If there is one misstep your business can make that customers will catch on to right away, it’s having a website that isn’t keeping up with modern design and functionality standards. We’ve all been there; you open up your browser to check out a link sent to you by a friend, and suddenly you find yourself looking at a blocky site with hard-to-read hyperlinks and out-of-place animations or images. Even internet users who don’t keep up with the technical aspects of web design and development best practices can identify an outdated site right away, and such sites do not inspire trust or motivation.
Keeping up with the times online is important, and evolving your website over time should be seen as one of the most important investments your company will make. After all, the amount of consumers buying products online, through both PC and mobile, is rapidly increasing each year. Statistically, your site is only going to see more and more visitors as time goes on.
With that fact in mind, here are a few simple changes you can build into your website to bring its style into 2018.
Step One: Minimalistic and Smooth
Maintaining a minimalistic, low-clutter style for your website is important in more than one way. First off, websites are no longer constructed as the raw collection of direct links they once were. Good websites have internal maps that are consistent, and they connect to relevant sources beyond the site sparingly, not overloading users with too many options for navigation.
Minimalism has become popular as a design choice for multiple reasons, though. Not only does it make navigation easy, but it also looks nice and performs better on systems with lower performance specs, like mobile phones and tablets. A crisp, clean design with carefully chosen design elements is going to result in a website that is simple to access, comfortable to use, and more efficient in the long run.
Step Two: Incorporate Video Reasonably
The rise of online video has been nothing short of incredible. Digital video hosted online on sites like Vimeo, YouTube, and Twitter has opened entirely unprecedented styles of communication, facilitating incredible works of collaboration, exploration, and innovation between web users.
The downsides of video online, however, largely are the result of design choices. Auto-playing videos are possibly the best example of this; auto-playing videos on a homepage are not only going to slow down and clutter the experience of your site for visitors, but they’re also largely perceived as intrusive. Additionally, though, are poorly embedded videos, which squish or distort the visual design of your page.
If a balance is struck between video accessibility and preservation of your website’s core design, you’ll be able to open doors for the enjoyment and sharing of video content. Video content is some of the most valuable of all types of content online, with users across the board generally preferring to laugh, learn, and communicate with influencers via video.
Step Three: Sleek and Simple Sliders
One design trend that has risen above the crowd in recent years is the “slider.” A slider is functionally a streamlined slideshow that can play across a web page, using a single space to display multiple pieces of interesting content to visitors.
The key to sliders lies in how seamlessly they can be utilized across personal devices, being as easy to view on a PC as they are on a smart phone. Additionally, sliders allow for efficient use of space. Instead of adding clutter to your homepage in order to advertise new products or showcase company information, sliders allow dynamically adjusted content to be contained to a single, devoted section of your page. Sliders are a matter of simple efficiency.
Sliders are simple to use, look smooth and clean, and are considered a mainstay of current professional website design. No matter what other changes you make to your website, a slider can almost always fit into the design with ease, and there’s little to no risk of overburdening your customers’ browsers.
Step Four: Endorsements
The sheer number of websites on the internet now can prove to be overwhelming and confusing to even the most knowledgeable internet users among us. Endorsements and certifications from major industry figures, therefore, is more important than ever. Something as simple as the PayPal “verified” icon at the bottom of an eCommerce page, for example, can display to visitors that your site is a cut above the rest.
Nothing is more worrying for many users than placing an order or subscribing to a mailing list on a site that doesn’t have any partnerships or verifications from major payment gateways and processors. Verified statuses with VISA, MasterCard, PayPal, and/or Amex are all relatively simple to earn, and they can have powerful effects on the sense of security that visitors feel while browsing your site. These benefits even extend to sites whose main purpose isn’t eCommerce.
While most important for smaller businesses whose brands may not yet be widely recognized, endorsements and verification badges from long-standing, world recognized brands are always a benefit, bestowing a rightful sense of comfort to the visitors who make their way to your new, streamlined site.
Building a website that is efficient, effective, and modern doesn’t have to involve a complete overhaul of your web presence. What’s most important, at the end of the day, is how well you understand your brand and how well you communicate that brand through the visual and functional design of your site. A brand with a rough website will appear to be a rough brand, which, understandably, might ultimately hurt sales numbers.
Your website, especially in the Digital Age, is the face of your brand. Any businessperson knows just how important first impressions are, and that you only get one. Investing in such a vital part of your brand is remarkably important and should never be overlooked. Even if you should require external guidance or even the help of a full development team, the long-term value will pay for itself and more.