How to Improve Your Website Design to Enhance User Experience?

by Carson
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Website design

If your website bounce rate is too high, you’d better improve your website design to lower the bounce rate. Let’s get started.

1. Choose a Great Domain Name

If you’ve already had a website and don’t want to move your website, skip this step. However, if you’re researching before building your site, read this carefully because you don’t want your domain name to be hard-to-remember.

Firstly, you want it to be easy to type. Please don’t make it too long or too complex as users are more likely to make typos, and the domain name will be harder to remember. Avoid numbers and hyphens since they can confuse users. If they’re necessary, consider buying all variations and redirect them to the main website. (Rowland, 2018)1.

Secondly, try to align your website’s purpose with your domain name. For example, if it’s a learning center, you don’t want it to be “tvrepairservice.org”, right? It’s irrelevant to your website’s service, and people may recognize it as a suspicious site.. In that case, it’s better to choose “learningcenter.org” or similar names, right?

Thirdly, “.com” is excellent. It is the most famous one, and almost everyone using the web knows this extension. If you can’t purchase this domain, aim for “.org” or “.net”. They are familiar ones, too. Of course, uncommon extensions can send visitors to the wrong site, so avoid them at all costs. (Schäferhoff, 2020)2.

Last but not least, check if the domain is trademarked! If it is, you’ll get into legal trouble. It’s better to think of another one if the name is trademarked by another company. (Google Domains, n.d.)3.

2. Set Up HTTPS Immediately!

Once you’ve done setting up your website, it’s time to set up HTTPS. If you’ve set it up, skip this step.

To get HTTPS on your site, you should first obtain an SSL or TLS certificate. This certificate encrypts the communication between the client and the server. Only the client (using the public key) and the server (using the private key) can decrypt the message.

Think of this: HTTP is unsafe (without SSL/TLS). If anyone is eavesdropping, the person can easily get all messages of the client and the server. This is a man-in-a-middle attack. These can contain sensitive information such as passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers, or more. What’s worse, they are stored in plain-text, meaning that the person doesn’t need to decrypt the message before using them. (Cloudflare, n.d.).

However, you might think if your site doesn’t require users to enter their personal information, you don’t need HTTPS. This idea is wrong. If you use certain CMSs, the CMS platform is on your website. If you don’t protect your site from HTTPS, your CMS password can easily be found.

Messages in HTTPS are encrypted
Image Credit: Canva

And here’s the part that’s associated to the design. If your site doesn’t have a valid security certificate, your site will get a “Not Secure” label. This is a huge reason why people leave your website. So, don’t do that if you want more visitors, even if your site is genuinely educational and doesn’t require any logins.

3. Use Your Creativity

At this point, you’ve probably set up tools, your CMS, and HTTPS. It’s time to use your creativity to design (or redesign) the site.

If there are themes to be chosen, consider choosing one. They don’t take much time to build and have excellent designs. However, not every theme is suitable for every website, so you should choose one based on the site’s purpose carefully.

However, if you don’t want to choose a theme, you should have some coding skills or hire a developer. That means you’d need to program the site from scratch, and the design may be no better than the themes available.

Anyway, if your theme allows customization, use it. This can make your design look more appealing. For instance, if the theme has all capital letters by default, switch the feature off if possible. You might also want to add custom CSS or JavaScript to extend your modifications. The modifications can also fix some bugs. However, please back up your site before any manual changes. If they spoil your site, you won’t have to redesign it from scratch.

4. Design Your Homepage

Although you don’t want your homepage to be your main landing page, it’s essential. People will go to your homepage if they encounter your 404 page or browse the latest blog posts. It also appears on search results, and plenty of traffic comes from there.

So, treat your homepage seriously, especially if you have something to promote. If you have a blog or a news website, list the latest articles. Do it reasonably so that it doesn’t look dull, and the visitors can visit the latest blog posts.

If it’s a shop, the homepage should list some featured products. Moreover, if that is the homepage for simply one product or an app, it needs to be even more attractive since they significantly affect whether they use the product/app or not. Let’s elaborate on this scenario.

In that case, you need to use some words to praise your product. These keywords include “best”, “efficient”, “free”, etc. Of course, review similar products/apps so that you don’t lie about your product. Include reviews if possible, too. They can make the site look more trustworthy. Moreover, embed some screenshots for visitors to preview your product before installing/using it.

5. Images Are Important

Whether it’s a blog post or a website design, images are essential. That’s because our brains process images a lot faster than text!

Then, how to choose images? Copyright is a huge factor. You can’t just select a photo and use it on your site. You need to review the copyright terms and get permission if necessary.

Your best course of action is to make your image. You can take a camera and photograph something or use graphic designers such as Canva and Photoshop to create your own images. But they have some pictures in their libraries, right? Do you need to get permission to use them? Fortunately, if you’ve signed up for these services, you have gotten permission to use these images. There’s no point in creating your picture bit by bit, right?

However, if you cannot create your image, you can find some online. But, you should be aware of copyright. Does it have a Creative Commons license? Is it in the public domain? Does the usage of the image fall into fair use? Can you get permission to use it? You should ask these questions (and possibly more) to define if you can use this image or not. If you’re unsure, ask for permission.

Can you use an image? Find out with this flow chart!
Image Credit: Canva

Moreover, you mustn’t put inappropriate or irrelevant pictures on your site. If you do so, it can confuse visitors or even send them away!

6. Review Your Design

After designing your website, you should ask for reviews. You can either look at the site yourself or have your friends and family take a look at it. If they point out some anomalies or items that need improvement, consider modifying your site. For instance, if they see a lot of photos about animals on a website about space, you should remove and replace the images.

If your site’s appearance is fabulous, go to the next steps.

7. Speed It Up!

According to Google, 53% of mobile users leave pages that don’t load within 3 seconds. (Think with Google, n.d.)7. That’s losing a lot of traffic! In July 2018, Google added page speed in their ranking algorithm. Although the change only affects the slowest sites, you certainly don’t want your visitors to be impatient about your website, right? (Google Search Central Blog, 2018)8.

Therefore, speeding up your site is a significant step for you to improve your website design. It also greatly reduces bounce rate. So, here are some tips.

Firstly, compress your pictures! Even though images are crucial to user experience, it doesn’t hurt to compress it a bit. Of course, don’t make it too blurry, or visitors won’t recognize the objects. You can reduce the image resolution, compress the images with formats such as JPG, or both.

how data compression greatly reduces file sizes
Image Credit: Canva

Secondly, you can reduce the page weights. If your pages contain too many bytes, the browser needs more time to download all the 1’s and 0’s. Compressing images and simplifying your website can help. (WP Rocket, 2019)10.

Thirdly, you have to enable browser caching on your site. That way, if people revisit your site, the pages will load much faster since some files do not require HTTP requests at all.

Last but not least, choosing a fast server helps. They can handle more traffic more quickly. Consider choosing this in your hosting plans, even though it can be more costly. Furthermore, placing the server near your target audience is a good practice, too. (WP Rocket, 2019)9.

8. Don’t Forget Programming!

You often need to do some modifications that the interface doesn’t provide, or you want to design the site from scratch. In this case, programming skills become very important.

Let’s say you have to add custom functions to your webpage, but the customization panel didn’t provide it. Then, what should you do? Add some JavaScript! For instance, if you’re making a dynamic image that will change its appearance upon clicking it, you should upload two images, set an “onclick” event to change the image address. Of course, you have to add some animations, or it will look too rough.

custom code
You can add custom code to do modifications that aren’t supported by the interface!
Image Credit: Canva

Moreover, bugs always appear on any program, and you might be able to fix this yourself with the help of some code. Realistically, you likely need to wait for an update or let a professional deal with that. Nevertheless, you might be able to adjust the wrong output if they’re related to the correct one.

9. Give a Clear Navigation

Moreover, you should include a clear navigation on your website. This can attract visitors to other pages and reduce your bounce rate.

Firstly, you want to make sure that the site is indexable. Ideally, pages should be linked by internal links so that search engines know the content better. Moreover, if your pages are inaccessible from any links (orphan pages), search engines may not discover them. If they don’t find the pages, they won’t rank them.

If the navigation links are don’t stay there when scrolling down and they have no styling and effects, the visitors will have a hard time finding other pages when finishing reading a page, and they’ll leave instantly. Therefore, you should create links to important pages and related pages to encourage visitors to stay on your site.

10. Focus on Mobile Usability

Nowadays, mobile optimization of your site is vital to SEO. So, if you want to improve your website design, consider browsing your site on a mobile phone to find problems. If your website isn’t easy to browse on a mobile device, you’re going to lose many visitors. Here are some things to be aware of.

Firstly, you don’t want your fonts to be too small or your lines to be wider than the screen. If so, the visitors need to zoom in and scroll back and forth to read the words, which is very inconvenient. To solve this problem, you should add the <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1"> tag. This lets your browser render the page based on the width of the device’s screen.

If the clickable elements of a page is too close together, the visitor can tap another element instead of the desired one. For instance, you don’t want to have one link on just one letter, and another link on the character immediately followed. That way, the visitor can’t click on the element without clicking the other one, which can leading the visitor to visit the wrong website.

This is an extreme case, but that demonstrates how severe the problem can be. Imagine the wrong link is a phishing site that installs malware on their phones! The consequences will be serious. (Search Console Help, n.d.).

Furthermore, your mobile page speed should be optimized, too. If mobile users realize that a page loads slowly, they’ll leave just like visitors on other devices. If your desktop page only takes 2 seconds to load but your mobile page takes 7 seconds to do so, you’ll want to speed up your site.

11. Remember the Basics

Okay, now your site looks fancy, right? It’s time to go back to the basics. So, here are some things that every website should have.

Set up social media accounts. They are very useful for promoting your site’s content and can lead to more traffic. Moreover, start a blog. A blog can create more content to your site, attracting even more visitors and make your site look fresh.

Also, you should create a privacy policy and a TOS (Terms of Service). That way, visitors will know more about how this site works and how much does it get about the visitors. They are also useful in case some complaints are issued.

Conclusion

So, here are 11 ways to improve your website design. Hopefully, they will increase your site traffic and reduce bounce rate. Do you have any more tips? Let us know in the comments. If you want to learn more, you can browse the pages in the references below.

References and Credits

  1. Andrea Rowland. (2018, November 5). How to choose a domain name – GoDaddy Blog. Retrieved March 27, 2021, from https://www.godaddy.com/garage/10-tips-for-choosing-the-perfect-domain-name/
  2. Nick Schäferhoff. (2020, November 20). How to Choose a Domain Name (10 Tips & Recommendations). Retrieved March 27, 2021, from https://websitesetup.org/choose-domain-name/
  3. (n.d.). How to come up with a good domain name – Google Domains. Retrieved March 27, 2021, from https://domains.google/learn/how-to-come-up-with-a-good-domain-name/
  4. Amanda Zantal-Wiener. (2016, December 1). 5 Reasons Why HTTPS Should Be Enabled on Your Website. Retrieved March 27, 2021, from https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/enable-https-on-your-website
  5. (n.d.). Why Use HTTPS? | Cloudflare. Retrieved March 27, 2021, from https://www.cloudflare.com/learning/ssl/why-use-https/
  6. (2018, November 12). 29 Incredible Stats that Prove the Power of Visual Marketing | Movable Ink Blog. Retrieved March 28, 2021, from https://movableink.com/blog/29-incredible-stats-that-prove-the-power-of-visual-marketing/
  7. (n.d.). Find Out How You Stack Up to New Industry Benchmarks for Mobile Page Speed. Retrieved March 28, 2021, from https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/_qs/documents/57/mobile-page-speed-new-industry-benchmarks.pdf
  8. (2018, January 17). Using page speed in mobile search ranking | Google Search Central Blog. Retrieved March 28, 2021, from https://developers.google.com/search/blog/2018/01/using-page-speed-in-mobile-search
  9. (2019, August). How to Reduce Time to First Byte (TTFB) on WordPress. Retrieved March 28, 2021, from https://wp-rocket.me/blog/how-to-reduce-ttfb-wordpress-site/
  10. (2019, August). 8 Ways to Improve Mobile Page Speed on Wordpress. Retrieved March 28, 2021, from https://wp-rocket.me/blog/how-to-make-your-mobile-site-load-faster/
  11. (n.d.). Page Speed — 2021 Website Best Practices – Moz. Retrieved March 28, 2021, from https://moz.com/learn/seo/page-speed
  12. (n.d.). Mobile Usability report – Search Console Help. Retrieved March 28, 2021, from https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/9063469?hl=en

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