When planning your new website it can be very easy to get carried away with overthinking and over-complicating the structure and the content on the site.
While many web designers will be more than willing to agree to add every ‘bell and whistle’ to your site, usually so they can charge you more, it is worth considering the KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid) concept, where quite often less equals more.
And by more I mean, more visitors, more enquiries, and more speed, and even more rankings on the search engines.
Providing you have a well planned structure, and a well build foundation, means that in many instances you can cut down on having a lot going on in the site and still have a hugely successful site.
Let’s bust a few myths about web design….
Myth 1: More text on my site means a better ranking on the search engines
Sure, having text content on your website is essential, however it also doesn’t need to read like a novel. Some websites will load up their website with a pile of text, or worse, keyword-stuff the page content so that it doesn’t even read correctly, hoping the search engines will identify and favour all the keywords.
The truth is, you can literally have a small three page website with less than a couple of hundred words throughout the entire website and it can rank on the first page of Google if you understand how SEO works.
The most important thing about website content is the quality, not the quantity. If you write content of value that reads naturally, with the more important aspects closer to the top, and then a little further down add a call to action (eg a link to your contact page or a click to call phone number) this will usually always outrank a site drowning in its own text.
Myth 2: More content gives visitors more information and more reason to make an enquiry
Wrong. A website that gives away too much information means that there is nothing left they need to enquire about. When you provide just enough information to build trust and good information about your product or services, but prompt them to enquire for further details, or prompt them with an enquiry form or a mailing list box for a free download, this will allow you to capture then details and make one-on-one contact with them. A site with too much content also sometimes risks a higher bounce-rate. People are generally lazy, so if they see too much text or need to scroll to find out the information then they’ll bounce away. If your site had a good strong headline ‘above the fold’, and then enough juicy text that entices them to read without having to scroll too much, you’ll find this will go a long way in favour of enquiries and the search engines.
Myth 3: Lots of images make a site more visually appealing.
Sometimes a lot of images can work, however this depends on the layout of the site, but often you’ll find a site with simple stunning imagery will work much better for a number of reasons.
Lets take Apple’s website for example, the site’s imagery is designed to make you want to scroll down the page, and the layout of the design flows so nicely that it draws you down the page without even realising it.
More images can not only give your audience too much to look at that they lose the focus of the text, but it can also dramatically slow the load time of your website. A good web designer will know that you need to optimise the images before uploading them to avoid loading delays, however by using a couple of feature images rather than piles of smaller images can reduce load time, make the site less cluttered and give a nice modern feel to the site across all your devices.
Myth 4: Adding the phone number in the header of my site is a good idea.
In Myth 2 I mentioned the term ‘above the fold’. This is a term that has been around since the printing of newspapers first started, which refers to the visible area when a paper is folded in half or thirds, and is probably the most important visible area. The same goes for a website, where viewed on screen your most important element or message should be above the fold. Usually this is the phone number or a call to action such as a sign up box or an enquiry link. Many web designers will add the phone number or enquiry either in or above the navigation, which was fine last decade. However now, with mobile devices viewing sites, a mobile responsive site will often hide these elements on a smaller screen, meaning you could be missing valuable enquiries, so the recommendation is to add it in a block directly below the main navigation area, ensuring it can be easily viewed as soon as the site is reached.
The other issue with adding a phone number at the top of the page is the value of it for Google. Google primarily reads a website from the top, then the footer and then the first paragraph on a site. So if the phone number appears first then it may weaken your SEO value. There are ways to overcome this, but it is just something to be aware of. If you’re adding he phone number in the top, make sure you have a backup plan in place for mobile devices.The less people need to click or search, the more enquiries you will gain.
Myth 5: Adding a pop up chat support will boost enquiries.
Adding a chat support popup is a nice idea, and many sites are doing it now, however this can also have a few adverse effects. For example, a chat box doesn’t usually capture general details such as a phone number or email address, like a form can. Sure you can provide some direct service with a chat, but you’ll often also find these people that use it are ‘tyre-kickers’ just looking for general info. the issue is that adding the functionality for these chats adds additional strain to the server, which can reduce your load speed. Usually if you are building your site in WordPress, the functional requires installation of a plugin. Adding too many plugins can slow your website, plug give you more website maintenance over time. Keep it simpler and you’ll find less work and more visitors.
If you keep some of these aspects in mind you’ll quickly see that less really does mean more!