7 Website Design Best Practices

The heart of your digital marketing campaign is your website. Many of the channels you use will direct users to it, and it's there that they can learn about your company, find important information, and begin the process of becoming customers.

It will, in many cases, be what makes the first impression on members of your target audience — and web design will play a big part in whether or not that impression is positive. Visitors will often make snap judgments about your company within seconds of landing on your website, and design can be a deciding factor in whether they stay long enough to learn about what you have to offer.

The way people interact with your website is also influenced by its design. It's what makes it possible for them to navigate your pages, read your content, and take actions that lead to a purchase.

While web design may appear to be a minor consideration, it is critical to the success of your entire digital marketing strategy. That's why, on this page, we'll go over some website design best practices to help you get the most out of your efforts.

1. Create a design that fits your business

Business owners are always looking to give their website a “makeover” and outdo their competitors. All too often, they focus on what’s inside the website rather than outside. While it is not the most important element of your site, your web design directly affects visitors’ perception of you and your business.

Everyone knows not to judge a book by its cover, but that doesn't stop most people from doing so when it comes to a company's website. The way people perceive your business and the quality of your services is heavily influenced by the design of your website.

Your website design is the first thing people see, so it’s important that you create a design that fits your business. 

Maintaining your existing brand on your website can go a long way toward establishing trust with visitors. You want them to come to your site and think of your company right away.

A simple and modern design is often the best option from there. Busy designs can draw users' attention away from your content, reducing their chances of converting.

When designing your website you should make sure that the design is consistent throughout the site. Having consistency will provide users with a positive experience and give them a cohesive feel for your site and business.

Other ways to improve your site's appearance include incorporating eye-catching photos and videos, focusing on readability, and creating standout CTAs, depending on your company's brand and goals. Users' interactions with your site and the actions they take are influenced by the design, so keep that in mind as you work out the details of each page.

2. Opt for simple navigation

One of the most important aspects of a website’s design is its navigation. Poor navigation can frustrate users, making it more difficult for them to find the information and services they’re looking for. These frustrations can lead people to abandon your site entirely, resulting in a loss of conversions, or worse yet, a bad user experience that leads to negative reviews and decreased brand loyalty.

Make navigation as simple and intuitive as possible, and use clear, descriptive page titles and headings to help your users quickly scan your pages and find exactly what they’re looking for. 

Make your navigation consistent across all pages. While you can choose to have breadcrumbs on certain pages, don’t mix them with the top of the page horizontal navigation bar. This makes it confusing for the users and unorganized for you. Keep it simple and create navigation that flows throughout your entire website.

The best way to get the most out of your navigation is to make it as short and clean as possible: that means a single horizontal menu that consists of links to the primary pages on your site. Direct visitors to key content, such as “Contact Us” or “About Us”, with simple links on the top, right, or left side.

Simple headings should be used to divide your navigation into product types, services, locations, or any other logical category type that makes sense for your company. If more categories are needed, you can use dropdown menus below those headings.

Navigation should be simple and clear. This will make it easier for your clients to find what they’re looking for when they click on navigation links. For example, various categories such as products, services, locations, and contact information should appear in different areas of your navigation.

When it comes to planning your website's navigation, you'll want to make sure that your categories are logically organized in a way that makes it easy for users to determine which one has the information they need. Organizing categories and subcategories in a way that is logical and easy to use will help viewers immediately decide if the content you create is useful to them.

In your footer, you can also include useful links. People should be able to consider browsing when they reach the bottom of a page. This eliminates the need for them to scroll up and down to find information.

Users will stay on your site longer if you have good navigation. It can help them find what they're looking for and stay engaged with your content.

3. Use responsive design

You invested a lot of time and money into your website, so you should stress the importance of making it accessible to all potential customers. Adopting a responsive design strategy will ensure that your website is accessible on multiple types of devices.

Responsive design is the ideal choice in website design, because it allows you to create one website with the facility to adapt and change depending on what device it is being viewed from. Rather than creating a website design that means your visitors have to perform different tasks when on different devices, responsive web design will adapt the site so that a user is always presented with the same experience.

People will use a variety of devices to access your website, including desktop and laptop computers, tablets, and smartphones. You must ensure that they can all access and navigate your pages, and responsive design is the best way to do so.

Responsive design is a major trend taking the web world by storm. It’s a necessity for mobile-friendly websites. More and more people access the internet on smartphones and tablets, so responsive design ensures that your website adjusts to the browsers and screen sizes your visitors use. Whether someone visits your website on a smartphone or a desktop computer, the browsing experience is the same.

So, why is this important?

When you consider how you navigate a website, you'll notice that many of the buttons and links are scaled to be used on a desktop computer. When you reduce the size of a website to fit on a mobile phone, the links and buttons become more difficult to use. This isn't an issue with responsive design because the site adapts to fit any device.

It's also crucial because users nowadays spend more time browsing on mobile devices than on desktop computers. This means that a site that is only designed for desktop users will disappoint a large portion of your potential customers.

With responsive design, you can ensure that all of your visitors have a positive experience. This can lead to them spending more time on your site, which increases the number of pages they visit and the likelihood that they will convert.

4. Use visual elements

Visual elements are the eye-catching details that keep users engaged, adding a lot of personality to your website. Visual content is not only visually appealing, but it also has much more chance of being shared and remembered. It’s the pictures you see everywhere online — in blogs, websites, magazines, etc. If you can incorporate visual elements into your blog posts — whether through images, video or infographics — you’ll attract a larger audience.

Visual elements are a great way to make your website more engaging. It is a scientifically proven fact that when you add a picture or graphic to a web page, users remember the content better. This is why it’s so important to add things like relevant pictures and videos to your blog posts and ecommerce landing pages. Not only do these elements help increase engagement, but they are also very useful for SEO purposes - they are fantastic for improving click through rates which improves your overall SEO!

The use of relevant photos and graphics throughout your written content is one of the easiest ways you can invoke curiosity in your users. These visual elements immediately draws users’ eyes and makes them more likely to keep scrolling through your page.

It's important that the photos you choose are relevant to the content and your brand. Stock photos should be avoided if at all possible, as they can come across as generic, but they can be useful for illustrating a point in a pinch.

To get the attention of people who visit your site, you need to use attention-getting vocabulary, graphics, and photography. You can do this by using words that start with a capital letter and are bolded for headings, creating images with custom graphics made especially for your site, or adding photos of people you know and photos of your work. However, don’t overuse these techniques as it will appear tacky and unprofessional.

Videos are one of the most effective forms of visual content if you have the budget. One can boost conversions by 86% when it is included on a page! Therefore, they are excellent additions for increasing the time potential customers spend with your content, improving the performance of your website, and engaging visitors.

In fact, if you use video on your site, you're 53 times more likely to appear on the first page of Google results. This is because people spend more time on websites watching videos than reading content.

5. Check your readability

Readability is an important aspect of web design that is frequently overlooked. You could have a lot of useful information on your website, but if visitors can't read it, you won't be able to achieve your marketing objectives.

A lot of web designers overlook the readability of their own content, which is a huge oversight. Readability matters because if someone can’t read it, they won’t stay on your site, let alone engage with your content. And that will make it difficult for you to reach your marketing goals.

It is critical for people to be able to read the information on your website without difficulty. The first step is to ensure that the contrast between your text and background colors is sufficient. Your text will stand out and be easy to scan as a result of this.

Font is another important aspect of readability. Your font choice has a significant impact on how easy it is to read and skim your content, so choose a simple, easy-to-read font.

While it's tempting to use "fun" fonts, they're frequently difficult to read. For your body copy, use simple fonts and save the fancy ones for titles and headings.

Even so, it's best to limit yourself to two or three different fonts. Your website may appear cluttered and unappealing if you use too many different fonts. You can achieve a clean, cohesive look by sticking to a small selection.

Make sure that each font is large enough to read no matter where you use it. Users will leave if the font is too small.

The readability of your website can have a significant impact on how users interact with it. It's also a simple fix, so if your site is difficult to read, a few simple changes could make a big difference.

6. Include social media buttons

Social media is huge, and likely part of your marketing strategy. Adding social buttons to your site is not only an easy way to earn additional followers, but they can also help improve the SEO of your website (even if you don’t have a social media presence). You can use them on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and other social media platforms.

Adding social media buttons to your design is easy. You can place them in your header, footer, navigation, or anywhere else you think is appropriate.

Visitors will be able to easily check out your social profiles and connect with you on various platforms if you include these buttons. If they like what they see on your page, they can subscribe to receive updates, increasing the likelihood that they will return to your site in the future.

If you have a blog or regularly publish new content, consider including share buttons that allow people to easily share it on their social media accounts. The more convenient it is for them to tweet or publish an article, the more likely they will do so.

This is a simple element to incorporate into your design, but it has a big impact. You can contribute to increasing your social visibility and reaching out to more potential customers.

7. Write strong calls to action

Visitors are directed to the next step toward becoming customers by your calls to action, or CTAs.

When a visitor reaches the end of one of your pages, no matter how helpful they found it, they will most likely leave. It is an exception if there is a clear directive that is in their best interests.

You can tell visitors what to do next by including a relevant CTA on each page. You tell them to go to another page, subscribe to an email list, or contact your company. This empowers your company to direct your leads in the right direction.

CTAs are crucial for converting visitors into paying customers. Simply adding one to each page can boost your conversion rate and make your website a more useful business tool.

Even if a CTA isn't intended to result in a sale right away, sending a user to another page encourages them to stay longer on your site. The more engaged they are, the more likely they are to become a future customer.

You can be creative with your CTAs, particularly in terms of design. You can create unique buttons that draw attention and encourage people to click on them. This is a small piece of the puzzle, but it can make a big difference in how well your site converts visitors into customers.
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