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Is your website like a ninja? It should be! Truly great websites have a lot of things in common with stealthy ninjas, and you could learn a lot from the martial art specialists. Having a great website is more important than ever. (If you’re reading this, you probably already know that.) Your website is the hub of your online activities, and it is often the first contact many prospects have with your brand.

Here are three ways that great websites are like ninjas, which you can use to improve your site this year.

1. Great Web Design Is ‘Invisible’

Ninjas are stealthy. They dress in black and operate in the shadows. They don’t make a big show of their talents. They are invisible.  And so is great web design.  While good design is obvious, great design goes unnoticed. It does not provoke a reaction from users. People visiting a website don’t stop to admire the website, to comment on how clever or cute a design element is.  Instead, the opposite is true.  A great website is a joy to use. Truly effective design improves the user experience and is easy to interact with.

This article in Design Shack looks at how a good website design should not call out attention to itself but should be invisible. Great design encourages engagement and makes your visitors want to spend more time on the site. It creates an emotional response through the colors and how the elements interact.  You don’t need to use design embellishments to show off. If you do use a unique design feature, ask yourself whether it is improving the function or whether it is just for show.  Users don’t want to have to think about how the site works: They just want to use it. When interacting with your site, make sure that they can do so easily and that the experience is enjoyable.

2. Great Websites Perform a Specific Function

When you watch a ninja fight, they do what they have to do to win the duel. You don’t see them doing all these fancy moves to show off. They use the necessary tools, which could be nothing more than their own hands, and they never expend more energy on anything unless it gets them the result.  It’s the same with great websites.  Great websites don’t overdo things. Instead, they keep it simple. They make it super easy for the user to use and enjoy the site. And they do this in order to achieve a specific goal.

ConversionXL writes about the reasons why simple websites are better. It cites a Google study from 2012 stating that websites that are more visually complex are often seen as less beautiful. But beyond beauty, simple websites are often more effective.  That does not mean getting rid of design elements for the sake of it: It means great websites do what they have to do to get results. For many websites, the goal is to convert visitors into customers, and a great website does the job it is designed to do in the most effective way possible. When it comes to conversions, every element matters. There is no room for elements that do not have a purpose. A great website communicates a great deal of information in very few elements.

3. Great Websites Are Often Imitated

Ninjas are cool, right? And to become one, you just have to put on a black suit and creep around, right? But there is more to becoming a ninja than this. Becoming a true ninja takes years of training, a huge amount of discipline, and extensive planning.  And the same is true of designing a successful website. When people see and use a great website, they want to imitate it. But they end up copying the appearance, or one specific element of the site when there is so much more that goes into a great website.  You cannot create a great website by simply copying other websites. You may like an element of a successful website, but this may not be directly transferable to your site.

Truly useful web design elements become more popular over time. These elements are used because they work, and most designers will follow web design trends for this reason. But there is a difference between following the trends and simply copying.  Some sites copy the one element of a successful site without fulfilling the great experience provided by the original site.  So use design techniques that have been proven to be effective, but don’t simply imitate. Instead, make it your site that everyone else wants to imitate.

Give Your Website a Ninja Overhaul for 2016

Is your website like a ninja? Is it simple, effective, and stealthy? Are you showing off your design skills, or is the design invisible? The start of a new year is the perfect time to give your website an overhaul, so take tips from the ninja and give your site design an overhaul this year.

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About the Author: Jason Corgiat

I started building websites in 1999. Through the years I've worked with hundreds of businesses in various verticals and have built, implemented and managed digital strategies for companies of all sizes. My education is not formal and neither are my methods. Chances are, I can add value to your organization from day 1 but I'll let you be the judge. I'm a proud father of 4, luckiest husband in the world, and enjoy the occasional gym session. How was that for a bio?

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