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Block 81 is a design studio producing beautifully crafted websites and brands for independent businesses and startups.
April 4, 2018
If you were one of the first sites to incorporate responsive design, you likely enjoyed some boosts in traffic for a while.
However, most websites are now responsive or mobile-friendly. Now that being responsive doesn’t make you stand out from the crowd, how do you make your site different?
You don’t need flashy new trends to be unique. The most important thing you can do to make your site stand out from the rest is to put the user first.
People are busy and don’t have time to waste on a site that doesn’t load fast or is filled with error pages and broken links. Taking the time to perform regular site maintenance helps to speed up loading times. Most visitors only stick around for seconds before moving on.
When a site loads slowly, visitors assume the rest of the site will waste their time too. Even if this couldn’t be further from the truth, it damages your brand’s reputation. To get an idea of how your site performs, use the free PageSpeed Insights tool from Google.
A Fast Company article from 2014 focused on the importance of visuals in content. The desire for visual content has only grown since then. According to their infographic, content with visuals is 40x more likely to be shared and visual content gets 94% more views.
With more site visitors coming from mobile devices, it’s much easier to check out content with visuals. This makes it easier to scan and makes it more engaging. Just remember, keep your image file sizes small to avoid increasing page loading times.
You already know the importance of blogging for boosting traffic. However, the type of content you place on your site is what helps your site stand out in a crowd of responsive websites. You could just focus on marketing and promotion or company news style posts. Odds are, you won’t get much traffic at all and you might notice your competition performing better.
So what’s the difference? Valuable content. You’ve likely heard about high-quality content. Valuable content is an extension of that. High-quality content is grammatically correct, formatted nicely and typically longer (often over 1,000 words). Valuable content incorporates all these components by considers the reader. This type of content provides real value to the reader, such as a useful tutorial, tips and tricks, guidelines and industry news (especially with B2B sites).
Technology isn’t just limited to people without disabilities. However, many websites don’t incorporate accessibility features. For instance, browsers allow people to zoom in or increase font sizes to make it easier to read text. However, a browser can’t do everything. Sometimes your website has to be coded differently to allow accessibility tools and features to work.
For instance, screen readers read content aloud to visually impaired visitors. If your site has bugs in the code, the screen reader might not be able to work. While the bugs don’t affect your site visually, it does affect accessibility tools.
W3C provides extensive guidelines and advice on types of disabilities and accessibility options for all of them. Their site also details the best ways to create a more accessible website.
No one knows your visitors as well as they know themselves. Don’t just assume you know exactly what they want. Give your visitors a chance to offer feedback. Send out a survey in your email newsletter. Post questions on social media. Provide a feedback form on your website and add a CTA asking visitors to make suggestions for a better website.
While you won’t use every suggestion, you’ll likely see common themes arise. Use their feedback to make your website stand out from the competition.
According to science, simple websites are better. Visitors like them because they’re easier to use and less distracting. As tempting as it might be to fill every available pixel with images and content, avoid this at all costs.
Having less on the screen showcases the content you do have much better. Plus, it makes your site look nicer on other devices. Even responsive sites don’t perform well if they’re too cluttered.
Another thing to consider with a simple website is to avoid going overboard on trends. You probably remember websites that got way too excited over flashy animations in the late 90s and early 2000s. Keep your site simple and familiar. As strange as it seems, this actually does make you stand out.