5 Effective Web Design Tips for Ensuring a Great First Impression

web-design-chicagoWhen it comes to web design, you often only get one chance to keep visitors from clicking the back button on their web browser. Web design is a lot like going to an interview: you get just a few seconds to make your first impression on site visitors. Depending on that impression, you could convert a lot of paying customers or lose visitors forever.

Here are five simple rules for designing a website if you want to make your first impression a good one.

Rule #1. Make your value proposition clear.

Visitors to your site need to know within a few seconds what you do and how you can help them solve their needs. Your value proposition should be short and concise (a couple of sentences) and in a prominent position on your home page.

Rule #2. Use clear navigation.

It’s absolutely critical to make it easy for site visitors to find what they are looking for. Your menu structure should be intuitive and placed along the top or on the left hand side of the page. If you have an eCommerce site, be sure to group your products logically and offer features such as filtering within categories and a robust search to further assist your customers in finding what they are looking to purchase.

Rule #3. Develop intuitive information architecture.

Often times, important information is buried or hard to find. Developing a persona-based architecture will help in moving your visitors to where they want to go effortlessly. During their journey, the customer should always have a clear indication of where they are, how they can get back, and how they can get to other relevant sections.

Rule #4. Pay close attention to loading time.

Website visitors today expect quick load and response times. A good website design should load in a few seconds otherwise you risk having people bounce elsewhere without ever giving you a chance. There are many techniques and best practices to aid in this effort such as enabling compression, optimizing images, and enabling browser caching, just to name a few.

Rule #5. Make the information on your site easy to read.

Website users mostly scan information on pages until they ultimately find the article or product they want to learn more about. Therefore, the information on your site should be displayed in a way that is quick and easy to distill. Your page layout should make effective use of white space, utilize large enough font sizes and common font styles, have clear delineation between different sections, and offer clear calls to action.

Bonus Rule. Make sure the information on your website is up to date and relevant to what you are offering. Current info keeps visitors coming back to your site and builds credibility.

When designing your website look at it from the customers' or visitors' standpoint. Would you want to visit this website? Would you want to purchase a product from this website? If you answer "no" then you have some work to do.