If you had a physical shopfront, you would go to great lengths to make it look as appealing as possible. After all, it’s the shop window that draws the customers in, right?

In the online world, your website is the front window into your business. It’s what will tempt a potential customer into buying, or turn them away. In fact, 75% of consumers say that they judge a company’s credibility based on their web design. And since the arrival of COVID, more and more people have been heading online to do their shopping. So this means having a fast loading, easy-to-navigate website is vital for the ongoing success of your business.

The following seven web design principles are integral to attracting and keeping users on your site. Check them against your own website to see how you shape up.

1.     Web design that’s intuitive

Known in the design world as ‘user experience’, the way a customer navigates around your website should be a key aspect of your design. You want to make getting from page to page as simple as possible and ensure that a user is seamlessly able to access the information they’re looking for.

In this day and age, no one wants to hunt down what they’re looking for on a website—they want it served up on a silver platter.

2.    Call to actions (CTAs)

A CTA is a clear and direct, well, call to action. It’s where you encourage your customers to take the next step. This might be to sign up for your newsletter, buy a product or connect with someone from your team. Seems pretty important right? Funnily enough though, research indicates that around 70% of small businesses don’t have a CTA on their homepage.

While we’re talking CTAs, the wording you use is just as important as the inclusion of it in your web design. Try avoid words like ‘click here’ and ‘buy now’ as they’re so overused we hardly register them anymore.

3.    Responsiveness

A responsive website is one that adjusts to fit the size of the screen without the user needing to pinch and zoom. The vast majority of people now do most of their browsing and buying via their smartphones or tablets and they expect the web design to be as good—if not better than when they access a site on a desktop.

Responsiveness should be a standard practice when designing and developing a website. So if you haven’t yet joined the responsiveness party, you’re more than fashionably late.

4.    Compelling content

Web design is part layout, part branding and part content. What do the words on your website say about your company? Are they engaging and compelling or dull and forgettable? Are they clear and comprehendible or confusing and jumbled? What you say and how you say it can make or break your conversion.

5.    Clean, simple website design

Have you ever walked into a retail store and been turned off by cluttered racks or shelves? The design of your website is much the same. Overwhelming colours, too much content or a poorly considered layout is a sure-fire way to turn visitors away.

Clean design with clear hierarchy is much more appealing to the human eye. Plus, it conveys a sense of professionalism that instils confidence in your customers that you are a legitimate business who knows their stuff.

6.    Branding consistency

Across all aspects of your brand, consistency is key. Your colour palette, logo, imagery, key messaging and brand voice should be recognisably you and unwavering across all platforms and customer touchpoints. Consistency helps to build trust in your brand and since your website is your online shopfront, it’s an important piece of your branding puzzle.

7.    Optimised for search engines

Search engine optimisation (SEO) will help you land a higher ranking placement when someone conducts a search for your type of business. For a strong SEO foundation, you need to use targeted keywords on each of your website pages which search engines then track in order to deliver the most relevant results to searching users.

Remember though, keywords are only part of the picture. The content that goes around the keywords is just as important to landing you more traffic.