Website design — it’s not that easy.
Every so often, you come across a platform that promises to help you build a professional-looking website within minutes.
Well, if you think web design is all about getting a theme-dependent site up and running, then you’ll be pleased to know that these platforms really deliver. But if you have more elaborate plans for your website, like selling products or generating subscribers, then you’re in for a challenge.
Don’t worry. While effective website development can indeed be tedious, it’s not exactly back-breaking, either — especially if you have a guide that will show you some of the strategies in the business.
And that, my friend, is why this post exists.
Without further ado, here are the top five strategies that will help you create an engaging website:
1. Be Goal-Oriented
When designing web pages, it’s important to have a well-defined goal to help you decide which elements are and aren’t needed.
For example, if you want your audience to click on a CTA button, then it must be the centerpiece of your design. The headline, background image, even the page title — everything else must lead the audience to it and not elsewhere.
An ongoing trend in goal-oriented design is the use of as few elements as possible to maximize the visibility of elements that matter. Here is an example from Tumblr:
2. Use Carousels Wisely
The reputation of carousels in the web design community may not be flawless, but they can be powerful engagement tools when utilized properly.
A lot of websites use carousels to present multiple value propositions on a single page.
For example, an HVAC repairs company may have two different propositions for their residential and commercial customers. With a carousel, they no longer have to build two separate pages for each type of lead.
Carousels also allow creative professionals to showcase their portfolio without requiring users to navigate to a separate gallery page. The same can be said for e-commerce websites that need to highlight two or more products on one category page.
(Image Source: ASOS)
Just remember that carousels can easily turn from visual assets into liabilities when implemented the wrong way.
One particular mistake you should avoid is to enable auto-forwarding, especially if the slides move at a quick pace. This can make it hard for your audience to focus and fully digest your value propositions.
If you think auto-forwarding is essential in delivering your value propositions, the least you can do is to include easy-to-use carousel controls, preferably with a pause button.
3. Use Microinteractions
Despite concocting what seemingly is the perfect blend of colors, images, and fonts, your website may still end up somewhat visually lacking. That’s when you should start paying attention to the tiny details that can make your next build feel more “alive.”
Microinteractions, for example, can spice up the experience with simple animations that trigger whenever users interact with certain elements in your website. It can be a loading icon, animated buttons, or a background that changes color as users scroll.
Below is another example of a microinteraction from SKUAWK — a curated photos website that utilizes a 3D parallax effect on their homepage. It creates the illusion of viewing an actual physical object that moves with the mouse pointer.
4. Narrow Down Their Options
At this point, you’ve probably seen a number of websites that utilize timed pop-ups to stimulate conversions. This is, of course, a great way to make their value proposition front and center to the audience.
However, many designers who use pop-ups unknowingly give the audience three choices, which are to accept, reject, or ignore their proposition.
To put things in perspective, let’s say your goal is to encourage users to subscribe to your newsletter. As such, your pop-up only consisted of a headline, an opt-in form, and a “sign up” button.
In the eyes of users, this approach implies that they have a choice between signing up to your newsletter, rejecting your offer, and simply ignoring your pop-up — three choices that collectively have a drastic impact on your bottom line.
To make your audience more likely to convert, you can narrow down their choices to only either accept or reject your value proposition. And the best way to do this is to tell them exactly what they’re missing.
For example, in Neil Patel’s blog, his pop-up mentions two very specific options:
5. Speed Up Your Website
As a web designer, being extra creative with your work is always a good thing, but only as long as you don’t compromise the website’s loading speed.
Not only can a slow website single-handedly ruin the user experience, it may also cost you around half of your potential leads.
A recent study by Google revealed that around 53% of users will abandon a mobile website that takes over 3 seconds to load. This is lowered to only 40% for desktop users, but that’s still a huge loss nonetheless.
To optimize your website’s loading speed, the best place to start is with Google PageSpeed Insights — a free tool that automatically detects performance-related issues as well as lay out the necessary fixes.
If you incorporate a lot of visual content and custom codes into your website, it’s also a good idea to use a CDN to optimize your site’s performance.
A CDN works via a network of geographically-distributed proxy servers that store and distribute cached website file. Whenever a user attempts to access the site, the nearest network or “Point of Presence” is utilized to ensure minimum latency.
Bonus: Finish with Stellar Content
You may have heard that, in online marketing, content is king.
Let’s face it, your target audience didn’t come to your website for the design or fancy special effects. They arrived because they’re expecting to see relevant and valuable content.
If you’re working on your own website, make sure you meet up with your content writing workhorse — be it an in-house team or a lineup of freelancers — and straighten out your content goals. Identify the pain points of your target audience and be sure to address them through actionable and compelling content.
To help you create a solid content strategy for your website, here are some of the best content research tools you can use:
There are two types of web developers: those who just want to see their brand on the web, and those who’re in it to compete.
If you consider yourself as part of the latter, you can’t settle for anything less than the best strategies. And with the tips above, this shouldn’t be a problem for you anymore. Cheers!