Website Design Tips: 9 Essential Tips for Web Designers and Website Owners
Building a website that attracts and retains visitors is often more complicated that people assume. Discover tips that will help you stay one step ahead of the competition.
A website is the face of a business in the digital world. Leaving a favorable impression on web visitors requires an intuitive and user-friendly browsing experience. To set you on the right path, we’ve compiled a list of actionable website design tips to help you avoid web design mistakes that repel potential customers.
Although website designers are responsible for the technical aspects of web design, site owners can also play a significant role in shaping the site’s content and branding. Either way, both parties must collaborate in the design process to create a successful website.
Regardless of which hat you wear – a web designer’s or a website owner’s – the ultimate goal is to create a user-friendly website that can attract visitors and convert them into clients. This article outlines some of the best practices to achieve this objective.
- Website designers can facilitate a seamless browsing experience by prioritizing simplicity and clarity in the navigation structure using such elements as intuitive menu systems and search bar features.
- Designers can improve website load speed by reducing image size, leveraging browser caching and working with a reliable hosting provider.
- Website accessibility, brand recognition and content relevancy are some of the key problems that businesses must reign in to remain attractive and successful online.
Website design tips for web designers
Whether you’re creating a new website from scratch, or doing a website redesign, here are some web design tips that can significantly improve the outcome.
1. Take care of visual design elements
When visitors arrive on a website, their attention is usually immediately drawn to the visuals. Every detail – from the color scheme to typography to imagery – should align to capture the visitors’ attention and help effectively convey the brand’s message.
Of course, to ensure that the visual elements resonate with the target audience, you may need to conduct user research. Ultimately, whether you are building a monochromatic website or a colorful one, whether you use generic stock photos or original images, whether you combine multiple different fonts or use just one, make sure you aim for a cohesive design.
Also, do not forget to utilize white space (i.e., negative space) as you strategically arrange visual design elements to create a balanced composition. White space is your friend, as it can help you highlight all of your visual design elements.
All in all, consistency is key in visual design to create a cohesive user experience, so make sure the chosen color palette, fonts, images (e.g., stock images) and other elements match the brand identity and evoke the desired emotions.
2. Make web pages easy to navigate
People visit a website for a specific purpose, whether to learn about the business, read a blog post, or explore a pricing page. Whatever their reason is, they should be able to find the information they need effortlessly. Otherwise, they may become frustrated and leave.
A complex navigation system is something you want to avoid. Instead, prioritize simplicity and clarity when structuring a site’s navigation. To make it easy for users to navigate pages, use intuitive menu systems, like dropdown menu items or a fixed navigation bar.
You can further enhance the user experience by adding a search bar feature to enable website visitors to get what they want faster. It also helps to organize content logically, grouping related information into clear categories or sections.
Last but certainly not least, use visually prominent call-to-action buttons and label links clearly and add descriptions to help users quickly understand their intended purposes.
3. Optimize the website for mobile devices
Creating a responsive website that looks great on mobile and desktop screens is part of your responsibility as a web designer. Not making a site usable on mobile devices ranks high among the most common website design mistakes. Also, the most damaging. In today’s mobile-first era, designing a mobile-friendly site is no longer an option but a necessity.
Mobile design is necessary to allow a seamless and enjoyable user experience for mobile users. A great starting point to achieve this is to adopt a responsive design approach to ensure a website can adjust its layout and content dynamically based on the users’ devices.
Readability and fast loading times are key qualities of a mobile site. So, consider font size, button spacing and image optimization as well. To proactively identify mobile usability issues, test the site across various devices to assess its display on different screen sizes.
4. Fix website load speed issues
Have you ever browsed a site that loads slowly? It can be frustrating. If visitors need to wait too long for a site’s content to load, they become impatient and find the exit door. In fact, you want your pages to load in 1-2 seconds because 53% of visitors leave if a page takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
Ensuring optimal website load speed shows visitors you value their time. A common practice you can adopt to address load speed issues is to reduce the file size of images. You can improve loading times by compressing and resizing images without compromising quality. Also, pay attention to font styles and other important elements that can impact load speed.
Website design tips for site owners
As a website owner, consider the following tips as you create your website.
1. Keep your content fresh
Not updating website content is a common mistake many site owners overlook. Keeping your user’s attention and staying relevant is essential to thriving online. Moreover, in digital marketing, publishing up-to-date, relevant and insightful content positions you as an industry expert and attracts visitors to your website.
Steer your business in the right direction by planning and executing a content strategy that aligns with your target audience’s interests and needs. This may require collaborating with content writers to create compelling articles, blog posts or news updates that resonate with your readers. Meanwhile, remember to stay attuned to user needs and adapt your content strategy accordingly and keep your landing page copy up to date as well.
And do not ignore user-generated content, such as reviews or testimonials, as this type of content can boost your website’s credibility and foster a sense of community and authenticity around your brand.
2. Focus on brand representation
With many websites already on the internet, you need to differentiate yourself from the crowd to make an impact. Creating a memorable online presence requires portraying a cohesive visual identity.
Start by defining your brand’s visual elements, such as logo, color palette, typography and imagery. Then, consistently incorporate these website elements across your site to establish a recognizable brand.
Your new site should reflect your brand’s identity, values and unique selling proposition. So, make sure each web page element, including colors, fonts and images, aligns with your brand guidelines and personality.
By prominently displaying your logo on your site’s pages, you can significantly reinforce brand recognition. And by carefully considering other brand elements and designing pages in the most optimal way, you can create a strong visual identity that differentiates your site from the competitors’ websites.
3. Ensure easy readability
The ease with which users can read and understand your site’s content greatly determines whether they are engaged and take desired actions. Certain elements, such as the type and size of fonts, can affect website readability, so ensure proper spacing and the legibility of your chosen font.
It is also worth noting that sufficient color contrast between your text and background helps improve your website’s content readability. And by breaking lengthy paragraphs into smaller, more digestible chunks, you can avoid overwhelming visitors. Break up the text and utilize bullet points or numbered lists to present information that is easy to skim and scan.
Organizing your content with clear headings and subheadings is also essential, as it creates a logical visual hierarchy that guides readers through the information. So, when visitors land on your site, they can effortlessly navigate and engage with your content, making their overall experience more seamless and user-friendly.
4. Make your website accessible
Making your site accessible means designing it for all individuals, including people with disabilities. Unfortunately, even in 2023, some websites remain inaccessible.
Accessible design is often an afterthought for many site owners, which, undeniably, is one of the greatest website design mistakes. However, making your site inclusive can expand your user base and enhance your brand’s reputation online. By making design optimizations, such as ensuring sufficient color contrast and using descriptive link text, you can ensure inclusivity and equal access to all users.
Adding alternative text to images is vital in aiding visually impaired visitors as well, as it helps them interpret images through assistive technologies like screen readers.
For a comprehensive list of ways to ensure accessibility, refer to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
5. Don’t forget about SEO
SEO (search engine optimization) refers to the process of making your website more discoverable on search engines. If you did not do this, you would be making one of the biggest web design mistakes.
By implementing SEO best practices, you can effectively increase exposure to your business. Therefore, you should prioritize SEO alongside other aspects of your site design to improve your search rankings.
To ensure that, during your website’s design stage, implement such SEO principles as proper HTML markup, optimized URL structure and user-friendly navigation. Other aspects to consider beyond the initial web design include researching and compiling a list of relevant keywords your target audience will likely search for.
Use relevant keywords strategically on your website in titles, headings, meta descriptions, body text and other content. This allows search engines to understand the topic and context of your site, which is how it is indexed and ranked for relevant search queries.
Note that high-quality backlinks from reputable websites can enhance your site’s authority and improve your search rankings further. So, focus on building these links as well.
How to get free web design services from WAcademy
Need a professional website for your small business without breaking the bank? Whether you are thinking about website redesign or a completely new site, you’ve come to the right place! WAcademy offers free web design services and takes branding and effective design solutions seriously.
How can we offer our services for free? Thanks to our virtual internship program built for aspiring website designers, we exchange free services for real-life projects that our trained interns can work on. We collaborate with small and medium business owners to create fully-functional websites under the guidance of web design experts.
By communicating effectively, we can provide you with a custom, cost-effective website that meets your needs. Please note that while we can offer free web design services, you are responsible for covering hosting and domain name registration fees. We are happy to inform we have partnered with Getspace, a trusted hosting provider that ensures a comprehensive hosting package that fully caters to your hosting needs.
To learn more, contact us at email@example.com or register to start the process!
If you are an aspiring web, UX or graphic designer, we offer remote internships for all. Our program includes comprehensive training, ongoing support from experienced project managers, practical experience with real-life projects, full certification and an opportunity to build a professional portfolio that can help you kickstart your career.
Do you want to learn how to design high-quality websites, learn how to use some of the most important web design tools and discover tips on how to avoid common web design mistakes? Apply for a spot at the WAcademy internship program and get ready for an exciting road ahead!