Guide: Everything You Need to Know About WordPress Web Design

Guide: Everything You Need to Know About WordPress Web Design

How much does your WordPress web design impact your business?

Your website’s design is often the first impression that people have of your business. It takes only five one-hundredths of a second to create that first impression in the mind of your potential customers.

That’s literally a blink of an eye.

Your potential customers then look for things to support that first impression, whether it’s positive or negative.

If a customer has a negative impression, they’ll leave your site. With a positive impression, they’ll look at your site’s design and then decide if they want to buy or sign up for your email list. That’s how important your site’s design is to your business.

Would you like to know what it takes to design a WordPress site that people will love?

Read on to learn how you can take your website’s design from good to great.

Design for Users, Not Search Engines

When you design a WordPress site, it’s tempting to do so with only SEO in mind. You have your keywords, and in the early days of SEO, they’d take up much of the site.

The thing is, when you focus too much on SEO, you forget about the user. Not only that but if you have a bad user experience, your search results will be affected.

In today’s SEO world, users matter more than keywords. Things like user intent, click through rate and bounce rate are all part of the algorithm Google uses to display search results. Your site’s speed and responsiveness play a major part in search results, too.

The bottom line: provide a great user experience and you’ll rank higher in search results.

An example is Study Places, which uses a simple theme to help user experience whilst enjoying high rankings.

Learn About Your Site’s Users

Before you dig deep into your new site design, you want to take the time to learn about your site’s current users.

You should have Google Analytics installed on your site. If not, then You don’t have to dig deep into analytics. You want to answer three crucial questions:

  • Where are your site’s visitors coming from?
  • What device are they using?
  • How long do they stay on your site?

This will enable you to put yourself in the user’s shoes and design the site for them.

Let’s say you find that your site’s visitors are coming from organic search. They stay on your site for a few seconds and they’re on mobile devices.

You know that you have to make sure your site is easy to read on mobile and your site is designed for specific actions.

What is the Goal of Your Site?

The second thing to figure out about your site is to know what the goal of the site is.

Do you want visitors to purchase a product? Do you want them to sign up for your email list? Do you want them to call you or contact you?

There are several other goals that companies have for their website. These are just a few examples:

  • Increase sales
  • Position the company as an industry expert
  • Interact with current customers
  • Build brand awareness

Before you begin your WordPress web design, take some time and come up with 2-3 goals for your website. You should have one primary goal, and the other goals are secondary goals.

For example, your primary goal may be to sell products, with your secondary goal to get people signed up on your email list.

Your website design needs to support these goals.

Qualities of Good WordPress Web Design

Website design has basic core principles that apply to every industry. These are the most important ones that will appeal to your users and to search engines alike.

Colors Consistent with Your Brand

One of the best things about having a WordPress site is that you can operate it out of the box. The problem with that is that your site can look like every other WordPress site out there.

WordPress sites are also very easy to customize. A good starting point for your website is to customize the colors so it’s consistent with your brand.

That makes your site instantly familiar to those who are already aware of your brand. It’s also a chance to introduce your brand to new people.

Simple Navigation

When users visit your site, they want to find information and find it fast. That’s why your site has to be easy to use.

You don’t have much time to keep the attention of your site’s users. If they can’t find the information they’re looking for fast, they will go elsewhere.

Keep your menu items limited to the most important pages on your site. They need to be organized in a way that users can find information.

If you have multiple services, then you can have each type of service listed under a Services menu item.

Use White Space Wisely

White space is one of those things that can be great for website design when done well. The trouble is that it’s rarely done well.

White space is open space on your website’s page. It’s usually used to draw attention to other elements of a page.

A good use of white space is on a home page that only has one image. The eye is automatically drawn to that image.

On a blog post, too much white space can be detrimental. You want to strike a balance between having easy to read the text and enough space to draw the eye to the next line or heading.

Use High-Quality Images

When you upload images to your site, be sure to compress them. Images that aren’t compressed are large files that can slow down your website.

Compressing them shrinks the file sizes down without losing image quality.

There are plenty of plugins available that will compress the images when you upload them. Two of the most popular are EWWWW Image Optimizer and WPSmush. Both are free to use with premium upgrades available.

Ready for Mobile Devices

Having a website that’s responsive will please search engines and users. About 60% of all searches are done on mobile devices.

Google has recognized this growing trend and has shifted towards mobile first indexing, which could impact your search results.

The easiest way to make your WordPress site responsive is to pick a responsive theme. A responsive theme will work across all types of devices.

Call to Action

One of the first steps in the design process is to lay out your goals for the site. A call to action on each page will guide users towards those goals.

Let’s say that your main goal for your site is to sell more products. Your second goal is to get people to sign up to your email list.

You can design your site, so you have a ribbon at the top to guide users to your product page. You can entice them with 10% off or provide another incentive.

If a visitor overlooks the sale page, you can add an email subscription box in the sidebar or at the bottom of the page.

There are plugins from HelloBar and MailerLite that will easily handle these tasks.

It is important to note that when you do add these call to action features, you don’t compromise the user experience. You want them to be subtle, otherwise, you risk losing potential customers.

WordPress Security

These days, site security has to be considered to be a part of the process. Out of all of the hacked websites in 2017, 83% of them were WordPress sites.

You don’t want to lose all of your design work because your site was hacked. If you’re a WordPress newbie, how can you make sure your site is safe and secure? Plugins.

Two plugins that are widely used in WordPress are Sucuri and WordFence. They both have free versions with premium upgrades.

Once your website is built, you want to make sure your site is updated and backed up on a regular basis.

Website Speed

A slow website can cost you business. Almost half of all internet users expect a website to load in less than two seconds.

If your site takes longer than that to load, then you’ll lose about 40% of site visitors.

There are ways to speed up your website. The first is to choose a WordPress theme that’s fast and simple.

You can also install plugins to speed up your site like W3 Total Cache or Autoptimize. These will help compress and cache some of your site’s files and make them download faster.

If you do use plugins, you don’t want to use too many on your site. Plugins can slow your site down, so keep them to a minimum.

WordPress Website Design with Impact

When you design a WordPress site, it’s all too easy to use it as is with no customization. If you do that, you’re missing the impact your site has on visitors.

A WordPress web design that puts the user first is sure to set your site up for long-term success. Users will love it and search engines will respond with better search rankings.

If you want expert help designing your site, contact us today.

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