The Anatomy of an Effective Website

Every business needs a website. Regardless of whether you actually do a lot of business online or not, your business needs to be where people can find you, and these days, that happens online more than anywhere else. There are so many reasons why having a website for your business is essential — and you can learn more of them in a previous blog — but merely having a website isn’t enough.

Unless your business is incredibly niche, it’s not the only one of its kind online, and you need to give any visitors to your website a reason to stay and hang around instead of moving on to the next business on the list.

Building a website takes time out of your busy schedule, even when you use a user-friendly DIY website builder, like the one you’ll find with Websites 360®. So, it’s important that you get it right, and with a little knowledge on your side, you can build an effective website from the get-go.

There are all kinds of different websites out there, and what’s effective and what works the best don’t always look the same across the web. However, the most effective websites typically have a few key elements in common.

5 Elements of an Effective Website

#1. Responsive Design

More often than not, when someone is searching for services or products online, they’re not doing it from a laptop or a desktop computer. With the power of the internet in 3.5 billion pockets worldwide, most people these days are searching using their smartphones. And, when they find your website, it’s essential that they enjoy a streamlined experience no matter what device they’re using.

Making sure your website is mobile-friendly is absolutely essential, and although there are many different pieces of the puzzle when it comes to mobile-friendliness, the most important piece is having a site with a responsive design. A site that is responsive will automatically reconfigure itself for whatever device it’s being viewed on, ensuring that your users enjoy all of the functionality and a streamlined experience on everything from their phone to their desktop computer.

#2. Simple, Uncluttered Pages

If you have a lot of information to get across to your visitors, that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s good to have a lot to say; it will help you in your content marketing strategy, which will help your site to rank higher in the organic search results. However, it’s a mistake to try to cram too much into a single page of your site. It will only end up looking cluttered and busy, and that might lead to people pushing the back button when they get there.

Although you want your website to have all of the pertinent information, the general rule of thumb in web design is — the simpler the design, the more effective the website. Websites that are simple and uncluttered provide a better experience for users, convert better, and look better on mobile devices, just to name a few of the many benefits of keeping it simple.

A simple design doesn’t have to be a boring design, and it doesn’t have to mean a minimalist website. Even websites that are large and highly informational are able to maintain a more simple aesthetic with the strategic use of white space.

Check out my previous blog to learn more about using white space in your web design.

#3. Straightforward Navigation

Your website’s homepage is a great introduction to your website, and there are a lot of things you can do to make it more convertible. But, in most cases, your homepage won’t be the final destination for your visitors. Whether they’ve come to your website to shop, learn about what services they have to offer, or to do some research about your business, they need to be able to find what they’re looking for.

There are a lot of ways that you can set up the navigation of your website, but as with the design of your website as a whole, when it comes to navigation, simpler is better. That’s not to say that your navigation has to be overly basic, but it should be easy to use and also easy to find.

The most common website navigation usually consists of your top five pages with dropdowns underneath for applicable pages. For example, if you have an e-commerce store, the higher-level pages in your navigation might be home, shop, about us, contact us, etc., or you might choose to include a few of your most valuable product categories. Either way, this is the kind of straightforward navigation your site needs.

#4. Consistency

There are so many different aspects of website design, from the colors you choose to the images you pick, but regardless of what the design of your website looks like, it needs to be consistent across all pages. This will give your website a more cohesive look and feel, and it will prevent your visitors from wondering if they accidentally exited your site while moving from page to page.

Some of the elements of web design are easy to consistently use, like color, font size, text formatting, etc. But there are some elements that are difficult to find consistency with — images come to mind.

While it’s not a good idea to use the same image across every page of your site (with the exception of your logo, of course), you should try to keep the kinds of images you choose consistent. This means paying attention to lighting styles, subject matters, and sometimes even composition.

#5. A Clear CTA

If you’re like most business owners, the goal of your website is not just to get visitors; it’s to turn those visitors into clients or customers. When someone arrives at your website, your job isn’t done. You want them to convert, which means that you need to make it clear what their next steps are. In order to do this, your site needs a clear call to action (CTA).

Whether the goal of your website is to get people to sign up for a newsletter, to encourage people to shop with you in-store or online, or to get people to call you for a free estimate or quote, you need to make that goal clear with a visible, eye-catching CTA.

With these elements in mind, you can build an effective DIY website. Get started with the Websites 360 website builder today!