Many businesses want a modern website design but don’t know exactly what makes a website modern. Talking about modern, it’s interesting to see how far the www world has progressed since the first website in the early 1990’s. Those early sites were majorly text-based with little to no images; the sites had to major layout too other than paragraphs and headings. Today, the story has changed significantly.
Modern website design is quite relative. You might think that a website designed in 2010 is modern while someone else thinks the term refers to websites developed within the last one year.
There is no wrong or right way to look at it. If a website has all of the 7 features we will be rolling out in this article, then it can be considered modern, even if it was developed 10 years ago. On the other hand, a website developed last month without any of the features is certainly not modern despite the fact it’s more recent.
Why have a modern website?
The need to position yourself online for customers and clients is at an all-time high. More and more people are coming online and the first place they go to learn about you is your website. This gives you an opportunity to:
- Give positive first impression
- Get them as leads by capturing their contacts
- Give them reasons to come back
- Build trust
And considering the fact that the attention span of an average internet user is quite short, how do you achieve all of these with your website in the shortest possible time? Simple – a modern web design.
These are some of the features you should have on your website before it can be seen as modern:
Responsive Design / Mobile Friendly
The only reason you shouldn’t bother about this is if you don’t care about your potential customers and that’d be because you don’t have competitors. If not, this should be a major concern to you with regards to your website.
Apart from some of us whose jobs involve working with a computer every day, an average person out there has only one way of accessing the internet – their smartphones. So, having a website that does not suite the device majority of your customers would be accessing it with will do more harm than good to your business.
Check out these stats:
- 60% of internet activities is happening on mobile devices
- The number of people accessing the internet through mobile devices surpassed those using desktop as far back as 2014
Your competitors will also be more than happy to see your website is not responsive as your potential customers will be turning to them.
While mobile device is currently the most used, people still access the internet with their desktop computers, iPads and tablets. So, the point is not to have a website that’s mobile-friendly alone. Instead, your focus should be making sure your site adjusts appropriately on all devices.
You can test the mobile-friendliness of your site here.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
So, you have created a website without SEO? How then will your potential customers find you on search engine?
Apart from referral traffic from other sites and social media, search engine is the only organic way you can be discovered.
Though SEO is more or less a marketing service, it’s important that you work with a web designer that has an understanding of it as well. This will help to ensure your website starts off on a good SEO foundation.
One major SEO element is keyword. Using the right keywords in the right headers and texts allows search engine crawlers read the relevancy of your site to search queries. This is a basic SEO that your website should at least have in place.
One other crucial feature of a modern website is valuable content. Content can be video, still images, texts or audios. Whatever content combination you decide to use, they should be informative and easy to comprehend.
Different individuals have relative definition of informative based on personal preferences and exposure. You should therefore take your time to research on and understand your target audience. This would help you create and channel your contents based on their needs and expectations. This is also good for SEO.
People visit websites most of the times for one thing – information. So, make all the key information easily accessible and clear.
Fast Load Time
Nothing frustrates today’s internet users than a website that takes forever to load. And the definition of forever by today’s standard can be anything more than 5 seconds. The result of this is that your site will be having high bounce rate. In other words, your visitors will be leaving your site even before getting there. Again, another red flag for SEO.
You can do the following to improve your website speed:
Images, videos and other large files contribute immensely to slowing down a website load speed. Endeavour to compress all of these files to the lowest possible size before uploading on your website.
Remove unnecessary files
If you have videos, images and other files that are not serving any reasonable purpose on your site, this is the time to remove them.
Use Browser Caching
Storing up cached versions of resources in your browser help to free up space on your website. This can improve site speed significantly.
Plugins are great, but having too many of them slow down your website. Reduce the number of plugins on your website.
Nobody wants to come to a website and start doing guess work. They want to be able to know exactly where they are per time and exactly what to do to be where they want to be. Therefore, your website should have a self-explanatory navigation. This makes for a great user experience.
Do the following to ensure your website is user-friendly:
Cut down on the number of items on your menu list. The recommended number of items on the list is 7.
Use descriptive titles
Examples of descriptive titles are Contact Us, Work with us, Meet our Team and so on.
A click on your brand logo at the top of your page should always lead back to your homepage. This is the standard and the natural expectation of every user.
Fancy fonts are good, but are they legible for your target audience to read. You may want to research to see the common practice in your industry in term of design and copy intelligently.
Also, don’t forget to use proper spacing. White space (which doesn’t always have to be white) plays significant role in readability. Ensure your designs and texts are not clustered together.
Call to Action (CTA)
A call to action (CTA) refers to a prompt on your website telling your visitors to take a specific action. It’s typically written as an action phrase or command like “Download Now”, “Sign up for our Newsletters”, “Buy Now”, “Get Started” and so on.
Rather than having old-fashioned sliders at the top of your site, you should have a call to action in that position.
What’s the point of your website when you can’t capture data of potential customers or even convert them instantly? Wouldn’t it be a waste if a customer works into your physical store without making any purchase, yet you did not get his contact so you can reach out later? This is why most modern website design examples have a call to action.
Great Visual Design
Gone are the days when websites are boring. Your website should have a great visual appeal that leaves a good first impression on your visitors. It will further encourage your visitors to spend more time on your site (low bounce rate, good for SEO) increasing the possibility that they would patronize you.
However, you should not overdo this. Do the following to get the result of a modern website design with a good visual display
All typefaces and colours should complement each other to give your website that simple, fresh and clean look. This would give the impression that your business is also co-ordinated.
Photography / Illustrations
See to it that all the stock photos on your website are of good quality and optimized for web. It’s not enough to have good images, they have to be well presented as well. Same applies to illustrations.
All of the above features are what you’d get from a modern web design and so you should have them all in mind when building a website for your business.
One umbrella term that sum up them all up is Good User Experience. The goal of a modern web design should be to give the users the best experience possible. If the users do not enjoy their experience at first visit, the possibility that they’d come back is low. That ultimately reduces the possibility that they would patronize you.
Say they even patronize you the first time, of course you want them to keep coming so they can become loyal customers. So, however you look at it, you need a modern web design with all of the above features so you can keep customers coming back.