, much less do business with you.
So something that I mentioned in a previous episode is the way people read. So through things like [unclear], people have discovered that when people are looking at a website, they actually browse or look at the information in the direction of a capital F, a capital E, or a Z. So what you can gain from that is that they’re always looking at the top left corner, at the top of the page, and then the left side of the page. That’s kind of mainly where people are looking. So that makes sense why you want to put your logo in the top left corner, obviously have your main navigation at the top, and then you want to make sure that your content is scannable. So as they kind of go down the left side of the page, they can find headings that they’re looking for.
Something that I also do, or I’ve done previously with websites, is to get family or friends to peruse the website, but actually sit next to them while they’re doing it to see how they interact with the website and what kind of information they try to access. It’s so interesting because often you set up a website and you think of, you know, kind of going through it in a certain way. And then someone will come and click on things that you didn’t even think were part of the user journey that you originally mapped out. So have a few friends or family members do that and that will kind of help you figure out where you need to optimize more, or perhaps add a call to action, or remove some text. It’ll just be really informative.
So number seven is intuitiveness. A great website anticipates what your visitor is thinking and caters directly to their needs, and has elements arranged in a way that makes sense. If a visitor is searching for one of your products or services in a search engine directory, it’s important that your website has a landing page that is directly relevant to what they searched for. Remember, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. So I know many of you have experienced this as well, where you click on something that Google recommends, and you are hoping that it will provide the exact information that you’re looking for and it ends up taking you to the website’s homepage, and you literally can’t see anything related to what you actually searched for. And that’s why service pages are so important and having a specific landing page for each of your services and including quite a lot of information on those pages so that when people type in ‘treatment for depression’, for example, they are taken straight to the landing page that speaks all about depression and all about how you can help with that.
The eighth element to consider when it comes to websites is branding. So your website should be a direct reflection of your business and your brand. Your visitor should immediately make a visual connection between your logo, print material and brick and mortar location. This not only contributes to the memorability of your branding, but adds a level of credibility and enhances the overall image of the business. In the episode just before this one, I spoke about setting up the brand style guide and a brand style guide is a great way to maintain consistency across all your business elements, be it your website, your office, your marketing material, both digital and print, a brand style guide will ensure that everything is consistent and that is possibly the most powerful part of branding.
Number nine is conversion. So we spoke about this a little bit already. But your website can be the most important client generator your business can have and therefore must place emphasis on bringing in new clients, and also making additional services available to existing clients through increasing awareness of all the services you offer. So you kind of need to keep in mind that you’re going to have two groups of visitors. You’re going to have people visiting you for the first time, and those people you obviously want to send to make an appointment with you, and then you’re going to have people visiting you for the second or third time, and they might already be doing counseling with you but they might be interested in your blogs, or in workshops that you’re offering, or in your podcast, or another service offering over and above kind of your main business. So providing both these groups of people with the tools they need to do business with you in an easy, enjoyable way will increase your website conversion and bring you the kind of success you’re looking for. So remember what we said earlier, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, so kind of map out the user journey that both these people are going to take when arriving on your website. How many clicks does it take for them to get to a place where they can contact you? You really want to make sure that it’s a minimal amount of clicks, like, literally landing on your homepage, clicking ‘book an appointment’ and they’re on your contact page. And the same goes for any other services that you’re offering or anywhere else where you kind of want them to go.
So make sure you have a clear and visible call to action on every page of your website. And that you’re tracking website conversions to see what area of your sales funnel you can improve on. For example, where is the drop off happening? And that’s something that your insights will be able to tell you. And what’s so amazing, people don’t often realize is that people want to be told what to do, especially when they’re browsing websites. As we said earlier, they don’t have a lot of time to kind of make those decisions by themselves. Their mind is probably overflowing with so much information already that they want to be told what to do, so make sure you have a clear call to action on every page of your website.
Number ten, the final element to consider when it comes to web design, and what I mentioned earlier is to make sure that your website is mobile friendly. Nowadays, over sixty percent of visitors prefer to open websites from their smartphones. So make sure that your website is mobile optimized for both iPads and cell phones. Responsive web design is the best solution as this kind of design portrays the web content well regardless of the kind of device on which is being opened. Search engines like Google also check the mobile-friendliness of a website in order to prepare search results for mobile devices. So it’s something that’s going to affect your SEO as well, along with page load speed and everything else that we’ve mentioned. But ultimately, most of your audience is going to be viewing your website on a mobile device. And you need to check that everything is in order, that everything appears the way it should be, and that the mobile experience is just as optimized as the desktop experience.
So that’s it for today. I hope this has been helpful and I will see you in the next episode.
Thanks for listening to the Marketing a Practice podcast. If you need help with branding your business, whether it be a new logo, rebrand, or you simply want to have a print flyer designed, head on over to www.practiceofthepractice.com/branding. And if you’d like to see some examples of my design work, be sure to follow me on Instagram @samanthacarvalhodesign. Finally, please subscribe, rate, and review this podcast on iTunes if you like what you’ve heard. Talk to you soon.
This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or any other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.