Why web design is as important as content
If you think visitors to your website are reading your content, think again. There is a high chance that they aren’t. People tend to skim a web page to find words that are relevant to what they are searching for. If your website isn’t optimized for this, the valuable few seconds a viewer spends skimming your page are wasted.
More than half of website page views get under 15 seconds of attention. That’s not a lot of time to make an impression. Even if visitors do linger on your site, they will only read about 20% of written content.
Furthermore, visitors will skip over short words of 2-3 letters and almost always fixate on the longer words, which are more likely to be relevant to what they are searching for.
Going by the statistics, if you’re still reading this, you’re doing more than most people!
Unfortunately, businesses spend a lot of time trying to stuff as much information as possible into their sites but nowhere near enough time figuring out how to get people to read it. This is a grave error. Before a business can even think about converting website viewers into prospects or customers, they must first find a way to make them linger on their page and read the information available.
Fortunately, there are some ways that a business can use high-quality website design to keep the window of opportunity open.
The left side matters
Viewers spend an incredible 80% of their time reading the left-hand side of a web page whereas the right-hand side only gets a mere 20%. This makes sense considering most of the world reads from left to right.
A good website will make sure it has its most eye-catching statements to the left of the page to ensure maximum exposure when someone visits.
People read in an “F” pattern
The first few lines of text get the most attention. The next few get less. The further down the page a viewer goes, the less attention each line of text gets. This results in an “F” pattern of reading across the page.
What businesses should take from this is that they should be placing their value proposition and hard-hitting statements at the top of the page. Menus should be placed elsewhere, such as along the top or on the side.
Typography needs to be on point
Messy, unreadable fonts are an instant turn off to anyone looking for information. It’s fine to get creative with typography, but always keep the viewer in mind when doing so. Clean, easy-to-read fonts get the most positive reactions.
Also important is:
- Choosing fonts that pair well together.
- Ensuring font sizes are uniform throughout the website.
- Maintaining good contrast between the background and text.
- Keeping headlines short and powerful.
- Avoiding overly wide or narrow text line widths.
Relevant content is key
People are most likely to find the information they seek on a website that has kept its information relevant, on point, and within its niche.
Creating content that doesn’t relate to the overall website makes the specific information harder to find. Keeping content relevant improves the user experience and makes people likely to spend longer viewing your website, which can be good for conversions.
Consumers prefer video
Many businesses are realizing the power of video over text. 45% of web users watch more than an hour of Facebook or Youtube videos a week. That’s a huge amount of people.
A short one-minute video that grabs attention tends to have far more impact than a page full of text. Having a video that auto-plays when someone visits your web page can be very effective.
Pop-up banners are mostly hated
If a business only has 15 seconds to make an impression, it makes sense to direct the viewer to its content, not spend those precious few seconds asking the viewer if they want to sign up to a newsletter or receive a discount code.
It’s no secret that pop-ups are annoying, but well-timed pop-ups can be effective. If you absolutely must have a pop-up make sure you observe the following:
- Delay the pop-up by 60 seconds, giving the viewer a chance to read some of the content.
- Only have them appear every couple of weeks. This prevents irritation from regular customers.
- Make sure the pop-up is relevant to the page being viewed.
- Make sure the information on the pop-up is extremely useful or valuable to the viewer.
Sloooooow web page loading times
- With today’s short attention spans, if a website doesn’t open immediately with all images present and correct, a viewer is likely to move swiftly to the next website. It’s extremely frustrating for someone to click on a page only to have to sit there waiting for it to open.
- It’s imperative, therefore, to optimize your web pages so that they load quickly and without errors.
Here are a few things you can do to ensure this:
- Minimize HTTP requests.
- Enable compression and browser caching.
- Optimize images and CSS delivery.
- Reduce server response time, site plugins, and redirects.
- Prioritize above-the-fold content.
This has never been more important. As of July 2018, site-loading speeds are a factor in Google’s ranking algorithms. Fast-loading websites will be bumped higher up the search results. Slow sites will eventually get buried.
To make an impact, the window of opportunity is small. With knowledge of people’s viewing habits, you can create a website that’s not only full of meaningful information but is also optimized for maximum exposure.