There’s no way around it, businesses and individuals who want to make an impact on the Internet must have a website. And if you’re an author or blogger who needs to bring the world to your doorstep, that means you.
You need a website to establish an online presence, attract visitors, provide those visitors with an overview of your business (books?), and display your products and services. If your website (or blog) depends mainly on hits from search engines to attract traffic, it can take forever to cultivate a strong following. That’s why sharing is critical to your blog’s success. Even when traffic does begin to build, you’ll need to provide good content and a great design to keep those visitors coming back.
That’s right, your website design can make a BIG difference.
A crucial factor in retaining repeat customers is the browsing experience offered to these users. A fast-loading, high-quality, branded website design has a huge impact on the impression a website will make. If a site is too busy, overloaded with graphics, disorganized or difficult to navigate, visitors are not likely to stay and digest the content, and are much less likely to return.
Web surfers have a natural tendency to be drawn to a well-functioning, aesthetically pleasing site. To pique readers’ interest, one of the best investments you can make is a professional website design, suitable for your content, with pages that load quickly and are easily navigable. A presentable website makes it much more comfortable and convenient for viewers to browse your content, which in turn makes them more likely to spend more time there, subscribe, and return.
A good website design makes the site’s pages easy for both human users and search engines to find. Search engines scan the content and catalog it, and assign rankings. (Need an SEO Tutorial?). For this reason, your website’s architecture and coding needs to be as organized as possible. In addition to improving SEO, a lean and well-structured site can also affect the page load speed. Page download time – the number of seconds it takes for a website page to populate – is an important element of the user experience. If pages load slowly, visitors might get frustrated and move on.
A good web developer will optimize (that is, minimize) the size of the images and assets used on the site. Optimized images are one of the elements that speed up page load times and increase the chances of keeping the audience interested. If you’re managing your site yourself, you can use plugins like the EWWW Image Optimizer to reduce the size of your images.
A slow-loading website can raise your “bounce” rate – that is, the percentage of visitors who land on your site and leave quickly. You can check your traffic gauge and bounce rate by typing your URL into Alexa. And, if you suspect your site is loading slowly and you want to know why, type your URL into GTMetric’s search box and check out their comprehensive feedback.
And FYI, many web design packages provide these services as a default.
Although I used a WordPress frame and Bluehost for my own self-hosted site, template-based design services can be especially convenient for website creation. Most contemporary services simplify site creation and provide a solid foundation as part of their basic template. They often provide built-in SEO architecture and other techniques that help drive traffic to a website.
Building your own website design with services such as the 1&1 website builder is a fast way to get a professional-looking website with all techniques in place that can help you attract and retain traffic.
Customization and individuality
Using a template-driven platform to establish a website’s layout and visual hierarchy is a viable shortcut to setting up your own from scratch. Templates can allow you to personalize the site design to fit the tone and personality of your brand.
For instance, if you want to sell products directly from your website, you could add a plugin or purchase independent software and integrate it into your existing site. Or, you can utilize a template-based e-commerce company that offers an online shopping cart as a feature.
Designing a website to be unique and memorable is by far the best method of retaining traffic. The faster and more memorable the design, the more time a user spends on a website, and the more likely they will be to return.
Readers, have any of you used a template-based platform such as 1&1, Shopify, Weebly, or Squarespace to build your website? We’d love to hear your experiences and recommendations. Please leave a comment and share!
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Image by Flood G.