Once upon a time, when the Internet was in its infancy, all you needed was an online placeholder to standout. If your company even bothered to have a web presence, it was presumed you must have something special! These days, technology moves so fast that your “cool, edgy” Flash video looks like it was unearthed from the ashes of Pompeii. If you have the bare bones basic site but are looking for the “next level,” it’d be wise to outfit your page with some of the tested, tried and true web design features oft recommended by industry professionals.
If you have a business and you don’t have a blog, WHAT are you doing? A blog boosts your credibility and gives you a forum for company updates, but also acts as a magnet for search engine traffic. Blogs are, hands down, one of the best ways to maintain repeat traffic, improve sales conversions and grow your business. A good web design firm can set you up with a custom blog with all the bells and whistles or build something more basic in WordPress. Now, before you get around to thinking “Thanks for the tip, Captain Obvious,” consider some of the web design add-ons you can use to enhance your WordPress blog:
For navigation’s sake, try:
- Related Posts (to keep your readers clicking through your site)
- Most Viewed Posts (to solicit more comments and give you a sense of what’s hot)
- Breadcrumbs (to show readers their navigation path for easy back-clicking)
- Category Icons (to help readers find information visually)
For an improved design, try:
- Improving your sidebar
- Creating an attention-grabbing subscription button
- Massive Amount Of Inspiration For RSS Suscribe Icons
- Adding more images to break up the text
For performance, try:
- Keeping images restricted to five per post for faster loading time
- Separating posts of 1,500+ words into several pages
- Using the “Read More” line after the first paragraph
- Upgrading outdated plugins and deleting ones you don’t use
For SEO, try:
- Using an SEO plugin
- Including keywords in your title and headline tags
- Writing longer blogs that are 400+ words
- Giving images Alt-tags to improve your site’s search-ability
Resourceful web designers can use services from TypeKit, Fonts.com Web Fonts and Google Web Fonts to convert fonts with ease.
Intriguing fonts say something about your brand name, while aiding end-user navigation and enticing readers to stick around and continue reading comfortably. Consider the different atmosphere these fonts create:
Before & After
And now consider a few Before & After images to see what a new font can do for you:
Contact Info That Converts
If you want more people transforming from lethargic slugs who are just perusing the site to active customers who want to contact you and possibly buy from you, then you really need to make contacting you a seamless transition.
- IM lets visitors speak with staff immediately if they have any questions or concerns.
- Quote Request Forms let visitors contact you directly through the site with little effort.
- Social networking links are good for people who prefer to communicate via Facebook.
- Phone numbers in the top right corner of every page are becoming an expectation.
Most web users will come to your site and spend some time reading, looking, contemplating and clicking around. Yet, there is a special type of consumer who is more dynamic and likes to get involved and leave a footprint wherever he or she goes. This type of consumer also happens to be the most likely candidate who will become your unofficial brand ambassador and tell friends all about your site. This person will link to you, post comments on your blogs and blow up your forums. For the active web user, you’ll want a few interactive features to enhance your site, such as:
- A Testimonial form to encourage feedback from your fans
- Videos, which allow a space for comments
- Forums and chat rooms, carefully moderated of course
- Buttons to “Share This,” “Print This,” “Bookmark This,” “Email This” or “Tweet This.”
The Bottom Line
Naturally, this is just an overview of some web design features you may choose to enhance your website. The list goes on and on forever and new possibilities are always coming up. Most importantly, just take a step back and ask yourself:
- Is my site easy to navigate?
- Is it optimized for SEO?
- Does it provide valuable content and images?
- Is my brand aesthetic immediately noticeable?