At some point in your life, you’ve probably seen a bad web page. Whether it was hard to navigate, plastered in poorly-placed colors, or drenched in walls of small-font body text, you likely never wanted to visit it again.
If you’re like us, and want your potential customers to visit your site without retching, then read on to learn some tips and tricks of the trade to keep your pages looking and working great. If you’re not like us, and just want to pollute the internet, maybe you could post on an anonymous imageboard!
Good web design relies on a handful of important benchmarks that relate to the user experience. These are your site’s appearance, purpose, and functionality. Fortunately, checking all of those boxes is much easier than you might think.
Follow Some “Golden Rules” of Design
While it’s tempting to try and pack as much information as possible into one page, your visitors will be more appreciative of a layout that they can understand in just one glance. In fact, visitors to your site will form an opinion about it in under 3 seconds. If it takes too long to load, or they can’t identify where they need to go in under that time, they’ll often click away.
Keeping your pages simple can actually be pretty simple! Stick to tried-and-true organizations like grid patterns, with large images delineating different sections of a page. Useful tools and icons like a shopping cart, search bar, or a button to take visitors back to the home page should be placed at the top of the page, where most people look first while scanning. You also shouldn’t be afraid of white space; including buffer zones between different sections and on the margins of your page will help give it a clean, pleasant appearance.
While constructing your page, glance over it once in a while to determine if you think it looks nice to your own eyes. If not, you might need a revamp. Beautifying your pages can be made easier by using licensed stock photography, some of which can be found for free. You can also work wonders for visual appeal by sticking to a palette of colors that match your company’s branding or simply look nice. If you’re not artistically inclined, you can try using a generated color palette, which are also available online at no charge.
In order to avoid the dreaded wall of text mentioned earlier, keep the text on your page to a useful minimum. When reading online, people usually prefer skimming over a page’s content instead of reading everything line by line. Titles, subtitles, and section headers are the first things visitors will see while exploring or looking for something specific, so it’s better to include a small amount of body text beneath these larger captions so that your visitors don’t have to scroll through a large amount of useless information to get to what they need.
In these body text sections, you’ll usually want to include a link (or several) that points people in the right direction, which leads us to our next point…
Make Sure Your Page Has a Purpose
Different Pages Serve Different Needs
A large page that contains everything on your site is useless to your visitors if they don’t know how to navigate it. On larger pages, break up sections with whitespace or headers, and include useful anchor links to take them to specific content on the page without scrolling. Smaller pages on your site should have an immediately identifiable purpose, whether it’s a landing page, online shop, or a contact page. Extraneous pages without a clear reason for existing clog up your site and can lead to confused visitors who might just close the tab and call it a day.
Organizing your pages in a constructive way can be made easier by following a hierarchy for how they’re presented on a landing screen or navigation menu. Group pages with the same purpose (help, for example) under one category, and make sure each page within a category is distinguishable from every other one in the information it provides. If you end up repeating yourself on each page, consider consolidating them.
The Right Content Keeps Visitors Engaged
Keeping your pages identifiable and easy to find is one thing, but once your visitors are on it, they’ll need to be able to find what they were looking for to begin with. Different kinds of content are better suited to each page, so avoid clutter and confusion by only including what’s immediately relevant to an interested visitor on the page they’re viewing. This means leaving your blog posts on your blog page, only including contact forms on landing pages and purpose-built pages for getting in touch, and making sure there’s plenty of links to take people elsewhere if they can’t find what they’re looking for on a given page.
Where your visitors are coming from matters, too. A catch-all home page might work for people who visit your site directly by typing in its address, but visitors directed to your site from an ad, social media post, or other link will appreciate a landing page that orients them on your site. A landing page is a bit different from a home page; while it often has similar elements, a landing page directly addresses what sent a visitor to it. On these pages, mirror the language used in the source of the traffic; if a Facebook post said “You can sign up for free today,” for example, then include a call-to-action button that says “Sign up for free” in a visible place on the page.
Build Responsive Pages
In 2018, 52% of all website visits came from mobile devices, according to Statista. That’s more than half of the internet’s traffic, so a website un-optimized for mobile viewing risks losing nearly half of your potential visitors. Mobile-responsive sites can be hard to build, especially since many page builders don’t make it clear how your site’s elements are arranged on a mobile device.
Kartra’s Page Builder does this for you automatically, and you can even preview what your page looks like on a mobile device while building the page to check for any awkwardly-arranged elements. A fantastic presence on mobile devices means your visitors can access your page wherever they go, which can be a major boost in sales or leads if they’re sent to your page by ads or a social media post they saw on their phones.
Buttons Are Meant to Be Clicked
A good page is chock full of interactive material. While a normal hypertext link works within body text, visible buttons that respond to input like mouse hovers and clicks work wonders for making your site easy to navigate and give it a sense of life not present in static pages. You can include large, readable buttons beneath forms, as a navigation tool, or perhaps most effectively: as calls to action. When visiting your page, users will be more likely to take action if there’s a discernible way to do it. One or two large buttons that send visitors to the pages they want to see, like an online store or a sign-up form than they would be if these elements were buried in body text. Make sure your buttons are appropriate for the page they’re on, however. People on a download page probably want to download something, not send you an email.
Visitors Like Seeing Their Impact
If you’ve ever visited Craigslist before, you know that the columns of blue links that lead you to a treasure trove of stuff for sale turn purple after you click them once. Craigslist is a good example of how a bare-bones site can still be engaging and useful to its users. Following Craigslist’s model and including indicators of completion, like a “thank you” message after submitting a form, gives visitors the sense that they’ve done something. This also helps them avoid going in circles by submitting another request for a form they’ve already completed. In turn, you get happier visitors and a better model for engaging with them, and that’s a win-win.
Web design is fraught with challenges, and it may seem like it takes an expert to build them the right way. We’re here to change that. All of these tips and tricks are built into the framework of the Kartra Page Builder, an intuitive, drag-and-drop interface that makes it hard for you to mess up. Included templates make creating an engaging layout a no-brainer, and they look nice, too. You can customize your pages with your company’s branding and colors without breaking a sweat, and best of all, Kartra analyzes your site’s data to provide you with valuable insights about what’s working and what’s not without you having to lift a finger.
It’s more than simple metrics like page visits, too. Kartra includes visualization tools like heat maps showing you where your visitors scroll, stop, and click on your page, how long they spend on your site, where your visitors are coming from, and areas of your site that could use improvement. All of this information lives in the same platform as your site’s other tools, making it possible to fine-tune your pages, add a product to your store, and see how well your site’s performing without switching tabs or programs. It’s all powered by big data analyzed under the hood; everything you need to know about your site is presented to you without being overwhelming or convoluted, and each piece of data works across the Kartra ecosystem to meet all your site and business needs in a way that works for everyone. It’s nothing short of the future.
The digital ecosystem may be moving fast, but there’s no reason to get left behind. Start your free trial with Kartra today, and never build an ugly page again!