Website Design 101: Must-Do Tips for Success - Warm Thoughts Communications
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Website Design 101: Must-Do Tips for Success

Posted on October 23, 2019

By Melissa Bellas
web design 101In most cases, your website is the first experience a potential prospect has with your brand. And since you only get one chance to make a good first impression, its important to get it right. In fact, nearly half of consumers believe that website design is the top factor in determining a business’ credibility1.

And with more and more fuel companies stepping up their presence online, it’s important to consider what exactly your website is saying to prospects and customers. The fact of the matter is that with over 1.5 billion websites out there on the internet2, consumers know a good website when the see one. Having said that, they also know when a website isn’t so good, especially when it leaves them feeling frustrated and confused. And you definitely don’t want to leave potential customers feeling that way.
It’s time to take a deeper look into your website. Consider some of these must-do’s to get started.

  1. Be Consistent with Branding
    When it comes to designing your website, one of the most important steps to take is to stay true to your brand. It’s all about being consistent with the look of your sales flyers, brochures, business cards – even your trucks! Your brand’s story should be supported throughout all design elements – from images, to text and even color schemes. And be sure to showcase your logo prominently. After all, inconsistencies in branding can leave your customers wondering if they’re dealing with the company they intended.
  2. Make it Mobile-Friendly
    You may have a near perfectly designed website on laptop or desktop, but how does it look when displayed on a tablet or smartphone? With nearly half of all web traffic now coming from mobile devices3, it’s more important than ever to ensure that every element of your site is mobile responsive and able to automatically adjust for screen resolutions of all sizes. A non-responsive website becomes very cluttered, unorganized, and difficult to navigate on mobile – leading to higher bounce rates. In fact, 8 out of 10 consumers will stop engaging with a site if its content doesn’t properly display on their device4. That’s a lot of traffic!
  3. Have Easy Navigation
    With human attention spans now dwindling to a mere matter of seconds, visitors who cannot quickly find what they’re looking for will ultimately leave your site. In fact, few things make visitors flee a website quicker than a complicated navigation system. In designing your site, make sure your navigation bar is simple, organized, and easy to use, limiting the menu to no more than 4-6 options5. These menu items can include links to your most important pages, such as equipment and service offerings, payment programs, an “About Us” page to tell your business’ story, or a contact page. You can also include a search bar to help visitors navigate the entirety of your site’s content. Just be cautious not to include too many options in the menu bar – this can overwhelm visitors and have the opposite impact than intended.
  4. Organize Site Elements
    Having just seconds to capture a site visitor’s attention, the placement of elements on your site is extremely important. In order to gain (and keep!) their attention, it’s important to note that humans are visual creatures – and presenting information in an easily digestible way is key to telling them what your site is about and helping them retain the information you share. Establish a ‘visual hierarchy’ to your site information, guiding readers throughout your site by making the most important features the most eye-catching. It’s all about emphasizing the key points, not confusing visitors with a seemingly cluttered webpage. After all, a properly structured site that presents information in an organized way will ultimately be much more successful than one that lacks a hierarchy and appears chaotic.
  5. Avoid Industry Jargon/Slang
    When it comes to your site content, it’s important to write with your audience in mind. Using too many industry buzzwords can make your site sound too much like an infomercial, and in turn, scare traffic away. Instead, use easy vocabulary everyone can understand – this not only improves usability, but also makes your site’s message resonate that much stronger.
  6. Have Fast Loading Times
    Nobody likes to wait – and if your site is too slow to load, you can just about guarantee visitors will not stick around. In fact, recent studies have found that 47% of web visitors expect a site to load in less than 2 seconds, while 40% of visitors will leave the site altogether if loading takes more than 3 seconds6. And because web users value speed, so do the search engines – they now factor your page loading speed into ranking algorithms. For these reasons, making your site as fast as possible is essential. Choosing the right host and ensuring you have the hardware infrastructure and bandwidth to support large images and design elements can make all the difference.
  7. Keep Forms Short
    If your website requires users to fill out a form, such as requesting a delivery, or create an account, such as for online bill pay, keep it simple. Only ask for the required fields and avoid asking for additional extraneous details. The best-case scenario is to limit fields to a maximum of 3 or 4, including name and contact information. By streamlining and simplifying this process, your site becomes more user-friendly and, in all likeliness, will generate more submissions or activated accounts.
  8. Use High-Quality Photos
    They say a picture is worth a thousand words – which is especially true when it comes to your website. With this in mind, it’s important to consider the quality on your site images. Low-resolution, blurry or pixelated images can come off as unprofessional and may ruin your chances of acquiring valuable potential customers. However, by placing original, quality, high-resolution photos on your site, you increase its potential to capture more traffic and convert leads. And with 65% of the population being visual learners7, high-quality images form a link bridging customer and company, making users more likely to choose your services.
  9. Have a Clear a Call-to-Action
    Once a visitor lands on your site, what actions do you want them to take next? Without a strong, clear call-to-action (CTA), your visitors may be left wondering what steps to take next – or more likely, not take any further steps at all. Whether it’s to sign up to receive your company newsletter, schedule a tune-up or delivery, or even just pick up the phone for more information, your CTA should be an integral part of your website’s design – not an afterthought. Make sure it’s clear, visible and prominently placed in the layout in a way that makes sense to visitors.

Your website reflects your business – and first impressions matter. With visitors forming these impressions when landing on your site, it’s important to make sure it’s telling your story as easily, succinctly, and accurately as possible.

Time to give your site a refresh? The team at Warm Thoughts manages over 150 websites and digital campaigns for propane, heating oil, and HVAC-related businesses across the country. Access to proprietary data shows us what works best to create experiences that drive leads and communicate your brand in a way that resonates with customers. Contact us today to get started!


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Bloomfield, NJ 07003

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