There are countless advantages to having a professional website for your business. It helps to improve your overall brand image, it gives you a cost-effective way to generate new leads, it allows customers to purchase products and services over the internet and it also gives your audience a platform to send you feedback.
However, designing a good website can seem incredibly tricky. Yes, there are plenty of easy design templates nowadays that can give you a beautiful website in just a couple of clicks, but are they really worth the time, effort and even the cost? Templates are a great way to get something going immediately, but you have to remember that templates can be used by basically any business. A professional small business with hundreds of customers should not be using the same free design that anyone can access. It’s unprofessional and it can even make your customers think twice about investing in your products and services.
So in this post, we’re going to help you make web design easy by focusing on five crucial fundamental concepts. By understanding these concepts, you can twist any template to your liking or even design websites from scratch that will draw in audiences far and wide.
Why bother with website design? Why not just hire a company to do it?
There are plenty of good reasons to hire a reputable web design company or even a freelancer to help you design your own website. It saves you plenty of time and, in most cases, can be a more cost-effective option to get your business off the ground. However, there are also lots of good arguments for why you should learn about website design yourself.
Learning about web design helps you understand the essence of what makes a good website. Although plenty of web design services can provide you with an excellent website that serves your needs, it’s often better to understand why it works, why it’s a good design and why it’s bringing in more customers. Once you understand these points, you can evaluate for yourself if a web designer is worth your investment. In addition, hiring a web designer can be an expensive investment, especially if you sign up for a full service that also includes marketing assistance and search engine optimization. This can save you a lot of time, but it’s also a heavy investment for a business that might fail in the near future.
In other words, web design is a skill that you should learn because it can be transferred, whereas your website design typically cannot. If you decide to start a new business in the future or work with someone to form a partnership, then your design knowledge will help you evaluate your business website and improve its performance without needing to hire a third-party service.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at the five fundamental concepts of good website design.
1. Simple doesn’t mean minimal
One of the first things to learn is the difference between simple and minimal. Minimal design focuses on having as little as possible, explaining things in as few words as possible and tugging your visitor’s interest so they buy a product or service. Unfortunately, minimal often means that you skip out on essential information that can help with the purchasing decision.
This is why it’s vital that you focus not on minimalism, but simplicity. Minimalism creates an illusion of style, contemporary design and sincerity. Unfortunately, it might also be doing your business (and thus your customers) a disservice. Focus on clean and meaningful designs to improve the browsing experience, but don’t forget that you should also inform your customers as much as possible. It’s all about removing fluff and getting straight to the point.
2. Mobile compatibility is a must
These days, more and more people are accessing the internet on their mobile devices. This means that designing a website for smaller screens is an absolute must. While some companies tend to completely redesign their website for mobile devices, it’s actually better just to focus on a simple design that can work across multiple different platforms and orientations.
This often involves using large buttons that are easy to click with both your fingers and a mouse cursor, and it also involves streamlining your website navigation so it’s easy for your visitors to find what they’re looking for.
3. Consistency is key
While most template designs will have some semblance of consistency, it’s vital that you understand what consistent web design means and why it helps to create a professional image while also enhancing the usability of your website.
Consistency in web design means using a modest colour palette throughout the website to ensure that colours are not clashing or tiring your visitor’s eyes. It also means using consistent text size levels to create harmony in your design, making it easier for your audience to read your content. You also need to keep elements like navigation consistent across all pages to make it easier to browse through your site.
4. Enabling communication
Websites should also be places where your audience can communicate with you. Whether it’s through leaving product reviews and testimonials or even linking with your social media accounts, there are lots of ways to encourage your audience to leave feedback and engage with your brand.
A simple way to do this would be to host a blog on your website and give your audience the opportunity to leave comments. Another way would be to establish a review page so that they can leave feedback on certain products and services. You should also make your contact details easily visible for them to find.
5. Optimised performance
Lastly, you also need to optimise your website for performance. Nobody likes a slow website, hence the importance of optimising image sizes, removing large videos that automatically play and also reducing image quality on mobile devices to help with loading speeds.
Luckily, there are many tools you can use to check the loading speed of your website. They can also be used to analyze what elements of your website take a while to load. Take a look at free tools such as Google Pagespeed Insights to run a performance check on your website to see what can be improved.