Websites have come a long way over the past few years, and if you are in the market for a new website or you haven’t updated your current site in a while, you should pay attention to this post.

One of the biggest contributors to a website’s purpose is the consumer, and attention, or lack of attention to be more accurate. Years ago websites needed to be packed with information and details, but today, short and sweet is desired.


Well, there are so many different selling channels and consumers are being hit from every direction with offers. It’s changing fast, and now Instagram just announced they are rolling out an in-app e-commerce platform that will allow companies to sell directly on the app, completely eliminating their website from the purchase funnel. Consumers will be able to purchase and complete the transaction without leaving Instagram.

This is appealing to the customer because of simplicity. Now, you need to apply this same logic when designing your own website. And if your current website design is more than a couple years old I would pay attention and seriously consider an overhaul and redesign.

There are a lot of factors that need to be taken into consideration these days, but here are the top ten you cannot ignore. If you pay attention and implement these, you will, without a doubt, see improved performance in terms of increased conversions and sales.

Designing a website in 2019..

1. Limit Navigation Options

Years ago navigation menus were complex, had several options and many layers of sub-categories. This was fine because the menu only needed to work on desktops and laptops. A website visitor could use his or her mouse and easily see the menu, and then click to expand the sub-categories.

No big deal. Even if it was a complex menu it was possible to navigate easily because of how it was displayed on a large screen. Now with the majority of website traffic coming from mobile and tablet devices, it makes the old school menu a nightmare in terms of user experience.

Now, less is more. Mobile is such a factor these days than many company’s now use the “hamburger” style (3 bars) navigation menu on their desktop versions as well. When a user clicks the menu bars they are often faced with four to six options, and very rarely any more.

Most websites these days exist to convert, either in the form of a sale or a lead (contact request, etc.). You should have minimal pages to accomplish just that. If you overload the visitor with too many options or too much information you will overwhelm them and they will leave. Less is more these days.

2. Make CTAs Impossible to Miss

If you have a piece of content on your website that has one purpose — to generate leads — then you need to make that very obvious, with a call-to-action that is impossible for the visitor to miss.

When designing your website you want to take CTAs into consideration, because it allows you to create them in a way that makes them appear more native, and less promotional. Too many people use plugins to display their offers, and guess what? They have been seen a million times and visitors become immune to them.

They see the same style CTA after blog posts, so they skip them naturally. They see the same popups over and over so they just naturally “x” them out without even thinking twice. Easter Egg Two..

You want to create very strong CTAs that are impossible to miss while also maintaining a native feel. A competent web designer will be able to create in-line CTAs you can customize within your content and also before or after posts. Make them bold and make them direct to maximize the potential of converting more of your traffic.

3. Don’t Go Overboard with Colors (KISS – Keep it Simple, Stupid)

With so much competition online you need to make sure you establish a strong brand image, starting with your logo and then flowing into your website and even the branding on your social media content.

If your logo is two colors then don’t have a website that looks like a box of crayons exploded. If you look at some of the more popular landing page builders you will see that the templates are usually tow or three colors max, and this is because it helps stay on-brand.

If a website looks too busy it will distract the visitor. Remember, you want them to convert as quickly as possible, regardless of what that conversion goal is. It doesn’t matter if you are trying to get someone to submit an email address in exchange for an eBook or if you want them to make a $19.99 impulse purchase.

The sooner you can get them to see the CTA, the sooner they will take action. Any other distraction in-between just lower the chance of them converting. I like two main colors with a third and fourth accent color to really make it pop, yet stay on-brand.

4. Highlight Points with Icons and Images

Modern website designs do a lot of explaining without words. Rather than large blocks of text that will not be read, icons, animations, infographics and video is being used to deliver messages and explanations.

Why is this? Well, it’s the only way you can get a message across these days, as the attention span of your visitors is very narrow. They simply will not take the time to read information about your company or about what you are offering.

For the best impact, you want to incorporate these visual elements into your design. If they match the look and feel you stand a much better chance of having your visitors engage. Now, before you say, “Yeah but you need text to rank” don’t think you can’t include it, because you can. But, you can put it out of view almost, giving your visitors little to no distractions.

For example, you could explain your “How” process with a few animated icons, which will satisfy the needs of your visitors and potential customers, and then place the detailed (and optimized) text description under it, which satisfies Google and contributes to your organic rankings.

5. Use Minimum Text on Your Homepage

The days of ranking your homepage for your main keywords are over. It just isn’t smart to use that approach any longer. It’s much better to create highly optimized inner pages for each keyword you are going after.

In a perfect situation, your homepage should rank number one for your company name, which you can accomplish with strong on-site optimization. There is no need for long paragraphs of text on your home page. Most websites have multiple conversion goals, and few, if any, occur on the homepage.

You want to get your traffic to click-through to the pages that those CTAs reside on, so the less distractions the better. Design your homepage to be the portal to all of your conversion options, with obvious paths that invite the visitor to go get the information or items he or she wants.

Someone should land on your homepage and be able to understand what you offer without having to read any text. Accomplish that and you are off to a great start.

6. Use Easy-to-Digest Small and Short Paragraphs on Information Pages

There are going to be some pages of your website that are going to require text — common pages being ‘About Us’ and ‘Our Company’ as an example. While these pages will feature text it’s important to break it down into paragraphs or no more than two to three sentences, and use large font sizes to make it easy to read, especially on smaller screens.

Depending on what type of business you are, there are going to be some people that will read all of the content on these more in-depth pages, so you want to make it enjoyable for them to do so. Short paragraphs and larger, easier to read text, makes consuming the information effortlessly for those that desire to do so.

Also, stick to standard font styles. Fancy or overly styled fonts might look cool or different, but they are a nightmare to read. Don’t overthink this. Stick to Times New Roman and similar standard fonts for the most pleasant user experience.

7. Use Images and Graphics to Highlight Selling Points (Not Text)

I saw something very clever the other day on a new redesign that a social media advertising agency rolled out. For their Instagram growth service they used animated iPhones with the Instagram app on the screen to highlight all of the selling points of their service.

Rather than a long paragraph of boring text for each, they had an animated iPhone. To make the point of increased engagement they had a phone with Instagram notifications flooding the screen. To highlight increased followers they showed an animated iPhone being flooded with follower requests. They did the same for increased comments and likes.

This approach was well done and anyone looking at the page instantly knew what each referred to. It did a much better job of explaining the benefits of the service than a text post would ever do, and the “fun” element will most definitely convert more clients for this agency than if it was just a text explanation.

8. Code with SEO in Mind (and Speed)

I have seen some amazing website designs created, but then they perform horribly because they were designed solely with design in mind and nothing else. There is a big difference between a website designer with SEO knowledge and one with zero understanding of search engine optimization.

A beautiful website that loads like a pig and has bulky code that creates long lag times on mobile due to loading too many resources is worthless. A lot of people go to the freelance marketplaces and hire based on design samples and don’t even discuss SEO. No matter where you hire your designer, from freelancer to major design firm, you need to be assured that they will design with clean, fast responsive code in mind.

While themes are popular because they can be setup instantly and they are low cost, they also have a lot of extra code built in because they are so generic and often have hundreds of customizable options. If you do opt for a theme, hire someone to trim the fat and remove the unnecessary code from your server to lighten the load and improve the speed and load time of your website. Speed is key, for both SEO and user experience.

9. Design with a Mobile-First Mentality for Usability

There is a difference between making a desktop design responsive and creating a design from scratch with a mobile-first mentality. Any designer can take something and split it up into boxes and call it responsive, and it will pass most tests, but that doesn’t mean it actually provides a good user experience.

These days, you need to build with mobile as the primary focus, as most of your traffic will come from the smaller screen devices. When you approach it this way, things like CTA buttons, forms, and navigation are all perfectly optimized for mobile. Just because a responsive website passes a mobile-friendly test, that doesn’t mean all of the CTAs are easy to complete or the conversion process is seamless on little screens.

Make sure anyone you hire to design is focused on the small screens as the main objective, with desktop design and user-friendliness second in line.

10. Build with Constant Split-Testing in Mind

You should never be complacent and settle for the first version of a new design. Sometimes the smallest changes, like button location, color, or the CTA text can have a massive impact on your conversion rates.

When creating a new design, understand that you will always be split testing certain elements of the website. It’s important that you identify these in the beginning and educate your designer and coder, so they can work this into the design. Little things like being able to quickly change the color of a button requires very little work on their end, but can have huge impacts on your results in the future.

Really skilled coders can even make it possible to make these optimization testing changes possible via the back-end, like through the WordPress dashboard. Freelancers and agencies that understand this need and want are going to be much better at delivering you what you need to succeed.


More than ever, your website design needs to make an impact without being overwhelming. Simplicity is key, and if you follow the tips highlighted above you will be on the fast track to improved performance.

Your website used to be the main hub for all sales and conversions, but that is not the case now. With social media handling e-commerce and even customer service, your company’s website is just one of your selling tools.

Needs, features and best-practices will always evolve and charge, but right now, in 2019, these are the must-do’s for anyone redesigning or rolling out a new website.

What are some things that you have recently done to improve the performance of your website? Anything stand out as a strong optimization hack that resulted in noticeable increases in conversions and sales? Let me know in the comments below.

Tommy McDonald

Tommy is an SEO professional with years of experience running highly successful SEO companies, founded SerpLogic after noticing there was a major void when it came to options for SEO agencies needing a reliable and professional one-stop outsource solution.You can read all about me in the “About” page here on our blog!

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