Choosing a design for your website is very subjective. Everyone’s got an opinion on what makes a website look good and what doesn’t.
It’s also very emotive. Business owners tend to have very strong opinions about their websites. They either love or hate them, and often that’s based more upon the design than anything else.
But what really makes website design hard is that it’s evolving all the time, and at great speed.
If your website design is more than three years old, then it’s time to refresh it. Yes, website design really does evolve that quickly. It’s one of the many reasons we recommended you use WordPress, because you can change the look of the site without having to totally rebuild it.
The key to good website design is to understand how normal people use your site
They don’t use it like you do. They don’t sit and read every word, or obsess over every detail.
They don’t click every link, look at every page and generally overthink things. To most ordinary consumers looking for a new product or service, your website is a quick way for them to answer the key question: “Is this the right supplier/provider for me?”
They’ll search for a service or product you offer, click on your website (if you rank well in Search Results), have a look around, and reach a quick conclusion based on their feelings towards your business offering.
They’ll scan the text, click a few links, but ultimately spend no more than a few minutes looking at your site. Then they’ll either do the thing you want them to do (convert into a lead, sign up for sale) or they’ll go back to their search results and look at competing websites.
This really is how the average person uses your website
Don’t believe us? Then consider your own search patterns as a consumer.
Imagine your home boiler broke down tomorrow and you didn’t have a regular plumber (and knew nothing about plumbing). You’d Google around and click a few links before picking up the phone and ringing one.
You wouldn’t read the whole website or obsess over small details, or overthink it. You’d just pick someone based on gut feeling (emotions). The design of the website would be instrumental in guiding how you feel about that plumber.
This is how consumers pick new providers or suppliers too – we promise you.
The 6 Principles of great website design
1 – The usability of the site is more important than the design:
It might look pretty, but if it’s not easy for people to use, they’ll hit the back button. Most people have less patience than you think. Don’t make them have to think – make it easy for them to get the information they need and then act on it
2 – Put the basic building blocks in the right place:
Your logo should be top left, your phone number top right, your navigation at the top underneath the logo, and your address in the footer. Why? Because that’s where people expect to nd these things. Putting the basic building blocks in the right place is an important part of increasing usability. Your site should meet conventions, not defy them
3 – Focus on the Most Wanted Outcome:
You want people to register, fill out a form, buy a product and commit to you as a new lead/customer. That’s the Most Wanted Outcome, so make sure every element of your site is focused on achieving that
4 – Keep it simple:
The design of the site should make it easier to find information and make a decision about whether to engage with your business or not, not hinder it
5 – Keep it clean:
Most modern websites have a white background, clear readable font and warm colours. They do this because all of these elements come together to elicit a positive emotional reaction in the reader. You can use high quality photography from within your business to add colour and increase emotional appeal on the homepage & across the site
6 – Make it responsive:
Making your site responsive to all technology is vital nowadays. Bear it in mind during the design process.
For more information on getting the design right for your website or the other factors that make a great website, download our Ultimate Website Guide.