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What Makes A Successful Website? Web Design Must-Haves in 2021

Kirk Thompson

Director

Author Image: Kirk Thompson
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If you’re a Birmingham-based company and want your website design to stand out, you’re going to need to pull out all the stops. In 2018, Birmingham was the top city, outside of the capital, for new business start-ups. With the economic injection of the 2022 Commonwealth Games fast approaching, every Birmingham-based business is going to be putting their best foot forward.  

At KIJO, we create award-winning websites, apps and brands for all kinds of clients. We’ve worked with business support networks to energy drinks start-ups. For the past two decades, we’ve been designing websites, tracking trends and finessing our expertise and can give you the lowdown on what works best. The most successful websites of 2021 will need to deliver sleek designs and innovative technology that keep users hooked. The best websites will use more than just visual effects; these are useless without speed, security and strategic website foundations.

It’s a tall order, but a great website is essential to creating an online business identity that speaks to your target consumers. We know each of these processes inside out. Whichever sparks your interest, drop us a message and we can help you turn your ideas into digital assets.

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2021 – The Year AR Becomes Mainstream

Apple CEO, Tim Cook, called it back in January 2020, saying AR (augmented reality) is the ‘next big thing, and it will pervade our entire lives’. AR is used on websites and in games to position virtual 3D models in real-world settings using device cameras. Snapchat filters, Pokémon Go and the IKEA Place app all use AR to fuse virtual and physical worlds.

While it may seem futuristic, it’s already proved to be a huge marketing success and a valuable website investment.

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With Web AR it’s now possible to integrate this technology directly into websites. Transforming flat 2D images into manoeuvrable 3D models allows your customers to gain a more accurate understanding of your product and make sure it fits their needs. By creating a website that is somewhere between the in-store experience and standard online shopping, businesses using AR massively elevate the user experience.

Whether we are redesigning eCommerce platforms or creating immersive games, at KIJO we use 3D builder technology and the AR Quick Look plugin for WooCommerce to deliver unique AR experiences to our clients and their consumers.

Reliable and Scalable: Why Successful Websites Start with WordPress

Off-page design is as important for a standout website as impressive, on-screen visual elements. WordPress is a website publishing, content management software tool. An incredible 39% of all websites in existence today use WordPress. A WordPress website foundation is essential if you want to adapt quickly to advancing technology and easily update content to keep your site relevant.

It’s open-source, which means that the technology is advancing and expanding all the time. Adding extra functionality is easy as there are thousands of plugins on the market that are cheap and simple to download. If you have a specific feature in mind and can’t find an existing plugin to do the job, with open-source technology you can create custom add-ons. Website developers can design bespoke features that merge seamlessly with the WordPress platform.

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The CMS is remarkably easy to use and perfect for businesses of all sizes. WordPress allows you to keep content updates and management in-house. You can add or change your blog in minutes to capitalise on marketing opportunities and keep your content relevant. Advanced permissions allow you to control who has access to what; keep content in the hands of your content marketers and design in the hands of your designers.

At KIJO, we are so certain of WordPress’s capabilities that we use it exclusively for our website designs. It offers everything a successful website requires; it’s easy to manage, provides constantly evolving technology and allows for customisable features.

A Unique Visual Identity with Custom Design and Animation

Whether it’s a brochure, eCommerce or SaaS website, consistent, high-quality visual design is imperative. A bold first impression will positively impact consumers, while shoddy presentation instils nothing but doubt in your business. When deciding on the look and feel of your website, everything from colour palette and typography to icons and buttons are important elements of your design.

Once you have perfected your final design, you need to ensure consistency. A well-intentioned team member might change spacing and colour choices which could ruin the overall style. Creating a design system ensures each element is displayed in the same way every time, saving you headaches in the long run.

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It’s not just static visual design that’s important. The way your website responds as users move through it provides another opportunity for great design. Integrating animations into your pages will create a much more engaging experience that holds a visitor’s attention. Rollover, scroll and mouse effects can be used to draw attention to key features. While there are animation templates available, with the help of a website design agency you can invest in custom animations that are unique to your platform.

Fast Page-Loading Times That Don’t Keep Users Waiting

Users won’t stick around long enough to see your beautiful website design if it doesn’t load fast enough. If a page takes longer than 1 second to load, bounce rate increases by a terrifying 123%. Many choose to compromise on style to conserve loading speeds, but you can have both. It just takes some smart loading tactics and lightning-fast hosting.

The most reliable, secure and cost-effective solution for competitive loading speeds is cloud hosting. You won’t need to predict spikes in traffic or worry about server security. We offer KIJO Cloud Hosting as part of our website design package and it’s why we can promise page loading speeds of under 0.5 seconds.

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Faultless SEO

Search engines are one of the most powerful marketing tools and you’ll need to optimise your site to make sure it’s coming up in the results pages. Successful SEO is not just a concern for content marketers. Be mindful of it from the get-go to get your site ranking in the top spots.

With targeted keywords and a website structure that search engines love, you can gain organic (non-paid) search results and put your business in front of new, highly intentioned customers.

Another reason we love building with WordPress is that it’s built with SEO in mind. Meta text, titles and anchor tags are all important signals for search engine bots and come as standard with WordPress. However, more advanced SEO requires expertise and specific tools such as Yoast. For continued success, you will need to have your finger on the pulse as search engine algorithms change all the time. Understanding these changes and how to continue to succeed in light of them is essential to maintain high website rankings.

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Engaging Content Displays

If your website includes a blog, your content displays will need to be as enticing as your webpage designs. Links to content need to be eye-catching and interactive enough to spark the reader’s interest, yet simple and easy for you to manage and update regularly.

We realised our clients’ content wasn’t fulfilling its potential to pull in traffic thanks to unremarkable displays. To address this, we built our own content marketing tool, Flix. Website owners can change and update content as necessary, while users can swipe through and find the articles that matter to them most within seconds.

Intelligently Designed User Journeys

Understanding what visitors require from your website and developing a user experience that delivers is a science. At KIJO, we use heat mapping and consumer testing to uncover existing pain points and collate the information we need to create multiple wireframes. We then undertake further user testing and tweak our customer journey’s until we decide on the final layout.

When an astounding 94% of people think that navigation is the most important feature of a website, optimisation is well worth the effort. A logical experience, that provides the customer with the quickest and most intuitive route to what they need every time is a hallmark of quality website design.

eCommerce Essentials: User-Friendly Checkouts

Wowing users with bespoke features and sleek design are the first steps to winning their custom, but the checkout process is equally important. The checkout is the final stage of the consumer journey and they can still bounce if purchasing becomes a pain. Over 70% of online shoppers abandon their baskets if the UX is poor.

To deliver a successful eCommerce website in 2021, you need to ensure a smooth buying process. Streamlining the user journey with 1-click purchases, saving customer data and incorporating company branding are important factors to consider.

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Easy Backend Management

The backend of a website is any part that users don’t see, sometimes described as the data access layer. For website owners, an easy to manage backend will make running your business a whole lot easier. You need to be able to retrieve data, access orders and update website content easily.

At KIJO, we make use of comprehensive platforms such as WordPress and WooCommerce for all of our creations. This means the websites we design for our clients are a doddle to manage, maintain and update, whether a brochure, eCommerce or SaaS site.

Build The Future with KIJO Birmingham

Deliver all of these features and your website stands a mighty fine chance of drawing in an impressive ROI. As a Birmingham-based website design company, we have worked with hundreds of businesses to develop cutting-edge platforms. Over the years, we have perfected our approach, developing our unique project process. Following our Build The Future methodology ensures we tick every box for our clients every time. If you would like your business to benefit, get in touch with the KIJO team.