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Research conducted by Stanford University revealed that 75% of online users will judge a business’s credibility based on the design of its website. Let’s give you another statistic to mull over; users take just 50 milliseconds, or 0.05 seconds, to form an opinion about your website. That’s not long to make the best impression or start a ‘conversation’ with them. 
The overriding message is that your website design is as important, or more so, than it’s ever been. In fact, the design should be evaluated at least once a year to ensure it is still clear, relevant, effective, engaging and communicates with your target audience. 

Why is website design important? 

Today, mobile-friendly; the latest research shows that 93% of the UK population (63 million people) use mobile devices, like smartphones, to access the internet. That’s in the UK alone, so imagine how many are accessing browsers and social media apps globally. Let’s break this down a little more; over 55% of traffic to websites is via mobile devices. 
So, why does user experience matter? Well, a web design that is clear and coherent, not too busy and with intuitive navigation, easy-to-see CTAs and great visuals is more likely to retain your visitor’s attention. It creates better engagement and user satisfaction, improved loyalty and higher conversion rates. 
Users expect your website to be as easy to use and navigate as it would be through a desktop browser. They want the images and content to load quickly, i.e. within 5 seconds, and they want a seamless experience no matter what size the screen is. So, a mobile-first web design is essential. 
The arrow hit the highlighted target

Designing an effective website 

There are several important steps to designing an effective website that is informative, engaging and generates leads. When you offer a business service, relying on quality product images isn’t an option, but that doesn’t mean the key elements are any different. Here are our recommended steps for designing an effective service website. 
1. Create a user-centric design. What’s the ultimate aim of your website? Once you’ve established what you want your website to do, such as the services you are offering and building brand awareness, you can create a design that puts the user front and centre.  
When setting out the framework, ask: 
a. What do your customers want to find out? 
b. Where will they go to find out the answers to their questions? 
c. What do you want them to do? 
d. What do you want them to buy? 
2. Avoid a complicated design. While you may have great design ideas or want to push the boat out and be bold, there are certain design conventions that you should stick to. These create familiarity for users and help them feel comfortable when navigating your site.  
3. Keep the navigation well-organised and simple. Don’t over-complicate the navigation on your website. If it’s not easy for users to find what they want quickly and simply, they are likely to move on elsewhere. Most users will expect to see a search bar these days and a navigation footer. Add links to your anchor text and use ‘breadcrumbs’ to track the user’s journey - they can then retrace their steps. Keep CTAs and prices (if adding) visible and clear. Think about the flow of information or customer journey. Guide the user through the website using positioning, size and colour to where you want them to go. 
4. Make sure it’s easy to read and understand. This isn’t just for your users, but for search engine bots, too.  
So, make sure all your content is high quality and also: 
a. Use consistent, clear and easy-to-read fonts. Don’t use too many different types of font, and make sure it is at least 12 point. 
b. Make paragraphs short and concise so they are easier to scan and read. Smaller blocks of text are more visually appealing, particularly for those with impairments. 
c. Avoid repeating yourself. If you’ve said it in the previous paragraph, you don’t need to repeat it in the next. 
d. Use bullet points for easier readability. 
e. Contrast the colour of the text with the background, but avoid certain colour combinations that make the text hard to read. 
f. Make sure there’s space! There’s nothing wrong with having white space between images, copy, headings and margins; in fact, it’s better. 
London Piccadilly during night
5. Images and branding. Make sure the images you use are high quality, responsive and optimised for quick loading, especially on mobile devices. 
6. CTAs. They must stand out clearly and not be buried in the content, colourful and instructional. Your CTAs guide your users, so think about the customer journey. Keep them consistent throughout the website, and don’t forget to use them on your About Us and Contact Us pages, too. 
7. Make sure it’s mobile responsive. As the statistics above reveal, if your website is not optimised for mobile devices, you’re missing out on traffic to your website and search engine ranking. Don’t make menus too complicated; remember the search bar and test it on different browsers. 
8. SEO! Lastly, it’s important your website and all its content is optimised for search ranking. So, include both internal and backlinks where appropriate, add alt text for images, videos, etc. and make sure you include all metadata when uploaded to site. In the actual body copy, use headings and subheadings and make sure your content is keyword-optimised. 
There is just one more important aspect to consider. As technology continues to evolve and user demands expand, there is the need to consistently evaluate and assess your website design. The content and visual elements of the site are two key components to effective communication with your target audience. Make sure they are fully optimised and convey your message accurately to start the best conversation with your visitors. 
A man talking to your local web consultant in Bristol
It’seeze Bristol is your local professional web design company specialising in providing affordable website packages for start-ups and small businesses. We are skilled in ensuring your website is not only fully optimised and mobile-friendly, but designed with your target audience at the fore. Including our ongoing expert local support, we build bespoke, high quality and engaging websites. Call us today to start creating a website that drives business success. 
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