Edited by Lily Wu
People make first impressions off of your company’s website, and the last thing you want to do is to come off as cold and unapproachable.
Imagine you’re browsing through a company’s website. You see a cluttered interface with an unclear message. You find the text difficult to read. You get frustrated trying to navigate the sitemap, and the pages take forever to load.
Do you feel like staying?
If scrolling through your website is a headache, you’re losing people—fast. Even if you have a fantastic product, people won’t trust you if your website isn’t convincing. You don’t want your first impression to be your last.
In this article, we’ll tackle the essential ingredients to cook up an irresistible modern website. We’ll go over the aesthetics, the mobile-friendliness, and the expression of your brand voice so you can rise above the competition.
As tempting as it is, please don’t stuff your pages like Thanksgiving turkey.
People no longer have the patience to sit through anything that’s even remotely hard to digest, and it doesn’t help that you only have a few seconds to pique their interest.
The solution? Minimalism.
Your goal is to make it as effortless as possible to get your message across, to offer the path of least resistance. By reducing your website to its most essential elements, your visitors won’t have to hunt for the main message. It’s a win-win situation.
You also get these nifty perks:
When designing a minimalist website, here are some things to keep in mind:
Little negative space:
Lots of negative space:
Now your website is a breath of fresh air, but is it unique enough to linger in your visitor’s mind?
The most memorable websites don’t blend in. They do the unexpected. And where there are already over 1.5 billion websites on the internet, doing the unexpected pays off.
Here are some ideas for you to create a website that goes above and beyond.
Before any writing happens, you need to decide what tone of voice you’ll be using. Many businesses make the mistake of skipping this step, and they end up sounding like those generic no-name brands. Boringggg.
So what is your company’s personality? Are you friendly? Professional? Quirky and colourful? Rebellious? Super chill and down-to-earth?
You might have something in mind already, but the biggest indicator of the voice that fits you best is your audience. Here’s what I mean:
Your target audience’s age, gender, profession, education, and personality all play a role in shaping your brand voice. Research how they talk, the little inflections and idiosyncrasies only they would recognize, and write them down. Do they prefer “buy” or “purchase”? What words do they love to throw around?
Then, when you inject these hints throughout your copy, it will feel familiar to them. You’ll seem like the type of company that truly gets them.
When you’re finished finding your perfect brand voice, it’s time to start writing. When you’re writing the text on your pages, especially your homepage, don’t just tell them what your product is. Convince them why your product should matter to them. In other words, create a value proposition.
A value proposition is the value you bring to your customers, the thing you stand for that sets you apart from the competition. Uber’s value proposition is that it solves all the annoyances that come with taxis. Microsoft Surface’s is that it’s “anything but ordinary”. It’s important that your copy clearly conveys your value proposition so people know exactly what you believe in as a company.
Here are the main components of a landing page:
If your reader is met with a wall of text, they’re noping out of there in an instant. Admit it, you probably do the same.
I can’t stress this enough. Shorten the sentences that can be shortened, or better yet, cut them out entirely. No one wants to read an essay. Don’t try to sound smart; that makes you appear less credible. Instead, switch complex words to their simpler alternatives.
Without keywords, no one would be able to find you on Google. They’re the words or phrases people type into Google to find you or companies like you.
Tools like Google Keyword Planner can help you discover and research possible keywords. When researching, keep these two things in mind:
When you’ve chosen what word or phrase you’re going to use, include one or two of them in the following places. Don’t stuff your page full of these words—Google actually penalizes websites that spam keywords.
More than half of your website traffic is coming from a mobile device. With different devices having different dimensions, resolution and bandwidth, your website needs to be able to adapt.
Since July 1, 2019, Google has been rolling out it’s mobile-first indexing, which will rank websites based on their mobile version instead of the desktop version. So if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you can say goodbye to your Google search rankings.
One way to test if your site is mobile-friendly is by checking how responsive it is to the device it’s being displayed on. You can check this by narrowing the window on your desktop and seeing if your website adjusts to the changing sizes. Alternatively, you can use a free online tool like Google Search Console.
Having a responsive website is step one towards a mobile-friendly website. Here’s what Google says about the different types of mobile-friendliness.
Websites nowadays are built to be accessible to people with disabilities. In fact, Ontario has made it mandatory for public organizations and private/non-profits with 50+ employees to make their website accessible starting in 2021.
You can make your website accessible by:
Creating a website for today’s hectic world isn’t an easy feat. Even when you’re done the design, writing, and development, you’ll still have to maintain your website continually.
Nevertheless, your website serves as the face of your company, and it’s often where people make their initial judgements about what kind of company you are. It’s imperative that you send across the message you want to be known for.
If you’ve enjoyed this article, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions and about developing your website. If you liked this article and are still hungry for more, subscribe to our mailing list (below) to get the best tips and tricks on web design.