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Critical Web Design Elements That Should Be The Focus Of Your Brand

By Zee Ahmed | March 25, 2019

There is no single definition of a “perfect website.” However, there are certain critical web design elements which, when effectively combined, make up the recipe for the ultimate website. These key elements will help you generate more revenue with your website.

 

Here are four critical web design elements that your brand should focus on:

 

A Specific Color Palette

 

Full spectrum of colors painted on various neatly aligned pieces of paper.

 

All contemporary websites have one thing in common – they all follow unique color schemes.

 

Before you build a website (or revamp it) you have to pick a strong color palette, one you’d want representing your brand.

 

Having a color scheme will give your website a unique identity and make it seem more cohesive. Ideally, your color palette should not have more than 3 types of color. Generally, you need to have:

  1. A dominant color.
  2. A few accent colors.
  3. A background color.

 

It isn’t advisable to pick several colors for your website and turn it into a digital rainbow. In this case, simplicity is the best policy.

 

Take Apple’s website as an example. In terms of the color scheme, there isn’t much diversity, but it accomplishes visual appeal and places emphasis on its main factors.

 

A screenshot of Apple's homepage.

 

However, choosing a color scheme isn’t as simple as picking your favorite colors – it needs to be based on a strategy.

 

Before you begin finalizing a color palette, make sure to refer to your brand guidelines first.

 

Here’s how you can decide on the three types of colors mentioned above:

 

Choosing your dominant color(s)

Your dominant color is your brand’s main color. The purpose of this color is to entice an emotion in the minds of the visitors as soon as they land on your website.

 

The orange-yellow shade of Amazon and the fiery-red theme of Coca Cola are good examples of dominant colors.

 

Try gaining an understanding of the role color psychology plays in business before choosing your dominant color.

 

A palette showing eight different colors and writing which explains the emotional impact of each color on users.

 

Picking accent colors

 

Accent colors provide a level of variety and vividness to your overall branding. They are used to enhance the look and feel of your website.

 

Picking accent colors can be tricky, but here are some general rules of thumb:

  1. They should not overpower your dominant color (or main colors).
  2. They should enhance your overall color palette.
  3. Ideally, they should only be used with your main/dominant color(s)

 

The Adobe Color CC tool is a fantastic color matching tool that can help you pick the best accent colors for your website.

 

Choosing background color

 

Finally, it is crucial to choose the right type of background color for your website.

 

The background color should complement your overall design and not overpower your dominant or accent colors.

 

Additionally, it should never distract or hurt the overall the user-experience. Your ultimate aim should be to make your content as visible and easy to analyze as possible.

 

To choose your background color, simply think about your brand. Or better yet, think about how you would want your visitors to feel on your website.

 

For example: A website selling essential oils would want its visitors to feel relaxed. Therefore, a soothing background color would be the preferred choice – something that isn’t very vivid or flashy, and also does not interfere with the performance of the other shades.

 

The importance of choosing a specific color palette: Overall design, branding, and conversions

 

As implied above, following a specific color scheme can help you solidify your branding.

 

It can also make or break the overall design of your website.

 

You could have the most user-friendly web design in the world (wide web), but without the right kind of color scheme, your efforts could go to waste.

 

Apart from that, according to a study by Maxymiser, one website experienced an 11% increase in clicks in its checkout section simply by experimenting with different color combinations.

 

This goes to show that the right selection of colors can directly affect your conversion rate.

 

Properly Structured Content & Whitespace

 

Old school black typewriter with paper in reel.

 

All rise for the one true king of the digital realm – CONTENT!

 

Your copy (website content) is the soul of your website. Without content, your website has no real value, rendering your awesome design useless.

 

Think of it as an incomplete painting – a beautiful setting, but no characters, objects, or story.

 

Most importantly, your content needs to be properly structured, optimized for search engines, and provide relevant value.

 

This is crucial for a number of reasons, including attracting organic traffic, and increasing your overall domain authority.

 

Now, before we proceed any further, let’s take a brief trip down memory lane:

 

Some years ago, for the sake of impressing search engine algorithms and climbing up the ladder of SERPs, web copywriters started to get carried away.

 

We wound up in an era where a landing page targeting the focus keyword “buy piñatas online,” for example, would look something like this:
“Buy piñatas online from the best online piñatas store. In the digital world, everyone wants to buy piñatas online, because buying piñatas online is trending. So, what are you waiting for? Buy piñatas online today from our website!”

 

This was followed by meaty paragraphs, each being several hundred words long. There wasn’t any proper structure and very little whitespace. This affected the design of the landing pages and made the content difficult to scan. Ultimately, there was no real value.

 

This, though a made-up example, shows what most web copy used to look like back when the content was written ONLY FOR SEARCH ENGINES.

 

Webmasters hoped to climb up the SERPs by stuffing their content with keywords, not following a proper structure, and not caring about whether it was easy to read or not.

 

In today’s day and age, though, things have changed – a lot.

 

Today, search engine algorithms care more about the user-experience. A webpage with content that seems naturally written, has a clean structure, and follows other essential SEO guidelines, is likely to perform well in the SERPs.

 

Quick tips on structuring and optimizing your web content

 

Blueprints and schematics laid out.

 

Here are some tips on structuring your content and optimizing it for search engines AND visitors:

  1. Enlarge the main heading at the top of your web page.
  2. Break down your content with different levels of subheadings (H2, H3, and so on).
  3. Try to give your visitors the information that they seek as soon as possible. Highlight the part of your copy you want your visitors to notice. This can be done either by creating a separate section and/or enlarging the font.
  4. Include an appropriate amount of whitespace. This makes it even easier to analyze your content and makes your webpage more welcoming.
  5. Break down long paragraphs into shorter ones. Use bullet points to convey your messages wherever possible (like these tips you’re reading).
  6. Write your content in a natural way. Read it aloud. If it seems awkward, unnatural, or like it was written by a robot – change it.
  7. Use goal-driven CTAs with clear intentions.
  8. Keep your copy engaging.

 

BONUS – Structuring your blog posts

 

A good way to work on your PR and increase your authority via content is to start a blog.

 

Here are some bonus tips on creating the perfect blog post:

  1. Write a compelling headline/title.
  2. Do not include more than 300 words in-between sub-headings.
  3. Include images, infographics, and videos throughout your blog posts to make them more interesting and fun to read.
  4. To put emphasis on a specific piece of information/sentence, format it…kind of like this!
  5. In the end, conclude everything. Do not abruptly end your blog posts.

 

Essentially, it’s all about reducing the time it takes for your visitors to receive your message.

 

This applies to all of your web pages, ranging from your home page to a simple contact us page.

 

The importance of having properly structured content – On-page SEO, more traffic, better PR, and higher conversions

 

Content is a fundamental aspect of on-page SEO.

 

Without properly optimized, structured, informative, and relevant content, your pages will have a hard time rising in SERP rankings. This will ultimately result in lower organic traffic coming your way.

 

Having cluttered, difficult to read, and irrelevant content can increase your bounce-rate and harm your overall performance.

 

Additionally, with poorly written blog posts, you can hurt the credibility of your brand.

 

All of this would lead to one thing: Lower conversions.

 

To summarize: Keep your content concise, to-the-point, and easy to read.

 

CRO – Content Structuring, CTA, and Conversion Page

 

Tiny shopping cart with tiny shopping bags.

 

Your website should be converting your prospects into customers. There are many ways to reach these end goals.

 

But you can’t just blindly place CTA buttons across your web page and hope for your visitors to convert.

 

Instead, you have to earn those conversions by harnessing the power of conversion rate optimization (CRO).

 

Though obviously varying from business model to business model, almost every conversion funnel consists of the following three main elements of conversion optimization:

  1. Content (that guides users through the funnel)
  2. Call to action
  3. Conversion page/form/section

 

A conversion funnel consists of the following steps (called the AIDA principle):

 

A series of colorful blocks, together forming an arrow.

 

AWARENESS – You have to create awareness and let the world know that you exist. SEO, SMM, and PPC can help with that.

 

INTEREST – Spark interest in the minds of your visitors. This is where your creativity comes into play.

 

DESIRE – At this stage, you have to harness the power of compelling information and visuals to make prospects genuinely desire what you have to offer.

 

ACTION – This is where your prospects take a desired action (this could be anything, from shopping to subscribing to your monthly newsletter).

 

RE-ENGAGE (BONUS STEP) – Efforts don’t stop once you convert your prospects. Figure out ways to keep those individuals engaged and get them back into the funnel.

 

Let’s discuss how the three main elements play their roles in the conversion funnel, and what you can do to reap maximum benefits.

 

Content

 

In the previous section, we discussed the role content plays in completing a website.

 

Now, let’s discuss how it can make or break your conversion funnel!

 

The amazing thing about content is that it’s present throughout your conversion funnel. From creating brand awareness to reengaging customers – everything requires content.

 

As implied before, you should plan, structure, and place your content assets in a way that they easily guide your visitors smoothly through your funnel.

 

Here’s a generic outline that you should keep in mind while writing your landing page copy:

 

Start with an introductory text (this could be a compelling headline, together with a short paragraph, that builds awareness and/or sparks interest).

 

Discuss details about what you are offering (the aim is to intensify the interest and move prospects to the desire phase).

 

Provide viable social proof (at this stage, your aim is to build on their desire by sharing your success stories.

 

At the end, everything should lead to a CTA.

 

Optional – Try creating gated content, such as a comprehensive guide that could be downloaded in exchange for the visitors contact information. However, use this tactic sparingly and most importantly, strategically.

 

IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER:

 

Depending on how you decide to structure your landing page, you don’t necessarily have to follow the outline mentioned above.
It only shows one way to guide a user through the conversion journey, ideally for those who decide to go for a below the fold approach (more on that in the next section).

 

For example, instead of placing a single CTA at the end, you may choose to include it right in the beginning or place multiple CTAs across your page (we’ll discuss CTA placement in the next section).

 

QUICK TIPS:

  1. Don’t just rely on plain text – Try to incorporate visual content, as well.
  2. Keep the overall page clean – Do not overwhelm the user with large chunks of content.
  3. Remember to follow a concise format to make the page coherent – Use unique formatting only on the conversion section to make it prominent (we’ll discuss conversion page/form/section formatting later)

 

CTAs

 

A call to action is a strategically placed variable that encourages the visitor to complete a specific goal – one that is usually categorized as a conversion.

 

Again, this could be anything, like encouraging them to sign up for your newsletter, share something on social media, purchase something – it is the goal or purpose behind your efforts.

 

In a marketing funnel, properly placed CTAs are usually the links that connect all the different stages.

 

CTAs can either be in the form of plain text or a button/image.

 

As far as call to action buttons are concerned, there are three things to focus on:

  1. Design
  2. Copy
  3. Placement

 

For now, we are just going to discuss the importance of proper placement.

 

ABOVE OR BELOW “THE FOLD”?

 

So, where should you place your call to action buttons?

 

For a very long time, experts had been engaged in a heated debate on whether the best spot to place a CTA button was “above the fold” or “below the fold”.

 

The majority had been under the impression that placing CTAs above the fold was the only way to get better positive results.

 

Thankfully, A/B testing came along to bust this myth.

 

MECLABS conducted an experiment to find out the answer. In their test, they made the following two versions of the same page:

  1. A shorter page with content of low value, a complex navigation bar, and a CTA above the fold
  2. A longer page with detailed and valuable content, simpler design, and a CTA below the fold

 

The results showed that the second version of the page (the one with the CTA placed below the fold) experienced 220% higher conversions than the first version.

 

WHAT THIS MEANS

 

From this experiment, we can conclude that in order to make your visitors act, you need to build up their motivation.

 

This is the best example of the AIDA principle in action.

 

Hence, as a rule of thumb, it’s best to place your CTA buttons after providing a considerable amount of information and psyching up your visitors.

 

However, you may also place your CTA button right in the beginning if you are providing mini-information.

 

Again, it all depends entirely on how you want your landing page to look.

 

SOME MORE TIPS ON CTA PLACEMENTS

  1. If your page is very long, place multiple CTA buttons. But don’t overdo it.
  2. For below-the-fold placements of CTA buttons, it’s best to use directional cues.
  3. Make your CTA buttons prominent. Don’t let them blend in with the background.
  4. Conduct A/B testing to identify the sweet spots for your CTAs.

 

Conversion page/form/section

 

The point where people actually take action, be it just a section, a form, or a separate page, you need to make them standout.

 

It’s true that you don’t necessarily need to “create” a separate section for EVERY CTA button, but it could prove helpful if effectively utilized.

 

For example, someone skimming through the page very quickly could definitely stop to look at said CTA section, even if it’s for a second.

 

For forms, a separate section is mandatory, and you should choose a color that contrasts your background.

 

The form on the Xoobo website is a great example:

 

Web page with a black banner area and blue form.

 

In case you run an ecommerce website selling products, you’re going to need a checkout page (or multiple pages). Here are some elements should consider including:

  1. Prominent CTAs
  2. Option to make changes in the cart
  3. High quality images of the product you are selling
  4. An easy to understand progress bar
  5. Option to contact customer support
  6. A separate section suggesting related products
  7. Option to go back to shopping once the purchase has been made

 

The importance of these three elements – More Awareness, Leads, and Sales.

 

Marketers often get so carried away with their search engine optimization efforts that they forget to focus on actual CRO (conversion rate optimization).

 

SEO can help you create awareness and direct organic traffic. CRO can help you actually convert that traffic.

 

By following the best practices and keeping the information shared above in mind, you can start to direct a large portion of your traffic to completing desired actions.

 

Analytics

 

Professional sitting at desk facing two monitors.

 

Data-driven marketers use the power of analytics to improve their websites and send their numbers through the roof.

 

However, great marketers don’t limit the insights of web analytics to content and other SEO efforts.

 

Instead, they go one step further and use that data to improve the designs of their websites.

 

Setting up Google Analytics and using it to identify problems in your web design

 

There are many web analytics tools out there.

 

But the one that really stands out and offers more data than you could possibly handle is Google Analytics.

 

To learn how to properly set up your Google Analytics instance, check out our blog post about it here.

 

With Google Analytics all set up, you can use it to identify these three common design-related issues:

  1. Compatibility issues.
  2. Issues hidden in session duration.
  3. Site speed problems.

 

Let’s discuss these problems and how to notice them with Google Analytics.

 

Compatibility

 

The single biggest mistake any web designer or marketer could make, would be to create a website keeping just one browser and/or device in mind.

 

You have to realize that people use different means to surf the web.

 

Some people prefer to jump directly to Google Chrome, whereas the old school lot prefers Microsoft Edge.

 

On the other hand, more than 50% of website traffic is generated via mobile devices.

 

Considering this, web designers and marketers need to ensure that their websites are compatible with different platforms. Neglecting this could make them lose a ton of potential website traffic and increase their bounce rate.

 

Checking for compatibility…

 

To check for compatibility issues with different browsers, you can view the Technology and Mobile Reports.

 

To view this data, click on Audience ? Technology and Audience ? Mobile.

 

On this report, you can see your entire website traffic divided according to the browsers used.

 

You can check different metrics for each browser to identify problems. For example, if the bounce rate for a specific browser is high, it means something is wrong.

 

Open your website with that specific browser and see for yourself what might be causing issues.

 

Similarly, you can view reports for the different devices used to access your website.

 

Issues Hidden in Session Duration

 

By looking at session duration, you can see how much time users spend on your web pages.

 

With the help of this metric, you can easily identify which pages perform better than others.

 

However, you will have to set things up for the active time spent using your tag manager, as users often open multiple tabs at once while searching, and look at them several minutes later.

 

A duration report can help you identify different issues. Here are some examples:

 

  1. Let’s consider a sales page. Longer-than-usual session durations on a sales page either mean that the users are unable to easily locate your CTAs or are unable to understand your content. Or it could mean both. With this insight, you can further optimize your design and/or content to reduce the durations of sessions.
  2. Let’s consider a comprehensive blog post or a guide. In this case, your aim would be to increase your session durations to promote engagement. See which users spent lesser time on that page. Check which browsers and devices they were using. Try to find a pattern and work on those flaws.

 

Consider your goals for every page and use session durations to further improve upon them.

 

Site Speed

 

Did you know that a loading delay of just 100 milliseconds could drop conversion rate by a tear-inducing 7%?

 

Knowing this, you simply CANNOT compromise on your site’s speed.

 

As a marketer, web developer, or designer, you should strive to reduce loading time and make your website lightning fast.

 

There are tons of tools with which you could optimize your site for speed. But with the help of Google Analytics, you could pin-point the exact culprits causing your website to lag.

 

To get insight on what could be causing your website to load slowly, simply go to the Page Timings report. This report will provide you with the average time each page takes to load (you can get this information on the basis of the browsers and devices).

 

Simply check which pages take longer to load and then perform audits.

 

See what elements could be causing the delays. Here are some possible culprits (and what to do about them):

  1. Images of very high resolution (compress their sizes using an image editing software such as Adobe Photoshop)
  2. Too much visual content (consider reducing them)
  3. Heavy CSS, Javascript, and HTML files (compress them)
  4. Extra codes that are not in use (see which codes are not being utilized and remove them)

 

The importance of analytics – Improve overall design of your website

 

The devil’s in the detail.

 

Anyone can set up Google Analytics on their website. But not everyone can use the insight provided by GA to their full advantage.

 

By looking at the little details discussed above, you can identify the technical flaws in your overall web design.

 

Top Web Designing Trends to Watch Out For

 

Apart from the critical elements discussed above (color palette, content, CRO, and analytics), knowing where the world of web designing is headed can help you a lot.

 

Here are some of the hottest web designing trends to watch out for, especially for the remainder of 2019:

  1. Increased use of chatbots.
  2. Rise of minimalistic designs.
  3. Better accessibility for the disabled.
  4. More focus on speed optimization.
  5. Scroll animations.

 

What It All Means

 

Working on the aforementioned critical web design elements can help you generate leads, boost sales, and ultimately grow your business.

 

So, take some time and improve the overall design of your website. Don’t be afraid to experiment with key elements or embrace the latest trends.

 

If you are looking to revamp your brand, upgrade your website, and start converting visitors into customers, then please don’t hesitate to view our service offerings.

 

 

What are some other critical web design elements that you can think of? Let us know in the comments section below!

Zee Ahmed

Zee Ahmed

Zee is Chief Executive Officer at Xoobo, a digital marketing agency that is on the bleeding edge of the industry.Ratcheting up what it means to be a marketing agency in today’s age, Xoobo’s goal is to bring clarity to the digital marketing space, empower businesses with the expertise and world-class services they need to grow, and foster long-lasting relationships with its client partners.

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