Website Design Best Practices

Are you looking for fresh ideas to spruce up the design of your website?  Instead of just following along with the design trends that have become popular over the last few years, it’s important to keep up to date with current best practices. Search Engine Optimization has become an increasingly important component to website design. Mobile responsiveness has also become a critical factor.  If your business is growing, then your website design should be growing and evolving right alongside it. Let’s run through some factors you should keep in mind while designing your new website or upgrading your existing site.  

Consistent Branding 

Your website represents your brand. On every page and post of your website, your brand voice should be clearly communicated.  I like to think of a website as a virtual store; how do you want your potential customers to feel when they walk into your store?  What is the vibe?  Is it minimalist, warm, clean, earthy, or all business?  Do the colors used blend together nicely?  If your brand color palette is white monochrome and you use light blue to accent the buttons or CTA’s, maybe don’t use bright yellow to highlight something else. It will stick out like a sore thumb and confuse your viewers.  Your aim should be to give a cohesive customer experience so that the viewer understands your brand through your website, and ultimately knows right away that you will be able to solve their problems with your products or services. 

Clear Call-To-Actions

A website without good CTA’s is like a store without a checkout counter; the visitor will just wander around without any purpose. It won’t benefit you nor your customer, no matter how beautiful the website looks. A well designed website makes it easy for them to know how or where to purchase.  Adding a relevant call to action will increase your chances of getting leads to convert. After all, every website’s purpose is to create conversion. Guide your viewer to the point where you want them to be. A helpful reference when laying out the content for your website is to use the “F” pattern or the “Z” pattern.  Our eyes naturally scan from left to right, and then down, so these are good guidelines to use.  Adding CTA’s at the bottom of the letter layout is a good landing place for our eyes.  Remember that you only have 3-5 seconds to capture the attention of a viewer, so put the call to action where they will see it within this timeframe.

Intuitive Navigation

Think of your website as a waterpark. You arrive, then go from one slide to another and you do it in an order that is pre-decided by the waterpark. This way you are able to experience every slide and have the best experience at the park. Now, when a viewer comes to your website you have to guide them from one page to another. Include plenty of internal links, navigation panels, and prominent menus so that they travel through the website easily for the best user experience. This will also increase conversions. Using intuitive navigation and call-to-action’s together usually yields the best results.

Clean Design & High Quality Images

If the viewer finds your website messy and chaotic, they will bounce immediately. Your website aesthetics should be pleasing to the eye, combine all of the technical elements seamlessly and be beautifully designed. Proper use of white space is critical, and do not crowd the elements. Applying the principles of composition here maintains the visual balance in your website design.  Similarly, the quality of images used throughout the site reflects the quality of your brand. I truly believe good photography can make or break a website.  If you use pixelated images that appear to be low quality, potential customers will not take you seriously. To make the best first impression possible, select high-quality images. Try to use original images; investing in professional photography is one of the best things you can do for your business. The images on your website speak a lot about your brand. Don’t settle for low-quality elements, because one image can ruin the whole website design.

Mobile-First Design

According to Google themselves, the number of visitors that view your website through mobile phones is far greater than the number of people using laptops or desktops. Mobile-responsiveness is a key consideration when designing your website. In a nutshell, your website should work perfectly on a mobile phone. No extra-large texts or images that cover the whole screen should be used.  Elements should be resized accordingly to keep the user from having to search for what they are looking for.  Focus on the mobile user’s experience and you will impress the majority of your audiences. 

Load Speed

Load speed not only contributes to creating a better user experience but is also a major factor in search engine optimization. A good rule of thumb is this:  If your website takes more than three seconds to load, then the visitor will most likely leave.  There have been multiple studies done showing that large companies improved their conversion rate exponentially for each second or fraction of a second they reduced their loading time.  Using a good host is the easiest way to improve this (I use and exclusively recommend Cloudways) Some other tips-Do not include unnecessary elements in your website design.  Keep animations, moving sections and large images to a minimum.  Use an image compression software to optimize your images for web use, and avoid using long videos on your website because they take the most time to load.

As a business owner, you likely spend a lot of time making sure your products or services are top-notch.  You need a high-quality website design to complement your offering and convince leads to choose you.  Your website design should be reviewed periodically to ensure it’s kept updated and in line with Google’s core web vitals, or you risk losing potential clients to your competitors. Following these website design best practices will help you rank higher in search results and become the leader in your niche.

I’ve been riding my whole life, and like to take my horse Lilly out on trail rides behind our house – along with our two goats!

-Emily King, owner