It’s safe to say that every business should have a website nowadays. Whether your website IS your business or is simply a place for potential customers to access your contact information, it serves many purposes. Your website is a first impression and a resource, lets people get to know you, showcases what you have to offer, and of course in many cases is a source of income for your business.
For these reasons and many more, your website should be treated as reverently as your signage, the interior design of your space, your logo, and all other marketing efforts. So, what should a business website include? Here are 14 website design elements that should never be overlooked.
Essential Elements of a Good Website
Okay, so this first one isn’t quite a feature of good web design so much as the foundation upon which effective website design features are based.
What do you stand for? Why do your customers love you? How do you want your business to make people feel? A solid branding strategy will help you choose the best web design elements for a cohesive, effective, aesthetically pleasing site that communicates everything you want it to, and nothing you don’t.
Among the requirements of a good website is consistency. Consistency in website design elements such as style, spacing, fonts, and colors has a huge impact. This doesn’t mean that all parts of a website must look exactly the same, but that similar elements are presented in similar ways. For instance, maybe button text is blue while regular text is grey. Or perhaps spacing between menu items is minimal, while spacing between photos is a bit wider. Consistency conveys meaning, which is helpful. But of equal importance is the fact that inconsistencies can be very distracting and create confusion for the user.
Navigation is one of the most essential components of a website, and ease of navigation can have a huge impact on user experience. The easier it is to use your website, the more likely users will be to return.
Expected Navigation – Navigation elements shouldn’t be confusing. They must always be clearly labeled and easy to recognize; otherwise, users will be lost before they even begin moving around your site.
Search – A search function is a must. This will help those who are searching for something specific find it with ease. Furthermore, it will also help those who know what they want but aren’t quite sure what to call it or where to look for it.
Common Headings – It can be tempting to get creative when naming different pages or sections of your website. But…don’t. Use expected headings, page titles, and navigation when designing your website, as this makes it much easier for users to know what to expect. Save creativity for the content contained within.
Informational Footer – Footers allow you to connect your users with the nitty gritty without sacrificing your design. A small site map, contact info, relevant links, job postings, etc. can all be placed in the footer, so they are easily accessible without overwhelming users with a ton of visual clutter.
Contact Info – Let’s be honest, a “Contact Us” page isn’t anything particularly impressive, but a lack of one is particularly noticeable. Make it easy for users to access your contact information or risk being perceived as thoughtless at best, and evasive at worst.
SEO strategy isn’t a website design “element,” per se. But it remains among the most important website components for effective design. Here a few keys to designing a website with SEO in mind. For more details visit our page on SEO basics.
Keywords – A little bit of research about which keywords to target can go a long way. Once you’ve determined those keywords, focus on naturally working them into your web copy.
Page Load Speed – This is one of the most important parts of website design. Load times must meet the expectations of users, or you’ll risk losing them.
Content – Frequently updated, informative content will ensure you remain relevant to both users and search engines.
Mobile Responsiveness – This is a key attribute of a website. Your site should be easy to use regardless of the device on which it is viewed. It’s easy to ensure mobile users receive have a great experience by choosing a responsive or mobile first theme for your website.
Internal and External Links – Utilize internal links (to content or pages contained within your website) and external links (to other reputable websites) not just to boost SEO rankings, but to make your website even more helpful to your users.
Social Media Links or Integration
In today’s market, social media links are considered a basic part of a website. You don’t have to be on every social platform but linking to social media sites on which you are active is a great way to connect with your users.
Call to Action
A call-to-action is always among the elements of a good website. So, what action would you love your users to take? Pick up the phone and call you? Make a purchase? Provide their email address? There are several call-to-action options. Decide which is right for your business, and make sure your design guides users to take that action.
Make the Most of These Website Design Elements, and More
From the hottest new web app to mom-and-pop brick and mortars, Hungry Media can help you learn what to look for in a good website. Furthermore, we can help make all parts of your website beautiful, functional reflections of everything your business has to offer.
Our 4-step approach involves a discovery process to uncover the unique needs of your brand and website elements. Whether you’re looking to improve the on-page SEO of your current site or want to build something new from the ground up, Hungry Media is equal to the task. Contact us today to get started!
contributed by Melissa Lucas, senior staff writer