What works (and what doesn't) on an effective website

Websites are living, breathing things. Websites evolve and change and so does the way users interact with your website. There are lots of web design trends and even some commonplace design layouts that everyone assumes are great - but are they really?

Here are some real statistics that show what makes an effective website - and the mistakes that hurt your bottom line.

01. Custom images are better than stock
You may well know that those goofy stock images of a girl smiling with salad are pretty lame. There are lots of really good (and free) stock photo options out there these days (pssst... here's a great list), but even those don't work quite as well as having your own, unique photos. The goal is to humanize your brand because people buy from people. They want to feel like they know you or have some sense of who you are and what it will be like to work with you.

02. Rotating banner images don't work
This seems to be a dying trend, but if your site has more than one photo at the top of your homepage and is set up to rotate or slide through each image, you're wasting good photography. Stats show that only a teeny tiny group will click on one of those images, and if they do, 86% will click on the first. Even if you're just trying to showcase images, people are impatient and may not wait for that third photo to rotate through before scrolling or clicking away.

03. Too much copy can hurt you
When you're a creative biz owner, it's easy to want to share your story with beautiful, creative language. The problem with lots of text and too much flowery language is that your message gets lost. My tip I give to my web clients is to cut their copy in half. Sometime I ask them to cut it in half twice. If someone lands on your site and has to spend time looking for the jist or worse - try to make sense of what you're trying to say, you're likely to lose them. Simply say what you mean and keep is simple.

04. Photos with people SELL
As I mentioned above, people buy from people. Yes, we're all behind our little screens here, but we were wired for real connection. It's no surprise then that photos that contain people help your audience relate to you and ultimately buy from you. Even just a hand or back of someone's head works! 

05. Obvious navigation names are best
Similar to #3 above, you want to keep your navigation tabs named cleanly and clearly. Page names like About and Contact are both obvious to all audiences and Google (which will crawl these to understand what your website is about). Sometimes as creatives we want to do something fun like "Get the Goodies" instead of Shop, but try to save this for the copy on that page rather than the navigation link.


Those are doable, right?! And they'll make a big different when it comes to creating an effective website for your biz. 

Looking for more tools for your web toolbelt? Check out the June Mango shop for handy page guide ("A step-by-step guide to SEO) and code snippets for taking your standard Squarespace site to the next level!  


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Squarespace, Web DesignKali Edwards