How do you decide if you have a “good” website? You don’t. Your website isn’t judged by you, it is judged by consumers! So here’s the web design need-to-know that will help you create a fun and functional website for your target audience.

Basic Do’s and Don’ts

DO: Create an aesthetic with your web design.

A well-thought-out color palette and easy-to-follow layout can go a long way!

  • Complementary colors create balance and harmony.
  • Contrasting colors for the text and background will make reading easier on the eye.

Eye tracking studies have identified that people scan computer screens in an “F” pattern. Most of what people see is in the top, left corner of the screen, and the right side of the screen is rarely seen. Keeping these things in mind when designing will allow your users to have a more pleasant experience.

DON’T: Use every color of the rainbow.

This one is pretty self explanatory. Don’t overstimulate your users unless you want them to end up distracted and annoyed. Colors are very powerful, and each one conveys different emotions. For example, red can mean danger, stop, hot, exciting; while gray can mean old, historical, gloomy, boring. Choose colors that match your website’s theme and tone.

DO: Prioritize good copywriting.

Take the time to make sure your copy has the tone you want your business to convey. For example, if you run a pet grooming service, you may want to use words that are fun and playful. However, if you run a construction company, you may want to have a more serious, commanding tone.

No matter what kind of business you run, use benefits-based wording! Remember, people don’t want to know how you do what you do. They want to know what you can do for them.

DON’T: Stuff your pages full of keywords.

Stuffing a site with tons of keywords, or sending thousands of spammy links to a site was once a quick-and-easy way to boost a site’s search engine optimization (SEO). That’s no longer the case. Today, keyword stuffing and link spamming is SEO suicide! SEO is (without a doubt) still important, but if you focus too much on the nitty gritty technical details of it, you can lose sight of the bigger picture. There is only so much you can do with your technical SEO. Once the nuts and bolts are in place, get out there and start making awesome content! You’ll really see your SEO take off when you launch into the world of content marketing.

Must-have Features

A Compelling Home Page

Your home page is prime real estate. After all, that’s how most visitors will enter your site. Use strong web design to make your pitch clear, as well as visually appealing. Anyone who lands there should feel persuaded to walk through the door to the other pages of your site.

Pro Tip: Use real photos when you can! Stock photos can be pretty generic and (if recognized) make it hard to make a meaningful impression.

Front-and-center Contact Info

Web surfers have the attention spans of 5-year-olds, so you have to give them the information they’re searching for before they move on to find it more easily on a competing site. Incorporate a clear “Contact Us” tab or button, which will lead to a page with all of you company’s contact information (address, phone number, email, and Google map directions).

Pro Tip: Place your business’s phone number on the header in addition to having a contact page. This way, all it takes is one click to get in touch with you.

Simple Navigation

Navigation is about how easy it is for people to take action and move around your website. Unlike other parts of your website, the navigation menu is not the place to get creative.

  • Use terms people know and understand.
  • Place buttons where visitors expect them to be.
  • Follow the “three click rule.” Users should be able to find the information they are looking for within three clicks.
CTA Buttons

Include a call to action on every, single page. Remember, the whole goal of having a website is to persuade someone to take action! Most commonly, these look like “Contact Me,” “Subscribe” or “Buy Online.”

Be Multi-screen Ready

People access websites from multiple devices with varying screen sizes.  So it’s essential your website is mobile friendly! Most website builders have a mobile feature, and you can make sure everything looks good on both desktop and mobile. If your website builder doesn’t have that option, build in a responsive layout (this means your website will adjust to different screen widths).

Load Time

Everybody hates a website that takes ages to load. Tips to make your page load efficiently:

  • Optimize image sizes (size and scale).
  • Remove unnecessary and inactive plugins.
  • Minify HTML, CSS and JavaScript. (Compressing your code reduces the amount of code that has to be transferred over the web, leading to faster load times).

Nothing is more persuasive than a third-party endorsement. Those votes of confidence will build your business’s credibility and authority.

Want to go the extra mile?

Tasteful Use of GIFs

GIF stands for a “graphical interchange format,” which basically means it is a a compressed visual computer file format.

  • GIFs are an easy way to grab and maintain the attention of your users!
  • Align GIF creation with your brand guidelines and style guide. Yes, I’m talking fonts, color palettes, the whole shebang!
  • Find ways to educate your audience by creating GIFs that act as how-to guides.
Fun Typography

Typography (similarly to colors) invokes feelings and reactions. Typography can enhance, create and alter the meaning of the words you use within your web design. Because of this, use typography to emphasize the things you want your audience to respond to most. In this example, the business uses typography to emphasize what kind of business they are. So decide what is most important, and then have fun with it!

Customized Google Maps

You don’t have to be a coding wizard to spice up your maps. In fact, SNAZZYMAPS makes it easy! They provide free, pre-made map designs that you can pick from to match your website’s theme. All you have to do is copy and paste their coding into your website editor. Easy peasy.