Creating a visually appealing and user-friendly website can be challenging, especially when you are not a professional designer. Fortunately, you don’t have to be an expert to achieve a great website design. With attention to detail, guidance, the right design process, and tools, you can create a website design that your users love, reduce bounce rate, and help your business attract and retain customers.
Knowing where to start, how to make sure your design works, and how to optimize the design can be tough. That’s why we gathered 19 tips from marketers, business owners, specialists, and experts on how to design your website.
Test Your Designs With Real Consumers
Irrespective of how much you like your designs, the ultimate effectiveness of your design will lie with real consumers. So test your variations with normal everyday people. Not only will you reduce risk of mistakes, but you will also make your design much more effective. An added bonus: You can show your boss or client why you chose your preferred design. It’s a win-win for everyone.
-Alden Do Rosario, CEO & Founder of Poll the People
Utilize Empty Space Effectively
Web designers must pay close attention to the way they use space on their websites to avoid creating an illusion of negative space, which can negatively impact users’ perceptions. To do this, designers must ensure their website adapts to different formats, devices, and browsers, making it accessible and user-friendly for all visitors. Additionally, designers can eliminate negative spaces by adding relevant audio-visual content, making the website more engaging. By optimizing the use of space on a website, designers can create a memorable user experience for their visitors, improving the overall usability and appeal of the website. As users navigate, designers should choose hover and selected effects that are visible enough to catch users’ attention but not so much that it becomes a distraction. They should also ensure that these effects are visible on mobile devices too, such as color change or underlining.
-Brandon Brown, CEO of GRIN
Stay Mobile Friendly
It is important to consider mobile devices when designing a website. Ensuring your website is optimized for mobile can greatly enhance the user experience and make it more accessible for your visitors. A responsive design adjusts the website’s layout automatically according to the screen size of the device used. Additionally, using larger text and buttons can make it easier for users to navigate your site on a smaller screen. Also, keep in mind the loading time. A mobile internet connection is slower than a desktop one, so ensure your website is optimized for fast loading. Keeping your website mobile-friendly increases the chances of keeping visitors engaged, as they can easily access your content regardless of their device.
-Joe Spector, CEO at Dutch
Make Sure There Is Color Contrast
A very good design tip for your website is to have high contrast between text and background colors. This makes it easier for users to read the content of your website and will improve the overall navigational experience of your website. Contrasting colors are very important for how the human eye is able to see and understand what it is they are seeing. Some people have visual impairments, which can make it difficult to view low-contrast images, therefore, having high contrast will allow all users to be able to navigate your website with ease. Having effective color contrast can also communicate what is and is not important on your page. Overall, color contrast should be something that is taken into account when designing or redesigning a website.
-Lev Berlin, Founder of Recipal
Utilize Web-Safe Fonts
To ensure that your text is legible and looks consistent across different devices and browsers, stick to web-safe fonts. Web-safe fonts are important for designing a website because they are fonts that are pre-installed on most computers and devices, so they are guaranteed to be available for all users. Which means that text written in web-safe fonts will look the same across different devices and browsers, ensuring consistency in the design of your website. This can help to reduce the loading time of your website, which will improve the user experience.
This also means that the text on your website will look the same regardless of which browser a user is using. This can save you a lot of time because you will have to worry less about cross-platform optimization. You will know that your fonts and text will be the same from mobile devices to desktop computers without you having to worry.
-Joe Acosta, Digital Marketing at BBQ Galore
Have A Simple Navigation Menu
A simple navigation menu that is easy to understand and its use will help users find what they’re looking for. A complicated menu is the last thing people want to see when they are navigating a website. It’s a terrible feeling when you are trying to find the product you want, but a wonky navigation menu is preventing you from finding what you want. There are more benefits to keeping it simple. One benefit being improved SEO since a simple navigation menu can also help to improve your website’s SEO. By organizing your content in a logical and intuitive way, you can make it easier for search engines to index your site and understand the structure of your website. You are really killing two birds with one stone here, keeping the design of your website neat and simple while at the same time improving your website’s SEO.
-Lindsay Morris, Community Outreach Manager at Canvas People
Creating graphics and images that include your brand’s styles and colors can really make your pages stand out and leave a lasting impression on your visitors. When you use consistent colors and fonts, graphics and images are immediately recognizable and help your audience recognize work related to your brand that they may see elsewhere; this can help guide them through sales funnels. They also help tell your story in a way that lets your visitors know that your content is unique to your brand. When creating these graphics, keep them consistent with your website’s overall look and feel so that all elements complement each other nicely.
-Todd Jensen, Head of Marketing at Nursa
Full-screen menus are becoming increasingly popular for websites, as they give a modern, eye-catching alternative to traditional menus. By taking up the entire screen space, these menus create a sense of focus and can help you draw attention to important elements on your website. When executed right, full-screen menus can create unique user experiences that will keep visitors engaged with your site. It must be done right, though; make sure your menu items are clearly labeled and easy to navigate. You don’t want your readers to feel stuck on your menu. Consider using icons or graphics instead of plain text labels to keep your visitors engaged and maximize readability.
-Faryar Borhani, CCO of Midland Credit Management
Keep it Simple
A good website must be user-friendly, but there is a thin line between keeping it user-friendly and making it appear not very interesting. Many people need to understand that design is all about maintaining effects that are simple yet seductive at the same time. White space is valuable but using high-powered imagery to drive some of your points home is an excellent way to keep your pages clean, organized and appealing. It needs to be simple so that it is clear to the users and allows users to explore it on their own. The more engaged they are, the more likely they are to decide to visit. Getting that balance will be easier if you follow many simple design tricks.
-Bill Lyons, CEO at Griffin Funding
Keep Your Pages Uncluttered
Designing a website can be daunting, but one of the best tips to keep in mind is to ensure your pages are uncluttered. A cluttered webpage can overwhelm visitors and make it difficult to find the information they want. Keeping your pages uncluttered can ensure that your website is easy to navigate and visually appealing. This can be achieved by using white space effectively, limiting the number of elements on a page, and using a consistent layout. The content on your pages should also be concise and to the point to make it easy for visitors to find the information they need without feeling overwhelmed. Keeping your website’s pages uncluttered is a simple but effective method of improving user experience.
-Riley Walker, Outreach Specialist at Mrs. Fields
Make it Accessible
One of the best practices when designing your website is ensuring that you take into account your audience and who may be viewing your website. This means it’s crucial that your website is accessible and inclusive, especially to those who have disabilities. You can add different functions to your website and rework some of your content so that it can be more accessible. For example, providing closed captioning for videos, providing alt text for images, implementing high-contrast color schemes, and using clear and simple language. Not only will this improve user experience, but it can also boost your site’s SEO as well.
-Jonathan Krieger, VP of Sales at Fabuwood
When designing a website, it is important to consider how it looks and functions on various devices and internet connections. A website optimized for high-speed and high-resolution devices may not be accessible or usable for those with slower connections or older devices. By ensuring that the design and functionality of the website can adapt to different circumstances, it can be more widely accessible and provide a better user experience for all visitors. Test the website on various devices and connections using responsive design techniques, such as fluid grids and flexible images. Additionally, providing alternative content access methods, such as a text-only version, can further improve the website’s accessibility. Overall, designing with the principle of adaptability can make for a website that a wider range of users can enjoy.
-Jacob Dayan, Co-founder and CEO at Community Tax
Have a Visual Hierarchy
Oftentimes, a poorly designed website can result in users clicking out before being able to gain any interest in your brand. One of the most noticeable things upon entering a webpage is the visual hierarchy. This refers to designing the webpage in the way that graphic elements are arranged by order of importance, so users gravitate towards them first. This can be done by utilizing size, color, imagery, contrast, as well as other elements. By implementing the visual hierarchy, you can ensure you are directing users toward a desired call to action. Thinking about what kinds of actions you want users to take and where you want their attention to be drawn can help inform design.
-Jeffery Pitrek, Marketing and Account Manager at Transient Specialists
It’s important to consider how to guide visitors in taking desired actions on a website, such as making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter. This can be achieved by including prominent and clear buttons or links that invite visitors to take the next step. These elements, known as calls-to-action (CTA), should be placed in strategic locations throughout the website, such as near the top of the page, and be easily identifiable with contrasting colors and clear language. Additionally, including multiple CTAs throughout the website can increase the chances that a visitor will take action, as they may be more likely to do so when presented with multiple opportunities. Furthermore, testing different versions of CTAs, such as text or placement, can help optimize their effectiveness. Overall, including effective calls-to-action can greatly increase the chances that visitors will take the desired actions on a website.
-Saneem Ahearn, VP of Marketing at Colorescience
Cohesive Brand Kit
There are many different options when it comes to website design. While that does provide endless options for the designer, it is important to stick to a cohesive brand kit. A cohesive brand kit means sticking to two to three fonts, three to four colors, and a recognizable logo. Having one brand kit that is visually appealing is not only a great way to keep things simple throughout the design process, it also allows your customers to get familiar with your brand and recognize it rapidly.
There are many online tools that can be used to help you create a brand kit, as well as various different themes that can really appeal to your ideal audience. Get in tune with what you want users to feel and experience while on your website, and use that to guide you as you select a few colors and fonts that will be implemented throughout your pages.
-Gregg Dean, CEO of Layla Sleep
Make Sure Your Headline Gets Their Attention
The headline is what viewers first see when clicking on your site, so it’s important to ensure that your headline grabs their attention. A headline that doesn’t stand out or is poorly written can lose the interest of your viewers fast and lead them to go to a different website. Headlines that are descriptive and creative yet to the point are going to engage your audience and make them want to explore more on your page. Viewers want to click on a page and understand exactly what they’re going to be reading about; if a headline can’t grab their attention and summarize in a prolific manner what the page is about, that could lead to one less consumer of your website.
-Clayton Howard, Director of Analytics at Net Pay Advance
Use Your Brand Style Guide
When building your company’s website, it’s essential to put your branding style guide at the heart of your website design. Not only can your style guide help you determine color schemes, typography, and imagery to use on your website, but it can also help you ensure that your different pages align with your company’s voice and tone. Your website serves as an introduction to your business, so it’s important to leave website visitors with a good impression. You should implement your company logos and imagery in appropriate places and ensure all of your different content aligns with your branding. By ensuring your website aligns and is a good representation of your business, your website will serve as a powerful marketing and sales tool.
-Sacha Ferrandi, Founder of Source Capital
Include Your Social Media Platforms
This may seem obvious, but social media is still incredibly important and powerful in this day in age. That being said, make sure to include your social media platforms on your website. While customers may or may not like your website, they could very much be fans of your social media presence, and that is better than not having a presence at all. Make sure to include your social media button links to your website so that people can keep up with your business, or just you in general, to see what you are up to. It allows you to humanize your business and add a personal touch to your company, which people are always looking to see.
-Ethan Pierce, Outreach Specialist at LivSmooth
Remove Any Distractions
While this may seem like a given, you would be surprised by the countless number of times that a website has been dismissed because of how busy it looks. That said, try to minimize distractions on your website as much as you possibly can. It could be incredibly offputting to consumers who may be interested in your business. Consumers want something that is easily accessible to them, and anything that gets in the way of that may not be worth their time. So make it easier on you and make it easier on them when it comes to website design. This will only work for the betterment of your brand and your business overall.
– Adrian Pereira, CEO & Founder of Eco Pea Co.
Optimize Before Launch
Creating a website can be exciting, fun, stressful, and hard, but you won’t ever really know how good it is until you launch it. You need to make an effort to optimize every aspect of the design before you actually publish it. That could be through market research, web design testing tools, or getting feedback from others. By getting feedback on what you’ve created, you can eliminate bias and understand what people are really looking for in your website. Designing and optimizing will make for a better user experience and a more effective site because you’re using feedback from the people that are using your site.
-Owen Fay, Digital Marketing at Poll the People
In conclusion, creating an exceptional website design is possible with the right approach and mindset. By utilizing these 19 expert tips and tricks, the sky’s the limit for your website design success, you can easily make it visually appealing, user-friendly, and accessible to all your visitors. Whether you are starting from scratch or looking to revamp your existing website, these tips will help you achieve a website design that looks great and helps drive business growth. Remember always to test your design with real consumers and optimize it before going live. Poll the People allows you to test web designs with your target audience, sign up for free and follow these expert tips to take your web design to new heights.
- How To Retain SEO Ranking After A Redesign - February 22, 2023
- Ultimate Guide: How to Write Brand Names - February 17, 2023
- 10 Best Practices for Using Video in Your Email Marketing Campaigns - February 8, 2023