Complete Website Best Practice Guide for 2022

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Complete Website Best Practice Guide for 2022

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It is an excellent idea to create a well-designed website or update your existing website when looking to improve your digital presence. Not only will you likely see a boost in traffic to your site, but you’ll also see your visitors more engaged with your content. Our website best practice guide for 2022 explores the different methods you can utilize to optimize your website and allow it to aid you in achieving your business goals.

Long gone are the days of text blocks seven pages long. Websites today need more elements to resonate with viewers, and please search engines. Your visitors must be entertained and actively engaged with your site from the moment they arrive. Although creating an excellent website might seem ambitious, it’s more straightforward than you think. To help you achieve this, we’ve rounded up the seven best practices you must follow to build a website that drives traffic like you’ve never seen before.

Table of Contents

Maximize Your Design

It is well known that, on average, a website needs to capture someone’s attention in roughly 8 seconds, but the length of time that visitors stay on the website after that matters too. Across all industries, the average site visitor stays on a page for around 54 seconds. That means you must convince someone to move down the funnel towards your conversion goal in less than a minute. Other content and pages have different metrics. For example, blog posts will keep someone around for 3-5 minutes. However, this engagement is only helpful if you know how to harness it (using internal links to keep visitors on your site). If you notice your visitors leaving much sooner, you may also need to give your content an audit.

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It is crucial to create a design that captures visitors’ attention to get them to stay. Your website has to be aesthetically pleasing without being overtly obnoxious. You need to look professional and have content that visitors can easily understand. Avoid intense and disorganized color palettes, flashing lights/media, and the overuse of exclamation points. Although this may seem like a lot to consider, following these fundamental principles should put you on the right track. These encompass a majority of the best practices stated above:

I. Consider the UX/UI

We’ve discussed this in much more detail in other posts, but we think a refresher may be beneficial. The user experience is among the crucial factors when designing your site. Your target audience, business goals, and industry best practices must be considered. Even small mistakes and hurdles for potential customers can cost you the sale or the conversion. You’re not going to be able to impress everyone with your site. Still, you can move many visitors down the funnel with a well-crafted website design and navigation.

II. Audit Your Accessibility

We’ve come a long way in thinking of accessibility. However, far too many websites still aren’t accessible enough for those with disabilities. Because of this, the federal government has set up guideline for website designers to ensure their resources can be used by all. Some things to consider when looking to make your site accessible include:

  • Good contrast – Grey on grey or orange on yellow don’t look great and are a nightmare for those with disabilities. Instead, look to create a website with a high amount of contrast so everyone can partake in your content.

  • Alt-text and captions – Photos need a clear description of what they are. In contrast, captioning videos allow people from all walks of life to understand what’s being said properly. Not only does alt text benefit those who are visually impaired, but it also boosts your credibility with search engines.

  • Obnoxious fonts – We’re all for expressing ourselves, but cursive or curly fonts can be difficult for some people to read. When redesigning your site, look for fonts that are easy to read while still conveying your website’s branding.

III. Utilize Color Psychology

There are studies on the psychology of color for site design, but this section will be a quick overview. The primary thing to remember is that color can influence if someone likes or dislikes a product. When looking at colors on your website, take the time to learn what colors mean to people and how they can influence decision-making or mood.

Although you’re not going to please every person with this method (colors mean different things to different people from other parts of the world), you can still use them to your advantage. There are numerous color schemes you can use as well, including triadic (choosing any three colors 120 degrees away from one another) and analogous (three complimentary colors). Following one of these color schemes can create a beautiful website that people find visually appealing.

Website Speed

Remember when people used to sit around for a few minutes for a webpage to load during the age of dial-up? Those days are long gone. Today, over 50% of people expect a website page to load in under 3 seconds. This means you must prioritize the speed of your website and page load times. Creating a fast site comes with its challenges, and you need to follow a few key steps to ensure your site is working as quickly as it can, including:

wormhole tunnel passing by at a high speed

I. Running Speed Tests

You can use an assortment of speed tests to ensure your site works as intended, but we recommend  Google’s PageSpeed Insights. On a scale from 1-100, the site will tell you exactly how quick your site is and show you ways to improve. This will allow you to discover:

  • Where you can improve your site’s speed
  • What are your current page speeds are
  • Avoid conversion rate damage

     

II. Use Correct Image Formats

We’ve all heard debates on which image format is the right one to use (In general, WebP and AVIF are the best formats). However, converting all your PNGs and JPEGs to a different format can be an uphill battle. Instead, look to use a website plugin that will automatically compress your images as needed. However, the overuse of plugins comes with their issues.

III. Minimize Plugin Usage

Here’s the deal with plugins. They are excellent tools when used in moderation. Unfortunately, many site owners think they need every plugin available to help their website function. This could not be more wrong and only leads to significant issues down the line. Instead, look to create a website that uses plugins sparingly yet effectively. This will make your site faster and easier for your visitors to navigate.

Engage Your Audience

Now that we’ve got the technical stuff out of the way, it’s time to focus on the heart and soul of your website: creating engaging content for your visitors. An engaged audience is more likely to stay on your site for a solid length of time and enjoy their visit while on your site. Some things you can do to improve your site include:

I. Create Great Content

Content is king, and you need plenty of high-quality content to attract site visitors. Although you can read more about creating great content for your website in our other articles, we want to go over a few fundamental principles for those who wish to read the TL;DR version:

  • Think of Your Readers: Your goal is to inform and move visitors down the funnel, but what is your reader looking to accomplish? Beyond learning more about a product or service, they want to be educated on the topics your business specializes in. Make sure your content is easily digested and informative.

  • Prioritize Engagement: Readers are real people on the other side of the screen. Make sure you take the time to create engaging and enjoyable content to keep visitors coming back.

 

  • Format Your Text: As mentioned earlier, there’s nothing more off-putting than a long text block. Take the time to format your text in a way that is easy to read.

 

  • Write for People & Search Engines – Although SEO is vital, writing website copy strictly for search engines will now accomplish your goals. Your content must be easy for your human readers to follow before considering search engines.

II. Avoid Lengthy Text

As you look over this article, you probably notice a fair number of breaks, headers, and bullet points. There is a reason why we have formatted it this way. In simple terms, we want you to be able to digest all of the information in the article efficiently.

When you break up your text, you allow your readers to follow along easily with what you are saying. New ideas and statements should be limited to a few lines or a paragraph; this reduces the chance of overwhelming readers. If you must put a large section of text on a page, ensure that you include a practical summary or TL;DR so someone can understand the article’s or story’s main subjects without reading the entire piece.

III. Use Clear CTAs

Effective CTAs are crucial, but it can be challenging to make a good one if you’re new to the game. Your CTA should be clear, with your primary message in a single sentence. You can add smaller subheaders (e.g., cancel anytime, money-back guarantee) to further entice. Finally, ensure that your CTA is clickable and that the links direct readers to the conversion page.

SEO Optimized Pages

There is too much to cover regarding SEO that we couldn’t possibly cover all in this article. However, a few key things to remember when optimizing your site, pages, and content for search engines. These are some of the most critical to note;

There is too much to cover regarding SEO that we couldn’t possibly cover all in this article. However, a few key things to remember when optimizing your site, pages, and content for search engines. These are some of the most critical to note;

I. Avoid Keyword Stuffing

In the early days of the internet, you may have been to a webpage that ranks high on search engine results only to find that it’s been written by a bot and your search term appears nonsensically scattered. That’s a black hat SEO strategy called keyword stuffing.

Keyword stuffing was widespread for years because search engines looked for certain words and phrases in an article, impacting the chances of those pages ranking higher in results. Today, search engines are much more advanced and will not fall for “strategies” like this. In fact, not only will black hat strategies not work, but they will also negatively impact your website as Google, and other search engines will essentially blacklist it.

II. Take a Human-Centric Approach

Remember how we said that the whole point of your content is to get humans to read it, not for a computer to crawl it? Rather than focusing on fitting in as many instances of your target keywords as possible, try to make content people will enjoy reading. SEO is a marathon, not a sprint, and quality human-centric content will be an investment worth making over the long run.

III. Use Quality Links

Search engines like it when you make quality linking efforts within your content —even if it’s to your pages. This does not mean every sentence needs a link; you should avoid overlinking content. However, you should have a fair number of links within each article. When linking to other sites, make sure they are reputable. If Google thinks you are linking to spam, you will be reprimanded.

IV. Analyze Your Titles & Meta Descriptions

Including compelling titles and meta descriptions in your pages is essential, as they are the first thing readers see before deciding whether or not to view your content. Also, ensure your tags and meta descriptions contain your target keywords to help them rank higher in these queries.

Internal Navigation

It has likely been a while since you last looked at your site’s navigation. As easy as it is to disregard, navigation is a critical factor in a site’s success. When it is easy for customers to jump from page to page, one reader will be able to interact with more content than a single point of entry. A few things you can include to ensure excellent navigability include:

  • Simple page structures

     

  • Navigation menus on the top/bottom of all pages

     

  • Breadcrumbs (navigation tabs that show users where they are on the site)

     

  • An accessible search bar

     

  • Internal links to other relevant pages

     

  • A proper site map

I. Custom 404-Pages

In an ideal world, 404 pages would never appear. Unfortunately, users will sometimes find themselves in a place on your site where links are no longer valid. Rather than relying on the stock 404-page layout, consider designing your own. This allows you to add branding on every page your site visitors may see. You can be as creative or basic as you want, but make sure your 404 page reflects your brand and either apologizes or adds a sense of humor.

II. Exit Intent Pop-ups

Before we go into this, we want to point out that these should be used sparingly. You don’t want your website to appear spammy or aggressive. This can make people uncomfortable and leave, which is the opposite of your goal. Exit pop-ups are your last-ditch effort to get someone to stay on your page. They can ask for emails, ensure people finish the check-out process, or offer a discount code.

Another essential thing to remember is that these pop-ups should be short and to the point. No one will read lines and lines of text trying to convince them to stay on your site or buy your product. Instead, take the time to create a simple but effective message that achieves your goal – and remember, constantly be testing.

Optimize for Mobile

When we wrote an article on best web practices last year, web traffic from mobile devices was just over 50%. Today, mobile traffic hovers near the 60% mark – a 10% jump from last year! Even with this data, we still see many websites that are not optimized for mobile viewing. In 2022, it’s no excuse. You must create a website that anyone can access, regardless of their device. You cut off roughly 60% of your potential traffic when you’re not optimizing for mobile. Every year, more consumers switch to shopping and browsing on their phones and tablets. To ensure your site is mobile-friendly, always be testing. Google offers an excellent tool for those looking to ensure their website works on mobile. This tool lets you see what you need to change on your mobile site rather than relying on intuition.

Another effective UX/UI best practice is A/B testing. A/B testing is a trial and error method that allows you to test different options to determine the most effective. For example, if a prime color on your site is black with yellow text, you can make your mobile site yellow with black text. Testing both to see which works best and drives the most conversions will be the most effective strategy for growth. This takes the guesswork out of which method or design you should use while giving your customers the chance to show you what they like through their actions.

Bonus Tip - Consider Your Social Presence

We live in a social media-driven world, and almost all businesses need to have a presence on at least one social media site. A social presence allows customers and prospects to engage with your company and one another and move further down the sales funnel. However, ineffective social media can be worse than no social media. Suppose people want to discover more about your company and are met with profiles that have not been updated in months or years. In that case, this can dissuade them from purchasing. So if you know you won't be able to consistently keep on top of your social media, consider putting your social media links in a sidebar or at the bottom of your site. This allows people to find your profiles while not emphasizing them.

Wrapping Up

Creating or refreshing a website is an exciting venture. Still, you must do it right to ensure it is optimized for search engines, readers, and conversion. Ensure that you create a user-friendly website that keeps visitors coming back for more. When you maximize your website’s effectiveness, you are creating a valuable asset for your brand. Trying new styles and designs through A/B testing will allow you to improve the design and layout of your site over time.

Would you like professional assistance in building or refreshing your website? We can help. Our team at Bluehour Digital has built and optimized a plethora of sites across many industries. We truly know website design, functionality, and optimization in and out. If you are interested in learning more, contact us today for a complimentary consultation.

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