Mastering website design part 3: How to improve online visibility

These tips ought to assist you in increasing website traffic and online visibility.
Christopher McFadden
Stock photo: How to build your website.
Stock photo: How to build your website and improve online visibility.

Canan turan/iStock 

  • Any company or person looking to create an online presence in the modern digital age needs to have a website.
  • But, merely having a website won't suffice to draw users and increase revenue.
  • Given that millions of websites are online, it's simple for your website to get buried in the sea of data. Because of this, it's critical to use efficient strategies to ensure your target audience can quickly find your website.

In this series's first and second parts, we covered the basic principles behind web design and took you through the basic process of building a website using a CMS like WordPress. Here, however, we'll cover, in brief, some of the key tips and tricks to help you get your website found and attract visitors!

Whether you own a business or blog or make online content, these tips should help you get more people to your website and make you more visible online. Let's get stuck in, shall we?

1. KISS: keep it simple stupid

It is a famous saying, but implementing a KISS strategy is usually a good idea when building a website.

Mastering website design part 3: How to improve online visibility
Keep it simple stupid!

Users prefer websites that are simple to use and aesthetically appealing. To do this, try to use traditional arrangements and eliminate anything that could detract from your message. Limiting the number of distractions a visitor may have makes you more likely to persuade them to do what you want from them (buy a product, read your content, etc.).

This is especially true for your homepage. Since this is the first page users see when they arrive, it must be attractive and straightforward. Visitors may find it overwhelming and challenging to grasp the purpose of your website if your homepage is cluttered. Please keep it simple and concentrate on the most crucial elements of your website.

Here are some pointers for creating a simple homepage design:

  • Make good use of spaces to produce a clean and roomy design.
  • Write in digestible, easy-to-read chunks.
  • To convey your message, use images or visuals of a high caliber.
  • To persuade visitors to act, use a call to action that is obvious and conspicuous but not over the top.

The homepage is important because it is usually the "landing page" for your website. It should be made to make people want to come to your site, stay longer, and return. Homepage design is a sub-discipline regarding web design, but check out your competition to get some inspiration if you are stuck on where to start.

2. Avoid carousels, sliders, tabs, and accordions

According to many experienced professionals, these elements should not be used because such elements can be distracting (KISS, remember), and visitors often ignore them anyway.

This is not just a matter of opinion either.

According to some research, visitors frequently ignore these design components. Consider using a long-scrolling format with all the necessary information on a single page to show information effectively.

3. "Social proof" is like gold dust

Human beings are social animals, so you should leverage this fact as much as possible on your website. This is where a principle called social proof can be used to your advantage.

In psychology, the term "social proof" refers to the concept that people are more likely to believe what others say and do when they perceive them to be like themselves, mainly when those ideas or actions are taken by people they respect or admire. The term "social proof" in the context of websites refers to using social cues and indicators, such as user reviews, testimonials, likes and shares on social media, and endorsements from influencers or sector experts, to foster a sense of trust and credibility among website users.

Businesses and individuals can show that others have a good opinion of their goods or services by displaying these types of social proof on their websites. This can help to foster confidence, boost conversions, and increase traffic to the site. In summary, social proof is a potent tool that can aid websites in establishing trustworthiness, legitimacy, and social influence, eventually resulting in increased success in the online market.

When a social proof is used correctly, people are more apt to believe and act upon the opinions of others. You can increase the efficacy of your website by showcasing social proof, such as social shares, media mentions, and testimonials.

4. Hack visual cues

We are also hypervisual creatures. To this end, you can "hack" this part of a visitor's brain by directing their attention to the things most important to you and your website.

Mastering website design part 3: How to improve online visibility
Visual cues are a great way to improve user engagement on your site.

For example, you can draw attention to the most crucial areas of your website by using images of people and other visual components. Additionally, lists that start and finish with the most vital information can help people remember it better.

You should do this as much as possible, but don't overdo it.

5. Learn about "The Fold" and leverage it

Research indicates that people tend to spend the most time on a website above an area called "The Fold." This is despite the controversy surrounding the fold's continued usefulness.

In web design, "The Fold" refers to the point on a web page where the content is cut off, and the user must scroll down to see more content. The term "The Fold" originated from newspaper design, where the most important headlines and stories were placed on the top half of the front page, which would be visible when the newspaper was folded in half.

The idea of "The Fold" is crucial to website design because it affects a user's initial perception of the website. Designers must prioritize their content and layout because content above "The Fold" is more likely to be seen and engaged with than content below it. However, "The Fold" has lost some relevance with the rise of mobile devices and various screen sizes. Designers must now consider how their content will be presented across multiple devices and screen sizes.

6. Scrolling should be prioritized over clicking

Further to the above, prioritize scrolling over clicking. According to research, users prefer to scroll rather than click to obtain information. Using a long-scrolling format, you can increase engagement and make it simpler for visitors to discover what they're looking for.

7. Have you heard about "Hick's Law"?

Apply "Hick's Law," which says people take longer to decide when given more options. Simplify your website by lowering the number of menu items, form fields, and calls-to-action and sticking to one objective per page to increase conversions.

8. Get your ducks in a row

Prioritize the order in which the items in a list appear. People are more likely to recall the first and last items than the middle ones. Place the most crucial information at the start or end of the list to help visitors remember it.

The placement of elements on a page by significance is called visual hierarchy. This aids in directing guests' focus to the most crucial information first.

The following advice will help you build a powerful graphic hierarchy:

  • To draw attention to key points, use height and weight.
  • Use color and contrast to draw focus to certain areas of the page.
  • Make a balanced layout that is simple for readers to examine using spacing.
  • On your website, navigation is essential for assisting visitors in finding what they're searching for.

The same is true for navigating your site. To this end, you should try to bear the following in mind: -

  • Use a menu that is easily visible, clear, and conspicuous.
  • Organize the menu based on the significance of each area.
  • To make it easier for visitors to traverse large pages, use anchor links or "back to top" buttons.
  • Incorporate crucial connections in the footer.

9. Speed, speed, speed

Make site speed a top concern. According to research, a slow website may cause visitors to leave immediately, harming your position in search results and your bottom line. To increase site performance, you can use methods like image compression, code minification, and content delivery networks.

Another major consideration here is ensuring your site is optimized for mobile devices. Most people who visit websites increasingly do this from their phone rather than when sitting down at a computer screen.

Being mobile-friendly is crucial because more and more people are using their mobile devices to reach the internet. Here are some pointers for developing a website that is responsive to mobile devices:

  • Use responsive design to guarantee that your website appears on all screen sizes.
  • Use a layout that is streamlined and easy to read on smaller devices.
  • Ensure all the buttons and links are simple to hit on a touch screen.
  • Improve website load times for mobile browsing that is quicker.

10. Try to use a good variety of images

Use real-life photos on your website rather than stock photography to help visitors connect with your business (if you can). Visitors are skilled at identifying these generic images, which may not be avoidable in certain circumstances. If using stock images, make sure you check they are not copyrighted also.

Also, try to follow a ratio of around four paragraphs to a single image or video, to break up the text as much as possible without overdoing it.

11. Any content you add should be simple to read

The readability of the material on your website impacts how simple it is for visitors to comprehend and interact with your message.

Here are some pointers for writing material for websites that is simple to read:

  • Make sure the text and background hues have enough contrast.
  • For body writing, use a font size of at least 16 points.
  • For lengthier texts, use sans-serif fonts; try to limit the number of fonts you use.
  • Use headings and subheadings to create a clear hierarchy and arrange your content.

And that is your lot for today.

By implementing these best practices, you can significantly improve your target audience's likelihood of finding your website. Remember that online exposure and search engine optimization are ongoing processes that demand ongoing work and supervision.