Web Design Best Practices for 2020
2020 is officially in full swing, and with a new year comes new resolutions. On top of hitting the gym and eating healthier, there’s one resolution I want us all to agree on – no more bad websites.
Seriously – low-quality web pages plague the internet these days. While slow load speeds and mobile-hostile websites might have been permissible in the 2010s, it’s the start of a whole new decade, and businesses need to understand that a web presence alone isn’t enough to attract new clients. To survive in the digital marketplace, companies need a site that’s optimized and user-friendly, on top of aesthetically pleasing.
So, as we speed into the new year, join CAST Design Team in implementing these 10 web development best practices for 2020.
Brand-Consistent Web Design
Your web design, layout, and content all contribute to your brand and how your customers perceive your business. If you don’t get it right from the start, you could create some serious misconceptions that drive clients to your competitors.
For example, let’s say you’re shooting for a brand that’s chic and minimalistic. If your marketing materials and products say “trendy and simple,” but your web design is filled with content like Amazon.com or Microsoft.com, that dissonance could push potential buyers away.
That’s not to dig Amazon or Microsoft – their web design works great for what they’re trying to push! But if your web design doesn’t match your message, don’t expect visitors to stay on your site for long.
Speaking of visitor times, you need to know what’s working on your site and what isn’t. How long your customers stay on your site, where they click, and whether or not they’re engaging with your business are key indicators of what’s working in your brand. Your site should be able to track conversions, traffic, and other key indicators that confirm what’s working – and what isn’t.
Of course, those analytics don’t mean anything if your website isn’t optimized to turn website clicks into dedicated customers. Throughout your site, you want to be sure that customers can easily access more material from your company. Whether that’s to schedule an appointment, sell a product, request a follow-up email, or even just push them to the next web page, your site should keep customers interested and engaged.
How do you keep customers engaged? Content, content, content! The better your web content is, the more likely your customers are to consider your branding, your message, and your business. Your site needs to enable some sort of Content Management System, allowing regular posting and editing so your customers stay engaged with your site.
Search Engine Optimization
We’ve talked a lot about keeping customers on your site, but how do we get them there in the first place? Advertisements and social media campaigns are great ways to attract customers, but they are also expensive. Before anything else, you want your website to be Search Engine Optimized (SEO).
A lot of what we’re discussing here are ways to build upon your site’s SEO, but the key to an SEO-based site is SEO-based content. By writing content that matches what customers are searching for in Google or Yahoo or Bing, your site is likely to rank higher in search pages. This, combined with a functional website and high traffic, is bound to create new interest and new converts to your brand.
A lesser known aspect of an SEO site is a fast loading speed. If your site takes forever to load, chances are, even your most loyal clients won’t want to wait for much longer. Slow page loading means less web traffic and a less optimized platform, making your web design and content creation a waste of money and effort. Using a service like Pagespeed Insights or Pingdom, you can ascertain the loading speed of your site and how to improve it across all channels and devices.
It’s 2020, which means virtually all of your clientele are connected to the internet via a mobile device. Optimizing your website includes making it mobile-friendly, so developing a mobile version of your site is essential to keeping your customers engaged. Nobody encounters a slow website on their phone and thinks “I’ll have to try on my laptop” – they’ll just go to a different site. Optimize your website for all mobile channels, so you’ll always be one click away.
Strong Web Security
All web-building platforms allow you to choose and develop your site security. Don’t skimp out on this – although it might not directly influence your site’s accessibility, protecting your clients’ information (and yours!) now will save you loads of stress in the future.
Social Media Integration
Does your website link to your social media pages? Can your web visitors see your twitter feed on the home page? Social media is essential to any digital campaign, so if you aren’t encouraging your customers to follow you on all channels and see the content you’re putting out, you’re not pushing your brand and messaging to its full potential.
Interactive Web Design
Finishing off this list, an interactive website will always do more than a website with basic features. Every website has the same two features: scrolling and clicking. Make your website stand apart by making these features interactive – include unique designs for all your links, give side-scrolling options, place social media widgets where they’ll fit, and make your site entertaining to visit. Of course, you never want to compromise your branding as you develop your site’s interactivity, but including a few elements of fun into your overall web design could generate loads of conversions.
In an effort to make the internet a better, more interesting place, these are our top resolutions. We hope you’ll consider some of these too! If you have any questions about optimizing your site, or if you’re looking for an expert team to help revamp your web presence, you’re already in the right place – the members of CAST Design have decades of digital experience under their belt. Learn more about our process, or reach out today.