Pankaj Shah

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30 essential tips for improving your web design in 2021

23-03-2021

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How to improve my business website?

The above is probably one of the most frequent questions I am asked by my web development clients. It is not a simple question to answer as every client website project is different, but there are some common aspects of web design that all businesses can take advantage of.

So, you are probably thinking that the content below is a lot to understand, especially if you are new to business or website design.

Not to worry, my goal in the article is to break down and clearly explain why each point is an important factor for improving your website.

How to improve my business website



30 Tips for improving your web design

1. Make an action plan

Don’t jump in headfirst when designing or re-designing your website. Your first goal should be to go and research your top competitors.

Let’s say for example you are starting a car breakdown recovery business. Why not go to Google and search for the term “car breakdown recovery”, check out the top 10 competitors and look closely at their website navigation and page content.

There is a good reason why these websites are listed on the first page of Google, they must be doing something right!

So, the idea here is we do not need to “reinvent the wheel”, someone has done most of the hard work for you. We simply need to do better!

Once you have analysed your competitors, you can start to build your primary navigation for your website.

In our “car breakdown recovery business” example the navigation might look like this:

  • Home
  • Breakdown Emergency
  • Services
  • Useful Tips
  • Areas We Cover
  • FAQs
  • Contact
  • Get Quote

As you can see the primary navigation is very simple, we don’t want to add too many navigation items which then becomes overwhelming for a website visitor. It’s worth spending some time and structuring your website top navigation and thinking about what your potential customer is looking for.

Below you can see an example of top navigation for a client project which is being developed by our professional web designers

Example website top navigation

The next goal is to Map out your individual services or products. Each service or product should have a dedicated page. Why? It’s simple, if you have a dedicated page for each service or product your offer, then you can accurately target your potential customers. Do not make the mistake of listing all your services on a single page.

In this example “car breakdown recovery” website, the services are listed as follows:

  • 24/7 Recovery
  • Vehicle Transportation
  • Pick and Drop Service
  • Dealership, Fleet Trade
  • Scrap Car Disposal
  • Motorbike Recovery
  • Vehicle Body Work
  • Car Service
  • MOT
  • Mechanical Work
  • Vehicle Electrician
  • Jump Start

A task for you: Now open your favourite text editor (Libre Office Writer) and bullet list your top navigation and services or products.


2. Clear branding

Probably like me and most business owners, we don’t have a £10,000 marketing budget per month.

Therefore, clear branding is super important! Your logo will be seen not only on your website but also:

  • Social Media
  • Business Cards
  • Printed Leaflets
  • YouTube Videos
  • Marketing Banners
  • Newsletters

The above are just a few places where you may display your company logo.

It’s worth paying a professional graphic designer to create a custom logo for your business.

Yes, you can use one of those cheap DIY logo websites, but having a unique brand with some thought behind it can:

  • Help you stand out from your competitors
  • Improve your company image
  • Convey the right message about your business

At DCP we understand that your company brand is one of the most important marketing tools. After all your logo is will be seen in many different locations online and offline.

At DCP we have a simple strategy for designing a company logo. If the logo does not tell you what the businesses are about in 2 seconds, then the design is simply not good enough.

Breakdown recovery example logo design concepts

breakdown recovery example logo design concepts

The above logo designs were sent to the client to be reviewed. The client liked the middle logo the most, but we agreed on some improvements.

The feedback for the logo was noted as revised as shown below

breakdown recovery logo revision

We improved the size and shape of the car in the final design below

breakdown recovery logo final design

What is most important about the logo above is a clear and concise message. It is super simple to understand within a few seconds. For me, that is most important when designing a company brand.

You can view many more example logos I have created for my clients in my Logo Design Portfolio.


3. Selecting domain names

So far, we have structured website navigation and a clear company brand. Now It is time to purchase domain names.

The list below a just a few websites where you can register domain names:

Again, just like the company brand, the domain name should also be clear and concise.

For the breakdown project the following domains were registered by the client:

  • www.breakdownltd.co.uk
  • www.breakdownltd.com

Important notes:

Never let someone else register your domains for you. Always register them yourself, think of domains like the keys to the front door of your house!

If you are based in the UK, then register both .com and co.uk domains, as you can see in the example domains above.

Why register both domains?

Imagine you become a super successful business and you have a ”,co.uk” domain, hundreds of website visitors a day, lots of new customers and then all of a sudden someone else on the planet registers the .com domain name.

Now you have a domain that is almost identical to your domain, this is what you call a common domain name, a domain which many people are used to seeing.

The problem is you have no control over that domain, and someone can easily build a competitor website. If 20% of your customers type in your website address with a .com at the end and go directly to your competitor’s website, then that cannot be a good scenario.

Trust me, I had to wait 8 years to get the .com version of my domain name!

Why register domains yourself?

I hate to say it, but there are some web developers out there that are not so nice. I can't mention the number of times I have worked with a new client and the domains were registered by the previous developer located somewhere overseas. It has always been a “pain in the arse” to get those domains transferred. Even some “cheeky bugger” wanted $1000 per domain!

So, the lesson is simple, you should have full control over your domains and save yourself the stress. Registering domains is super simple and only takes a few minutes to complete, so no excuses or contact me if you need help!


4. Get some decent website hosting

Have you ever been to a website that takes ages to load? Well, I know the feeling, very frustrating and normally leads to a high bounce rate. Website loading speed is one of the most important factors for search engine optimisation.

Of course, a fast-loading website that has bad content is no good, but a super-fast loading website that has awesome content is a winning formula.

Below I have listed some of the hosting companies I have used over the past 15 years of web development.

I can only recommend the hosting companies which have fast and reliable hosting solutions, and amazing technical support:

Yes, I know the list above is not exactly extensive, trust me, I have used most of the hosting companies over the past 15 years and I can only accept hosting companies that have good web server knowledge and technical support, and most of all care about their customers, and more importantly, have reliable and fast hosting solutions.

The type of hosting you select really depends on the website development platform, I would recommend you consult with your web developers to help you find the best solution for your business or give me a call for some free advice.


5. Use clear terminology and avoid too many acronyms

SEO, SEM, API, PPC, CPA, CPL, UX, UI, I feel your pain already. All of these are acronyms, abbreviations of terms used by many web design companies. The problem here is that not everyone understands what these acronyms really mean. Sure, some of them you probably know like SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). The point here is that when you use these abbreviations, also put the full terminology in brackets the first time you use them on your website page content. Why not create a glossary page of technical acronyms?

Basically, try to use language which anyone can understand, and when you use more technical terms, explain them clearly. Make your visitor's life easy and that will simply result in better website engagement.

So, I don’t leave you scratching your head thinking about the acronyms listed above, here are the full terminologies:

  • SEO – Search Engine Optimisation
  • SEM – Social Media Marketing
  • PPC – Pay Per Click
  • CPA – Cost Per Action
  • CPL – Cost Per Lead
  • API – Application Programming Interface
  • UX – User Experience
  • UI – User Interface

Why not create a blog post explaining all the different acronyms used in your industry? Then create an infographic to share via social media. Convert that infographic into a PowerPoint presentation and upload it to slide share. Convert the PowerPoint into a video and upload it to YouTube and Facebook. Yes, that all takes effort and time, but remember you want to be the king or queen of useful content!


6. Build subpages for different services or products

Creating a different page for each of the services or products your business provides is vital for search engine optimisation. Think about it this way, if Google visits your website and see a page called “services” and that page lists all the services you provide, how will Google be able to serve a page about a specific service or how can you optimise a page for a specific service. I am not saying that you cannot have a page which is called services with a general overview, but you must also have dedicated pages for each service you provide or products you sell.

Basically, your goal is to give Google and other search engines content, which is concise, which means a page should in most cases be about a specific piece of content.

For example, on my website I have the following services page structure:

  • Services – A General Overview
  • Website Design – A General Overview
    • Business Website Design – A Specific Service Page
    • WordPress Website Design – A Specific Service Page
    • Lead Generation Website Design – A Specific Service Page
    • Ecommerce Website Design – A Specific Service Page
  • Internet Marketing – A General Overview
    • Search Engine Optimisation – A Specific Service Page
    • Social Media Marketing – A Specific Service Page
    • Content Writing – A Specific Service Page
    • Video Production – A Specific Service Page
  • Graphic Design – A General Overview
    • Logo Design – A Specific Service Page
    • Newsletter Design – A Specific Service Page
    • Banner Ad Design – A Specific Service Page
    • Infographic Design – A Specific Service Page

As you can see from above, there are both overview pages and specific content pages. This helps you to optimise content for search engines and helps a visitor find the right service quicker. Also, if you are marketing your website it would be better to send a potential customer to a page that is directly related to the marketing activity. For example, if I created a Facebook post about logo design services, it would make more sense that I direct the potential customer to my logo design service page.

I know the above probably seems obvious, but I cannot count the number of times I have visited a website that has a single service page that I have to read through and scan to find what I am really looking for. Again, make your customer's life easy and this will result in better conversion rates.


7. Grammar and spelling

Well, this might be a bit controversial (sorry in advance), I live and work in London UK, so when I visit a UK based website, I expect the spelling to be in UK English. I know there is not much difference between American spellings and UK English spelling, but it is that little attention to detail that makes you stand out from your competitors.

Before I launch a new webpage or blog post, I use the free Grammarly Chrome extension to check my spelling and grammar. Honestly, this software is simply awesome and free, so no complaints from me.

Always check your spelling and grammar manually or use Grammarly Chrome extension and fix errors. Fixing errors can also help improve your search engine rankings!

To give you a helping hand, watch the video tutorial I created below.


8. Create clear-call-to-action

You want new customers, right? Placing clear call-to-action throughout your website is essential to capturing those new customer leads. In the example breakdown recovery website, I placed a call-to-action on the main website header.

Example website top navigation

The “Get Quote” button is displayed on every page, so it doesn’t matter which page a customer is looking at, they will always be one click away from becoming a potential customer.

You can also see a similar clear call-to-action on my website header.

Example website top call to action

I also like to place a contact form on most of my pages, so a visitor can click the call to action and fill out a form without being re-directed to another page.

Also, place call-to-action throughout the content on your website pages and blog posts, this can be a simple button, text, or a banner. Look above in this blog post and you will see a CTA (call to action) banner.


9. Create a static navigation

On many websites, you will see what web designers call "static" navigation. This is important as a website visitor will always have access to your main content pages when browsing your website. Some pages like this blog post contain lots of useful information, but the page itself is very long.

Using static navigation will give your website visitors’ access to the main navigation as it always displays when a user scrolls down the page.

Example Static Desktop View Navigation

 

Example Static Mobile View Navigation

You will also note that the call to action is always visible when a user is viewing a web page on desktop or tablet devices.

The CTA (call to action) is added to the mobile menu navigation.


10. Create a user-friendly website navigation

Make your navigation easy to understand and use. Keep the options in the top navigation is a maximum of eight to ten clickable links.

Navigation that contains too many options becomes confusing and overwhelming for a website visitor. Remember we want to convert visitors into potential customers so all content we create should eventually take the user to one of our sales pages.

Try to use clear and easily readable fonts, use good font size to make the option easy to read, use contrasting colours to make the options stand out.

A few examples of top navigations I have created for client projects

Website top navigation examples


11. Use images that are suitable for your target audience

There are many free stock image websites where you can download suitable images for your business website. I often use free stock images to add some flair to different types of artwork. For example, I use stock images on the thumbnails for all blog posts, I also reuse the same thumbnail for my YouTube video content. Free stock images can also be used in your social media posts.

I have listed some of the best free stock image websites below:

It is not always suitable to use stock images on a business website page. For example, if you are running a restaurant then it would be better to take real images of your food and restaurant. If you are selling products online, then take unique images of the products.


12. Fill your home page with lots of useful content

Web design trends change often, but for me, the best websites will showcase different aspects of a business on the home page.

For example, on my website I show:

A short and concise introduction to my business

A short and concise introduction to my business

 

A clear call to action in the header

A clear call to action in the header

 

A set of key notifications

A set of key notifications

 

A list of key benefits

A list of key benefits

 

A brief introduction to each of my website services

A brief introduction to each of my website services

 

A brief showcase of client website projects

A brief showcase of client website projects

 

A list of client testimonials

A list of client testimonials

 

A list of recent blog posts

A list of recent blog posts

 

A website design enquiry form

A website design enquiry form

 

A detailed text scrolling box

A detailed text scrolling box

As you can see there is lots of useful content on my home page, my goal is to give the customer a brief introduction to the different types of content on my whole website.

There is also an added advantage from an SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) perspective. Having lots of keyword-targeted content on a home page gives you a better opportunity to mention keyword phrases. But we must remember to build website pages for visitors first and search engines second.

You will notice that I showcased client testimonials, example work and blog posts. The main reason for this is to ensure content is kept fresh on the home page. The blog posts on the home page automatically update when a new blog post is added to the website. The testimonials also update automatically. The showcase projects are added manually but are updated at least once a month.

Why put all this effort into updating the home page?

Think about it this way, if you went to a shop a bought a newspaper today and had a nice read, great! But tomorrow you went back got another newspaper but ended up reading the exact same content you would probably wait a while before buying another.

The search engines are the same, if Google checks your website today and sees the same content tomorrow, and the same content next week, why would Google have a good reason to visit your website daily?

Our goal should be to give users and search engines a valid reason to visit our websites as often as possible, the best way to do this is to keep content updated frequently.


13. Add whitespace to let your website breathe

Adding some white space to your content can help with not only design but also user readability. A website that contains lots of information tightly packed can make the page overwhelming for a user to read. You can also use visual elements to create separation in your content.


14. Optimise header tags

Header tags are basically titles on a page. But in HTML we have access to 6 header tags. The header tags can be used to help the search engine understand what a page is about.

H1 Tag – This of this as the main title for your website page or blog post. In this blog post, the H1 tag is - 30 essential tips for improving your website design.

Note: The H1 tag should only be used once on a page.

H2 Tag – This is a subtitle, think of this as an alternative to the main title. On this blog post, the H2 tag is: How to improve my business website.

Both the H1 and H2 tags above are optimised for generating traffic from search engines. The H1 tag is a key description but the H2 tag is a question.

H3, H4, H5, H6 Tags – You do not need to use all header tags in your website content, but H1 and H2 should be used wherever possible.

Each section of the blog post contains a subtitle. All the subtitles are H3 tags or H4 tags.

It is best practice to incorporate keyword phrases into your header tags for better search engine optimisation when possible.


15. Optimise page titles

The page title is important as it is used in search engine results.

Below is an example Google search result for a blog post

Google search result

The above image is an example from a blog post I created.

The page title used: 14 social media visual marketing stats you need to know!

The goal of the page title should be to incorporate keywords that directly relate to the blog post or page, also try to add some content to the title to entice users to click “you need to know”.

Adding numbers like “14” in the example above help users to understand that there are key elements to view in the article post.

Below is an example Google search result for a website design service

Google search result for website design service

In the example above I have incorporated two keyword phrases in the page title:

This page also has lots of useful content which is targeted at promoting business website design services.

So hopefully you can see a well-constructed page title can help to achieve a better-desired search engine listing.

You can use tools like Uber Suggest to help find the best keyword phrases for your business website pages.

Video tutorial for Uber Suggest Tool


16. Optimise for mobile devices

Making sure your website is optimised for mobile devices is extremely important. Not only from a user perspective but also from a search engine optimisation perspective. Probably like me, I spend most of my working day in front of a desktop or laptop computer, but when I am away from the office my mobile phone is my connection to the internet.

People are used to viewing mobile-friendly websites. In simple terms, this is known as responsive website design. You can do a simple check on your website using the Google Mobile-Friendly testing tool: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly

Here is the result for my website: https://www.dcpweb.co.uk

Run a mobile-friendly test on your website and check you get the good old green text “Page is mobile-friendly”. If you see that then happy days! If not contact your website designers and ask them to get that fixed ASAP.

When building a responsive website you should also consider how content is laid out for different devices. In most cases, the content for displaying on a mobile device should stack in the same sequence as the desktop version. This will help to see upload times and ensure a seamless user experience between different browsing devices.


17. Optimise images and alt tags

Every image on a website page should contain an Alt Tag. Think of the alt tag as a short-written description of an image.

The Alt tag serves two different purposes. First, an image Alt tag can be used to optimise a page for search engines.

Below is an image from my website home page

Ecommerce web design image

Now if I asked you to guess what this image is about; you will probably say something to do with online shopping.

We can see shopping bags, a shopping trolly and a mobile device with product listings.

But search engines see none of this visual information, well not at present, AI (Artificial Intelligence) may change that soon.

If I add an Alt Tag to the image “eCommerce Website Design”, then the search engines will be able to understand what the image is about, it is really that simple.

But choosing the right Alt tag is important, my potential clients are looking for eCommerce Website Design solutions and not Shopping Cart Websites, although both these terms and can be considered similar we have to also think about what a new customer will type into the search engine.

The Alt tag also serves a second important purpose, the image Alt tags is used by screen reading software for the visually impaired. We must build websites that are accessible to everyone and that will help you rank better in search engines.


18. Create content for people and incorporate SEO

Gone are the days when you could simply stuff your website pages with keywords and rank high in the search engines. Search engines like Google are far more advanced and can see any underhand SEO tactics. In any case, you are not building a website for search engines, you are building a website for real people. Before I even think about SEO, I first open a text editor and write content about a product or service as natural as possible. This way I know my content does not look spammy.

Once completed I will then find relevant keyword phrases and carefully incorporate them into the content. I will use the header tags, page title, alt pages to my advantage as mention above.

Here is an example of some badly optimised written content

Bad written content

Here is an example of some better optimised written content:

We custom design and build amazing websites for businesses, increase conversions, revenue, social media engagement and search engine rankings. Find out why over 500 businesses chose DCP Web Designers.

In basic terms we want our written content to be as natural as possible, to read easy and not stuffed with keywords that make the content spammy.


19. Find and fix any 404 errors

OK, this might be a little tricky to explain but I am going to give it a go!

404 error is when you have an existing website and you disable or delete a website page.

If your website is built correctly the user will see a 404 error page. Now we don’t really want the user to see a 404 error page, we want the user to be re-directed to a different piece of content which is similar to the disable or delete a website page.

Here is a good example: https://www.dcpweb.co.uk/business-card-design.html

The above link was a page that use to exist on my old website I built "many moons ago".

I used to offer business card design services but decided to stop as my primary focus was web development.

Now if you click on the link above you will not see a 404 error page, what will happen is you will be re-directed to my graphic design page here: https://www.dcpweb.co.uk/graphic-design

So why is this important? Well, there are a few good reasons.

Let’s say you posted some content on social media that links to a page or have links in your blog posts to a page, you then delete or disable that page.

Users clicking on your social media post or links in your blog will be re-directed to an error page, wouldn't it be better if they are redirected to a page that has some useful alternative content, service, or product?

Google hates 404 errors, so you should do a full audit scan of your website at least once every month to make sure you don’t have any 404 errors.

If you have less than 500 pages then you can use a free tool called “Screaming Frog” to find broken links on your website pages: https://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/broken-link-checker/

You can also try Ahrefs broken link checker: https://ahrefs.com/broken-link-checker


20. Create helpful content for your target audience

If you get a chance, look at my blog. You will see over 300 video tutorials on a wide range of subjects, and hundreds of articles and infographics. Why do I put in so much effort? Well, why not showcase your knowledge?

Show your potential customer you are not a “one-trick pony”. For me, the first thing I look at when working with a new supplier is their competence. It’s not for me to prove that someone else has knowledge in their chosen field, it is for us to prove to our potential clients. Don’t be afraid to share your knowledge, just look at Neil Patel’s website: https://neilpatel.com/blog/

Sharing knowledge helped me gain over 41,000 YouTube subscribers

Ecommerce web design image

My channel grows every day with minimum effort, after all, all I am doing to sharing what I already know.

I now average 300,000 views per month on YouTube, so imagine if I only divert 5% of YouTube traffic to my website,

I will get 15,000 extra visitors per month.

This can be easily achieved and surpassed with careful marketing inside video content.

600 video tutorials have generated over 7,500,000 views

Ecommerce web design image

You can view my YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/dcpwebdesigners


21. Incorporate video content to improve engagement

As mentioned above video content is one of the best ways to improve user engagement.

Why not create some useful tip videos and upload them to YouTube and Facebook?

Video content is very easy for visitors to consume, no reading is required, just sit back watch, and learn.

This is also a great way to showcase your expertise and diversity of knowledge.

When adding video content to your website blogs it is a good idea to have some written content explaining the video, you can even convert the video into a step by step guide.

Check out my blog post about embedding a google map into a website page: https://www.dcpweb.co.uk/blog/how-to-embed-google-map

You will see the video content at the top and a step by step guide below.

By adding video content to my website blog, I was able to reduce my website bounce rate and increase the average time users spend on my website.

These are important key signals for Google to rank your website higher in the search engines.

You will also notice that I incorporated video content into this blog post.


22. Add free PDF guides

Give something to get something! Why not create some free PDF guides to help your existing and new potential customers?

In exchange for an informative guide, you can ask for an email address and the person’s name.

Use a newsletter system to capture those customer leads so you can send them marketing content and more awesome knowledge-based content.

Below I have listed some of the most popular newsletter systems:

Most of the newsletter systems listed above have a free solution to get you kick-started.

Once your email list grows to 10,000+ subscribers then I would suggest using Sendy: https://sendy.co

Check out Sendy, a self hosted newsletter app that lets you send emails 100x cheaper via Amazon SES.

Sendy is a little complex to set up so you will probably need help from your website design agency.

The advantage of using Sendy and Amazon SES is the cost of sending out 1000 emails = £0.10.

So, if you have 10,000 subscribers and you send out one email per week, your monthly cost will be £4.00!


23. Reduce bounce rate

Having a clear message about your business can help to reduce your bounce rate. If a user visits your website and only interacts with a single page and then returns to the entrance page (i.e. search results in Google), then this can be considered as a bounce. The goal is to reduce the number of users that “bounce”.

you will be able to see your website bounce rates once you have installed Google Analytics.

Think of it as a way when you check your Google Analytics and you see a high bounce rate, for example, 80% then this should tell you that there is something wrong with your website content. Sometimes it is not the actual written words but maybe the design or the page load speed, no one likes a slow loading website.

As mentioned above it is a good idea to keep your content fresh and up to date. Try to go back to old blog posts and give them a refresh. Replace old content with new fresh ideas and save yourself some time. You will find it a lot easier to update a blog post than to write a new one. Having said that is it always good to create new blog posts as well, no point in starting a blog if it only every contains a few posts.

A normal bounce rate should be between 25% to 55%. Remember you cannot please everyone.

Here are a few tips to help improve your bounce rates:

1. Improve your content readability

Format your written content correctly, use paragraphs to break up large blocks of text and take the time to incorporate images and other media content in a visually pleasing way.
Use a big and bold title, make that title stand out, and incorporate high volume traffic keywords.

2. Avoid annoying popups

Probably like me you hate those popups which randomly display when you are trying to read some important content or purchase a product. Why not simply incorporate your marketing within the page content, I did that on this blog post. Try adding your newsletter subscription box to the right-side column of your blog and incorporate some banner adverts.

Popups can be useful in certain circumstances, for example, you may show a popup for a discount when a user gets to the shopping basket on your website or a popup when a user click on a banner advert.

3. Create clear and enticing call-to-action

In this blog post, you will see some CTA (call-to-actions) like the “Free Website Advice Banner”. Try to make your call-to-action compelling, after all, you want users to contact you about your services or products, right?
I have other call-to-actions throughout my website like “Tell us about your project”. I change the call-to-actions often to see which perform the best, make sure you experiment with your website CTAs and find the sweet spot for your website visitors.

4. Tell your brand story

I have been in business for over 15 years and I know that can be an important tool for my business.

Below you can see my intro text for my about us page

Company brand story

In the image above you can see within a few words, I have managed to highlight all the services I provide, show that I have over 15 years of experience and a clear CTA for the product that I want to promote.

I think it is also important to show your human side. Many websites I visit do not show the real people behind the business which I think is a shame. After all, when you are buying a product or service you are putting your trust into a person selling you that service or product, right?

Try to incorporate your team members on your about us page or home page.

Here are the profiles of all staff members at DCP Web Designers

DCP team members

5. Speed up website loading times

I guess you are just like me, I hate slow loading websites. Yes, I know I am too impatient, but most of the people visiting your website are too! There are different factors that can affect the loading speed of your website. As mentioned above you need to host your website on a fast and reliable web server.

Cheap slow hosting may save you some cash, but fast hosting will help you make cash! Remember to check my list of hosting providers in the content above.

If you take a picture on your phone or download an image from a stock library, you will find the file size can be between 2MB to 10MB. Now that is way too large and you need to apply compression techniques to fix the file size. Not to worry as it is really a super simple process.

First, you need to re-size the image, as most images will be way too large. Check with your website developer for a suitable width and height of images. To be fair the width is more important than the height. Most of the images in my blog posts are 1100px wide and the height is determined by the type of image content.

I like free software, so I use GIMP image editor to resize images. Here is a free tutorial to help you out.

GIMP Resize Image Tutorial

In the above tutorial, I also show you a website called Compress Jpeg. This website is simply awesome as it automates the compression of images which saves a lot of time: https://compressjpeg.com/

Before optimising images on your website, it is worth testing the website for speed. I often use a tool called Pingdom.

Go this the website tool https://tools.pingdom.com/ and enter your domain.

Screen capture the results and then apply your compressed images.

Now re-test using Pingdom and see if the results have improved.

Here are the results for my website home page before optimisation

Pingdom page speed test before optimisation

My goal is to get the load time under 2 seconds which I have achieved. But I will not stop there, I will go back to my website and improve the code scripts and replace images with scalable vector graphics which are much smaller file sizes.

Results after optimisation of image content and code scripts

Pingdom page speed test after optimisation

6. Open external links in a new window

Let’s say you want to link to another website, it would make sense that you open that external link in a new window, when the user closes that window they will be back on your website.

If you are using WordPress then you can install this handy plugin which automatically sets all your external links to open in a new window: https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-external-links/

If you understand a bit of HTML code then you can simply apply the target=”_blank” attribute to external URLs.

This is a simple technique to help reduce bounce rates as the user is not redirected away from your website.

7. Mobile friendly website

As mentioned above, having a mobile-friendly website should be one of your top priorities. Most of the customers visiting your website will have a smartphone.

At some point, they might use a phone to view your website and if the user experience is poor then this will lead to an increased bounce rate.

Remember to test your website using the Google Mobile-Friendly testing tool: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly

Results for DCP website mobile-friendly test

Google mobile friendly test

The above are just a few tips you can use to improve your website bounce rates.


24. Create useful web tools

There is nothing better than free! If you can create some tools on your website which function well and if you promote and document them well, then you increase your website traffic exponentially. Think about some easy tools you can get built for your website which relate to the products or services you provide.

Take a look at this tool: http://www.vatcalculator.co.uk/

VAT calculator search result

In the image above you will see the Online VAT Calculator tool receives over 500,000+ page visits per month!

Here are some other tools which generate vast amounts of traffic:

Website URL: https://neilpatel.com/ubersuggest/

Type of tool: SEO

Number of visits per month: 2,700,000
Tool Level: Complex


Website URL: https://www.online-calculators.co.uk/diy/roomarea.php

Type of tool: Calculating the floor area of a room

Number of visits per month: 63,000
Tool Level: Intermediate


Website URL: https://www.treads-shoes.com/size-calculator

Type of tool: Shoe measurement

Number of visits per month: 23,800

Tool Level: Intermediate


Website URL: https://www.calculatorpro.com/calculator/image-size-calculator/

Type of tool: Image resize

Number of visits per month: 6600

Tool Level: Simple


Now you don’t need to go and spend thousands of pounds in creating hand-coded custom calculator, there are many websites that offer solutions at a reasonable cost.

Below I have listed a few of my favourites:

Here is some example of web tools we have created for our DCP website.

DCP aspect ratio calculator

DCP aspect ratio calculator

 

DCP VAT calculator tool example

DCP VAT calculator


25. Add social bookmarking tools

As you can see on this blog post there are social icons on the left side of the page or on the footer of the page, this depends on the type of device you are using. Adding social bookmarking tools is a great way to get free traffic to your website as your website visitors are promoting your content using their social media accounts.

On my website, I am using a free tool called “Addthis”. The tool is highly customisable but does require a little coding knowledge to implement.

Send this link to your website developers and ask them to help you implement social sharing: https://www.addthis.com/

If you are using WordPress, then I would recommend one of the following social sharing plugins:


26. Showcase your work or products

If you offer services, then why not create a portfolio to showcase your work? Having a website portfolio is a great way to show your potential customer that you can deliver the services you provide.

Remember to incorporate text, images, and optional video content for each example in your portfolio. You can even create categories that allow website visitors to filter your portfolio work.

Creating a portfolio is more difficult if you are a start-up business, but why not simply add some examples of what you can achieve.

Make sure you keep your portfolio up to date, try to add projects as quickly as possible after completion.

You can also create a case study section on your website if your services are more results-driven. Case studies are great as you can break down how to achieve an ROI (return on investment) for each service you have provided to your clients.

If you are selling physical products, then why not create a video gallery contain product demonstrations? You can upload your video content to YouTube and embed the videos into your website. Create a separate page for each product and even better, try to get video testimonials to give your products more credibility.

Here are some awesome examples of portfolios:

Here are some awesome examples of case studies:

Here are some awesome examples of video product demos:

Remember to add a clear call to action throughout your portfolio example work, case studies or product demos.


27. Add a clearly placed phone number

I am sure you have been to a big supplier website before and all you want to do is call them for some support, but trying to find the elusive customer support phone number is like “looking for a needle in a haystack”.

We live in a digital world where we communicate using digital tools like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Email, Skype, Zoom, to mention just a few.

For me, a simple call to speak to a real person is priceless. To make your website visitors life a little easier I suggest adding your phone number to every page on the header of your website or the footer, or better both. Also, create a dedicated contact page and list your full contact details, opening hours, location, and an online contact form.

On my website, I list both my landline number and mobile phone number. 90% of phone calls I get are to my mobile so do not be afraid to display your mobile number or get a sim for business only calls.


28. Add commenting tools

If you have a blog and you are creating amazing content, then it would be good to allow visitors to comment. Creating a place for visitors to comment on your content and help you to understand what is working in terms of getting visitors to your website.

If you create a blog post on a specific subject and you see that posts in getting lots of visitors and comments then it would make sense that you keep that content up to date and create more just like it. Of course, do not duplicate content but you can use the content as a template for your next blog post.

WordPress as default has commenting built into the engine but over time you will see a lot of spam commenting. To prevent this, you can install a plugin to manage comments on your blog posts.

Below I have listed some of the most popular antispam WordPress plugins:

If you are running a custom-built website like my website then you can still add commenting management to your blog. I suggest you give https://talk.hyvor.com/ a try.

Talk Hyvor offer a 14-day free trial so give it a go and see if this can improve your visitor retention and user interaction.


29. Test your website and constantly improve

Your business website does not last forever. You will need to upgrade and maintain your website to ensure you are one step ahead of your competitors. If you are using WordPress then make sure you are upgrading the WordPress engine, theme, and plugins on a regular basis.

This will help prevent hackers from accessing your website.

If you are using a website design company to build your website, then agree on a maintenance plan.

Before hiring a website designer, get them to send you a full specification and quote. If they send you back a few lines of text and a cost, then avoid them!

Try to find a web developer that is local to your business or at least in the same country.

After all, you are running a business and communication with your web developers is essential if you want to succeed.

Review your website on a weekly or monthly basis and set out an action plan on how you can improve your content.

As mentioned above, start by researching your competitors, after all, they are ranking on page one of Google for a reason.

Don’t rely on SEO as your only source of leads. In fact, over 70% of my clients are generated from referrals.

Simply deliver an exceptional service to your customers and if only 20% recommend you then that is 20% free marketing for your business.

Don't forget to speak to your web designer about implementing schema markup on your website to help improve your SEO.


30. Get impartial feedback

You can ask your family or close friends for feedback on your website, but you also need to get real impartial feedback to really know what needs to be improved.

Why not ask a friend to recommend someone you do not know to give you feedback on your website?

I do this all the time, and it is a “win win” situation.

First, I get some good constructive feedback, second, I get to make a new friend, third I get to entice that new friend to help promote my services.

Of course, I pay people for the feedback or help improve their websites, so in the end, everyone is a winner!


View this article on slide share: 30 essential tips for improving your website design in 2021


Article created by: Pankaj Shah | DCP Web Designers


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