Web Design Best Practices in 2020
By: Hemin Mohammed
There is no doubt that advertising is a crucial part of companies and businesses, particularly in Erbil in which economy is booming fast. No matter if it’s a small, mid-size or even an enterprise. They need to have presence online in order to show their customers what they can offer. Digital advertising allows businesses grow faster by engaging with more people at a smaller budget and a shorter time frame than traditional ways of marketing (print and press).
Moreover, website is a great asset of digital marketing since all products, services, activities, deals and offers of your company are communicated in the most presentable and efficient way you’re your customers.
Therefore, the first step that companies in Erbil and worldwide should do is to have a reliable website allowing their customers engage with them. You may not sell your products and services online but you show website visitors what you can offer to them. Here starts the real business with the very basic channel of online presence that a website. As the first thing customers do is they look for your brand online. So if you have a business, and don’t have a website yet. It is time to consider having a website to tell people that you are existing doing this business.
For the reasons above web design industry has changed dramatically over the past decade. In addition, web standards are constantly changing, so revising your UX (User Experience) practices frequently is a key to success. User experience and needs were the main factors behind this enormous change in web design technology. It’s worth mentioning that business owners in Iraq aim to have a website that generate more conversions than just appealing users to stay for a longer time on their websites without performing a single action. These conversions may include: subscribing for a service, purchase of a product, downloading a trial software, upgrading a free service, registrations...etc. It’s simply called Website Conversions Rate-the percentage of users who performed one of the mentioned necessary actions. Therefore, the web developers team at Standing Tech company takes a great care about website conversions. This will help businesses grow their business scale and increase their profit. Standing Tech is a pioneer web developer in Erbil in applying these constant standards in Kurdistan region. Standing Tech’s strategy in 2020 is to have a revolutionary change in web design technology in the region and Iraq as whole, practicing the best and most effective web design standard techniques. If your browse their products’ section on their official website, you will realize that they have practiced up-to-date website standards. Here are some of the techniques Standing Tech depends on in designing websites.
Website header standards
In fact, the header tells much about what the website is offering to its visitors or customers. What brand is represented? What are the services and products offered on the website? How to contact company staff? What are the deals they have for their customers?
Apart from this, the header is a critical part of the home page as it grasps the first impression of users. Also it holds the most important elements that a good website header has. So if want to have an effective header you should consider having below elements:
- Logo and slogan
- Call-to-actions (CATs)
- Navigational menu
- Search bar
However, these elements should not be used to overload the header. There should be a kind of balance between the content (text) and the technical elements. It is also not a good idea to leave the header empty. A user who cannot perform a simple action on your interface in a few seconds will probably leave and never return.
User Experience Design (UX)
UX is what a user of a certain product experiences when using that product. A good website should have a well-designed UX to satisfy users with your products/ services by making improvements in term of usability, accessibility, and providing pleasure in the interaction. In a simpler concept you when design your website, you should have your customers in mind.
Your website design should be simple and easy for your users. It has to allow them to quickly and efficiently interact with it. Complexity of elements and features on your website may distract the visitors and sends them back where they came from.
Your website should include these features to effectively target the user experience:
Useful: Is the content of your website useful and fulfilling your visitor’s needs? Does it make your visitors satisfy when they leave your website? Will they come back again?
Usable: Can your website be navigated on both mobile and desktop devices easily without errors? Today with developed smartphone market, almost 80% of web traffic comes from mobile phones.
Desirable: Are your brand and website elements reflecting you and your business identity in the best way possible? Have you used brand equity accurately so that your customers do not get confused about your brand?
Credible: Are you presenting yourself as the leading brand in the specified industry that people can refer to and trust? Trust in business leads to customer loyalty which will bring more revenues by their continuous actions.
Reduce Choices on Website
Simplicity has become fashionable today. Big companies like apple design their websites and applications in a very simple and stylish way. Choose a simple design for your website because when you offer more choices to your customers, it will be hard for them to make their mind. This could be done by turning your visitor’s focus to your Call-to-actions (CATs) by avoiding to present too many products and services on your webpages.
These CATs may include performing an action on certain pages, filling out a form, signing up for your newsletter, leaving a message, making a phone call, and visiting your physical store.
Minimize Animations on your website
As one of the latest web design trends, many web developers can use micro animations effectively to:
- Encourage visitors to perform Call-to-Actions (CTAs).
- give your website responsiveness.
- Make your website easy to use or understand.
If animations are overused on your website, it will have a complete opposite effect. This will distract and confuse your visitors. So animations have to be used in moderate and accurate way to as per the designer’s strategic plan. On the other hand, small animations can have a good impact on the look and feel of the website.
Utilize Negative Spaces
Negative space or some call it 'white space' describes the areas between different elements on a web page. Negative spaces between your web elements and content gives your website an appealing look.
Mobile responsive and friendly websites are not optional anymore. It has become a must do in website technology. It is worth mentioning that more than half of the web traffic worldwide comes from mobile phones. Usually the first page is very significant for any website as most of the actions should be available there. On the desktop version, developers and designers put a large slider or a big banner with company logo and slogan. Whereas in mobile version these big elements do not necessarily appear as they should be. So these need to be optimized per mobile design standards. Otherwise users will not feel good about your website.
Avoid Using Big Sliders & Carousels
Big sliders and carousels were used dominantly in website design trends for a while, but not anymore. UX experts have noticed that these elements could have a negative impact on your website due to below reasons:
- Web pages will load slowly.
- Affecting negatively on your valuable content
- Appearing poor and malfunctioning on mobile devices.
So if you still have these elements on your website, consider removing them and replace them with static images for your products and services. Then you will see the difference in page time loading and giving more space to your content.
Your branding needs to be coherent across all digital platforms and including your website. If you miss this point, your branding is completely missed altogether.
Branding consistency is helping you acquire new customers and also keep old ones. Always make sure that your branding and your business are in-line with your customers by making your website:
- The same logo is communicated.
- The same slogan is communicated.
- Uses the same color and theme
- Contains the appropriate content.
Write Effective Content
Content is the most important factor customers visiting your website. It should be designed in an organized way to be functional and stylish.
If visitors are satisfied by the content you have presented to them, there will be the chance of converting them to real customers by performing actions as purchasing your products, subscribing to your services and much more. You be specific and concise in creating your content. Particularly nowadays more minimal designs are style and popular with presentable images and brief text content.
When you write content for a specific product or service on your website, it should allow people to identify:
- What the product/ service is
- What the features of the product/ service are
- What are the benefits of this product/ service to you?
- How to perform a Call-to-Action (CAT)?
Optimize for Speed
Make your website as fast as possible. Your pages should always load within 3 seconds as the standard loading time. If your website for whatever reason exceeded this time frame, visitors may leave without hesitance. To have a fast loading website, you need to integrate all these practices and standards mentioned throughout this article. Avoid using complicated flashy GUIs that cause delays to loading your web pages.
Use Landing Pages
Today majority of businesses are advertising on social media platforms and Google Ads. To help grow your business use landing pages specific to your user objectives.
A landing page also called a ‘destination page’ is a single web page that appears when clicking an optimized search result, a marketing promotion or an online advertisement.
standalone page accessible only by your target audience when they click on your ad and should be designed with a single goal (CTA) in mind. (Sign up, phone call, contact form, etc).
It’s been proven that landing pages helped businesses improve their digital marketing campaigns and increase their conversion rates. As landing pages would be the first destinations that users are redirected to, they should have a beautiful and appealing design.
Use Color Contrast
Contrasting color are part of the look and feel for a website. It soon draws the eye to a specific element in your design. This technique can be used to highlight your logo or a certain word or phrases that you want your audience to see first when they browse that certain page.
Update Your Website SEO Constantly
Google and other search engines are constantly updating their algorithms and standards from website ranking perspective.
These updates may happen several times in a year that cause dramatic changes to rankings for millions of websites, your website may be one them.
So maintaining your website’s SEO up to date, you will have the chance to increase your web traffic and eventually enhance rankings. It is worth mentioning that ranking is very important for your website. The higher ranking your website may have, the better it is in terms of competition with your business competitors and also increasing your online visibility. So this concludes that your website ranking has an important impact on your business growth. In other words, growth means making more profit.
Your Website Security is crucial
Your website security needs to be very strong regardless of whether you sell your products and services online or not. This would be for the safety of both your customers and the website itself. If a website has a vulnerable security, it is more exposed to hacking.
Millions of websites are hacked on a yearly basis. This is all due to neglecting the security side.
In order to protect your website from hacking, there are a number of precautionary steps you should follow:
- Always update your themes and plugins.
- Don’t missing security updates
- Use strong passwords
- Make sure you don’t have security holes.
- Avoid possible data leaks
Also these steps can enhance your website security to a greater level:
- Install recommended SSL Certificates to enable an encrypted connection to your website.
- The security plugins installed should be compatible with your website.
- Update your CMS platform and its plugins frequently to latest versions. If you keep them updated, you are safe from intrusions by hackers.
Design a Chat Boat
One of the best ways web developers depend on to collect information from your website visitors is to have a well-designed Chat Boat. Unlike traditional ways information has been collected from visitors through some different elements like newsletter opt-ins and complicated forms.
Nowadays visitors rather want to speak with a representative of your company and get their queries answered immediately. Therefore, the right technique to satisfy customers on your website is to utilize this element. It is reliable and cost effective.
Using Smart Videos
Videos are considered as the most powerful marketing tool. They bring more engagements than the rest of content. They soon tell you the story they carry.
For this reason, in 2020 marketing experts recommend to use smart videos as an effective promotional asset in website development.
Those days gone when website designers used to embed YouTube videos on their websites. A high quality video can do the purpose and convey the marketing message to targeted customers. After all, it is easy to utilize this powerful technique into your website.
Using 3D objects and elements is trendy in web design 2020. Whether you are a web developer or business owner, while designing or renovating your website, consider using 3D elements to easily grasp visitor’s attentions. Moreover, these elements will help bring your website into life. Also they create visual appeals and enhance user experience (UX).
Illustrations have become very popular part of user graphic interface (UGI) in the past couple of years. People are into illustrations more than long paragraphs of text. Sometimes you may use simple illustrations to explain your products and services instead of text. In 2020 most web designers include attractive illustrations in their trendy design.
More about Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
One the most important practices of all time, especially in 2020 is prioritizing a good search engine optimization. The more you invest your efforts and capabilities on SEO, you’re more likely to have a better web ranking and getting more visitors on your website.
To do this you need to use targeted keywords throughout your website. The more effective content you publish on your website for users, the better organic traffic you will get.
To have an effective SEO for your website, follow these steps:
- Responsive/ mobile-friendly design: not only to access your website from mobile and tablet devices, but also to get a better ranking by search engines like Google.
- Header Tags (H1): the header tag (H1) can either be a headline of a certain page or a title of a post. They are used with relevant keywords to show you’re including relevant information on your headline or post title.
- Title tags and meta descriptions: these help search engines understand the content of a web page. Since you’re writing for real people, you should have a kind of balance between SEO performance and style of your website.
- Short descriptions for web URLs: this short readable description will often contain keywords.
- Bring relevant URLs from high-quality websites: if you link your website with those high-ranked one, there will be a good chance to attract new visitors and increase overall traffic to your website.
I have a website. It’s up and running fine. Why should keep it updated?
Lots of website owners often ask this question, “do I ever need to update my website? Is it worth my time, effort and money to update my website even though it’s working fine and running?”
The reasonable answer to this question is YES.
Every year thousands of websites are designed and launched by business owners. Some of these could be your competitors that they affect their customers’ feelings with their newly updated websites. So from competition perspective it is mandatory you should renovate your website at least once every two to three years. Also in terms of security and ranking algorithms, it’s highly recommended to do that. Nowadays customers get excited when they see their service providers are updating their websites and communication channels constantly.