10 Secret Elements of Every Successful Website Design (Tips + Tactics)

Every successful website has some common elements. Let’s reveal these the web design tips, tactics and secrets one-by-one.

Innovative web design agency in Melbourne

Why are some websites so successful?

There are many reasons why businesses prosper so quickly in the 21st century and knowing how to utilise their websites and technology is the single biggest reason.

Meet John. He owns a business and a website.

The website was done by a friend about 6 years ago and it ranks on Google for a few keywords. He gets a call or an email from his website once in a while, unpredictably. He later discovered that his website has a decent amount of traffic every month comparing to his competitors but the website visitors aren’t converting into leads for some reasons.

And now meet Jane.

She has a website that is innovative and creative. All of her friends and clients love the design of her website but Google somehow just doesn’t rank her website for any keyword. She only gets a handful of enquiries from her website and they are all referrals from her previous clients.

Both John and Jane understand that every business needs a website, but they don’t understand how important a website design is and how it could affect their sales and revenues.

What’s the first thing that your customers look at?

– Your website.

We don’t need statistics to prove how many people do their online research first, before making a decision of buying a car, signing up a program or even finding a partner.

Not to mention what will happen if you don’t have a website.

A website is the single most important tool you can have to grow your business and it links to all other powerful tools such as Google, Facebook, YouTube, your business cards, your newspaper ads, emails, or even referrals.

They all send prospective clients to your website.

A photo of car representing the traffic of a website

The 10 essential elements for every successful website

We’re not going to be discussing which font or colour should we use to design a website. These elements are shared across all successful websites that produce hundred thousands or even millions of dollars worth of sales.

There are 10 essential elements to determine whether a website will thrive and generate predictable sales OR sit and costing money to maintain every month.

1. Pass the 7-second rule

Yes, that’s all the time we have to impress the visitors, explain what we do, and convince them to stay.

Studies show that website visitors spend an average of 7 seconds or less on 90% of the websites they visit. Making sure a visitor has a good impression about your business is the same principle as you dress up perfectly for your first date with the girl or boy that you have a crush on.

Have you been to a website which you kept scrolling and were still having difficulties to understand what they were selling? It’s frustrating.

Most businesses aren’t selling rockets and they should be able to explain what they do and why they are better with simple texts and images. There are thousands other options and websites for your visitors to choose, so make the statement bold and clear within 7 seconds. See a great example of the MailChimp website.

2. Design with simplicity and User friendliness

No one wants to see and read a cluttered website.

Wisely use of space and simplicity not only helps the visitors to digest the web content, it also helps the search engine like Google to understand your website.

A study from Hubspot reveals over 75% of website users consider “The website makes it easy for me to find what I want.” as the most important factor of a website.

If content is the king, usability is the queen. Every successful website must have a simple navigation and well-designed UI (User Interface) & UX (User experience). See the Apple website, the leader in simplicity and usability.

3. Have a clear goal

Don’t create a website because everyone else has one.

Many websites fail because they don’t have a clear goal and just modelling their competitors. If you model or copy other websites, you need to model a good one that has a clear goal.

Every website needs a goal. In the web design industry, a goal (a conversion) is to be driven by what we call a CTA (Call-to-action), an action that you want your visitors to do.

Whether you want your visitors to “Make an enquiry”, “Get a free quote”, “Buy now”, or “Sign up”, you need communicate with your website designer about your goal before starting any design process, because every web page that will be created then, needs to drive them toward the goal.

A defined goal will also help to decide what web pages are necessary. Not every business needs a standard About Us page. See an effective and creative CTA with a clear goal on the Netflix website.

4. Have high quality content

Content is the king and it is increasingly working its way to the forefront of all digital marketing strategies, as it becomes a crucial element that reaps big rewards.

Not spending enough time to create unique and high-quality content is the most common mistake for all website owners. 

Content includes text, images, videos, PDFs, case studies, portfolios, product descriptions, blog posts, recipes, infographics, etc. These are all the great juices that Google can index and add value to your website. That’s the reason why many businesses hire copywriters, graphic designers, and filmmakers to create high-quality and shareable content.

Don’t forget high-quality content also provide great values to your visitors beside being crawled by the Googlebot. The rule of thumb for Google is to create engaging content. If the content is loved by people, it will be ranked on Google. See the master in this game, Taste.com.au for recipe inspiration, the partner of the supermarket giant Coles.

5. Design an extraordinary mobile experience

The term “mobile-friendly” has been around for many years and just by being “friendly” is not enough.

On April 21, 2015, Google expanded its use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal by putting a new ranking algorithm specifically for mobile. Websites that aren’t mobile-friendly will no longer rank well on Google with on a mobile device.

In 2017, mobile users have surpassed desktop users. A simple responsive web design can save so much time for web developers to develop websites that fit on all screen sizes. There’s no reason not to take advantage of this trend.

Google says 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing and 40% visit a competitor’s site instead.

Mobile accessibility is the basic. As search engines are putting more time and money to optimise our mobile search results, speed and design are the new requirements. See the AMP (Accelerated mobile project) that Google participants to learn more about the current events and requirements for the mobile site.

6. Be innovative, creative and interactive

Have you been to a website that you were so impressed and still remember all the amazing effects and design?

A successful website is an extension of a business. Many brands use their websites to interact with their fans or customers, but most importantly is to make them feel connected. Be creative with how you present your messages or content so they feel the voice and tone of your business. Apple is definitely the leader in this.

The world’s first and website was created in 1991 and it had no competition. But in 2017, there are over 1 billion websites online trying to get our eyeballs.

With every keyword that you search on Google, it always returns over millions of search results. So utilising the latest technologies and web design trends will make a remarkable experience for your visitors before turning into customers. See a simple and yet creative example from our portfolios.

7. Plan a marketing strategy ahead

If you are still thinking that the sales will come magically after building a website, then you need to think again.

Every successful website runs with at least one or multiple marketing strategies. Whether it is an inbound marketing campaign, a PPC (Per-pay-click) campaign or a Facebook fan page advertising campaign, having a clear understanding of where your visitors will be coming from and which web page they will be landing on – is essential to any website design.

This is why many digital agencies like us provide both web design and online marketing services side-by-side because your website design must work closely with your marketing strategy. This will help to decide what landing pages are required for the type of online or offline marketing campaign you will be doing.

Keyword research and strategy discovery are always being overlooked for most web design projects and it results in low traffic and low conversion rate websites with unpredictable online sales just like the John and Jane examples at the beginning.

Be sure to steal some of our actionable online marketing tactics and strategy in our Agency Secret section.

8. Utilise a CMS (Content management system)

Over 50% of website owners utilise a CMS (Content management system) to run their websites. CMS makes your website easier to use, less expensive to maintain, and more secure. There are countless benefits to run your website on a CMS.

One of our favourite benefits is a CMS allows content to be controlled by the website owner without knowing HTML for any coding experience, meaning you don’t need to rely on web developers to make changes to the web content.

Many CMSs also give you the ability to add different plugins to empower your website and this opens a tremendous amount of possibility to do different things with your website, from adding a photo gallery to running an SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) campaign. It saves time for an agency like us and saves money for our clients. Our favourite CMS is WordPress and be sure to read our article about 11 reasons why everyone chooses to use WordPress to create websites.

9. Constantly monitoring, running tests and doing analysis

Website design seems to be a one-off thing and many business owners just set up a website and forget about it.

Every successful website has an on-going plan in place, from website monitoring, measuring results, A/B split testing, to data analytics. They might sound very troublesome but it is the same principle as you post on your Facebook and see how many friends like it, so next time you will post a funnier cat video.

Knowing the statistics about your website is equally important as knowing the numbers of your business. Here are few questions to ask after setting up a website:

How many visitors your website had last month?
How many of those submitted an enquiry form or made a purchase?
How did they find your website? Was it through Google? Facebook? Yellow pages? Or business card?
Why some of them left your website?
What is your cost per conversion (phone call, enquiry, sign-up, purchase)?
What can you do differently to increase the conversion rate?

The benefit of working with a digital marketing agency is to have someone who you can trust to monitor all the activities on your website and tell you what is making money and what is costing money, much similar to working with an accountant and financial adviser, who you meet to give you insight about your business.

10. Work with a web design agency that fits

After all, finding a web design agency that fits your business objective, culture, and budget is the real final decision. Here are 3 factors to consider for the perfect web design agency.

Be reachable –
Many businesses try to save money and hire companies from overseas. It’s not a problem to save money but be sure that they deliver good works and be reachable. In this fast moving digital world, speed and adaptability are everything.

One of the benefits of working with a local web design agency is to have the opportunity to meet face-to-face, get a coffee, jump to the whiteboard and discover new opportunity together.

We are a local web design agency in Melbourne, Australia, and we work with many business owners in Melbourne. Another benefit of working with a local agency is Local SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). A local agency can definitely help you to rank better locally on Google than an overseas company because they understand the suburb names and the customer behaviour better.

Understand your objective –
Web design services could range from $300 to $30,000. No matter what the price is, the web design agency must understand your goal and your pain point so the website can interpret them and deliver results. It is a big bonus that the agency can provide digital strategy, web design and web development services together so they are all cohesive and consistent.

Date before marry –
It will be a long term relationship with your web design company. With every successful website or project, you have to find the right partner who you can work with or even be friends with for a long run.

Before hiring a web designer, ask how well they know these essential elements, how they propose to incorporate them and how they’ve succeeded in the past.

It is a big commitment to say yes to a partner. Here at Website People, we always try to spend as much time with our clients before making any commitment. We date before we commit to the marriage. Because of that, we provide small workshops for free just to allow everyone to get to know each other, get a coffee, and chat about some of the online strategies that you can implement to your website and business.

Things that will be covering in the free 30 minutes strategy workshop:
– Understanding your business goal and pain point
– Discussing what type of website you need
– Discussing what strategies you can implement for your industry
– Doing basic keyword and competition research
– Estimating the costs
– A cup of coffee

All workshops will be held either face-to-face or virtually using Skype or Google+. It’s necessary to make an appointment in advance and appointments can be made on our Connect page.

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