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10 Essential Website Design Tips Every Business Should Follow

By November 28, 2019 Web Design, Web Development

There are more than 1.5 billion websites out there. That means there are more than a billion website designs. Some are good, and some are not-so-stellar.

When it comes to your business, you know you need to impress visitors when they land on your homepage. Great website design is an absolute must.

There are plenty of tips and tricks out there, but these 10 are crucial to your success. With them, you’ll be able to drive sales and keep your audience coming back.

laptop open with "customize" graphic

1. Think Scroll, Not Click

When it comes to web layout, business owners love carousels, sliders, and accordions. These website features allow them to get more on the page, without making the page too long.

Carousels and sliders work great for the first slide. People pay plenty of attention to that first image, and they often click on it. Anything that follows is largely ignored.

The same is true of tabs and accordions. The problem is that most of your visitors merely scan your content. Their gaze bounces around the page, looking for what they want.

If they have to click, chances are they’re not going to. Instead, think about letting them scroll on.

If someone doesn’t see what they’re looking for, they’ll continue scrolling to see if it’s further down the page. This is much more effective than a slider, which asks them to click through to find what they want.

2. Optimize for Speed

Your website visitors are busy people. They want the information they’re looking for, and they want it now. To that end, you need to focus on speed.

The most beautiful web design is useless if it doesn’t load quickly. The simple fact is most people will never see it. If your page doesn’t load in seconds flat, they’ve already navigated away.

How can you make sure your website design is lightning-fast? The first thing to do is focus on the code. Well-written code is optimized for faster loading.

Mobile-friendly sites also put an emphasis on speed. These designs are often “lighter,” allowing them to load faster on mobile connections.

Finally, make sure your videos and images are optimized. These graphic elements are important, but they can bog down your loading times.

3. Less is More

A good rule of thumb in business web design is “less is more.” There are a couple of reasons you’ll want to keep this advice in mind as you work on web design.

The first is Hick’s law. This rule is based on a study that suggests giving people less choice can drive better results. In the classic study, consumers were greeted with either 6 or 24 varieties of jam.

Perhaps surprisingly, more customers purchased jam when there were just six choices.

The same reasoning can be applied to your website. If you give visitors too many options, they just won’t click on anything. They may feel overwhelmed and leave the site.

This logic goes hand in hand with another classic design principle. Keep it simple is tried and true advice. If the design is cluttered, overwhelming, or confusing, visitors will close the tab.

Focus on creating one clear goal per page. When the visitor is on this page, what should they do? Reduce the choices on menu bars as well.

4. Guide Users with Design

One of the best things you can do when it comes to designing a website is focus on navigation. Good navigation can help avoid high bounce rates by directing your visitors where they want to go.

This works in tandem with the idea of offering less choice and keeping things simple. A minimalist interface is often easier to navigate.

You can use design to emphasize each page’s single goal. If you want visitors to submit a form, a big, bright button with the word “submit” on it is a clear signal.

Images and other visual cues can also direct your visitors’ line of sight. An arrow pointing to your contact form will get them to look at it. If filling out the form is the goal of the page, then a visual cue can help people accomplish it.

5. Embrace White Space in Website Design

A simple, clean layout for a website is desirable. A page with too many options or images can feel claustrophobic and cluttered. Visitors may not know where to look or what to do.

To avoid this impression, simplify things by embracing white space. Also called negative space, this is blank area on a webpage.

You may think this is a waste of space, but it contributes to your visitors’ experience. Pages with white space feel less cluttered and more elegant. They make people want to spend a little more time.

White space can also be used to emphasize the important parts of the page. If you have an image surrounded by negative space, your visitors will spend more time looking at the image.

White space can even direct their attention to those page goals. A neon-colored button in the middle of a blank space stands out and invites people to engage with it.

6. Choose the Right Imagery

Some interesting research about how people respond to photos has emerged in recent years.

Researchers have discovered people like looking at pictures of other people. In fact, they spend more time looking at those photos than they do looking at photos of objects.

To that end, you may want to include pictures of your team in their work environment. Maybe you can get some of your customers to let you use their image. Stock photos can also work, especially if they are unique.

Keep in mind that any photos you use should reflect your business. You should include pictures of products you’re selling, as customers want to know what they’ll be getting when they make a purchase.

No matter what images you choose, you should make sure they’re high resolution. Pictures that appear grainy or pixelated won’t reflect well on your brand.

There are many sites that host collections of high resolution photos you can choose from. If you’re taking photos of your own products or looking for customer images, you’ll also want to be sure they’re high quality.

If you’re not sure where to look, ask your design team or your agency partners. They can help you discover the images that showcase your brand.

7. Choose Your Fonts Wisely

Another key element of your website is the typefaces you use. The right typefaces make your page easier to read.

Sans serifs are recommended for body text. Screen resolutions can make serif fonts blur together, which makes them harder to read.

Both serifs and sans serifs can be used for display text. Different fonts also convey different messages. Using Comic Sans says something quite different about your business than using Helvetica.

8. Incorporate Clear Calls to Action

As you’re sorting through web design ideas, you should take a moment to look at your content. Form sometimes follows function, and your content may dictate function.

One example is the page goals mentioned earlier. Each page should have a clear goal, something it aims to do. Maybe the goal is to get the user to go to another page or to contact you.

Either way, both of these goals are well-served by calls to action. A call to action asks the user to do something, whether it’s click a button or submit a form.

Your design should always incorporate calls to action. Design, as discussed, can emphasize information or draw attention to part of the page.

When well-written, calls to action motivate the user’s actions. Don’t let your calls to action get lost on the page. Make them clear, and then incorporate them into the design.

9. Add a Little SEO

A few of these design tips already touch on SEO tactics. You should keep SEO in mind more generally as you work on web design.

Many people make the mistake of believing SEO is for content only. Your website design plays a key role as well. Website speed, for example, is one of the factors Google uses to rank web pages.

Mobile design and image optimization are two other factors.

Your design should also incorporate on-page SEO, such as meta-descriptions and titles. You may also want to use Schema or add a site map. Better navigation also assists web crawlers.

10. Take Advantage of the Fold

Finally, creative web design should still take advantage of the fold. In web design, this refers to the bottom of the browser window.

Content that appears “above the fold” usually gets the most attention. Anything hidden below it may go unnoticed by the majority of your visitors.

Use the fold to your advantage and put your most attention-grabbing information neat the top of the page.

Designing Your Business Success

Your website design can affect many aspects of your business, including your sales. Use these ten tips to create a better page and wow your visitors.

Not sure where to start with web design or SEO? An expert team has the advice you need. Get in touch and discover new ways to drive your company’s success.