To take a quote from another page on our site, “A website is usually the first glimpse a prospective client has of your business. So it must be easy to use, enhance your brand credibility and most importantly, generate sales.

In this article, we will go into the main features a website simply must have, if it is to successfully do battle with its competitors. Hopefully you can use some of these ideas when building your own site, and if you’d like some help – click here.

1. A good design is crucial

This may seem obvious, but we still see many websites designed poorly, or focusing on fancy graphics ahead of user experience. Poor designs usually lead to high bounce rates (someone leaving the site quickly) which contributes to poor Google rankings. Always keep the audience in mind when developing your website.

2. Avoid huge slabs of text

People are getting busier, lazier and more distracted. So your website needs to take this into consideration. The majority of consumers do not want to sit and read big slabs of text. Ensure you keep your paragraphs short, and include headings, dot points, images and video.

3. Choose your fonts thoughtfully

The easier your website is to read, the more likely the visitor will engage with your message. Choose a font that suits your style and appeals to your audience. Sans Serif fonts are favoured by web designers. And the optimal font size identified is 16px.

4. Mobile responsive is a must

More than half of all web searches are now done on a mobile device. And the trend towards mobile usage is increasing every day. If your website isn’t mobile responsive, you will undoubtedly miss out on a massive chunk of potential traffic. We love helping people transition to a responsive web design framework.

5. Embrace ‘calls to action’

A website without calls to action is like a restaurant without food. There’s no point getting people to your website unless you provide the means for them to take action. Before designing your site, establish what you want visitors to do (call you, signup to your mailing list, fill in an enquiry form, purchase a product) and then make sure clear CTA’s are integrated into your pages. Here’s some awesome examples.

6. Imagery goes a long way

They say content is king. Well then photos are queen. Images are one of the most important parts of a website, so choose wisely. Be sure not to rip off other photos from the web, as copyright laws apply, and some companies can be quite unforgiving!!

7. Colours are highly influential

Don’t simply just pick colours for your website that you like. They need to match the feel of your brand and enhance the user experience. Use colour to draw attention to certain items such as a “BUY NOW” button or important services link. Colours also have strong psychological effects which you can use to influence potential customers. Blue can create feelings of trust and strength, green health and peace, red bold and exciting.

8. Fast load times matter

Research from KissMetrics shows that 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less. So if your website takes too long to download, potential customers will likely be clicking the back button. Ensure the size of your images aren’t too big, reduce scripts and put them at the bottom of the page and disable any plugins that aren’t being used.

As you can see, web design isn’t just about putting together a cool looking layout and adding great content. Utilising these 8 web design principles will go a long way to helping your website stand out above your competitors and turn prospects into paying clients.