How long has it been since you’ve updated your website? Maybe you’re active with your website, yet still having trouble building a website that maximizes your content. When it comes to web design, visual clarity is the most important factor. It’s the first thing visitors see when they come to your website. If they don’t like what they see, or even if they’ve found what they were looking for, if it isn’t visually appealing, lagging in speed or feels less than trustworthy, chances are great that potential customers will leave your site immediately; never to return.

The good news is that your website can be improved upon without a complete overhaul or having to pay a professional to do it for you. Sometimes a little website retooling is all that’s needed, as long as you know exactly where the problems lie and what needs to be fixed. Outlined below are the top 5 elements for designing a successful website.

1) Simple & Clear Layout

What used to be complicated is now much simpler. This certainly pertains to web designs, as their user-friendly interface and ease in overall web functionality, has taken the place of yesterday’s overly-complex web browser applications and frustrating customer experiences.

As the acronym, K.I.S.S.(Keep It Simple Silly), broadly applies to most things, web designs are also no exception. You want your website designs to be flat and clear, with very little fancy or flashy images. Too many large and flashy graphics will only slow down the speed of your website.

Understand that potential customers who land on your page should be able to access your website in no more than 2 seconds. Faster loading speeds for your website ensure customer trustability and credibility. With a “less is more” approach, limit your website options by condensing irrelevant content and pages into sub-menu pages.

2) Mobile Friendly

Numbers don’t lie. And the numbers show that mobile optimization is a must-have for your website.

– 31% of traffic that comes from the top 10 websites all come from mobile devices
– 80% of internet users browse websites from a smartphone
– According to Google, 61% of users don’t return to websites that they consider to NOT be mobile-friendly
– 40% of users who have difficulty accessing a website end up going to that website’s competitor(s)

You always want to be in the position of giving your customers what they need and want, most importantly what they expect when they visit your website. Overall, customers want to visit websites that are mobile-friendly, seamless in application and fast. If you’re not sure that your website is up to par, ask yourself a few questions:

– What are the benefits from someone visiting your website?
– What kinds of things that your customer base would want to search for or see on your website?
– Are those things currently available on your website? And if so, are they easily and readily accessible?

3) Contact Information

Your contact information should be listed on every page, in an easy-to-find area; generally located in the footer or header region. Contact information and email sign-up forms should be very clear and up-front to anyone who visits your page. This way, you’re able to distinguish between the interested and the “just looking” crowd. A clear and obvious contact information form makes it easier to establish your core customer base.

Email Sign-up Forms

With email sign-up forms, you want to make a bold statement that makes customers want to sign-up. This is achieved through the 3 P’s: Prominence, Proof and Promising. The “prominence” of your email sign-up page should be boldly displayed, unable for any customer to miss. The header of your email sign-up form should list the main reasons as to why someone should give you their email, assuring them of “proof” of your website’s success. Your “promise” should come in the form of some kind of guaranteed reward for customers signing up. Examples of this would be a free e-book, promotional codes/coupons and daily newsletter updates.

Contact information and email sign-up forms are very important because they’re one of the best ways of data collecting and tracking conversions. To help track customer data even further, add an unique “thank-you” page after every completed form or implement an email autoresponder. These additional steps aid in making sure that customers know that their email address and contact information was sent and received.

4) Use of Call to Action

A call-to-action plan is highly essential because it ties everything together on your website. Without one, visitors don’t necessarily know where to go nor what actions to take. A call-to-action plan guides potential customers into making decisions that will eventually help increase your customer engagement and sale conversions.

A call-to-action implementation, whether it’s through some button(s) or form(s), should be educational and packaged neatly to address all your visitors’ concerns. These concerns should highlight your main points as to why they should do business with you and through your website; making your visitors more comfortable about the decision process. Visitors and potential consumers should look at your call-to-action plan as the last step in the process of conducting business.

Examples of call-to-action plan include:

– “Click here for more information”
– “Download our sample plan”
– “Sign up for the webinar”
– “Watch the video”
– Check out our marketing services”
– “See pricing”

5) Optimized Content

Optimization basically involves search engine optimization and usability testing. It should be tested regularly to maintain your website’s high performance. The best way to optimize your website is to optimize the content that’s already created on your page. If you go through your website, you will more than likely come across existing content that can easily be optimized using on-page optimization.

On-page optimization consist of:

– Attaching text linking web pages to each other
– Using header tags, whenever possible
– Using alternative and title tags for your images
– Create new customized meta descriptions for each page

These simple, yet effective changes to your website can greatly improved your ranking in search engines.