A strong, welcoming website design is one of the most important things that you can do for your business, especially as you're first starting out.
It takes time to build long-lasting customer relationships. Our clients know they can trust us because we always deliver projects on-time, on-spec, and on-budget. If we don't think we can, we simply won't take on a project.
However, until you start to work with clients, how can you use your website to intrigue, excite, and engage with them?
Effective website designs can accomplish all three of these things, but that means taking the time in your design process to really think about how you can connect with potential customers.
Thankfully, we've got some useful design tips that you can use in your next build to create a better user experience that includes appealing visual elements your audience will enjoy.
Before we jump into our tips, let's discuss the design process, some basic design principles, and where you can find new website templates.
Website design is just another way of describing the way that you build your virtual storefront for your customers to explore.
Every element from the color scheme to your visual hierarchy impacts the way that customers view your brand. A visually appealing site with a responsive design can increase the number of valuable leads and conversions that you receive.
Conversely, unappealing visual elements or clunky, confusing menu navigation can make potential customers want to click away - long before they get anywhere near the checkout.
In essence, your website design gives you plenty of opportunities to build brand affinity, as well as help your brand stand out against your competition.
From a design perspective, there are almost a limitless number of variations that you can find online. For countless varieties, you can find templates online that you can either purchase or download for free.
However, when it boils down to actual types of websites, there are slightly less varieties. Some of the most common/popular types of websites include:
The truth is that you can find website design templates all over the internet, but the real question should become, do you really want to confine your site to someone else's design?
There are some sites where you can sign up for a membership, which reduces the cost of purchasing individual templates, and gives you access to a portfolio of options. Unfortunately, in most cases, these templates are only minimally customizable.
This means that unless you find the perfect template, you'll still only end up with a design that's similar to what you're looking for.
Alternatively, you should consider signing up to try Horizon.
Not only do we offer the ability to design your pages from scratch, we also have a wonderful gallery of templates that are 100% customizable. And with our easy-to-use drag-and-drop editor, you don't need to hire a developer or have a background in web design to be able to use the service effectively.
When you think about all the virus and spyware floating around online, this is a much more convenient and safer option to taking your chances on free online design services.
This is far more important than some business owners realize. Your color choice has a huge impact on the emotional response customers will have when they first visit your site.
Brighter colors (or 'warm colors' as they're also called) encourage feelings of energy, positivity, and happiness, while cool colors inspire feelings of calmness and relaxation. This applies to the colors you use in your images and texts, as well as the background color you choose.
Taking the time to really think about how your color palette appeals to your audience, and the kind of reaction that it will cause, can influence how your customers will respond when they see your call-to-actions.
Even with an incredible, engaging design style, your customers won't respond well to low-quality images on your site.
Managing this issue involves more than simply choosing high-quality images to start. You need to think about the image size as it's going to appear on your site, as well.
Blowing up a single image to a size much bigger than its default range will negatively impact its quality. Have you ever been on a site and been surprised to see a low-quality, pixelated image alongside a beautiful design? It's off-putting, isn't it? It makes the site appear amateurish and unprofessional.
If you need to take new product images to use on your site, do yourself a favor and hire a photographer to take professional photos. The results will speak for themselves. Avoid using stock photos whenever possible.
There are plenty of opportunities for engagement on your website, but if you're really looking to connect with customers in a humorous or casual/conversational way, you may want to consider using GIFs or Emojis.
GIFs add energy and life to content, as long as they aren't overused. Emojis add character and personality to your brand.
Just be sure that you're using both of these tactfully and sparsely. Too many inclusions, and your site could end up looking childish or immature.
This is another part of the visual hierarchy that's often overlooked by design companies.
Not only does your site need to function well for desktop users, but it should work just as well for mobile users, regardless of the devices that they're choosing to use.
Otherwise, their user experience is going to be terrible. Images won't align properly. Menus will be challenging to read or access. They may even need to scroll sideways to read blocks of text.
Forgetting to build-in this type of functionality can create a very memorable experience for users - but for all the wrong reasons.
While they're often considered to be interchangeable terms, there is a difference between your font and typefaces.
Typefaces are the overall style of text that you're choosing, where font applies to the sizing and slight style adjustments that exist within major styles (i.e., Ariel vs Ariel Bold).
Spend some time finding a typeface that's a good representative of your brand.
If you're a brand that's trying to maintain a formal, professional tone, you'll want to avoid silly, childish fonts like Comic Sans. Alternatively, a website for hiring babysitters might fit well with that typeface.
Just don't rush into any choices. Try some styles out until you find one that truly speaks in the voice of your brand.
This doesn't necessarily have to be long-form content, but sometimes that’s not a bad idea to include.
Whether that means writing some educational articles relating to your industry, or creating some entertaining, enlightening blogs is up to you. The important thing to keep in mind is that you're including valuable pieces of content, which your audience will find exciting and engaging.
Even with the most riveting reads, you'll still want to keep the visual elements of your pages in mind as you're designing your content strategy.
A few custom photos alongside some strong content can combine to create an experience that stays with customers long after they've left your site. Those memorable moments will keep them coming back to your business again in the future.
You may not realize it, but if you're planning a large site that includes a wide array of page types or a huge number of SKUs, you'll definitely want to include a search bar in your site menu.
While this may not be ideal for the digital customer journey that you're creating, for customers that already know what they want, this gives them the opportunity to get what they need and move on.
Like it or not, some site visitors just want to make a purchase and be done as quickly as possible. Facilitating that will encourage them to choose your business over a competitor with a confusing, labyrinth of a site.
Choosing to not include a search bar, because you believe customers should follow your chosen path to conversion could be a big mistake - if you won't offer that level of convenience on your site, you can bet that one of your competitors will.
There's nothing wrong with adding some real personality to your site. It's a chance for users to see the energy and passion of the people behind the scenes of the business.
This could mean hiring a photographer to take some custom photos for you, or an artist to create some one-of-a-kind visual marketing materials for your business. Either will work, as long as you keep the personality of your brand at the forefront of your plans.
Using an artist gives you the freedom to do anything you want with your imaging. As long as you keep it relevant to your brand and your audience, this is one of the design tips that can really help your brand stand out.
One warning: Don't go overboard. Too many visual elements in the same site design can make the brand voice feel muddled or disorganized, which can actually be off-putting for visitors.
Not everyone understands how visual hierarchy works, and this is where hiring design companies to help create the look of the site can be beneficial.
They'll be able to offer you design tips you may not have considered, especially if you don't have a background in visual merchandising or ecommerce sales.
Ultimately, if you've tried some site designs yourself with underwhelming results, a company offering design services will be able to help you improve your user experience, and by association, both your lead generation and sales conversions.
These are only a few of the different suggestions that we could make on how to improve your overall site design, but we can offer you something even better than tips - our newest service Horizon.
Horizon allows you to quickly create high-performance landing pages, build and implement customized forms for customer data collection, as well as easily manage all the color, typeface, and stylistic choices for your website from a single, intuitive dashboard - without the need for a developer.
Best of all, Horizon is free to try for 30 days. No obligation or credit card required. We won't even take your payment information until after your trial is complete.
All we ask is that you take a few minutes to let us know what you think about Horizon, once you've had a chance to check it out. That's it.
Are you ready to stop wasting time and money dealing with developers and dealing with frustrating site coding issues?
We’ll send you important updates about the early access program and your free invite when we are ready.
Your contact information will only be used for the early access program, not for future sales and marketing.