Your website is essentially the digital representation of your brand or persona. As such, it needs to be functional as well as visually appealing. Unfortunately, a lot of changes you make to the site could have adverse effects on its success. Something you may have thought was a small addition could greatly alter how people interact with the site. So, what are some changes that could result in a positive or negative impact for others?
Changing Website Functionality
Placing Affiliate Banners and Advertisements
Many of those who maintain a business website will use affiliate and advertising accounts in order to generate additional revenues. For example, you’ll make a percentage of a sale if one of your visitors clicks on an affiliated banner and makes a purchase on a different website. Now, these can be quite lucrative if your site generates a great deal of traffic. However, they can take away from the experience of the visitor if they take up too much of your pages.
If you decide to add these methods of revenue, you want to be careful about saturating the website. Too many banners, advertisements and flashing colors can be disruptive for your average user. In the instance of advertising, there is such a thing as too much. People are visiting your site to read the content, not be bombarded by a myriad of ads. Some of the best website design tips center around making sure your visitors are having the best experience possible – with or without marketing platforms. You need to place these methods in logical locations that do not take away from the content.
Finding Widget Placements
You can find widgets and plugins to do just about anything. Some of these offer entertainment while others deliver a practical use. However, they can also be taking away from the user experience. Just like ads and banners, too many of them can begin to clutter the site.
Another prospect to using widgets efficiently is knowing where to place them. You could have something that is completely amazing that is rarely used because visitors don’t see it. Statistically, far less people will view the bottom of any given webpage. This is why the more important features are placed near the top. One of the best ways to gauge how people interact with your site is through the use of heatmaps. These will show you how visitors are using your site with a color scheme. The more active certain areas of your pages are, the brighter the color – just like on a thermal camera.
Placing Important Links Across the Top
The top navigation bar is a vital piece of building a comprehensive website. You want the most prolific items displayed in plain site in order to encourage clicks. If you put too many of the important things on the bottom of the page, visitors may miss something that you want them to view. In your designs, you always want to have the most important aspects within immediate view.
General Design Alterations
Changing the Colors of the Site
Your color scheme may be affecting the site’s audience retention. Simple choices in your pallet can make all the difference. While many will keep the scheme simple and use more “white-space,” others will try to throw in as much pizzazz as possible. This often makes the site look gaudy and unprofessional.
Using Recognizable Graphics
Visitors will connect your brand to the imagery that is associated with it. For example, you wouldn’t want to use a metal floor surface as your background image if your site was related to baby products. The imagery you use will influence how people react to your content. For a niche site, it’s all about delivering graphics that make sense regarding the topic.
Using Images Within Content
In a past study, content posts that incorporated imagery were found to be the most efficient for retaining traffic. This is because a picture is worth 1000 words. While you can still drive traffic with pure text content, images are often what keep people interested in the topic. Use images that are connected to the text directly. You wouldn’t want to put a picture of a mouse if you’re writing about pizza – unless it was Mickey Mouse Eating a Pizza.
Reducing Image Sizes
When you upload an image straight from your high-end smartphone or camera, the resolution is incredibly high. These large images take longer to load and can cause people to become disinterested in the content. It’s vital that you optimize all of your images with appropriate resolutions for the site. Statistically speaking, people are often more likely to leave a site if it takes longer than three seconds to load. Your imagery will play a part in that delay.
Moving Things from the Homepage
In many situations, people are more likely to visit your site from a content search rather than through your homepage. This is due to the nature of search engines. While the homepage may still be important, it’s your content that will drive visitors. Putting important information strictly on the home of your site may wind up getting ignored. This isn’t because people are avoiding the content, but because they may not even see it.
Placing Larger Buttons
Your website should be responsive and ready for mobile visitors. However, links and smaller buttons may still be difficult to utilize. You’ll need to increase the image size of those buttons to make them easier for mobile users to activate. While pinch-to-zoom is still a useful feature for some, most people want simplicity.
Adjusting Font Sizes
Much like placing large buttons, the size of your font could also be contributing to your site’s performance. You don’t want it too large, yet small may be too difficult to read – especially on mobile devices. For the most part, changing the font size is relatively easy depending on the development of your website. Unfortunately, this is one of those things that could take time to determine whether or not the changes are successful.
Adjusting the Layout of Your Pages
Placing widgets is important, but so is the overall flow of your site. Whether you want to show categories of your content or the most popular pages, your site needs to have a good flow for people to follow. There is strategy involved when placing virtually anything on your site. From the logo of your brand to the contact page, there needs to be logistics beyond the design of your pages.
One of the most important of website design tips is to build your site according to what people want, not what you think they need. Your visitors will dictate how successful the pages are, which may not be the same idea as to what you want to see. Keeping an eye on your site’s metrics will show you where improvements need to be made. Don’t assume your current design is the only way to show your content. Finally, you might also be interested in reading our post about the 5 things your should never say to a website designer.