Website design is ever-evolving, as is the beauty of the digital age and the digital revolution of the past 20 years, but what does that mean for businesses who want to ensure that their website is working hard for them?

Well, the fast-paced nature at which website design best-practise updates is great news for innovation, but this can also cause businesses, and marketers, a real headache in ensuring that websites stay updated, efficient, marketable and usable in the current digital space.

With each new year comes new features, different standards and a vast array of new design elements to contend with, meaning that websites are under pressure to continuously change and evolve to stay ahead of the game, retain and attract visitors, and keep those all-important spiders, bots and crawlers happy.

Luckily for you, we’ve picked our top 10 design best practices for 2020 to get you started…

1. UX: Design for the user

User Experience, a popular buzzword amongst marketers for a while now, but what does this really mean in terms of website design? Well, simply put, design with your customer in mind.

This means that your website needs to be simple and easy to use, because there is nothing more frustrating for a customer than a site that doesn’t allow them to fulfil their journey or transaction with as little thought, and stress, as possible.

So, any poor design choices that send users on a merry-go-round of your site for no logical reason will have them logging off and looking for one that does exactly what you do, but without the navigational headache, instead. So be smart, think of your user, and keep the experience, and the design, smart and simple.

Here are some useful tips to follow:

-Is your content useful and fulfilling your customer’s needs?
-Is your website easy to navigate across all digital devices?
-Is your brand being presented in the most desirable way possible?
-Is your brand being presented in a professional, and thus, trustworthy way?

2. Slimline navigation

Once again, the focus is on the experience of the user, and the greater the number of options you offer to users on a website, the more difficult it is for them to properly engage and make a decision.

If you present too many products, services or actions on your homepage, visitors may feel confused, overwhelmed, and ultimately disinterested in actually following the CTA that you really want them to engage with.

Instead, avoid this barrage of information and keep your homepage’s CTA’s clear, precise and uncluttered. This way you are likely to see a higher conversion rate and be able to streamline your goals and campaigns accordingly, and far more effectively.

3. Embrace space

Often described as ‘negative space’ the space between your design elements and content can be a very good thing, and allow your website to look far more appealing to visitors.

Ergo, be sure to leave ample padding between text, images and headings – where applicable, so that the overall design has room to breathe, and impress, the user.

4. Don’t overly animate

The use of animated elements on a website can be great, for example they can effectively direct users to a CTA, make the site appear more responsive and just generally, they are a great way to show off.

However, the over-use of animations can have the opposite effect, namely confusing or distracting your visitors and thus running the risk of losing those all-important conversations. Instead, be strategic in your use of animations and try and refrain from annoying the hell out of prospective customers by bombarding them with animated content.

5. Be consistent

If your branding isn’t consistent and unified across all of your platforms, then quite frankly you have completely missed the point of branding and you need help. Sorry, not sorry.

Correct and effective branding helps promote professionalism, inspires loyalty and works hard to entice and attract new customers. With this in mind, it is important to keep your branding in-line with your business and your customers by ensuring that your website; has the same logo, uses the same messaging and straplines, uses the same colours and has the same personality and tone across all mediums.

This will help people to identify your brand quickly, will encourage them to remember you more easily and also will ensure that you appear trustworthy enough to do business with.

6. Content is King

One of the most important factors in having a good website is having great content. Why? Because it is how you convert visitors and it is how you become visible to search engines.

When it comes to good content, there is a fine line between finding the appropriate balance between providing users with engaging, useful information and producing copy that is effective for SEO rankings.

The answer? Get a good copywriter and make sure that you understand exactly what your offering is, because if you don’t, then no one else will either. Additionally, use the blogs on your website to educate visitors with useful content and use your service pages to push your offering and your CTA’s. With finely tuned content that is reviewed and updated regularly, your website should be flying through 2020 at break-neck speed and keeping well ahead of the SEO game.

7. Optimisation

Optimise your website for mobile, and for speed.

Firstly, optimising your website for mobile is one of the single most important things for design-best practise in the current climate. If your website isn’t responsive across mobile, tablet and desktop, then you might as well not have one. Sorry, but those are the new rules. A mobile friendly website is now an industry standard and can jeopardise your rankings and traffic if not addressed – so get on it!

Similarly, make sure your site can load quickly – 47% of visitors expect a website to load in less than 2 seconds, so if your site is too slow, you could be losing customers.

8. Use Analytics

This might sound scary if you’re not a digital marketer, but it really needn’t be, website analytics are easy to use and manage, and can have a profound effect on the success of your website.

Having access to analytics information will help you to convert leads, generate sales and create campaign goals with ease, and there are plenty of online resources to help you with this, so check them out and make analytics a priority when updating your website.

9. Landing pages

If you are advertising on Facebook or Google Ads, then you should be using landing pages to direct traffic from these CTA’s.

A landing page is a standalone page that is accessible only by your specified target audience and directs traffic directly to the page that is specific to your user goals.
Landing pages are proven to help in increasing the conversion rates of digital marketing campaigns, and are such a simple way of streamlining this activity.

10. Keep your website secure

Whether you sell any products online or not, your website needs to be secure. Online hacking is a very real and very serious risk, so do yourself a favour and ensure the following steps have been taken:

– Install an SSL certificate
– Install a security plugin that’s compatible with your website
– Ensure that your CMS platform and plugins are always updated to the latest version.

Thanks for reading our check-list on design best practise for 2020, these are only our top-picks and we have many, many more that we’d love to share with you in more detail.

So, if you’re thinking about updating your website and you want to know whether it really is worth the time, money and effort, then please get in touch today, we’d love to talk it through with you!