Your website is a vital part of your digital armoury and is often the first contact a prospective customer will have with your brand, either on or offline.
A big part of any digital marketing strategy, therefore, is driving more people to your website. This can be done in a number of ways: organically (SEO), paid (SEM), social media, email, direct or through messaging apps including WhatsApp and Messenger.
Whilst it is important to drive highly relevant traffic to your website, it’s just as important to keep them there when they land on your website and facilitate the easiest path to conversion for them, whether that’s making a purchase, finding out more information about your brand or getting in touch.
That’s where website design comes in.
Whilst a lot of people think about website design as an extension of their brand, the way you layout your website is so much more than aesthetics. It is important to maintain a consistent look and feel in keeping with your brand guidelines, however, you need to go much deeper than that and consider how you want people to interact with your website and ultimately, what you want them to do from each and every page on the site.
The importance of a good website structure
Before you even start to think about applying your brand to your website design, you need to start out with a great structure. One that truly considers every aspect of your business and what you want people to get from your website.
Hierarchy is an important part of that structure. Starting from your homepage, which are the next most important pages in terms of a path to conversion for visitors? Typically, these would be product or service pages – the pages that tell people more about the things that you sell. These should sit at the second level of the website structure, directly off the homepage.
Keep the structure simple and easy for visitors to understand and navigate. Let keyword research drive your naming conventions on the site and target the highest volume keywords that you think your website has the potential to rank for.
As well as the hierarchy, you should also consider the way you generate the URLs on the website. Keep them short and easy to understand for visitors – a visitor should know what to expect from a page based on the URL for that page so don’t overcomplicate things and apply the same structure to your pages as you do to the hierarchy itself.
Apply the right visuals
Once you have determined the best structure for your website, now is the time to start applying the visuals.
Visuals are an important aspect when it comes to getting people to do more with the content on your website. A 2018 survey by Blue Corona found that 38% of visitors will leave a website if the content or layout of a website is unattractive. First impressions count for everything.
Your brand will help to guide the visuals of your website, however, there are some trends you should certainly look to follow. If you are designing a new website or redesigning an existing site, make sure you carry out competitive research and see how the world’s leading brands are applying visuals to their website design.
One of the biggest trends is for websites to maximise the amount of white space on a website design and use strong brand colours to make call-to-action buttons ‘pop’, helping to direct people to click on them.
Leading brands like Betway Casino, Netflix, and Coca-Cola all maximise the use of white space (which is just empty space rather than actual white space) to allow their main content to stand out. In other words, they keep the design of their website very clean and uncluttered and this is a really good starting point for any website design once the structure has been agreed upon.
Test and test again
Once you have signed off your final website design, it’s time to put things to the test. Whilst you would have undoubtedly had numerous feedback loops in the initial design, you will only truly know how the website will perform once it goes live.
Once it goes live, it will be important for you to keep testing and revising. You can use a free tool like Hotjar to get some really good feedback on the way that people interact with the content on your website and taking things one step further, you can then apply A/B split testing to any changes you make so you can see whether those changes have a positive impact on the way visitors engage with the content on your website.
Website design – an important digital marketing strategy
As you can see, website design is such an important and integral aspect of any digital marketing strategy and just one of the many tactics you need to deploy in order to a) drive more people to your website and b) get them to do more of the things you want them to do once they get there.
You can check out some of the most important digital marketing trends for 2021 in a recent post. You can also learn more about the importance of Facebook when it comes to SEO and the growing influence of AI in digital marketing.