In today’s business world, having an up-to-date and user-friendly website is absolutely necessary for success. Two of the most common website mistakes include not having a mobile-friendly site and using the wrong visuals. By fixing these web design faux pas, your business can increase sales, bring in new leads, and crush your competition.

Mobile Friendly Sites

It’s 2015, and 52% of the U.S. population owns a smartphone. In other words, 165 million people in America are constantly searching the web on pocket-sized portable devices. Of these 165 million people, 57% will leave a website if it takes more than three seconds to load. Catering to half of the population is obviously important. However, even with these statistics, only about half of all Fortune 500 companies have websites that are mobile –optimized. What does this mean for your business? You can easily get ahead of the game by having a mobile-friendly website.

Having a mobile-optimized site is synonymous with having more customers. To make your website smartphone compatible, you need to do the following:

  • Make sure the design and page layout adjusts to fit in a small space with easy site navigation.
  • Use easy-to-find call-to-action buttons (ie: Buy Now, Call Us, Add to Cart, etc.).
  • Images need to be optimized for the web and small enough that they don’t slow down page load time.
  • Design the site to encourage user-engagement on a touch screen (ie: scrolling and swiping).

Responsive Web Design

Optimizing your current business website for mobile can be accomplished in one of two ways:

  1. Create a separate, completely new website for your mobile visitors. This new site would only serve mobile devices.
  2. Use responsive web design. With responsive design, your main website will conform to any customer’s device; a small laptop, smartphone, tablet, etc.

A separate mobile site may be easy and cheaper up-front, but it is not recommended. Managing two different websites at once can be confusing and more costly in the long run.

With responsive design, you may have to invest a little more time and money, but then you only have to worry about one all-inclusive site! Responsive web design is almost always the way to go.

Website Visuals for Customer Engagement

Once you’ve optimized your website for mobile users, traffic on your website is likely to increase. However, in order to keep that new traffic engaged, you need to have a good design. 90% of the information processed in the brain is visual, and visual information is processed 60,000 times faster than written information. Therefore, utilizing powerful images on your site increases user engagement and decreases bounce rates.

Just throwing images here and there on your website won’t make you an instant success. You need to treat images as key content, and value them as such. Images on your site should:

  • Relate to/back-up the main points on your website
  • Show graphics, statistics, and other crucial information
  • Provide valuable quotes
  • Add depth to your written information
  • Go above and beyond your written content

With your images, be sure not to overwhelm your audience with too much information. The psychology of  design shows that people are most responsive to clean images that are laid out in a simple way. Simple designs “cut through the noise,” and make your messages easier to process. Remember that often times less is more, and the use of white space can add power to your designs.

Finally, it’s important that images fit your brand and niche or you’re going to drive away your audience. For example, kittens are adorable, but having a large photo of a cat on a website that sells shoes doesn’t mean anything. However, using an image of a kitten’s head peeking out of a stylish new boot? That fits the brand and niche while incorporating the web’s most popular meme subject.

Mobile Sites, Responsive Design, and Visuals: Putting it All Together

With Google’s latest algorithm change, mobile sites are favored in search results. Combining responsive design, best practices for mobile sites, and powerful images will make your site a force to be reckoned with. Remember that alone, these tactics work just fine. But, if you combine all three, your website will be a powerhouse for driving sales and crushing the competition.