by Ivana Taylor (Ivana Taylor is the publisher of DIYMarketers.com)
"Design is a plan for arranging elements in such a way as best to accomplish a particular purpose". – Charles Eames
One of the most important things for a brand, particularly of a business still starting out and looking for greener pastures, is good design. Design can be the one thing that pushes you above or pulls you below your competition. Design matters, because it can reflect how you and your brand do business, and ultimately how your clients and potential customers see and feel about you. This is particularly important when it comes to websites, which are essentially the new storefronts and first contact points for an increasing number of businesses and brands. Make a bad impression, you lose a potential conversion. Make a good one, you gain a customer. Make a great impression, and you can potentially gain and keep a customer for life.
Ultimately, it all starts with design; how you present your text and visual content and the experience your users get. So, let’s talk about what you need to know about good design!
What the Heck is “Good Design” Anyway?
If you ask a few designers to define what good design is, chances are they’ll all give you a variety of different answers. However, when you look closely at some of the most well-designed products, services, and materials, you’ll begin to see similarities and parallels between quite a lot of them, and the reason for this is that the most well-designed things are based on design principles that result in useful, beautiful products that ultimately give consumers a deep level of satisfaction and enjoyment when used.
While there are different schools of thought and a variety of approaches to design, legendary designer Dieter Rams Ten Principles for Good Design is a great place to start whenever considering how to go about designing anything of significance to you, your business, and your customers.
Let’s quickly consider some of the principles most relevant to our subject at hand, and in the next section, we’ll talk about the very basics of what your website needs to have.
The Principles of Good Design
Good Design Makes a Product Understandable
It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product clearly express its function by making use of the user’s intuition. At best, it is self-explanatory.
Does your website serve a purpose? Is that purpose quickly made immediately clear to the reader when they land on your website's home page? Or are they confused about what the point of the page is?
Good Design Makes a Product Useful
Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could detract from it.
Does your website make it clear to the reader the value that they can get from your products and services? Are the benefits of what you have to offer clear? Or is it simply a list of products or services, with a list of features and specifications and a price tag, with no description of how your potential customers can benefit from it?
Good Design is Aesthetic
The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products are used every day and have an effect on people and their well-being. Only well-executed objects can be beautiful.
Is it made clear to the reader how to navigate through the different sections of your site? Is your website designed to make reading the content and absorb information easier and enjoyable? Is it free of unnecessary visual clutter and ads that can detract from the main purpose of your site and irritate potential clients? Does your site use images and other media judiciously, when appropriate, and not just because you can? Does your choice of font and typographic styling reflect the professionalism you want your brand to project?
First Things First
Let’s talk about your Home Page. This is the very first thing that people who go to your website see after they type in your website's address. It’s also likely the very first page they’ll land on after they’ve clicked on a link from a search page result that leads to your website.
So it makes sense to ensure that when a reader lands on your website, you catch his or her attention and keep them there for as long as possible by providing them value for the time they spend there. You do this by providing content relevant to their interests that is organized in a logical and easy-to-read manner.
That said, let’s get started on the basics, shall we?
The Five Fundamental Things Your Websites Home Page Must Have
Davide Casali, a User Experience Director and Startup Advisor, writes that a good landing page or home page should have these five basic elements:
• A branding element i.e. the logo
• A descriptive element i.e. a title and a description
• A call to action i.e. a button
• A visualization i.e. a screenshot, video or mood image
• A navigation element i.e. a menu
Your Branding Element
This means your logo or logotype. Your brand in this instance, as represented by your logo is an important part of the home page and needs to feature prominently on it.
In most cases, you’ll want to have this on the top-left or top-center to serve as the visual entry point - the very first thing that your readers' eyes gravitate to on page load when your website first loads in their browser.
A Good Description
This means a title that represents your brand and business, along with two to three descriptive sentences to support it. Your title should describe what your business does or what it has to offer the potential client, and the supporting sentences should expand on the title, emphasizing the benefits of your products or services.
Ideally, this should be placed near the top of the home page, perhaps in line with your branding element (if your logo is placed on the top-left) or beneath it (say, if your logo is placed on the top-center).
A Good Call-to-Action
What’s the ONE THING you want someone on your website's home page to do? After having read the description at the outset and having been given a good idea of what you’re all about, you need to give the user a way to get the benefits you’re offering. This is called a call-to-action.
For example, if you want readers to get in touch with you, you could provide a link that says:
Get in touch with us now by clicking here!
If you want them to download a free eBook or file, you could say:
Don’t miss out, download a special eBook on the best restaurants in the New York. It’s free!
If you want them to subscribe to a newsletter by filling in a short form, you could say:
Yes! I want to get exclusive health and nutrition tips and tricks by subscribing to your free newsletter!
These are just a few examples that you can use.
An Eye-Catching Visual Element
A quality image or photo to complement your branding and description can be a powerful visual tool if used properly. What are some factors to consider when selecting what to put in? These can be:
• An image representing your main product or service
• A photo representing the emotional effect that what you have to offer has (e.g., smiling people doing a specific activity, etc.)
• A photo or image of the prominent personalities of your team
Whichever you decide to implement, make sure that the image you select is a high-quality, high-resolution file.
Sensible and Obvious Website Navigation
"The three key things about an intuitive navigation system is that they tell you where you are, and they show you where else you can go.” - Mike Stern, User Experience Evangelist at Apple.
The simplest way to ensure your readers get around your website easily is to place a navigation menu with links to the main sections of your site close to the top of the page, just below the branding (if it’s placed top-center). You’ll want to make it obvious to the user that the links are unique and in fact clickable. Make sure that these links are visually different from the regular text content for the rest of the site.
So we’ve talked about the home page, the very first thing users see when they open your website. Now let’s talk about some of the essential supporting pages and sections that you may want to include.
One thing to note is that there is always the option to include the information that follows below into the home page. The one-page website is a trend that’s been gaining traction as of late, but it’s important to consider the amount of information that you feel is essential for the reader to absorb. If you can condense that information into a few bite-sized chunks or concise sentences, you can certainly go ahead and put it all on one page. But where more detailed information is beneficial, you should avoid putting everything on one page for the purposes of organization.
That said, here are some of the sections you’ll want to have in your website.
• An About Page
Write a few paragraphs giving a quick overview of who you are and what you have to offer the visitor. If appropriate, include a bit of history. It’s also a good idea to include a quick photo and profile of yourself beneath these paragraphs, as well as profiles for other members of your team, if there are any. Make sure to include links to the pages that follow below.
• A Testimonials Page / What People Are Saying Page
One of the best ways to market your business, your products, and services is to let your satisfied customers do it for you. Ask your clients for testimonials or feedback, and prominently feature positive experiences and quotes on this page. Make sure to include a link to your About, Contact, and Offerings sections at the bottom of the page, as well as a call-to-action where appropriate.
• A Contact Page
Never forget to give your users a way to get in touch with you! Ideally, you’ll want to have a contact form that a user can quickly fill-in and send for feedback purposes. You can also provide links to any social media accounts as well. Depending on your where your business is located, you may be legally required to list down a valid business address and contact number (though it’s always a good idea to include these, regardless of legal requirements).
• Your Catalog of Offerings
Where appropriate and depending on the nature of your business, you’ll want to place your products or services offered on a separate section or page of your website. If you have a large quantity of offerings, you may want to consider including search functionality and sub-sections or categories that can help your users browse through more easily.
• A Blog
A blog is a great way to market your brand and keep your clients up-to-date on your business and your offerings. You can use it to create content relevant to your industry that’s useful to your patrons, you can also use it to start discussions, and you can use it to get valuable feedback as well. Done right, publishing regular, well-written, and useful blog posts can do wonders for engaging the people who matter most to you (and therefore, your business).
Bringing It All Together
Now that we’ve gone through some of the most essential elements that you need to consider when it comes to website design, have you noticed a pattern?
In essence, good design is all about what’s good for and beneficial to your client.
Good design means thinking about the best ways to give your customers the most enjoyable experiences and give them the value and the benefits that your products and services offer. The easier and more enjoyable you make interacting with your business, the more inclined they’ll be to stick around and see what you’ve got.
What’s good for your client is ultimately what’s good for you!
by John Stevens of HostingFacts.com (Aug 17, 2017)
Internet Statistics 2017
There are now 3.74 billion Internet users in the world as at March 2017. This is compared to 3.26 billion Internet users in 2016.
Asia is the continent with the most Internet users. In fact, interestingly, the number and percentage of Internet users in Asia has gone up compared to 2016. Asia now accounts for 50.1 percent, or more than half, of all Internet users in the world.
The runner up is Europe, with 17 percent of all Internet users.
China has the most Internet users of all country. At over 731 million Internet users at the time of writing this, China currently accounts for more than 25 percent of Internet users worldwide — a notable increase compared to 21.97 percent of worldwide Internet users from last year. The number of people using the Internet in China is more than double the population of the U.S.
As at January 2017, the United Arab Emirates is the country with the highest Internet penetration in the world — with an impressive 99 percent of its citizens, or about 9.2 million people, using the Internet.
The internet influenced sales to the tune of $2.1 trillion in 2016.
For the very first time in history, with a projected $205 billion Internet ad spend compared to a projected TV ad spend of $192 billion, global internet advertising spend is expected to exceed TV advertising spend in 2017.
Over 2 million blog posts are published on the Internet every day.
Over 5.5 billion Google searches are made every day.
Domain Name Statistics 2017
There are currently over 330.6 million registered domain names as at the first quarter of 2017. This explains why it can be difficult coming up with a good domain name that is yet to be taken.
Domain name registrations have grown by 3.7 percent year over year.
About 38.8 percent of all domain names use the leading .com domain name extension.
There are 1,547 domain name extensions (TLDs) as at the 17th of August 2017.
The most expensive domain name ever sold is LasVegas.com, which was bought in 2005 for a whopping $90 million.
Web Hosting/Website Statistics and Facts 2017
As at August 2017, there are 1.24 billion websites in the world.
The world’s first website was published on August 6, 1991 by British physicist Tim Berners-Lee.
51.8 percent of all internet traffic comes from bots, while only 48.2 percent of internet traffic comes from humans.
Google is the world’s most visited website, followed by Youtube and Facebook. Chinese search engine Baidu is the world’s fourth most visited website.
With 58.8 percent market share and about 20.6 million active sites, WordPress is the world’s number one CMS. It hosts sites like The New York Times, Forbes and even the Facebook Blog and has been powering blogs created since 2004.
The number of hacked sites in 2016 increased by 32 percent compared to 2015 — and Google has publicly said it isn’t expecting this to reduce anytime soon. We have a guide on how to secure WordPress from hackers.
Google uses site speed as a ranking factor. Here are the best web hosting companies.
Best Performing Hosting Providers
#1. HostGator Cloud
#3. A2 Hosting
#4. InMotion Hosting
E-Commerce and Conversion Statistics 2017
The e-commerce industry is responsible for about $2 trillion in annual sales.
For every $92 spent on generating traffic and getting customers, only $1 is spent on converting these customers.
Only 35 percent of shoppers are willing to pay for delivery on online orders at all. The remaining 65 percent are unwilling to pay for shipping on online orders.
$0.56 of every dollar spent in an offline store is influenced by a digital interaction.
Only 22 percent of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates.
Men spend 28 percent more money online than women.
People spend an average of 5 hours per week shopping online.
95 percent of Americans shop online at least yearly.
Price determines where 87 percent of Americans shop. Shipping cost and delivery speed determine where 80 percent shop, and availability of discount offers determine where 71 percent shop.
Being in the first position in Google will result in a click through rate of 34.36 percent for desktop computers and a click through rate of 31.35 percent for mobile devices.
Businesses that calculate ROI are more likely to have an effective marketing strategy — up to 72 percent.
Adblocking cost businesses over $22 billion in 2015 alone.
58 percent of buyers want the first sales call to include information about pricing while 65 percent of people want the first sales calls to be focused on goals.
55 percent of ecommerce sales occur in branded stores while only 45 percent of sales occur through marketplaces.
Of the sales that occur through online marketplaces, Amazon is responsible for about 80 percent of sales.
An average of $488 is spent annually shopping on online marketplaces.
The best day to send an email is on a Wednesday, and the worst day to send an email is on a Thursday.
Slow loading websites cost the U.S. e-commerce market more than $500 billion annually. To avoid that, go and find yourself a reliable host from those web hosting reviews.
8 out of 10 consumers will shop online if offered free shipping.
Personalised recommendations can increase conversion rates by up to 5.5 times.
51 percent of U.S. online shoppers cite slow site loading times as the top reason they abandon a purchase.
While mobile internet usage is high, desktop and tablet internet usage still leads for conversions; an estimated 8.52% of desktop users add to cart and an estimated 2.78% convert to sales. This is much higher than Smartphone conversion rates with an estimated 4.70% add to cart rate and an estimated 0.80% sales conversion rate. The number is much higher when you consider conversion rates from tablets and other mobile devices, but desktop still leads when it comes to actual sales.
An increase in site speed from 8 to 2 seconds can boost your conversion rate by 74% (this is based on data monitoring real user activity from 33 major retailers).
Increasingly shrinking attention span keeps influencing e-commerce; in 2010, a page that took 6 seconds to load suffered a 40% loss in conversion. Today, a page that takes 6 seconds to load will experience a 50% loss in conversion.
The abandonment rate for mobile shopping cart is higher (at 97%) than that of desktop shopping carts (at 70 – 75%).
The average human attention span has declined from 12 seconds in the year 2000 to 8 seconds now. This is much shorter than the attention span of a goldfish (at 9 seconds). This was revealed by a recent study by Microsoft Corp. that surveyed 2,000 people and monitored brain activity of 112 others using electroencephalograms (EEGs).
Worldwide B2C e-commerce sales reached $1.7 trillion in 2015, and it is estimated to reach $2.35 trillion by 2018.
A single second delay in your website loading time can result in a 7 percent loss in conversion, and 40 percent of web users will abandon a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
Mobile Internet Statistics and Facts 2017
There are more mobile Internet users than desktop Internet users. There are 3.5 billion global mobile Internet users as at August 2017.
Mobile devices influenced sales to the tune of over $1.4 trillion in 2016.
Mobile commerce revenue was $170 billion in 2016, and it is estimated to be $694 billion by 2019.
The average order value for online orders placed on Smartphones is $115.52 while the average order value for orders places on Tablets is $106.98.
Of the 2.79 billion active social media users in the world, 2.55 billion of them actively use their mobile devices for social media-related activities.
90 percent of the time spent on mobile devices is spent in apps.
Mobile traffic is responsible for 52.21 percent of internet traffic — compared to 42.16 percent from the previous year.
While the total percentage of mobile traffic is more than desktop, engagement is higher on desktop. 55.9 percent of time spent on sites is by desktop users and 40.1 percent of time spent on sites is by mobile users.
By 2020, mobile commerce will account for 45 percent of all e-commerce activities — compared to 20.6 percent in 2016.
Engagement is up to four times better on mobile apps than on mobile web.
At least 70 percent of people dislike mobile ads.
About 400 million mobile users use ad blockers to avoid seeing ads on their mobile devices.
30 percent of all mobile commerce comes from mobile devices.
Mobile ad spend is expected to represent 72 percent of all digital ad spend in the U.S. by 2019.
82 percent of people use their smartphones to research purchases they are about to make in a store.
66 percent of shoppers have decided not to buy an item they were considering buying due to shipping costs.
72 percent of females and 59 percent of males have abandoned a purchase due to shipping costs.
78 percent of shoppers want e-commerce sites to include more images on their products pages.
Social Media Statistics 2017
There are 2.79 billion active social media users in the world. This is an increase of 21 percent from 2016.
Facebook now has over 2.01 billion monthly active users.
Instagram has 700 million monthly active users.
Twitter has 328 million monthly active users.
LinkedIn has 112.5 million monthly active users.
28 percent of adult internet users use Instagram.
Over 85 million photos and videos are shared on Instagram daily.
Visual content is 40 times more likely to be shared on social media than any other type of content.
Facebook status updates with images get 2.3 times more engagement than Facebook status updates without images.
People are 80 percent more likely to read content that has colored visuals.
Infographics are 3 times more likely to be liked and shared compared to any other type of content on social media.
4 out of every 10 mobile user uses Facebook messenger.
Mobile is responsible for 87 percent of Facebook’s ad revenue.
Social media influences the shopping activities of 23 percent of online shoppers.
30 percent of online shoppers are willing to purchase a product on social media sites.
Social media ad spend is expected to overtake newspaper ad spend by 2019.
Resources and statistics used in this post