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fwebStellar Design Tips To Update Your Website

If you have a site that's been up and running for a considerable amount of time, you may be in need an update. It's important to keep your site's design fresh so that it appears relevant, updated, and new to your target audience. While some website owners opt to go with a full overhaul and create a completely new design, this isn't necessary. Here are some stellar design tips you can use to update your website without spending a fortune.

1. Create a Visual Hierarchy 

One of the problems that's common with older sites is the lack of contrast and focus. The sites look like a simple website with a sea of text. If you want to grab the attention of your visitor, you have to create a strong visual hierarchy. This means that you have to place the most important elements prominently. For example, you will want to put the headline before the supporting image instead of the other way around.

A good way to start is to use a bigger font for the lead in sentence or paragraph. You can continue keeping the attention of your reader by using different font sizes, adding images to stress/support important points of your page, and using colors to distinguish different sections of your pages. Remember that bigger elements, elements placed on top of the fold, and elements on the left hand side draw more attention.

2. Offer Additional Navigation Options 

One of the trends that we are appreciating more is sites offering more navigation options for their visitors. For example, it was very common for blogs to simply link to other content by sidebar widget menus. These menus often consisted of the newest posts, most popular posts, and posts by category. But more blogs are now going beyond this to help their visitors find the content they're looking for.

These blogs are offering top navigation menus that are carefully categorized and organized. There are related blog posts at the end of the content. There are back to top buttons and breadcrumb navigation links used. Hamburger menus are placed on the upper left hand side of the site and only appear as users scroll past the top navigation menu. Some websites are even offering navigation links for various sections of the page on the left hand part of the page.

3. Reduce Your Site's Loading Times 

More users are accessing the Internet through mobile devices and it's estimated that half of all Internet traffic consists of these users. The computing speed on mobile devices and Internet connectivity is slower, so you have to put in the extra effort to accommodate these users. Loading time is also a strong SEO ranking factor and has a direct impact on your conversion rate so that should give you additional incentives to work on reducing it.

The easiest place to start is to compress your image files. You can then set up browser caching so that your template files don't have to load every time for new pages and repeat visits. From there, you can minify your HTML, JavaScript and even CSS. If your site receives a lot of traffic it will help a lot to improve your web hosting plan to a dedicated server and use a content delivery network for your media files.

4. Use Visual Cues and Help Icons 

One of the simplest design updates you can make is to add visual cues and help icons. Visual cues like arrows, images (people staring at a specific point), dotted borders, colored web buttons, parallax effects, transition effects, and different background colors help guide users in the right direction. They also help improve the clickthrough rate if your goal is to get users to click on a specific link.

Help icons in particular work really well when you need to elaborate on a point. For instance, a
web hosting page can include question mark icons next to features that potential customers may not be familiar with. Hovering over the icon with the mouse cursor may bring up a small popover that explains what that feature is.

5. Keep It Interesting with Diverse Layouts 

Another common trend we've started seeing with bigger content sites is the use of diverse layouts. Instead of using a simple layout that organizes content blocks in a specific row and column pattern, more sites are switching up the layout. The layout may start out with a simple pattern, but it will use different arrangements to keep things interesting and unpredictable.

For example, a blog may start out with a three post per row blog post for a while and then switch to a card based layout. It might then transition into a slideshow where the users can click through slides of posts. The page may then end with a single post per row layout. The whole purpose of this is to keep the user engaged and help more of the blog's content get discovered.

6. Upgrade Your Images 
There was a period of time when many website owners were using stock images to support their content because they found out adding images resulted in more page views. However, many Internet users are now able to distinguish stock images from genuine images and often look down on sites that use a lot of stock images. So if you've been using stock images liberally on your site for some time, it's time to make some drastic changes.

You want to tone down the use of stock images, only using them when they are absolutely relevant and necessary. If you do want to use stock images, you need to avoid using the ones that obviously look like stock images. It will cost you a bit but it will also help to invest in custom photography and unique graphic design on the most important parts of your site.

7. Remember that Less is More 

With all these tips for updating your website design, it can be easy to get carried away. But the most important thing you need to remember is that less is more. For instance, using parallax effects may catch the attention of your visitors and really wow them. But it might not make sense to use parallax effects on your sales page since many visitors going to that page will probably come from mobile devices. The parallax effects may have problems displaying properly on the mobile device and also make result in longer load times. The end result is that your sales will suffer.

These stellar but simple design tips will help you turn an outdated design into a modern one. All of these tips are easy to implement and won't cost you too much even if you plan on hiring a graphic designer to help aid in the changes.

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