Web design is certainly an important tool from an aesthetic and functional perspective. It can bring together a site’s various mediums and intents across textual, video, and interactive platforms. It can program your site to respond quickly and easily to visitor prompts. It can insure that all content is delivered in an engaging and practical manner. And, of course, it can work to build a site that won’t require too much maintenance, editing, or java help in the future.
But web design can also have a strong marketing and SEO angle as well. After all, the way a site is designed may not matter much to long-time loyal readers who are well accustomed to its content – but it can certainly make or break the relationship when it comes to first-time visitors.
A first-time visitor likely arrives on a website for a singular and definitive purpose; usually, they come to view just one piece of content that drew their interest from another site. How can these visitors be compelled to stay longer? How can they become interested in the site’s other content? Turning these first-time visitors into regular visitors can translate into a tremendous boost for traffic and SEO. And a captivating web design can certainly help make this happen.
On that note, here are a few web design tips for capturing the first-time visitor:
–Keep a clean background. First-time visitors are more likely than most to get overwhelmed, so a web design cluttered with images and links may discourage them from clicking on anything. This applies most importantly to the top of the homepage.
–Images always help. Unless it’s completely irrelevant or inappropriate, a site can only benefit from having at least one image accompany every article. Make sure that this image is clear and that it conforms well with your background design.
–Make text skim-able. Studies show that most people have a habit of skimming written content that they find online, and this is even more likely the case when someone is a first-time visitor to a site. For this reason, it is important to design articles in a way that allows key content to pop out. This can be done by incorporating subheadings, carefully planning page breaks, showing large text quotes on the side, and by bolding key terms.
–Keep it consistent. A site may have many different uses, functions, and areas of focus. But a new visitor to a given site needs to see one consistent message upon arrival. This message should be conveyed in the layout, the color scheme, and – of course – in the pieces of content most prominently displayed on the main page. Less relevant content should always take a backseat.
These are just a few of the many ways that web design can be used to capture first-time visitors to a site. Since a new visitor will often form an opinion about a site in just a matter of seconds, it is important that every design approach keeps all details – both big and small – in consideration throughout the process.