After years of enhancing and over-comlicating our websites for SEO reasons, we finally entered the age of simplification.
Simple & elegant - that’s a quick and very accurate description of modern web design.
What led to this change?
For years we were reading guides for improving our website through fiddling around with menus, subscription forms, texts and images. Suddenly, all these seem nearly irrelevant. Why? Because we focus on aspects that are really important:
1. Loading speed
As soon as internet connection broke in to our mobile phones, loading speed of the website became more important than ever. Your website must be loadable within reasonable time even with the slowest mobile internet you can catch in the woods in the middle of nowhere.
Speeding up your website will instantly increase your monthly traffic and ensure better SEO ranking. Isn’t that a good enough reason to rebuild your website from scratch avoiding all unnecessary features you’ve never used?
2. Relevant content
Have you ever heard someone saying:
“I’ve been to this website and it had such a wonderful background color and cool font type”?
Me neither. But I’ve heard:
“When I open a B&B website, all I want to see is a photo of the room and a phone number. I don’t care about anything else.”
Let’s analyze this further as it’s a perfect example of content relevancy issue many websites face.
Fact no. 1: There’s no B&B website in the world without the room photos and the phone number. (I hope!)
The question is, how many clicks it takes to get to them. If you have a slow loading site and it takes 4 more clicks to get to the photos and a phone number, I dare to say that your website is a complete disaster.
You may argue with me saying: What about the location and marketing description of the surrounding area? But…
Fact no. 2: When you’re looking for B&B, you’re probably already in the area and typing to google “Bed and breakfast near me” or at least you already know where you want to go.
In a process of deciding where to go, you’re probably sitting on the couch in your living room, with a mac on your lap and a high speed internet connection. You have plenty of time to make few extra clicks and read through the entire website.
Let me be clear about this:
I’m not telling you to delete useful information. I’m just saying that you should rearrange them in the right order and simplify the access to them.
That’s it. Loading speed and relevant content is all that matters
Your web visitors DON’T CARE about:
- Technical background of your website.
- CMS you’re using.
- Position of your newsletter subscription form. They don’t care if it’s right, left, up or down.
- All your web visitors care about is that the relevant information is displayed to them.
Have you noticed that most websites look the same on your phone anyway? There’s an image with a text underneath and a hamburger menu icon in the top corner.
Mobile design or better to say — RESPONSIVE design made us abandon uniqueness and pushed the conformity of websites forward. It’s a good thing as it speeds up the browsing process. You know where to click so you save few seconds per site that you once had to spend figuring out where to find what you need.
Overall it improves user experience from browsing your website. There’s beauty in simplicity.
Website = a work of art of its owner
(…and it shouldn’t be)
It happens more often than not that creating and administering of the website is a rocket science. I believe that it shouldn’t be this way as this is exactly what holds you back.
What’s wrong about perfecting your website?
It takes you weeks if not months to get your site up and running. You pay attention to every detail but that doesn’t mean your website will be perfectly secure, functional and useful. You’ll keep on working on it until it’s finished to your own satisfaction.
Your website is often over-complicated. Both from design & content point of view. When it’s done, you’re so exhausted that you don’t want to see it again any time soon.
At least you feel proud of it ‘cos you think it’s perfect. But hello, it’s just a website. Not a work of art! You have a website to run your business better, you don’t run business to have a masterpiece website.
Website should be a communication channel
I’ve said that the room photo and your phone number is what most people want to see on your website. Now I’m telling you that your site shouldn’t be just a longer form of a business card.
Are these 2 statements contradictory?
Not at all. Longer form of a business card would include:
- The name of your company/website,
- Contact information,
- Simple “about us” description,
- Product presentation.
The communication channel is much more than that. It hugely adds up to the essential part of your website: relevant content. Talk to your potential clients through your website. You want to be personal to allow your customers to identify with you.
Tell your story, say why you do what you do. Post regular updates — to your website. Because websites are no longer about unique design. They’re about unique, fresh and relevant content.
You don’t believe me?
Ask developers at Google who work on SEO algorithm. They think so too.
Websites are no longer about unique design. They’re about the content. In fact, content is the second most important part of your website. First being the loadability, as no-one gets to the content if the site doesn’t load...