When it comes to website design, of course you will want to have a site that people love to visit so they keep coming back to it. Even you would have come across several websites that you keep visiting and a few that you have vowed never to visit again. What caused you to make that decision? There are a number of factors at play here. The design and layout of the site, the level of user-friendliness, the easy of navigation, and the quality of the content all play a role in determining how 'good' or 'bad' a website is.
If you are planning to initiate a web design project, it is important that you keep the following factors in mind to ensure success:
What do you want from the site that you are planning to design? In other words, what is the end goal? Experienced businesses decide the purpose first and then work backwards towards ensuring their site accomplishes that purpose and you should follow this approach as well. Don't head into the website design process without formulating a clear purpose for it at the outset, otherwise you will get a rushed product that doesn't meet your requirements.
How does a website become user-friendly? As mentioned, defining the purpose of a website is important. For instance, if you want to set up an eCommerce portal, you have to tell your designer that. More importantly, the design of your website should communicate to your visitors what the site is all about. Don't mislead them in a bid to get them to check out your site. If you promise them a landing page, offer them a landing page. Else, your visitors will be confused and your website won't achieve its purpose.
Once you get the layout right, you win half the battle. The other half is ensuring your website is easy to use. This includes ensuring that it loads in a matter of milliseconds or else don't expect people to wait around for your site to load. They will click away within a couple of seconds if they don't see what they came to see. You also have to make sure the navigation is simple and that visitors are able to find what they are looking for when they visit your website.
Your website design should be compatible across all platforms, devices and browsers. The worst thing you can do is restricting visitors to accessing your site on a particular browser. For instance, some websites don't render well on Mozilla Firefox. Don't discriminate against a visitor just because he/she uses a particular browser. The same goes for mobile-friendliness. Opt for a responsive design that works on all screen sizes and platforms, including iOS and Android.
Content is the king when it comes to establishing an online presence for your brand. If your website doesn't offer up to date, relevant, and valuable content to your visitors, you will end up driving them away. Businesses do pay attention to content but later on in the process. Make sure you have a content plan in place at the time your website is in the design phase so that the layout can be finalized accordingly and you can add content as soon as your site goes live.
These are some of the factors that will influence the success of your website design investment. Of course, there are other factors that you should consider, including aesthetics, but the ones mentioned here can prove the make or break factor when it comes to converting visitors into loyal, paying customers. At the end of the day, your website will be the hub of your online presence. You cannot compromise on anything.