10 Racing Web Design Tips for 2023
Why isn’t your website performing better?
It’s a question you’ll ask when your site consistently under-delivers. For many, investing in a new website design is the answer to this question. However, a new look to your website may not be the quick fix you expect. That's why following a few key best practices during a website redesign project is important, especially if you're in the racing, motorsports, and automotive performance industry.
10 Racing Web Design Tips for 2023
In our 25 years of experience, we’ve heard a few reasons why companies want to upgrade or redesign their current website, including:
- My current website sucks
- My site is outdated and doesn’t match current trends
- My site does not work well on mobile devices
- I am not getting any traffic/leads from the website
- I cannot update the website
- I want to add an online store
All of these reasons are valid, and with the right guidance, you can redesign a site that does what you need and helps you attract high-quality leads. If you plan to upgrade or redesign your current website, here are the top racing web design tips to consider.
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1. Put Strategy First
Believe it or not, immediately building a new website isn’t always the optimal first step of the process. We've also made this mistake in the past, rushing to get customers' new websites up and running. However, simply adding a new design and some new content won’t solve all of your problems.
Before building out any part of your new site, you must first understand what you want and need your website to do for your business. What are your specific and measurable website goals? How does your website need to support your team?
In our experience, we’ve learned it’s critical to start with a go-to-market strategy. This strategy will focus on your customer’s problems and create a site that seamlessly guides your guests through an intuitive buyer’s journey.
2. Optimize for speed (i.e., load time)
In racing, the faster you can get to the finish line, the better. It’s the same with websites. According to a recent study by Portent, a B2B site that loads in 1 second has a conversion rate that's three times higher than a site that loads in 5 seconds.
A few other reasons that load time is critical include:
- If a site doesn’t load quickly on a phone, visitors are five times more likely to leave
- Search engines, including Google, may rank your website pages lower if load times are slow
During a website redesign, you can speed up load time by compressing large images, reducing the amount of code, and even considering a new web host that can deliver a better performance. You can get even more technical recommendations by working with a racing web design and marketing agency.
3. Include Clear CTAs
When prospective customers reach your website, what action do you want them to take? It could be signing up for a newsletter, booking a call with your team, or downloading a content asset. This prompt is called a Call to Action, or a CTA, which is critically important to improving the conversion rate on your site. Clear calls to action exist to guide customers through your site and ultimately get them to take the action you want them to take.
A clear call to action typically includes the following:
- Specific, action-oriented language such as “Buy Now” or “Book a Call.”
- Placement in prominent places, such as above the fold and in your navigation menu
When you align your clear CTAs with the strategy developed in step one, you can guide users through the buyer’s journey, which can lead to a clearer understanding of how you solve their problems. Unclear CTAs may result in website visitors not knowing their next step, becoming frustrated, and leaving your site without accomplishing their task.
4. Avoid Stock Imagery
We live in a visual society. Life online is a reflection of that reality, so images are just as important as a component of your site as the content itself. Stock imagery provides a convenient and (most times) inexpensive solution for providing imagery on your site; however, it should be avoided if at all possible.
Stock images are impersonal and generic, generally not serving as an accurate reflection of your brand. Site visitors recognize these images instantly (think about the last time you visited a company’s contact page and saw a stock photo of someone wearing a headset!). They will likely see the same images on other websites - not the unique branding experience you were looking for and, as a result, your brand perception takes a hit.
Instead, use modern, high-quality photos of your facility, your products in action, and actual employees, using the opportunity to humanize your brand and show your brand values. You don’t even need a particularly fancy camera or setup. A well-composed iPhone photo is lightyears better than most stock images as it is authentic to you - the whole point of having your own website (To avoid using these images, check out these other alternatives to stock photography.)
5. Make the site about your customer (not you)
One of the primary reasons websites fail is that companies in the motorsports industry make their websites all about them. Their products, their services, and why they are a perfect fit for, well, everybody. Instead, focus your site on your actual customers. What are their needs, their challenges, and their problems? When you deploy a site that doesn't have a customer strategy for your space, it ends up being just a prettier version of your website that is already proven NOT to work.
In fact, we think this is such an important part of a successful website that we created a whole process for it - called the Digital Growth Framework.
6. Use clear (directed) navigation
Navigation is central to the user experience on a website and is the most important feature to consider on your site. Sit navigation is the tool that site visitors use to get the information that they are looking for. It’s like a GPS that leads them exactly where they need to go. Your navigation is also a critical tool in SEO, as it can assist search engines in indexing your pages, ultimately improving the rank of your website pages.
Further, a great website navigation bar/menu allows you to influence the site visitor and guide them to the areas of your site that you want them to see. You can elevate important pages and material that may have been hidden or buried in your site before. Of course, the exact navigation scheme for your site should be a natural by-product of the strategy you develop (see item #1 above).
7. Optimize for mobile
In the era of mobile-device ubiquity, no one can deny the importance of a mobile-friendly website. Visitors want to use websites on their phones as easily as on their desktop computers and laptops. That means that content must be responsive and automatically formatted for their screens regardless of screen size - nothing should be cut off, the text needs to be sized correctly, and so much more. These elements are critical to optimal website performance for visitors.
In addition to providing a better experience, mobile-friendliness is also a ranking factor for Google. Google does not want to send users to sites that provide a frustrating experience. Give yourself every opportunity to rank higher in search results by optimizing your site for mobile.
Whether you adopt a “mobile first” design mindset or are evolving your existing site to be more mobile-friendly, the goal is to provide a user-friendly, responsive browsing experience across all platforms.
8. Don't neglect SEO
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is how you make your site visible online. As 68% of online experiences begin with a search, it’s important to optimize your website pages, which can be done by adding relevant keywords (what your customer searches for) and including them in page titles, meta descriptions, and the content itself, such as in your headlines and throughout the text. If you’re new to SEO, it may be intimidating to get started, but the best way to ensure you’re doing it right is to focus on creating high-value content for your site visitors.
Over time, you’ll want to drive more traffic to your site through blog posts, free resources such as guides and eBooks, and more. As SEO is a long-term practice, a web design project may not be the time to dive too deeply into it, but you can still keep the basics and best practices in mind to give your site the best chance to be seen on launch and continue to work on your SEO after. Remember, if your website is not optimized to be returned in search engine results, your website is not likely to be discovered by your prospective customers.
9. Use widely accepted design principles
Your website is an opportunity to make a great first impression; although the content is important, looks also count. There are certain design conventions users have come to expect over time. Sites that do not follow basic design principles often perform poorly and damage the perception of their brand.
It is only in rare cases that we would recommend bucking any of these common features on your site:
- Header logo that links back to the home page
- Underlined links
- Strategic navigation in the header (see tip #6)
- Social icons to link to your other channels
- Web-friendly typography
- Calls to action with action-oriented language
As a rule of thumb, simple, minimal design is usually the easiest for users to navigate. While there are ways a website can be creative and innovative in its design, we always recommend sticking to design conventions users have come to expect.
10. Always be split testing (A/B)
There is truth to the adage that a good website is never finished. To ensure they're performing as well as possible, many companies choose to A/B test website pages, meaning that they serve two variations of the same page, with a minimal difference between them. The better-performing variation suggests the user’s preference, and you can make updates accordingly. Over time, you can make decisions based on data rather than opinion, continuing to improve your site metrics and reach your website goals
Marketing teams can also monitor the performance of your website using data from traffic analytics software, such as Google Analytics, to inform changes to optimize it. Additional tools, such as Hotjar, can also capture screen recordings of users in real-time, as well as heatmaps that show where they stop and engage on your site.
Taking The Next Step With Our Racing Web Design Tips
Whether you’re building and creating a new website from scratch or redesigning your existing site, there are key best practices and a process for a successful racing web design project. By having a clear roadmap that outlines the most critical steps, you can ensure that your site has a modern look and feel, is optimized for mobile and search engine optimization, and provides users with the information they need to make informed choices.
As a high-performing website is a significant part of your overall marketing strategy, it’s crucial to have an honest understanding of where you’re at and how you need to grow. To learn how to create a sustainable, profitable growth system with your website, consider accessing our proven three-step process, The Digital Growth Framework, which includes a free site audit.