When it comes to building a website on Webflow, creating a pretty design is only one of the keys to success. Although it’s important for your website to look nice and professional, the design isn’t the only thing that should be taken into account.
First and foremost, the number one aspect of a great website is whether or not it’s built to help you reach your current company goals and your goals for the future. If not, then it’s probably time to re-evaluate your website strategy.
But again, that’s not everything! What else goes into building a world-class website?
Keep reading to learn the top six things that your website needs to have to make it a top-performer!
Consistent Design System
Perhaps the most often overlooked, but important, key to a great website is the creation and implementation of a style guide and design system. All too often, we look at sites that have inconsistent fonts, spacing, colors, sizes, buttons, etc… and it throws an instant red flag for professionalism.
By implementing a design system and a style guide, your site will instantly have a more consistent look and feel, plus thanks to Webflow’s class system, future additions and updates to your site will be much easier as well
When it comes to design systems, at 253 Media, we like to use the popular Client First design system by Finsweet coupled with our unique expanded style guide which basically turns your brand guidelines and builds them into your website so your site is always on brand!
Keep in mind that a design system and stifle guide is only as effective as it is used so make sure that you and your team are actually following the system!
Clear, high quality graphics and imagery.
Although this may seem like a no-brainer, you’d be amazed at just how many sites are built using poor quality images and graphics. In all reality, the difference between a bad site and a good site is structure and development, but the difference between a good site and a great site is usually content.
Whether you are a real estate developer or a SaaS company, investing in high-quality content is one of the best ways to improve your site.
But remember, high-quality content is only good as it provides a visual value add. Just slapping a random photo, video, or graphic in there isn’t going to do much! Your content needs to show your customers what you do!
Lastly, a huge mistake that brands often make is that they make great content that’s crystal clear but fail to compress the files so load times are slow! Don’t be that brand!
Speed optimized with an A rating on GTMetrix
Speaking of image compression and speed, the next big aspect of a great Webflow site is performance. Remember, a website is only as good as it performs so if your site is incredibly slow, people will click off before they even get to learn about what you do.
In fact, conversions drop by an average of 4.2% per second of load time. To put that in perspective, you could have about 12% more conversions if you can drop your load time from 5 seconds to only 2 seconds, which is totally doable for a lot of brands!
To help your load times be lightning fast, Webflow recently implemented in-platform image compression to the webp file type which helps a ton! Plus, Webflow also makes it easy to lazy-load images which will help reduce the initial load time as well.
Lastly, reducing any unnecessary code elements can also help with your load times. At the end of the day, a good rule of thumb is to think about how much data needs to load and how you can reduce that amount of data.
Clear user objectives and calls to action
Again, a website is only as good as it converts so having strong calls to action throughout your site is crucial to actually get conversions. Calls to action don’t necessarily have to be form fill outs or call bookings either.
A call to action is simply a way for you to push your customer in the right direction. That could be to schedule a call on a Calendly, or it could be to click through to an informational page.
Lastly, make it easy for your customers to get in touch with you. So many great websites out there actually make it tough for people to buy from there, so make sure your calls to action are clear.
A great rule of thumb is to follow the Storybrand Framework with the 3 Pillars in the hero
PRO TIP: Make your buttons more unique than just “Learn More”.
Mobile optimization - should all graphics and animations scale down?
This is a tricky one that becomes more of an issue as your website grows in complexity, especially if you have complex user interactions!
A few keys to think about when it comes to desktop or mobile only content.
First off, on desktop, you use a mouth or a trackpad to navigate and you click and hover on elements for interactions. When was the last time you hovered on your iPhone?
On the flip side of that, on mobile you use your finger to scroll which means you can mode things easily on both the x and y axis. This unlocks swipeable content that actually makes sense compared to desktop and using a mouse. However, use the swipe sparingly because not nearly as many users as you think will actually swipe through your slides or cards.
When we look at Hotjar data, we can see a pretty big drop off after the second swipe, so if you have important info on the fourth slide, it could be wise to move the info to somewhere else so users actually see it.
The last key to desktop and mobile visibility is orientation and the content sizing. Remember, your Macbook is landscape and your iPhone is vertical so your content won’t fit the same way across all devices and will either be tiny or cut off on mobile or out of place and huge on desktop.
An easy thought here is if you have content that fits perfectly on a landscape screen, you’ll probably need to rethink how you implement that same content on mobile.
An easy strategy to combat this is to use a grid system on your website, which is actually a very common framework. Using a grid will help you size and place your content in a way that can easily scale down and stack on mobile. This is one of the primary reasons why grids are helpful!
Accessibility and SEO structure
The last key to a great Webflow website comes from accessibility and SEO. All too often we see websites that are beautifully designed and have all of the capabilities of a great website, but they are missing key SEO elements such as a proper heading structure and a blog!
These two structural elements hold back so many incredible websites from being organic powerhouses when in reality, they are both easy to implement. The only caveat is that if you have a blog, make sure you update it regularly (which you should be doing anyways!)
Aside from SEO, having an accessible website is another aspect of web design and development that’s often overlooked. Adding in proper alt text, making sure that your text is actual text (not part of your image) and making sure that your elements are tagged properly is a crucial process that can have a major impact on the overall build of your website.
To summarize, there is a lot that goes into building a world-class website from the initial design to development strategies that make your site lightning fast. But each of these aspects are extremely important if you want to make the most out of your website and maximize your online profitability.