Why You Must Focus on User-Friendly Business Web Design if You Want an Effective Online Presence
Having a User-Friendly Website is Not an Option, It Is a Must!
A few times a year I offer a small business website workshop to the small business community. Much of the workshop is focused on creating an effective business website, a challenge for most small business owners. Instead of going into the technical details I want to explain why user-friendly business web design is key to growing your business.
Many small business owners fall into two main categories. A few spend a great deal of time, effort, and money on making their business website absolutely gorgeous, embracing the latest techniques and really making the thing pop visually. They treat it more like a creative project than a marketing tool.
Other small business owners just want to get something up as fast and cheap as possible. They spend little or no thought on user-friendly business web design, and that usually is very apparent. I am sure you know of a few business websites like that yourself.
The main issue that both groups tend to forget is ultimately it doesn’t matter how pretty or simple your business website is. If your consumers and potential clients can’t use it, can’t find the info they’re looking for or get annoyed and frustrated when they use your business website, then it’s not a good site. So that is what you really need to avoid!
Unless you are simply creating a website for artistic purposes or personal reasons rather than real business usability user-friendliness and efficiency must be your top priorities. For that reason, here are some strategies to apply to your business web design. By following these tips to create a user-friendly business web design you will end up with a website that is both easier and faster to use.
9 Tips for User-Friendly Business Web Design
Speed is Key
Google is making page load speed even more of a ranking signal. In addition Google will now rank your mobile page speed as a separate, mobile ranking signal. If your page does not load within 2 seconds then you’ve lost almost half your audience. And that is probably not the result you intend.
So make sure that your business website loads quickly. Part of the page load speed is determined by your hosting provider, so be sure to select the most effective option for your business website hosting. Another effective strategy is to load your page in stages. Load the most important elements, such as the top and the central text, first and then load in the rest, like the supporting imagery along with the bottom. You may need help from a professional web designer to help you with this part.
Use Visual Triggers
Based on eye-tracking software like Hotjar it’s been discovered that depending on the information on your page, users will generally scan it in either a ‘Z’ or an ‘F’ pattern, with the former for more visual pages, and the latter for more text rich pages. That means viewers all start in the top left and then scan across the top, then either go straight down or go across and down.
They will lock onto the first thing that seems to fit what they’re looking for and if it’s a link generally click on it. What that means is that your most important information should be along the top. If you have text rich pages your text should be bullet pointed and easily scanned. A very effective way to increase user engagement is to use bold visual elements to trigger reactions and responses.
Create Bite-Sized Content
The mobile visitor does not read your website content. They scan content for the info they’re searching for. They will first explore pictures and other visual cues to see if these contain the information they need. Only after that will they go for text. The denser the text, the more hesitant they are about approaching it.
So if you want to provide your mobile users with a user-friendly business web design be sure to break your content into bite-size chunks. Extra bonus points if you use lots of striking images, bold design elements, bright colors, and other similar design elements.
Keep Text Legible
One of the least user-friendly business web design aspects is illegible text! You know what I mean. I am talking about serif fonts, the fonts with the little curly bits sticking out above and below the line. What’s more, instructions that are written in more accessible fonts are seen as more understandable and easier to carry out.
Try to avoid very small font sizes, or avoid fonts that are fairly small to start. Personally I recommend starting with a 14pt font size and go from there. Having a legible font can make a huge difference if you’re trying to get people to consume your content and follow your call to action. And make sure you have enough contrast between your text and page background!
Use Multiple Fonts
I just mentioned that your website visitors are more likely to skim and scan your content than actually read it. Your business website is not a book, so stop treating it like one. To aid the viewer, use different types of text in different places. One example is to use one font for your titles and headlines, and another for your body copy. Check out all the cool options available on Google Fonts.
If something is important, bold it, underline it or italicize it. That way it will be much easier for the user to spot. Similarly, make sure to use effective headings that are easily understood, and bullet points wherever you can.
And use short paragraphs with spaces between them! On webpages, where space is virtually free, there is absolutely no reason to have big dense blocks of text. I recommend you keep text blocks to around 4 lines. Anything longer may not get read.
Make Effective Use of Color
Color is one of the most effective ways to achieve a user-friendly business web design. So don’t limit yourself to just black and white unless you know exactly what you’re doing. Instead, rely on color to mark different areas and get different points across. Of course, it helps to actually know how different colors will affect your audience. Otherwise you could end up creating a big, colorful mess!
Make it Pop!
One key strategy for creating user-friendly business web design is to “Go Bold, or Go Home!” The bigger and more visually exciting your web design elements are, the quicker it will catch eyes and draw attention. What this means is that this should also be what is the most vital about your page. If you’re selling something, for example, don’t make the ‘Free Shipping’ or “Spring Sale” statement the biggest visual element; this approach is especially common in ads.
Instead your “Buy Now” or “Order Now” button, should be the primary focus of your site. Adding a sense of urgency, such as the word “Now” or the phrase “Limited Time” can be very effective as well.
Keep it Simple
I frequently mention during my presentations and workshops that the average goldfish has a longer attention span than the average human! In order to get the most user-friendly business web design you need to focus on the essentials first. Quickly grab your visitors’ attention, and then entice them to explore more.
This easy strategy is frequently ignored. Many business websites cram far too many menu items into their top bar and too much text onto their screen. It’s much better to try to be a bit more minimalist and put text either further down, where they can scroll to it, or on other pages – provided they load up quickly, of course.
Don’t Hide Content
So-called peek-a-boo content is one of the biggest setbacks to user-friendly business web design. I mean, if visitors can’t even find your content what exactly are you expecting them to do? Call your business to ask for instructions? No, that is not a very likely scenario, is it?
If your site visitors have to dig through multiple layers to get to your information they’ll get annoyed. And that means they probably abandon the effort altogether. So make sure your site architecture allows them to get anywhere they need to within one or two clicks.
This is not only beneficial for your human visitors. It makes it easier for Google and other search engines to scan your page and discover the content. This helps search engines to better index your pages, and help searchers find your content more quickly. And is what you are after, correct?
Making Your Business Website User-Friendly
If you want user-friendly business web design you can’t skimp on user friendliness for the simple reason that nobody else is. The Internet has become increasingly competitive. People have expectations and if they’re not met they will simply look elsewhere.
I am sure you are aware of this already. Simply look at pages that haven’t been updated in a few years, such as many university and government pages. These pages look staid and old and decidedly not user-friendly. By extension your business will come across as old and out-of-date as well.
By failing to incorporate user-friendly business web design you give your visitors a low opinion of you and the information or product you’re trying to share with them. And that results in a much lower conversion rate. Don’t fall into a so easily avoidable trap. Take the time to meet your user-expectations by including these user-friendly business web design strategies.
We Offer User-Friendly Business Web Design!
Here at ESPRESSO.digital, we offer a full range of user-friendly business web design services, including content strategy and creation, website design and development, search engine optimization, and business website hosting.
Reach out to us to learn more about our small business website services, and how our team can help you implement these user-friendly business web design tips.
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