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6 Essential Design Elements of Exceptional Websites 5 February 2015 | Angela Beard

This year is likely to witness many new trends regarding website design. Some will be awesome and others, as in past years, will tank. Because your organization or business isn’t likely to have money to waste on ineffectual website designs, consider how the following design elements can enhance your website this year and in the years to come.

1- Don’t Worship at the Altar of Style
It’s amazing how even the businesses with the most money to throw at website design get it completely wrong. You visit their website, see the million-dollar photos, but you can’t find the cart, the about us section, the contact information. The functionality of the website is completely sacrificed for the element of style. Don’t these businesses understand that even in the ritziest stores, the checkout counter is always highlighted? Just remember that you can create an easy-to-use website that still conveys your organization’s singular sense of style.

2- Beware of Trends
In 2015, web designers are going to be urging businesses and organizations to create those long, scrolling home pages. You’re likely seeing a slew of them already. This is a trend that is not a must by any means, especially since 2017 is probably going to hail the return of the minimal home page, the short and savvy platform that many businesses still love. The point is, your business needs to develop a site that surpasses mere trends. Create a site that suits your brand and conveys the essential information that people expect to find on a home page. Remember those expensive into pages that did nothing but invite visitors to click and enter the site? Many of those have hit the digital dumpster where most of them probably belong.

3- Simplicity
A simple homepage and website is a great trend to keep in mind no matter what type of organization you have. When content is organized with a simple design–low and behold–visitors to your site can find it. Businesses, non profits, and even churches are moving to simpler websites that distill their content to essential items. Responsive Church Websites, for example, will convey essential information about elements like denomination, congregation, and leadership without writing a novel–that few site visitors are likely to read. Your organization can still provide access to more in-depth material, but with a simple tab or link. There’s no need to cram everything about your business into the home page.

4- Call to Action
Your website should include unmistakable actionable advice for people that view your site. What do you want people to do when they visit your home page? You might think it’s obvious, but too often it’s not. Consider using a simple call to action such as: “contact us,” “ask for a quote,” “join our mailing list,” “shop here,” “visit this location,” and so forth. Think of your call to action as your invitation to encourage customers to do exactly what you want them to do.

5- Engaging Content
Good content is essential for any website today. Not only will keyword-rich content drive more traffic to your website, it will ideally convey useful information to your customers or clients. Instead of a three or four-line description of a product, why not take the time to write a full-fledged paragraph about the item (broken down into readable chunks, of course) or present a video description along with the text-based content? Your organization stands to benefit by improving its content. If you don’t have a great content writer on staff, you can easily contract with a freelancer or content provider to obtain the material you need to better promote your organization or products.

6- Demonstrate You Have Integrity and Are Trustworthy
Think about what makes your business a company that people can trust. Perhaps you have a no-questions-asked 30-day return policy or have decade’s worth of experience. These are items you should highlight on your website because they demonstrate that you are very likely a trustworthy business or organization. Showcase certifications–don’t bury them deep in your website. Invite customers to contact your staff with their questions. Demonstrated customer support is a great way to convince potential customers that your business has integrity and that their queries and purchases aren’t likely to get lost in the digital gray matter of your site.

Keep this advice in mind as you contemplate your business or organization’s website design in the coming year. You can create a dynamic site these days that won’t bust your budget. The key is to carefully strategize each element of your website. Don’t be swayed by trends and make sure your website reflects who you are and how you want to be known.

Angela Beard

Written by Angela Beard

Angela is a Christian, wife, mother of two amazing kids with 1 cat, and 4 dogs. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, or enjoying music. She is also a self taught programmer and web designer.

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