Is your website effective? How will you know if it is?

Several factors affect a customer’s impression of your website. This is especially true for first-time visitors.

Missouri University of Science and Technology Associate Chair of the Business and IT Department Hong Sheng claims that first impressions matter even for websites. This will determine if the user’s opinion of the organization is favorable or not.

5 Rules Every Website Designer Heeds To Make Websites More Effective

Sheng and Sirjana Dahal from Missouri S&T conducted an interesting study in 2012.  As reported by Business News Daily, they measured how much time participants spend on a particular section of the university’s law school website.

Using an eye-tracking software and an infrared camera, they found that users spent 6.48 seconds on the logo, 6.44 seconds on the main navigation menu, 6 seconds on the search box, 5.95 seconds on the social media icons, 5.94 seconds on the main image. 5.59 seconds on web content, and 5.25 seconds on the bottom of the page.

This shows that each part of your website designer should create a website to captivate the visitor’s attention. Here are five rules on creating a website that will impress first-time and repeat visitors.

1. Make user engagement your first priority.

Monaco Visual’s marketing consultant Jessica Humphrey encourage website owners to focus on user engagement. The easiest way to do this is to improve your website’s content. This applies to written text and to images.

She recommends maintaining your brand image while focusing on your company’s distinctive voice and using it to communicate to visitors. According to her, the key to success is to find harmony between your content and your brand. Dull content will hurt the reputation of an impressive brand. Stellar content will not save a boring brand either.

2. Furnish visitors with your contact details.

Sales leads and call-to-actions result from having an impressive website. However, all these will be useless if potential customers have no way of getting in touch with you. CEO David Brown recommends placing your contact information on the top portion of your website’s homepage. By putting it in a visible location, customers don’t have to dig your website to find it.

Weebly’s co-founder Dan Veltri also believes on the importance of putting your contact information in plain sight, preferably in the main navigation menu. You also have to include social links in your website’s header or footer. These icons attract attention and provide visitors with a convenient way to keep tabs on your brand.

3. Use SEO to Your Advantage

Pictures can speak volumes. This technique is effective for websites. However, don’t forget search engine optimization. Otherwise, customers will not find you online.

Brown referred to SEO as a critical factor in designing websites. Search engine crawlers will evaluate all aspects of your website, and they won’t see those photos. Unless you added relevant keywords, don’t expect to see your website in search results.

In addition, Humphrey suggested including key phrases related to your business. One example is to use “shoe repair Melbourne” rather than just “shoe repair.”

4. Optimize Your Website for Mobile Traffic

More people use tablets and smartphones to view websites. So, you need to make sure your website works on desktop and on mobile.

Brown explained how more consumers demand a desktop experience while using a mobile device. Hence, websites optimized for mobile traffic is the key to give customers what they want.

Here’s a number of additional essentials your website designer can reference.

5. Don’t Cut Corners and Hire an Experienced Website Designer

Never dismiss the idea of hiring an expert for your website. Bad design will hurt your brand and make you spend more.

Humphrey explains there’s a science behind good design. A web designer who knows how websites work is worth the price you pay. They will also explain why they need to do something during the creation process. This way you will know how the website works and why you can or can’t do something.

Get acquainted with the person designing your website by reading this article on Things You Most Likely Do Not Know About Your Website Designer.

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