Because people’s movements outside the home were restricted during the pandemic months before full vaccination was available, people developed the habit of relying on the Internet for almost everything. Experts believe that this habit will persist even when fully vaccinated people regain more freedom to move around outside the home. According to the Pew Research Center, 93 percent of American adults are active internet users in 2021. There is even a current saying that if something is not on the internet, it does not exist.
Every business, therefore, needs to have a website and a digital marketing program these days. When people need anything, they first search online for information. They compare the offerings of various businesses online before deciding on what service or product to purchase. If a business does not have an online presence, it loses the opportunity for a sale.
Ranking High on Search
It is not enough to merely have a website. For it to be visible to the company’s target market, it must rank high in searches. Google checks on each website’s core web vitals and includes these in the measurements for ranking. This means that a website’s pages must load fast, with the largest contentful paint (LCP) occurring in 2.5 seconds or less. It must be interactive and responsive, with the first input delay (FID) at 100 milliseconds or faster. It must be visually stable, with a cumulative layout shift (CLS) of not more than 0.1.
The website must be supported by search engine optimization (SEO) services and a content management system or CMS implementation services. Having relevant and high-quality content linked to the website further boosts its ranking on search.
The Importance of Web Design
Ranking high on search is not the end of it. Even if users get to a company website, they will leave after a few seconds if they do not find it attractive and engaging. Great web design tailored to the needs and expectations of users is essential.
First, a website must be optimized not only for personal computers (PC) or laptops but also for tablets and, most especially, smartphones. According to data, among all active internet users in the U.S., more than 90 percent or 269.5 million people access it through their mobile phones in 2021.
Since the screens of smartphones are small, fonts must be easy to read. Bold font sizes must call attention to the most important information in short and easily digestible chunks. Be sure to clearly highlight your call to action.
Do not make web pages text-heavy. Be concise and use photos and illustrations to break up the text. Users are drawn to graphics and infographics work well. Videos are popular and are also effective in showing how products are used or how they work. Another attractive element is animation.
Avoid a cluttered page with too many elements, though. Incorporate enough plain background space to enable the user’s eye to rest. This also enables the user to focus on the main purpose of the page.
The use of colors will depend on the company’s branding. Some are best represented by bold colors. Others will be more aligned with muted colors, earth tones, and various shades of nature. Whatever colors are used, the effect on the user must be optimistic and joyful rather than jarring or boring.
Make navigation within the website easy and intuitive by providing a clear menu that enables the user to either go to a broad category or a specific page. A dropdown menu can provide both types of links. Every page must have a prominent link that directly leads to a purchase check-out page. Users also want to see a contact information page and a page that describes the company.
Use artificial intelligence (AI) to customize the website experience of each visitor. AI can gather information about a visitor from his or her engagement with the company’s various social media accounts and any previous visits to the website. Using this, AI can show each visitor a different experience highlighting his or her preferences.
Interactive sections make the website even more useful for visitors. For instance, a bank can provide a calculator where the visitor inputs certain information and gets an estimated loan amount, interest rate, and monthly amortization. Companies in the beauty industry now enable visitors to upload a selfie and try various shades of lipstick, eyeshadow, blush, and hair color. Furniture companies enable visitors to upload a photo of a room and then see how a piece of furniture will look in it.
Highlight Company Values
The company website design must represent the company’s values. Currently, people expect companies to support sustainability, social consciousness, diversity, inclusion, and human imperfection. If a company highlights these on its website, it will only work if the company authentically and concretely upholds such concepts. Otherwise, mere lip service will surely backfire.