There is no doubt that looks matter. However, looks by themselves will not take you very far. This is especially true when it comes to web design.
Yes, we all love a stunningly good looking website but unless you understand some of the critical web design facts your site won’t have the desired results.
Nowadays its common to believe that good web design only requires you to drag and drop elements, adjust colors to your liking, add some content, and away you go. Of course, this is common practice and, yes, it may even result in a good looking website.
That being said, if you want your site to go above and beyond just looking good and have a high-performing site that best serves your business, you need more. What you need is a web designer who knows how to work behind the scenes in order to manage all the little unseen, but critical, details that can really push your site to the top.
Here are some factors that play a major role in making sure your site performs well. Moreover, we will consider some additional factors that can be important if you are trying to target a specific market, such as, China.
Templates Are Not Magical
We will start with an element that is strictly connected to the design of your website. Templates are an easy way to create a new site, and if you learn the in’s and out’s you can build a website in just a few hours.
Sadly, not all that glitters is gold. While templates can be useful, they come with extreme limitations and downsides. For example, with so many available customizations it’s easy to create cluttered pages that hinder your user experience.
Moreover, the code running behind the template may not be as clean as it should be and this is a significant drawback if you want your website to per-form well. Especially, if you try to implement functions that the template has not been designed for, you may end up with cluttered code and unorganized design.
As a result, your performance on search engines will be limited, UX website design won’t be pleasant, and it will reflect poorly on your brand.
Good Coding Is the Engine
Once your website looks good and the functions you built work properly, you may think that everything is great, but unfortunately, this is often not the case.
Coding is not something you see with your eyes, but its effect on the perfor-mance of your website is paramount.
If badly written code powers your web-site, Google and the other search engines may have a problem finding the information within it, and it may not display correctly in search results. As a consequence, your organic traffic will be cramped with obvious unwanted effects on your business.
If your sites code is really messy, bloated or broken, you may even get penalized by search engines to the point that your site won’t even show up in the results.
Cater to Different Browsers
This point is strictly related to the previous one about coding. Each browser translates your website code differently. Therefore, if your website looks great on Chrome, for instance, it doesn’t mean the same result is replicated on Safari, FireFox, or other web browsers.
In some of them, the design may appear broken, or some functionality may not work at all.
This is a problem that only good web designers and developers can solve since they have extensive knowledge of HTML, CSS, and different browsers’ issues. Testing and fixing your website to work on multiple browsers is an essential part of your project that will prevent losing precious traffic.
Design Still Matters
All the technicalities we mentioned up to now doesn’t mean that good design doesn’t matter. The visual impact still has a powerful effect on your visitors.
However, a web professional will design not only how your website will look but even how it will be organized because good web design is, in fact, goal oriented.
Which means that the web agency needs to understand what your goals are so that every element on your page can be placed with these specific goals in mind.
A professional web designer knows how users interact online and which areas of a webpage are more effective to push them to action. Therefore, your page will be designed not only with visual elements in mind but will even take the psychology of your visitors into consideration.
Speed Is a Must
Here are some statistics to illustrate what we mean. 47% of users expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less and 39% of them will leave your page if that doesn’t happen.
There is no doubt that speed is critical for your website. Fast loading websites are a combination of many factors. Once again, clean code is vital, pages must not be overcrowded with non-essential elements, images must be optimized, hosting settings properly set, and the list goes.
You may be surprised at seeing what a big difference just one second can make on your website, both for the positive or the negative. To optimize your sites speed, you need a professional web designer who knows what code and settings to adjust without crashing the entire website.
Make the Design Responsive
People access the Internet from many kinds of devices. We take for granted that our favorite website can be surfed either from our computer or mobile phone. In reality, to ensure that a site can be viewed on any screen size is a complicated process, and this process is called responsiveness.
Your website must be 100% responsive to guarantee a consistent user experi-ence for your entire audience.
Could you imagine the disappointment if one of your visitors tries to access your website from a mobile device and he cannot see the menu or pictures, or they are way too large and distorted?
Only the best web agencies can ensure that your website can deliver the same quality across several devices without discouraging your visitors from coming back.
Images and Videos that Rock
It has been said an innumerable amount of times that images and videos are essential for your website. A well-selected video or image will entertain your audience, convey relevant information, or convince a user to take a desired action.
However, the quality of a video or an image is not the only thing to be con-cerned about. Each media element must be optimized for the web.
Therefore, you need to set images to the right size and format to make sure they display correctly and load fast enough so as not to annoy your audience.
Moreover, since the development of retina screens, images must be adjusted to display properly specifically for this new generation of screens.
How Western and Chinese Web Design Differ
Even though the Chinese Internet environment is still relatively new, it is growing at an exceptional rate. At the moment, there are still some significant differences between western and Chinese users that web developers must consider.
Most of these differences are related to the cultural differences in this part of the world. Therefore it is always advisable to take advantage of an excellent digital agency in China to tackle them correctly.
Chinese users tend to prefer pages with shorter content but strictly focused on a topic. On the other hand, the content you add must be very specific and most likely longer since users in China still need to be educated about products and how to use them.
Mobile is Primary
Most Chinese users go online through a mobile device. The amount of mobile users in China is much larger than in the western world. Therefore your website has to be mobile ready otherwise it will be overlooked entirely in China
Local Host Is Preferable
If you want to target the Chinese market, you must think of hosting your website within China.
Local websites have a better chance to rank well and having been approved by the Chinese government they tend to load faster since do not have to undergo the censorship.
However, to host your website in China there are legal requirements you must comply with. That can be a roadblock for many international investors. A good digital agency in China can help you in getting all the documents you need.
Optimize for Local Search Engines
Google doesn’t exist in China. Baidu is the leading search engine, and your web solution must be optimized for it.
In this case, you need a web designer from China who knows how to deal with this search engine since your coding and pages must be structured following precise guidelines.
Even your SEO campaigns must be planned to take into consideration both what works on Baidu and delivering a message that resonates with local customers.
What Is Your Next Step?
Web design is way more complicated than many think. There is so much going on behind the scenes that can quickly become overwhelming if you do not have all the technical expertise needed to create a top-tier website.