Website owners shouldn’t rely on their designers to create the perfect website for them. They should be aware that attractive design may not necessarily equate to effective design. While website design and structure isn’t an exact science, and is subject to whims of fashion as much as any other creative activity, certain abiding principles have always remained in place. So, when thinking of the ideal design or layout for your website, it is important to know the following:
I. To Scroll or Not to Scroll
Before the emergence of the trend towards scrolling in websites, clicking used to be the popular choice when choosing how a page should flow. Clicking worked well for readers with a short attention span. Scrolling on the other hand, makes reading text on a website faster and hassle-free, especially when searching for something in particular. And the best advantage of scrolling is that the user will not have to wait for a page to load - especially good news for people with slow internet connection.
While many advocate that it is not good to have a long page that requires scrolling, one must always test what works best for his site. For sales and business site owners, scrolling might be more effective to use than clicking. There have been multiple studies done (by Conversion Rate Experts and other competent parties) that a long sales web page allows for much more space to persuade users to buy rather than a brief page with one call-to-action button. Craig Anderson from KISSmetrics wrote a great blog post about 6 copywriting mistakes that shatter conversion rates where he makes an excellent point about how users fail to test long copy.
To some, the use of multi-columns may look more professional on a website. It could also give others a headache, however, or even worse give them enough reason to leave your website all together. Sometimes, it’s the simple design that generates retention and returns.
Instead of using multiple columns (which can be a great tactic for your home page that needs to link to various sections on your site), try using a single column and pair it off with an accompanying photo to sell your product or drive your point the simple and direct way.
III. Short vs Long
No matter how perfect your structure or website design is, if your content is blah, you will lose traffic as fast as you can blink an eye. People are different; it’s as simple as that. Some like to read and some find this tedious. If your content is full of fluff before getting straight to the point, you will lose numbers.
When buying or researching a product, however, people invariably want to know more. As long as your text is concise and tells the customer what they want to know without padding, you’ll make a sale. If you bore them, you won’t. Focus on quality rather than quantity! And remember, try to come up with unique content rather than copy someone else’s work. If you order content from copywriters, use duplicate content checker tools which can be found online. One of the free ones that works well is PlagSpotter.
Imagine doing a research on something and landing on a page covered with thin content or heavy ads. Annoying? You bet it is! While ads may be important to the survival of your website or online business, they shouldn’t receive top-billing. Google pays very close attention to the text-to-ads ratio.
It is worth staying up to date in the latest trends in website development. For those put off by the glut of advertising, the good news is that Google has come up with the latest algorithm update that sets out to punish websites that are heavy with ads. The new filter is known as Page Algorithm Update or what others call as Top Heavy.
Keep these simple principles in mind while creating or updating your site. As long as you do, and can strike the balance between too little and too much, chances are that your website will do fine.
What advice can you offer? Please share your thoughts in the comments area.
John oftentimes takes the lead as the Agile Project Manager and SEO expert on selected projects, which allows him to be hands-on with the latest trends.