Visual Design Factors to Consider For Your Website
What is the primary purpose of any business’s website? To speak directly to their audience’s problem and to offer an effective solution.
How do you go about doing that on your own website? Sure, the content that you include in the form of text is crucial. That’s how you’ll explain who you are, what you do, and why you’re better at it than your competition. But just as important as the words on your website are the visual factors that accompany it.
No matter how perfect your website copy, a visually unappealing or confusing site can turn visitors off. If you’re not a designer, it might not be immediately clear what makes up a strong web design. Here, though, I’ll walk you through some visual design basics to consider that will help you build a website that draws prospects in rather than scares them off.
Focus on Function, Not Form
While it’s all well and good to want to design a beautiful website, every design decision that you make should be driven first and foremost by function. Of course, prospects are going to judge your proverbial book by its cover a bit, so you do want to have a website that looks modern, clean, and well laid out. Those are all elements that will signal your trustworthiness.
However, don’t add flashy design elements just for the sake of it. Things like carousels and sliders have become increasingly popular over the years, and they may look pretty, but they actually make for a bad user experience.
When you start by asking, “Why am I including this element on my site?” for each piece of your design, you’ll end up with a site that is both function and beautiful.
You’re a marketing expert who has a lot of knowledge to share. Content creation, social media, SEO, advertising—you do it all! While it’s great that you have so much to offer your clients, you don’t want to cram your business’s whole life story onto your home page.
Whitespace, when used appropriately, can make for a much more pleasant viewing experience for visitors. Rather than trying to crowd everything above the fold, opt for a scrolling site that leaves space for your content to breathe.
Using whitespace effectively allows you to direct visitors through the journey you want them to have. As they scroll through your page, you can lead them from your value proposition to your offerings and to a call to action that drives an initial conversion.
Create a Personalized Touch
We couldn’t talk about visual design factors on your website without discussing photos. Including photography is a great way to inject splashes of color and personal touches into your website.
Stock photography has a bit of a reputation for being cheesy and outdated, but there are ways to use it effectively. Start by checking out a site like Unsplash, which offers free photography that is low on the cheese-factor.
From there, you can make small modifications to the stock photography to give it a more personalized touch. Add text that’s relevant to your business. Use a series of stock images to create a collage. If the image has a device with a screen on it, edit the screen to include your business’s logo or something related to the content the image is accompanying. You don’t have to be a Photoshop wizard to make this happen, either. There are lots of free, simple photo editing tools available on the web.
While stock photos have their purpose, there are other places where using your own images is crucial. You’ll want to include headshots for you and your team. With your website often serving as your first point of contact with prospects, you want to provide them with a face to your name. That way, when they do reach out to learn more about your business, they already feel a personal connection with the person on the other side of the screen or end of the phone line.
Think Beyond Photos
The visual elements on your website should go well beyond photos. I’ve been talking a lot about the importance of including video on your website. The reason I’m so excited about video is that it is a proven marketing tactic. Numerous studies have come out in the past few years showing that marketers are getting incredible returns on their video investments. It’s the way that people want to consume their content online nowadays, so you want to put your content in video form.
Videos can serve a number of purposes. An introductory video on your home page is a chance to share your value proposition and begin building trust. Video FAQs are a fun, interactive way to get out content that can sometimes be dry. Explainer videos of the services you offer can make difficult-to-understand topics easier for your prospects to grasp.
Building a visually appealing website is a part of establishing your brand as trustworthy and in-the-know from the start. When you inject your own personality into your design and create a visual layout that allows the substance behind your content to shine, you’re well on your way to grabbing the attention of promising prospects.
If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Website Design.