Continued from – Website Design Secrets: The General Layout (pt. 3)
Study after study has proven that when users go online today, they’re attracted to images before text. Images in this case include not only still photos but videos as well, and local business owners and website designers need to be very careful when using them.
There are two rules when it comes to placing images within a website: they must be relevant, and there can’t be too many.
Deciding whether or not an image is relevant is fairly easy; all you need to do is decide whether it relates to the other content on the page and if it will capture the user’s interest. For instance, if your local business has shot a commercial, you may want to display it on your homepage. But while it may relate to the other content on the page, especially if you’re trying to capture leads, it might not capture the user’s interest. No one wants to go to a website just to see advertising. A video of a company barbecue or a virtual tour might be more appealing.
You also need to be very careful when it comes to how many images you’re placing within your website. Websites with a lot of images take far longer to load than websites that contain mainly text. And if users have to wait a long time for the website design to load, they’ll likely leave that website and go find one that loads a bit faster. So while integrating them is important, it’s even more important that you prioritize the images you want users to see the most.
Keeping mobile in mind
The world is going mobile, and that trend isn’t one that’s going to slow down any time soon, if ever. Because of this, keeping mobile users in mind when designing a website is one of the most important things a local business owner can do.
One reason for this is because customers don’t only search at home now. They may be out shopping and want something to eat, so they search for restaurants that are nearby. If you’re one of those restaurants and you don’t have a mobile site, your website may not appear properly on their smartphone, which could potentially mean a lost customer you could have reached otherwise.
Even when customers are in the comfort of their own home, many still choose to just whip out their tablet or smartphone to search rather than boot up their desktop and sit down to look. Again, if the website isn’t optimized for mobile website design, the user may only be frustrated by having to scroll up and down and side to side, and leave to find another website that is optimized for mobile.
Making sure your website design is optimized for mobile is important for another reason that has little to do with the user. Search engines, Google in particular, has also realized the growing trend of users going mobile and have incorporated this into their algorithms. When websites aren’t optimized for mobile users, search engines may penalize them by placing them lower in the search results, meaning that less traffic will make it to the site.