It’s hard to keep up with Google’s changing algorithms, isn’t it?
The search engine giant is pushing out a new update called Google Page Experience. Through it, the user experience will now be an important factor.
This means your website design will matter more today than it ever did. To clarify, it’s the user’s experience on your website that will be a ranking factor.
Your competitors will now be making changes in anticipation of this update. Don’t get left out. Keep on reading to learn how to design a website better than them.
Having a visually-appealing website is a given, but is it you? You should look into your brand to know what you should display to the visitors.
Showcase your brand through every element in your website—from the colours to the font. Use your brand colours everywhere, and choose typography that represents your personality.
Not only will this allow you to make an imprint of your brand on your visitors, but it will also make you stand out from your competitors. You’ll have a unique website that your visitors won’t confuse with anyone else.
This requires that you know your brand, but it’s not the only benefit. Learning everything about your brand, including your strengths and weaknesses, will allow you to assess your current situation and take the right steps going forward.
It makes good sense to see what your competitors are doing to see what they’re doing right. Navigate through their website and see how is it different from yours.
Is it easier to use? Do the pages load faster? Or, do the high-quality graphics stand out?
You can use tools to get data about a competitor. Some SEO tools, for example, will let you know how many backlinks they have, what sites are linking back to them, what keywords they’re ranking for, what anchor texts they’re using, and more.
Knowing this doesn’t mean you should copy their choices and techniques, though. You’re analysing them because you want to know where your weaknesses lie. You also want to know which areas you can do better to outperform them.
When you copy them, you’re erasing your brand. You won’t stand out as you remove what makes you unique.
Take this opportunity to look for holes in their website design, too. What are their weaknesses? How do you make those your strengths?
A competitor might have ignored the potential of interactive content, focusing instead on written content. That’s a chance for you to be different. It’s a huge opportunity, too, as interactive content is quite effective at engaging users.
You won’t be alone in thinking that, though. Around 88% of marketers say that interactive content allows them to be different from the competition.
Aside from the content, see what else you can do better. Is their navigation a bit wacky? Do the colours seem a bit overwhelming?
Learn from their mistakes so you don’t have to repeat them. Design a website that has already solved those issues.
Another thing you should study is user behaviour on your website. How do they behave when browsing websites?
Their habits on websites aren’t that much different from their habits when in a store. They don’t look at everything on a page, they simply scan it and stop at elements that interest them. Likewise, they won’t look at every product in an aisle.
They have a pattern, though. For instance, they scan the top part first and then go down the page, lurking at headings, images, and such. F and Z are the most common patterns.
Analyse this pattern to gain a better understanding of your consumers. This allows you to strategise where to put important elements, like your CTA button and such.
SEO is still a huge part of website development. It’s something you should incorporate right from the start. Otherwise, you risk implementing band-aid solutions or having to redo your website.
Why? Because SEO isn’t only about keywords; it’s also about the general structure of your website. The metadata, visual elements, and so on are parts of website design that are also important to SEO.
For instance, images must also make sense to search engine crawlers. Remember they can’t “view” images in the same way we can. Rather, it “reads” images to see what they’re about.
You can help them figure that out by optimising the image file name, alt text, and so on. Be descriptive enough, but don’t go overboard. You can also use your keywords here.
Websites should be simple to use. However, some websites might try out new things or innovate to stand out from the crowd. While it’s commendable in other cases, the website’s navigation is hardly a good area in which you should stay away from the conventional.
Users shouldn’t have to stop and think while navigating a website. If they have to spend their time figuring out how your website works, they’ll much sooner leave it.
Stick to the conventions to remove confusion in your site’s architecture. Don’t hide the menu, put a CTA button where they’re expected, and include your contact info at the bottom.
The less time your visitors spend on your navigation, the less time they spend thinking about leaving. Reduce the learning curve and you’ll gain the users’ trust and confidence in no time.
Simplicity is most often ignored in favour of complexity. Some websites have this idea that the more complex a site is, the more interesting or innovative it is.
Yet, this doesn’t reflect what the users want at all. Users want nothing more than getting the information they want despite the design.
Sure, some cool elements will impress them and make them think better of your brand. It’s another story when these elements get in their way. They’ll rather find a simple website that can give them what they want without obstacles.
Present the information in an easy-to-understand design. Place the elements where they should be and make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for.
Do they want to check out? Make the check-out process uncomplicated. Let them complete the process in a few seconds or minutes.
In line with this idea, don’t be afraid to use white spaces. It helps reduce visual noise, and it brings the user attention to the important parts.
White space, also called negative space, is about what’s not there. It’s about keeping the design minimal so users can access the information more easily.
This also gives you an advantage in that you can guide them better. With only a few things on the screen, users have few choices in what to look at next.
Of course, it still depends on your brand. A business website, for example, would benefit more from using this element.
Each time a user opens a new page on your website, they have to pause to wait for it to load. Like we said above, you should aim to reduce their wait time to keep them.
Did you know that around 53% of mobile users will leave a website that keeps them waiting for three seconds or longer? Two seconds are all you have to keep a visitor from leaving your site, so you should check your page speed. If you can’t stick to this, you’ll lose the users to a competitor.
The contents of a web page affect the page speed. Large images, for instance, and a lot of elements take longer to load. That’s another reason you should optimise all your elements on a page.
The bandwidth and the hosting server also affect the loading speed. Make sure you have a good plan to keep your website fast.
Mobile users make up the majority of internet users. This alone is a good enough reason to optimise your website for mobile devices.
It should be mobile-responsive. Meaning, it should still display well on smaller screens.
Another good reason is that Google is prioritising mobile-responsive sites. If you want to increase your rankings, make sure to optimise your site for small screens.
Our tips on website design above are only the start of learning how to best your competitors. When you design a website, you should also take into account the indexing of your pages, URL structure, and more.
Make sure to do things right first, and then start analysing your competitors to see where you can improve. Granted, it’s hard to do things right the first time. That’s why we’re here to help; contact us today and let’s talk about designing a website that stands out.