7 Compelling Elements To Include In Your Website’s Header (& Best Practices For Header Design To Boost Your Conversion Rates)

Sometimes when you’re putting together your website, it’s easy to overlook the importance of the header. 

You might just slap on the main navigational elements, stick your logo up there, and call it a day. 

But truth be told, that’s not quite enough. 

Just like every other part of your site, the header deserves some serious thought, because after all, it’s the very first thing nearly every visitor sees.

And everybody knows that first impressions matter, and you don’t get to do it twice.

Even though headers don’t take up much space compared to any other component, they’re actually the most clicked-on part of any website. 

So, if you’re looking to have your business stand out, nailing your header is crucial so that visitors will have an easier time navigating through your website.

First of all, what’s a header?

To put it briefly, the header is the very first thing that catches a visitor’s eye when they hop onto your website’s homepage. 

It’s a blend of text and images that gives them a quick peek into what your business is all about. 

And, a well-crafted header does two things, it keeps things looking neat and tidy while also guiding visitors to explore more about your business.

To give you a clear idea as to what it may look like, here’s an example of an instantly distinguishable website header:

A screenshot of the SouthTech Creations website with the header being highlighted.

Why is it important to have header navigation for your website?

Having header navigation is like having a map for your visitors to easily go through your online business. 

It’s that handy little menu at the top of your page that guides them to the important sections of your site without them having to scroll for hours on end. 

And remember that your website’s header should be as straightforward and easy to access as possible.

Why, you may ask?

Because if you think about it, when someone lands on your website, you’ve only got a few seconds to grab their attention and convince them to stick around. 

So by placing your key navigation links above the fold, you’re putting the most important information right in front of their eyes without them having to put in any effort. 

Plus, having a well-organized header navigation not only improves user experience, but also boosts your website’s overall credibility because visitors are more likely to trust a site that looks polished and professional, and a tidy header navigation goes a long way in achieving that. 

So, if you want to make a great first impression and keep your visitors coming back for more, a well-thought-out header navigation is definitely the way to go.

7 must-have elements in a website header 

1. Your Brand Name And Logo

A screenshot of the Semrush website header.

Your logo isn’t just a fancy graphic, but it’s a crucial part of your website’s identity because it acts like the anchor that ties your branding together.

Site visitors want to know who they’re spending their time and money on, so having a clear and distinct brand name and logo in the header will provide a sense of clarity and credibility to your customers.

But more than brand identity, it can also come in handy for users to be directed back to your website’s homepage by clicking on your logo, so it’s important to make it recognizable and easy to click on.

2. A Shopping Cart Icon

A screenshot of the Teal Notes website header.

Adding a shopping cart link to your website’s header is like placing the checkout counter right at the entrance of a physical store by making the shopping experience more convenient and smoother for your customers. 

For instance, imagine you’re browsing through an online store, adding items to your cart as you go. 

With a shopping cart icon right up there in the top right corner, your customers can easily keep track of the items that they’re about to purchase and quickly hop back to it whenever you’re ready to check out, knowing that their items are safely stored in their virtual shopping cart, just one click away.

Placing the shopping cart link prominently in the header, you’re streamlining the buying process and making it effortless for shoppers to move from browsing to purchasing, ultimately boosting your sales and enhancing the overall shopping experience.

3. An “About Us” Page Link 

A screenshot of the Dave Banking Company website header.

Having an “About Us” link in your website’s header is your chance to introduce the team of people behind the company and give your visitors an insider’s look at the inner workings of how the business works.

Not only does an About Us in the header satisfy visitors’ curiosity, but it can also help you establish a connection with your visitors, building trust and credibility right from the get-go.

By placing a direct link in the header, you’re making it super easy for visitors to learn more about your company’s story, vision, mission, goals, and values.

As humans, we’re naturally drawn to faces, so by showing that there are real people behind the screen, you’re fostering a sense of authenticity that resonates with your audience, and in turn, makes them more likely to stick around and interact with your brand.

4. Your Contact Information

A screenshot of the Buckingham Wealth website header.

Your company’s contact information needs to be readily available on your website’s header to make it easier for visitors to reach out to you if they have any questions or concerns about your brand.

While it’s common to find contact details like phone numbers, email addresses, and physical addresses on a separate “Contact Us” page or in the website’s footer, including key information in the header can be transformative, especially if your primary goal is to encourage people to get in touch.

By adding your contact information to the header, you’re essentially removing any unnecessary hurdles for your visitors and making it effortless for them to engage with your business.

You can also try integrating social media icons in your header in order to enhance your website’s accessibility and engagement. 

With just a click, visitors can connect with you on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, further expanding your reach and fostering a sense of community, which ultimately strengthens your relationship with them and drives business growth.

5. An Accessible Search Bar

A screenshot of the Etsy website header.

Have you ever tried to shop on a website that doesn’t have a search bar? 

It’s basically like trying to find a needle in a haystack! 

Just picture browsing through endless pages, desperately scrolling to find that one specific product you have in mind. 

It’s not a particularly fun experience, right?

So if you want users to have a more convenient look for a more specific product, try incorporating a search bar as another useful navigational tool for your website header.

But the thing is, your search bar needs to actually work, and work well. 

There’s nothing more frustrating than typing in a search query and getting zero results or, even worse, irrelevant results

You want to build trust with your visitors and make sure they feel confident navigating your site, whether they’re using the search bar or otherwise.

So, if you want to enhance your visitors’ experience and make it a breeze for them to find what they’re looking for, a well-designed and functional search bar in your website’s header is definitely the way to go. 

6. A Frequently Asked Questions Section

A screenshot of the Amazon Web Services website header.

Having a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section in your website’s header is like having a built-in customer support system that’s available 24/7. 

Think about all the common questions people have about your products or services, like shipping policies, return procedures, or product specifications. 

By addressing these questions upfront in an easily accessible FAQ section, you’re saving everyone the time and hassle, and also reducing the number of repetitive inquiries flooding your inbox or tying up your customer service team. 

Plus, a well-crafted FAQ section can also help build credit with your target audience, because when they see that you’ve taken the time to anticipate their questions and provide clear, helpful answers, it reassures them that you care about their experiences. 

7. A Clear Call To Action Button

A screenshot of the Discover Magazine website header.

Whether it’s signing up for a newsletter, creating an account, or starting a free trial, a well-placed CTA button can be a powerful tool for driving action and supporting your business goals.

By prominently displaying a clear and compelling button at the top of your page, it becomes more simple for visitors to engage with your site and move forward in their journey. 

But, not all CTAs are created equal. 

You can’t just stick a generic “Sign Up” or “Learn More” button in your header and expect it to convert. 

No, you want your CTA to stand out from the rest of the elements and entice visitors to click on it. 

That means using persuasive language, highlighting the benefits of taking action, and making the button visually appealing. 

So, whether you’re aiming to grow your email list through email marketing, boost sales, or encourage engagement, the header CTA is your secret weapon for guiding visitors towards meaningful interactions and helping your business thrive online.

Best Design Practices for an Optimal Header Design

So, now that you know what specifically to add to your header, it’s time to tackle how to design it in a way that’s the most appealing to the visitors of your site. 

But where do you start? 

Well, let me walk you through some of the best design practices to keep in mind so that your website header helps your clients get the information they need as quickly as possible.

1. Have A Sticky Header

Ever visited a website where the header disappears as you scroll down? 

It’s kind of off-putting, right? 

That’s where having a fixed header, also known as a sticky header, comes in handy! 

This kind of header stays put at the top of the page, so that all of the important navigation links are always within reach. 

And guess what? Studies show that sites with fixed headers are 22% faster to navigate than websites that don’t and actually have higher conversion rates because of it!

2. Play around with your Color scheme

Your website’s color palette can make or break a design, especially in your header. 

You should always opt for color combinations that truly reflect your brand’s personality and find the right balance to match the tone and image of your company. 

For instance, trying to use bold, contrasting colors can help important elements, like your logo or navigation links, stand out from the rest of the elements. 

This not only enhances visual appeal but more importantly, improves accessibility for users with visual impairments. 

So, don’t be afraid to experiment with different color combinations to see and find out what works best for your brand.

3. Font Matters!

When it comes to fonts, simplicity is key. 

It’s advisable to go for clean, easy-to-read fonts that enhance readability and create a clear visual hierarchy in your header. 

Remember, you want visitors to quickly scan your header and find what they’re looking for without squinting or getting confused. 

A user-friendly interface starts with user-friendly fonts!

4. Embrace the Hamburger

I’m sure you’ve probably seen this feature on websites already.

The three horizontal lines stacked on top of each other can usually be found at the top right-hand corner of your screen, affectionately known as the hamburger menu

It’s a seamless way to declutter your header and provide the ideal navigation experience, especially on smaller screens like on mobile phones. 

By condensing your menu into a tidy little icon, you’re freeing up valuable space in your header without having to sacrifice functionality.

5. Keep an Eye out on the Competition

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but in web design, it’s also a smart strategy! 

Take a quick look at what your competitors are doing with their headers and see what works best for them. 

By analyzing their approach to how they design their headers, can give you valuable insights and inspire you to optimize your own header design (and make it ten times better than your opponents!)

6. Go Mobile or Go Home

In today’s digital landscape, mobile optimization is a total non-negotiable. 

With more and more people browsing the web on their smartphones, having a mobile-friendly header is key if you want your visitors to have an amazing all-around experience when interacting with your website. 

Make sure that your header scales seamlessly across different screen sizes and devices, ensuring a smooth and intuitive experience for all users, regardless of the device that they’re on.

What about the footer of the website?

Well, the main distinction to keep in mind is that the header grabs attention right away since it’s the first thing visitors see no matter which page they’re on. 

On the flip side, the footer requires users to actively seek it out since it’s found at the bottom of a website page (hence, the term “footer”).

What this means is that with the header, you have a lot more creative freedom, allowing you to showcase what you think users would find most helpful or interesting, rather than sticking strictly to what they might expect to see.

Truth be told, it’s perfectly fine to include additional information in the footer, especially if you’ve already added contact details or social media buttons in the header.

Some footers even feature site maps, offering an alternative navigation method for users. 

Think of it as a friendly reminder to visitors, when they’ve already explored your site, and now, in the footer, you’re gently guiding them back to key highlights with direct links. 

Need a second opinion on the accessibility of your website’s header?

Figuring out the best way to organize your website’s header can be quite challenging, especially with so many elements that you need to keep track of.

Even after going through this article and incorporating all of the strategies and techniques to have an optimized website header, you’re still unsure if it’ll be well-received by your audience.

I understand your worries, but fret no more, because we’ve got your back!

With our complimentary online audit, we’ll give you personalized suggestions to steer you in the right direction, ensuring that your website’s header packs a punch, grabbing visitors’ attention and keeping them wanting for more.

And guess what? It won’t even cost you a penny!

So, why delay any longer?

FAQs

How do I organize my website header?

You can start by deciding what elements you want to include, like your logo, navigation menu, and maybe a search bar. Then, arrange them in a logical order that makes it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for without going through the hassle of looking for it themselves.

What’s the best size for a website header?

In most cases, it’s recommended to have a header size of 1024×768 pixels,, but it can vary depending on your website’s design and layout.

Can I have more than one header on my website?

Absolutely! you can have more than one header on your website, especially if you have different sections or pages with their own unique designs or purposes. Though, just make sure each header serves its intended function and doesn’t confuse visitors.

How do I make my header attractive?

Making your header attractive is all about using eye-catching visuals, like high-quality images or graphics, and choosing a color scheme that complements your brand. Keep it clean and uncluttered, and don’t forget to make sure it’s mobile-friendly too!

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