Good web design is not always about how many bells, whistles and slick apps you cram into your site. Good web design is how effectively your site achieves your goals. How does your website achieve your goals? Is it a lean mean fighting ninja greyhound or a lumbering St Bernard that’s been at the brandy?

Good Web Design – less in more

Do you know what features on your website are fluff and which are effective? What pages, features and functions are your visitors responding to, and which are just taking up space? If your goal is to provide a great user experience, and ultimately turn your visitors into customers, then you need to know what works, and what is turning potential clients away.
the subtle art of good web design
It may sound really boring, but every page and feature on your website has to have a specific job and purpose. It may not be hard to identify, but if some aspect of your site isn’t helping you achieve your goal, or worse, actively working against your goals, then you must get rid. Here’s why:

Are you causing a distraction?

Most website features distract from your overall goal. If you want a visitor to perform some specific action – make a purchase, download your e-book, fill in a form – then you need a clear call to action. Your CTA button should be the most prominent thing on the page, so you don’t want some flashy graphics or animation diverting the visitors attention elsewhere.

Are you slowing your website down?

Many features slow a website down. Fancy pants graphics, animations and plugins that run too many scripts slow a site down, which as we know is bad for Search Engine Optimisation and bad for your visitor’s nanosecond long attention span. If your site doesn’t load in 3 seconds or less, put it on a diet. If you want to know how fast your website loads, and why, visit GT Metrix here for all the data you need and how to fix any errors.

Do all the features really add value?

Is that live Facebook feed really keeping visitors engaged on your page, or is it just distracting them and encouraging them to leave your site, mess around on Facebook and never return. Google analytics can help you find out what your visitors are doing. Personally I’d never encourage visitors to leave a site, especially to FB where the usual laws of time don’t apply and one minute is actually 1.5 hours in reality.

If a feature on your website does add value and enhance your visitors experience on your site, then that’s great. If that Facebook feed is actually helping you to build a community of fans and customers, then it’s mission accomplished. If not, time to prune!

Decision Time

So how do you decide what’s relevant and what’s not? How do you decide what’s good and should be kept, and what dead weight you need to shed? Ask yourself the following questions…

  • Does it enhance my visitors experience of my website?
  • Does it help me achieve a business goal?
  • Does it slow my website down?
  • Is it just a distraction?

If you are unsure, test your site with Google analytics. Find out which pages your visitors are reading, how long they spend on your site, are they completing the tasks you want them to (e.g. fill in an enquiry form)? If they aren’t spending a significant amount of time on your site, or they are bouncing away to other sites (you know… your competitors) then you need to do something about it.

Personally I favour the lean, mean fighting machine approach when building websites. I clearly define my Goals and make sure everything on the site works in harmony to achieve that goal. Even this blog post.

So don’t be afraid to be brutal – like the overdue spring clean, be ruthless with your website and make it a ninja greyhound, not an overweight St Bernard, and you will find that you are harvesting more leads and clients from your website.