As of the January 2018, there are over 1.8 billion websites in existence—and that number continues to grow every day!
Having a modern website can help your business be accessible, stand out online, show your customers that you are working to stay on top of trends, and prove that you are keeping their experiences in mind.
Feel like your website is stuck in the past? Here are 4 surefire ways to modernize your site and help it stand out above the rest.
1. Design for the User’s Experience
User Experience (UX) involves anything that a user experiences while on your website. This includes the obvious elements like reading content, to components that are less tangible like the amount of time a page takes to load. These elements can affect the experience users have on your website and, ultimately, how they feel about your business.
Focusing on user experience during the website design process can make a world of difference in your website's success and popularity with customers and prospects.
A few simple elements to help improve a user’s experience are:
- Make your website easy to navigate. Having a website that makes sense seems obvious but is extremely important. Make navigation intuitive; don’t hide pages where they don’t belong, have a clear menu, and have a layout that is clean, simple, and easy to understand.
- Have a mobile-friendly version of your website. In many cases, the layout and design of the desktop version of your website won’t translate well when people visit your site on a mobile device. The prevalence of smartphone searches means that it is necessary to have a mobile responsive website. This will help your users have a positive experience whether they are on a mobile, desktop, or tablet device.
- Make your website easy to find. This involves optimizing your website for search engines. Read more about it below!
2. Optimize for Search Engines
Make your business easy to find for customers both online and in person by incorporating search engine optimization (SEO) and local SEO practices. Building in SEO makes it easy for search engines to find your website and display it in search results. SEO will help your website rank high in search results and increase its visibility.
SEO and local SEO will help prospects find your website, explore your business both online and in person, and convert them into loyal customers.
3. Incorporate Design Elements
Having great design is always important for a modern website. What is considered popular in website design is constantly changing, so it is necessary to stay informed on what the latest trends are.
Here are a few timeless ideas for modern design elements to include in your website:
- Typography: Including large typographic elements can be eye-catching, gets the point across quickly, and is a unique design element if the font is interesting and fun.
- Hero images: These images are typically large photos in the background of a website. Other elements like text are overlaid on top of the images. These can be eye-catching, especially if they are relevant to your business. For example, a great use of a hero image would be a travel website using a beach photo behind their search bar. Photos can tell a multitude stories that simple text cannot.
- Videos: Another way to capture the user’s attention is to include videos, especially if it relates to your company. You can even use your own videos for a personalized touch. Incorporate videos to explain unfamiliar concepts, to show examples, or just to spice up your website’s look.
- Parallax scrolling: Parallax is an effect that “uses multiple backgrounds which seem to move at different speeds to create a sensation of depth (creating a faux-3D effect) and an interesting browsing experience” (Awwwards.com). This effect is a fun feature that catches the eye and always wows the user with its modern feel.
Need more web design ideas? Read about what web designers are doing in 2018.
4. Follow Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are a set of guidelines that have been developed with the goal of “providing a single shared standard for web content accessibility that meets the needs of individuals, organizations, and governments internationally” (W3C Website Accessibility Initiative).
In other words, following the WCAG makes web content more accessible to people with disabilities.
The definition of this Web “content” envelops information in a web page or application including text, images, and sound, as well as code or markup that defines structure and presentation. These guidelines also stretch into the realm of mobile accessibility.
A small number of alterations that can make a website more accessible according to the guidelines include:
- Including live captions
- Adding alternate text for images
- Using resizable text
- Having an appropriate color contrast ratio
You want your website to be as inclusive as possible so everyone can use your site comfortably and are able to find the information they are looking for without issue.
For more information and to find out how to be WCAG compliant, you can learn more here.
Whether you have built your own website or work with a web design services agency, you should consider how up-to-date your website is today. Including these updated elements in your website can result in an impressive, inclusive, and modern site that draws in customers and keeps your business in their minds even after they are gone.
Thanks for reading!