A Website Needs to Be More Than Just Look Great
A simple and functional website that feels familiar and renders correctly on any device, appears in search results, and offers lots of relevant information will attract more visitors.
I recently read in a discussion forum that the main thing for a website to attract more visitors is to look great.
I'm afraid I have to disagree.
While a well-designed layout with gorgeous pictures might initially drive more traffic than a less visually appealing site, a website needs to be much more than look great to be successful.
Some websites are cluttered with stuff. Videos play in the background while buttons flash and text elements move. It is easy to overload your site with the latest transitions and features or upload too much content.
Instead, keep your website simple and free of clutter and unnecessary distractions.
As visitors use multiple sites daily, they don't want to spend a lot of energy understanding and navigating your site. If it is not simple, they click the next link in the Google search result and go to a competitor.
Functional and Familiar
Business websites aim to inform prospective customers about what your company does and what makes it unique. It usually provides examples of your past work. If the business has a physical location, the website lists the street address, phone number, and email on a separate contact-us page or in the footer.
Online stores allow shoppers to buy products from their websites. In my experience, giving visitors a familiar user experience with an unsurprising check-out process is best.
Familiarity is crucial because it creates trust, and trust lets shoppers reach the payment section where they enter their credit card information. If they don't trust your site because everything seems different, they might abandon the shopping cart or abort the check-out process.
Also, shoppers don't like having to learn a new way of adding products to their cart and paying for them every time they visit a new site.
Responsive and Mobile-Friendly
Most visitors access websites through their mobile devices like smartphones or tablets. Websites that adjust to varying screen sizes are called responsive and labeled mobile-friendly in Google Search. Although most modern website builders like Shopify, Squarespace, or Wix offer responsive and mobile-friendly templates and layouts, it is up to you to organize your content to display correctly on mobile devices.
For your website to appear on Google or Bing, your content must be searchable, which means it must be structured in such a way that search engines (bots) can read it. Here are a few tips:
Set page titles and descriptions;
Structure your text/copy hierarchically;
Use keywords that people enter in search engines;
Prominently display key phrases or quotes;
Break up a longer text with pictures;
Add a caption to photos and illustrations;
Mention your physical location;
If you want to get the most from your website, you have to keep it current, exciting, and relevant. Nothing is worse than outdated content — events that are long in the past or a team photo several years old.
More Than the Layout
Of course, a website needs to look appealing. But, generally, owners of websites give too much importance to the layout. Maybe it's because website builders only seem to talk in their advertising about the number of stunning templates you can choose from if you become a subscriber.
However, a simple, uncluttered, and functional website that feels familiar and renders correctly on any device, appears in search results, and offers lots of relevant information will attract more visitors and drive more business for you in the long run.
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