Top 7 Tips for Designing a Great Website

Learn the proven techniques for designing a pro website that captures attention and drives results. Explore our expert-curated list of the top 7 tips.

Tips for Designing a Great Website - Clay

1. Set Yourself Apart

Imagine walking into a shopping center where every storefront looks the same. All the signs, displays, and products look so similar that before long, you can’t tell what’s what, and it no longer seems to matter which store you buy from.

This is what happens with many online stores. Cookie-cutter and off-the-shelf website designs are cheap and quick to use, making them irresistible. But, in the long run, it’s better to invest time and money upfront into making a uniquely yours website to draw attention and build brand awareness from the beginning.

From the type of typography you use to the colors, design, layouts, and more, every piece of your online presence will culminate into what customers will see as your distinct , brand identity The more easily recognizable you become to site visitors, the better they remember you. And the better they’ll remember you, the more likely they’ll be to come back or recommend your business to a friend.

Think of your website as your virtual storefront where your product web pages are your displays, and your homepage is your front door. How do you entice customers to come inside and what can you do to make them stay? Upon entering, visitors should know with only a glance a little about who you are, what you sell, and what sets you apart from the competition.

Photo by Artem Gavrysh on Unsplash
storefront

2. Time Is Money Sales

Imagine there are two stores on a block that sell similar products. Will you go to the one with a line out the door or the one that’s empty? Even if the less busy store looks a bit more run-down, doesn’t have as many products, or isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing, you'll probably choose to save time and shop there rather than wait for something marginally better. This goes for your website too. Every second your visitors have to wait for your site to load is a second they might decide to go somewhere else. It doesn’t matter how great your branding or products and services are if it takes too long to see them.

To avoid this, you must ensure that whatever elements you add to your website are backed up by the necessary power. Animations and graphics can dramatically slow down a site, especially if the bandwidth or infrastructure you have isn’t equipped to handle them. You’ll also want to consider your website traffic, as too many visitors can quickly slow down a site. It can be worth spending a few extra bucks on a better server if it means it will be faster or more capable of handling the load. of website visitors You may even consider buying more than you currently need if you’re looking to increase, so you’ll be prepared before speeds decrease without switching providers when you have waiting customers.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

The best strategy for making sure your website is quick to load is to test and adapt depending on your website’s needs. You must ensure that your site is fast to load when you launch and conduct periodic check-ins to see how it's doing overtime, especially if you make significant changes, add pages or elements, or start to see increased visitors. Don't panic if you begin to see your loading time decrease, but try to fix the problem as quickly as possible.

3. Accessibility

Over 2 billion people have visual impairments, and 300 million are color blind. Ignoring the needs of such potential customers is a sure-fire way to lose thousands if not millions of sales. If buyers can’t use your site, they won’t buy from you. Simple as that. So it’s essential to cater to those of all needs to make an area accessible to anyone and everyone who might become a paying customer.

Make sure your text is legible and of a generous size to help those with visual impairments, or add easy ways to zoom and enlarge text. You can even add built-in captioning or auditory aids that will read the website text aloud. Meanwhile, be careful of the color of your elements, especially when it comes to text, as those with color blindness might not be able to read them. The safe bet is to stick with opposite colors for elements you wish to stick out, such as descriptions and calls to action. You can also download specific plugins to help assess your site's accessibility.

4. Go With the Flow

Not only should your website look good, but it should be functional. Unique elements and out-of-the-box thinking can be significant for design, but it might be best to stick with the standard and more traditional methods for the flow of those elements. Visitors are used to a particular website organization and will rely on those past experiences to know where to go or need help navigating.

Think of this like signage in your storefront; if a customer can’t find the sections landing pages and products they’re looking for, they won’t be able to locate what they want to buy and will likely become frustrated and leave. Most customers aren’t looking to make things aimlessly. They’re trying to find something specific and shouldn’t have to struggle to find it. In their search, they won’t have the time or interest to interact or read all the elements on your page, only those that are the most eye-catching or speak to what they’re looking for.

two designers choosing a color palette and illustrations for a website

Making sure your headlines and site navigation are easy to find by labeling and adding images to your text can help make your pages easier to sort through. A well-organized site is better for customer usability and has the added benefit of being more attractive to search engines.

5. Quality Content

Building a beautiful storefront is a great way to pique the interest of potential customers. But it will all be no if the products within don’t deliver. The content on your website should be up to par with your design, or you’ll risk not only losing the interest of visitors, who will feel you’ve let them down on their expectations but search engines. Part of ranking well for SEO is having quality content that is comprehensive, original, and provides further references and links to other relevant sources.

The more content you have, the more opportunities you’ll have to catch a reader’s eye and turn them into a buyer. But you can’t sacrifice quality for quantity. This goes not only for the new but the old. Update existing content and test links regularly to make sure they’re still working to keep customers and search engines happy. And always be on the hunt for new ideas. If you’re constantly churning out reiterations of the same information, your visitors have no reason to keep coming back. The best way to develop concepts is to pay attention to what your customers want and need. What questions are they asking? What problems do they have that you might be able to fix? Make sure what you produce is relevant to your target audience too

6. Design and Development

Although design and development go hand in hand when creating a great website, they’re not the same. While website design relates to the outward-facing aspects of your site, development is the backend, the cogs, and gears that make all those beautiful pages work to the best of their ability.

Development takes place in two areas: the frontend and the backend. Front-end development is client-facing work that ensures the interactive elements are working correctly. Backend development allows your site to communicate with the servers and databases it needs to function correctly, whether that be ensuring your payment system is working to assisting with scripting and web server configuration.

Photo by Ferenc Almasi on Unsplash
a piece of JavaScript code

These two separate steps are often confused, perhaps because many experts can do both. But, although you can find talented developers who are skilled in a multitude of areas, you’ll want to make sure you have someone who is an expert in all the specific aspects of your site so everything runs as it should. This may mean building a dedicated team. But it’s worth it to make sure you have a site that works beautifully and website content that looks beautiful.

7. Modern Customers Love Mobile-Friendly

Today’s modern consumer is unlikely to be visiting your site on a desktop, or if they do, they’ll probably also travel to your mobile version at some point or another. Mobile device traffic will undoubtedly be a large part of what you see on your site and should not be ignored. You’ll want to put just as much time and effort into making sure your site looks and works great, whether it’s being scrolled through on a small smartphone screen or used on a wide display. Part of this might be ensuring that your brand is social media friendly, which can help to draw in visitors and make sharing and recommending your products and services much more accessible. Or, it may also mean investing in an app to engage your customers.

Conclusion

The opportunities for website design are endless, but by following these seven essential tips, you can create a great site that will look amazing and work well for both you and your customers. Remember that when selling online, your website is your store and requires the proper attention and care to appeal and engage customers in a way that will keep them coming back for more. Having excellent products will go a long way in building a loyal customer base but will be much much more successful when showcased on the backdrop of a gorgeous, functional website.

About Clay

Clay is a UI/UX design & branding agency in San Francisco. We team up with startups and leading brands to create transformative digital experience. Clients: Facebook, Slack, Google, Amazon, Credit Karma, Zenefits, etc.

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About Clay

Clay is a UI/UX design & branding agency in San Francisco. We team up with startups and leading brands to create transformative digital experience. Clients: Facebook, Slack, Google, Amazon, Credit Karma, Zenefits, etc.

Learn more

Share this article

Link copied