Every business owner wants to exude professionalism and credibility. An important component of creating a positive impression is to have a professional, well-designed website.

94% of the website user’s first impressions are design-related.  75% of users reported that they judged a company’s credibility based on the website design.  In addition to an attractive design, other best practices for a website that helps your business create a good impression include: a good user experience by delivering pages that load quickly, a website that is mobile friendly (optimized for any device: desktop, tablet or phone) and a valid SSL certificate, which makes the information transmitted to browsers secure.

Web design best practices are constantly shifting, which is why regular redesign efforts, or a new site, are necessary if you want to get the most out of your online presence. Before you launch into a site refresher, we wanted to offer some other information and best practices that have emerged as consumer behavior has shifted in recent years. Modern, professional websites emphasize the visual over the verbal, and a best practice for you to consider would be to emphasize the visual aspects of site design and navigation. From infographics, to clear icon choices and placement to video, you will get more out of your site if you make sure you’re only using the text you need.

Along with that move, short sentences and paragraphs, bullet points, and a very clear call to action have emerged as web design best practices to support the emphasis on visuals. This is to allow the visuals to do the work. You’ve probably heard the old cliché that a picture is worth a thousand words, but it’s true. You can show more detail and help customers understand a topic with greater depth when you let your images or video do the work and you use text to add just enough extra discussion to let the reader know how to interpret the graphics and photographs they see.

Mobile optimization is a must.   Over 60% of website traffic happens on a phone or tablet.  Your site must be device responsive, making it look good on a mobile device.

Simplifying your navigation is also a big step toward ranking well in 2020. Use contextual calls to action alongside your navigation buttons, emphasizing what clicking the button will do. Along with that, optimizing your site organization to reduce redundant content will help, as will making the organization of pages and sub-pages more intuitive.

Remember to keep prioritizing Search Engine Optimization (SEO). If you’re using less text on the page, it needs to be rich in detail and useful while delivering more punch per word when it comes to SEO. Reducing fluff helps the page rank better if the content that’s left is optimized, but you need a plan to optimize that content to get the most out of the rewrite you’re doing. Last but not least, all of this will come together best when your page loads well. Web design best practices are about the user’s experience, so slow load times greatly diminish the impact of your efforts.  

Quick recap:

Professional design is important.

Mobile optimization will make the site more inviting to more viewers as mobile devices continue to increase their share of total internet traffic.

Use of quality visuals and video is preferred by visitors.

Simple navigation and calls to action are important.  Don’t let your site just function like a digital brochure.

Prioritizing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will help your website rank higher on critical search engines, like Google and Bing.

If your website is not delivering on these basic best practices, you may be hurting your chances of having a better year in 2020 than you did in 2019.  Don’t take that chance. Follow through with a site optimization and refresh that makes your current site faster, leaner, and more useful. Or, if your website is not friendly on a mobile device, consider investing in a new website that will greatly enhance your ability to keep customers on the site and convert for more business.