Key Considerations to Making your Website more Engaging

Getting your website right can be difficult – from one angle you want your site to display as much information as possible in an attempt to emphasise your expertise in a particular field. On the other, you don’t want your website to appear clunky and boring as it needs to stand above all others to catch the eye of the consumer.

This can lead to a middle-ground, that for some, is difficult to achieve – A grey area, found on a thin line between over-the-top design and tedious content. You don’t want your online business to fall into either of those traps, so how do you get it right.

High quality content is absolutely essential for the success of your website, but this content must be incorporated into a memorable experience by utilising certain design features – features that will fully engage users and position your brand above other contenders. But what exactly are these?

Website design

The above image is owned by https://traineracademy.org/ 

 

Navigation

For some websites, having a simple and concise navigation bar can seem like a near impossible task to achieve, especially considering the vast amounts of content that some organisations have. Having too many navigation options is a big NO when it comes to web design – it can leave users overwhelmed, confused, and irritated – something that definitely won’t help with your conversion rate. A logical and intuitive navigation scheme is the way to go – effectively you should know the next step that users want to be taking before they do, gently guiding and nudging them in various directions that ultimately result in coherent finishes.

Easy Contact

More often than not, when users have a question, they want to get straight to the point and get in touch – meaning they often bypass any FAQ sections and go straight for the contact page. Of course, the way in which a user wants to get in touch varies from person to person – some like over the phone, some like emails, some even prefer the simplicity of the contact form. So, as a business, you should make sure that all of these options are available to your customers – phone, email, contact form, and social media. It makes users feel like their needs have been tended too, and can often significantly reduce levels of stress associated with time critical requests.

I know this seems like a really obvious one, but often having well-placed and noticeable Call-To-Actions will always give users somewhere to go.
Will Wigram, Managing Director

Obvious Call-To-Actions

I know this seems like a really obvious one, but often having well-placed and noticeable Call-To-Actions will always give users somewhere to go. This, if thought-out properly, will enable users to see most of the website by utilising a natural flow – effectively giving you the opportunity to guide them to the areas of the website you most want them to see.

Social Media Shareability

Social media can easily be considered one of the primary forms of marketing and communication when it comes to your businesses’ online presence. Making sure that areas of your site can be shared appropriately on all social media sites allows for real engagement from your users – and is the best way of attracting traffic. Having live feeds for your Twitter or Instagram pages allows users to see that you are active and therefore likely to be accessible and responsive – a key feature in this day and age.

Stick with the High Quality Content

Besides all of the points above, once users get deeper into the site, design and navigation don’t really stand for much if you haven’t managed to retain fresh, original and high-quality content. Besides, just as important, all the major search engines have algorithms in place that are designed to reward websites with higher search page rankings if those websites keep on top of their content. That means relevant, consistent, and constant content.

 

Diffusion digital creates bespoke websites on several platforms. To read more about how we can help enhance your WordPress site click here.

Bespoke Vs Template Website Design

An online presence for businesses no longer remains as simply an invaluable asset, but rather, it is now an absolute essential. In many cases it will be the first point of contact that a customer has with your company or organisation, and therefore it is important to present a professional image that is in line with the identity of your business. This is something that helps build a positive relationship with your clientele by establishing a certain level of trust.

When deciding that you want a new website, whether that is in WordPress or Shopify, there are often two routes that you can choose to go down – template or custom design. Both of these have their pros and cons, which I am going to detail below…

 

Template Design

Effectively a template design is a ‘generic’, pre-built site that is based around a set of pre-defined boxes in which you can place your content. These are available for anyone to purchase, and the owner can tweak the colour palette, add logos, and can usually move around the content in a sort of square, puzzle-like format. This is done either with the help of a developer and by using an in-built Content Management System (CMS). In most cases, these pre-built designs are not very flexible, and you are limited to the parameters set by the template.

The main positive of these limitations is that template websites are cheaper to create because they have already been built, and therefore setting them up is much quicker. However, this also brings with it several drawbacks. As the customisation is very limited, it is difficult to consistently apply your brand image and identity across the site. Alongside this, the layout functionality and the navigation of the site may not be perfectly suited to the purpose of the site, which can have a detrimental effect on the overall user experience.

Another problem that resonates more with the success of your business is that many of these templates are built using outdated, and often substandard code. This can have a negative effect on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) because finding and indexing the keys words search engines like Google use is made substantially more difficult. These issues can also have an effect on the sites compatibility with browsers, which in turn can increase the lading time for specific pages – something that can be infuriating for the user.

To summarise:

Pros:

  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Can be built quickly

Cons

  • Difficult to find a template exactly matching your needs.
  • Can be negative for SEO purposes
  • Potentially slower loading times

 

Custom Design

A custom, or ‘bespoke’, designed website is one which has been tailor-made to your businesses specific demands and needs. Your requirements will be carefully analysed by designers and developers, who will interpret your brief, and work with you every step of the way to ensure that the design is totally unique to you and your business. This will enable the identity of your business to remain consistent throughout the site, whilst also retaining an overall positive user experience. The control over your online presence will be total – from design to functionality.

The website developer will specifically set aside time to ensure that the website works on all the main browsers, as well as the design appearing as it should in multiple formats, including both mobile and tablet devices. Alongside this, an agency such as ourselves will be on hand to make any cosmetic changes, whilst also keeping on top of any urgent technical problems that may arise.

Another bonus of a bespoke website is that it can be designed with the future of your business in mind – mainly its growth and development. The expansion of your business will be a key element in the design, making changes to the website as seamless, and with as little hassle, as possible.

Custom designs are inevitably more costly, and in turn, take longer to implement then a template. However, along with your bespoke website, you have an agency such as Diffusion who are able to supply you with a wealth of experience, advice and information to make sure that your online presence is as you intended it to be. This is partially what you are investing in when you pay a bit more for a bespoke site.

To summarise:

Pros

  • Focus the design and functionality around your business model and needs.
  • Fully customisable
  • Have agency support to ensure you get the most out of website.

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Takes longer to setup

 

Summary

Whilst template websites may be cheaper, and can provide you with a quick and easy way to establish an online presence for your business, in the longer term, it is worth making an investment in a bespoke website so that you do not compromise on the quality, usability, or your professional image. Ultimately, you really do get what you pay for.

 

Read more about how Diffusion Digital can help customise your website and help you bring your brand to life online and drive more quality traffic to your site.

5 Great Examples of Shopify

Shopify is one of the most popular platforms available for ecommerce websites – and for good reason! Shopify is effectively the WordPress equivalent, but for e-commerce solutions. It is simple to use and has an intuitive UI (User Interface) that can be easily picked up. If your main business is selling online, then in many cases Shopify can act as both your storefront and your corporate front.

Although Shopify offer several customisable themes, we would recommend you develop your own as Shopify offer an abundance of different functionalities to suit different designs. Here we have picked 5 really slick, unique, and beautiful websites that show the best you can get out of custom built designs from the Shopify platform.

Master and Dynamic over ear heaedphones

First up is Master & Dynamic, who have one cool website – and really what you would be expecting when it comes to some of the more refined and expensive headphones around. The homepage doesn’t give too much away, but sets itself out as clean and structured. There is also a great user journey for customers to learn about the sound dynamics of each pair of headphones on the individual product pages.

What we really liked was how they integrated the video into the homepage design. (It is also one of the cooler product videos we have seen, so definitely check that out). The multi-currency option that Master & Dynamic have utilised on the site is one great example of a useful function that you can incorporate into your website when using a platform like Shopify.

Sofiyaa examples of accessories

Second, is Hardgraft. It’s quite a bold move to have the first page on your website as the product page, but then again the product is ultimately the focus of the site – and we think Hardgraft gets away with it. Whilst there are options to categorise the products more specifically in the fun menu popup to the side, they are already cleverly colour coordinated as you go down the page. What’s cool about this site is that whilst browsing through the shop you can buy any of the items without having to go into the specific product pages – something that makes online shopping a much more enjoyable experience.

For the more casual buyer – the product pages are really beautiful. Imagery from all angles allows you to see the product in action, and the very smartly laid out description gives off a slick look. What we like is when you add an item to the basket, a nice pop-down menu appears giving you a breakdown, and makes it easy to follow through with your order. The final checkout page also has a well-refined look – something that keeps in line with the rest of the site, and the Shopify allows you to do.

The Horse Shopify woman smiling with large watch

Third, is The Horse – a curated collection of leather lifestyle goods with a fresh and beautiful design. We particularly like the photography on this site showcasing all the products in stunning and bespoke compositions. The white background also helps to keep the site looking light.

The element of this site we feel needed mentioning is the subcategory options that appear when users choose from the ‘Time Tellers’ or ‘Leather Goods’ categories. A drop down menu is displayed that shows images of the various subcategory options rather than text to direct the user to the relevant page. This option allows users to easily see what subcategories are offered rather than waiting to be directed to that page.

Love Jules Leather Shopify homepage screenshot

Fourth, and something on the more hipster end of the scale with a design to follow suit, is Love Jules Leather, which really manages to give off that unique feel. Opening with a video that takes you on a journey through the process of making leather boots, the Homepage manages to get straight to the point by displaying some of its featured products, whilst also captivating you with the brands identity.

We liked this site because of the way in which they keep you engaged from start to finish. We especially like the functionality of both the Collection menu and the Cart menu/page being able to be accessed from both sides of the screen and moving the page to the side. This is a good space saver for many large page designs and allows the user to have the control to display or keep these hidden. The addition of the Instagram feed at the bottom of the homepage has also been added in a great way to make the images feel totally integrated to the site that we don’t often see.

 

 

Sofiyaa Shopify home page woman in a black dress

Lastly, and by no means the least, is one of our own – SAFiYAA. Biasness aside this site oozes style, something quite essential when it comes to the high-end of fashion. The homepage has a slider that takes you through some of the best of their most recent campaign – leaving all the other sections clearly laid out and accessible.

What we like about this site is the product page – they are displayed in a smart a well-ordered fashion, whilst also allowing the viewer to view two angles of the product by being responsive to your mouse – something that makes browsing the store a much more enjoyable experience, and highlights the versatility of Shopify as well.

Shopify and Diffusion Digital

Shopify is one of our favorite platforms to work with here at Diffusion Digital – first off it’s such a great platform for small to medium sized businesses to manage hands-on, but also the level of creativity that you can apply to your own designs is endless. If you like some of the things you’ve seen in the above examples, then please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us. Creating a bespoke Shopify design for you and your business, that is both beautiful and efficient, is the kind of thing that we take pride in!

Alternatively read more about our Shopify design and development services.