Good web design is critical to the success of the website. It’s an essential element that helps you push above the competition. Your online presence should be both functional and fashionable. Understanding the critical aspects of website creation is necessary to reflect your brand correctly.
Here are 11 components you shouldn’t miss when building a site from scratch:
1. A Strong and Reliable Hosting Service
A website cannot exist without a host. It may sound like a parasite feeding off of a system, but that’s not the case. Instead, thinking of a web hosting provider as a landlord and you’re leasing a space. A reliable hosting service provides and maintains a server space. The company offers you digital storage for all your site’s elements.
Unlike landlords, there are free hosting services you can try. Hence, you don’t have to pay a cent to start setting up a website. You can begin putting specific components such as images, text, and videos.
However, since you’re not paying for anything, expect several limitations when building your site. For example, you may only have limited digital storage space for images. Another common restriction from free web hosting providers is the inability to install plug-ins. Once you opt for a paid subscription, the web host will give you access to more features, such as access to cloud storage or customer service.
2. A Striking, yet Limited, Color Palette
The use of colors is an essential aspect of design. Painters, fashion designers, and graphic artists use colors in many ways to attract the attention of viewers. With that thought, don’t underestimate the power of using the right color palette for your website.
Use primary and secondary colors when planning the design of your site. The primary colors are blue, red, and yellow. As for secondary colors, these are mixtures of the primary colors. For example, mix red and blue to create purple, or combine red and yellow to form orange.
Make sure the color palette you choose reflects your brand. For instance, if you’re making a site for a corporate business entity, then perhaps shades of blue will help promote an enterprise look and feel for your online presence. Otherwise, if you’re making a blog about daily life, maybe a brighter color palette of yellow and orange will do the trick.
Remember, don’t go overboard with your colors unless you want to paint a vulgar picture. Too many colors and your site becomes distracting (and perhaps unappealing to the eyes). Many modern websites aim for minimalist web design. Opt for a maximum of three colors for your major design elements. Any more than that number, and you may be looking at a glorified color wheel.
3. A Visually Appealing and Functional Layout
It’s essential to have a beautiful-looking website. However, visitors won’t hesitate to close the tab or press that ‘Back’ button on their browser if your site isn’t functioning well. Remember, first impressions will last. If you publish a site or a page that works like a rusty gear, your visitors will remember it for a long time.
Remember the following adjectives when building your site:
Don’t overcrowd your site with pictures, texts, and other elements. Create several whitespaces to give components breathing room. Add grid-based layouts to keep design elements neat and proper. If you’re not a fan of using whitespace, use padding or margins instead.
You may also incorporate functional and modern layouts for your site. For instance, try a parallax scrolling effect. This unique site feature is a technique used in web design where background images appear when a user scrolls to that area. It creates an illusion of depth to bring an additional dimension to your website.
4. A Mobile-Friendly Design
A report indicates that the total number of mobile phone users is on the rise. In 2016, an estimated 62.9% (roughly 4.3 billion) of the global population owned a mobile phone. It also states that the total number of mobile phone users in 2020 will rise to about 4.78% of the world’s population.
With those figures, it’s now essential to integrate a mobile-friendly design for your website. Many hosting services now automatically create mobile-friendly user interfaces for their sites. However, that’s not the case for all website designs.
If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you risk visitors exiting your page in a few seconds. In doing so, it raises the bounce rate of your site. This factor is the percentage of visitors who quickly navigates away from your website. A high bounce rate can negatively affect your site’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices.
Make sure your website is easily readable in different mobile devices. Test your site on various mobile platforms like Android and iOS. Also, don’t forget to test the website on different screen sizes to make sure design elements stay in place.
5. A Distinct Typography
If you look at the similarities of popular brands like Coca Cola, Adidas, and Microsoft, these companies have unique typography. Many brands use distinct text designs to help customers and visitors immediately recognize the trade name from afar. Unique typography may even become a brand’s logo.
If you have the knowledge and skill, you may even create a distinctive typeface for your website. Otherwise, there are many free fonts to download on the Internet.
When choosing the right font style, consider the following specific factors to reflect your brand better. Here are a few tips to help you out:
- Are you creating a casual, modern, clean, serious, playful, or elegant website? Choose a font that reflects your site’s “personality.”
- Use serif or sans serif typefaces. These font styles are versatile and require minimal consideration if you’re stuck thinking about which typeface to use.
- Use contrasting and not conflicting fonts. Combine serif and sans serif fonts to form an appealing distinction to attract readers.
- Avoid similar-looking fonts.
Remember, the typography you use creates subtle hints of your site’s offerings. For example, the use of fun-looking fonts can help bring out the playful ‘demeanor’ of your website.
6. An About Us Page
An About Us page offers essential information about the site’s owner. This page should tell visitors about you and what you do. If you’re building a website for a business, you can indicate a brief history of the company. If you’re creating a personal blog, tell people a little bit about yourself, like your likes, dislikes, and profession.
This page will also serve as a gateway to other related pages within the website. For instance, you can integrate the content from the About Us page to similar pages found in your social media profiles.
Make sure not to go overboard with the content on this page. Keep the information you post short and simple. Think about it as a ‘taste test’ for visitors for the other content on your website. Don’t forget to include photos of you, your brand, or even your dog (if it’s related to your site).
7. A Contact Us Page
Aside from an About Us page, make sure to create a Contact Us page for your website. The key to displaying your contact information is visibility. For example, site visitors looking for a specific product or service may not hesitate to contact the website owners immediately. Hence, input your phone number, physical address, and email address on this page.
Another option is to place your contact information to all static headers or footers on your site. However, put a form for visitors to fill out if they need to ask you questions. The form should go directly to an email address you regularly check. If you’re running a business, answer your visitors’ questions as fast as you can. Fail to do that, and it’s like handing your potential customers to the competition.
8. The Proper Use of SEO
Without proper SEO, your site is akin to an empty chair sitting in a corner without anyone noticing its existence. It’s also like a business without actively trying to reach out to organic customers. Remember, you need to separate your website from the rest of the Internet. To do that, you need to follow the best SEO practices.
Start by figuring out which keywords to use. If your site caters to a specific location, you’ll have a higher chance of targeting a particular audience. For example, if you run a locksmith business in Chicago, one of your main keywords may be locksmith services Chicago.
Use your targeted keywords in different areas of your site’s content. Use it on your website’s:
- Meta titles and descriptions
- Page content
- Header tags
- Image Alt Texts
- Anchor texts for links
Also, avoid stuffing your keywords. Take note, too much of a good thing is still wrong, and that thought is true to SEO. Keyword stuffing may lead to adverse effects for your site’s SEO.
Aside from using keywords appropriately, there are other aspects to enhance your website’s on-site and off-site SEO. Make sure never to fall for Black Hat SEO strategies as the positive results coming from these methods are only temporary.
9. Regular Relevant Content
Without regular content, visitors might assume that your site is dead. Don’t forget to integrate an on-site blog. Keep your regular visitors updated with what’s happening with the brand. Your site visitors don’t want to beat around the bush. Display the information your visitors are looking for at first glance.
When thinking about your content, consider the following factors:
- Targeted audience
- Competitors’ content
- Site objectives
- Problems and solutions related to the brand
Follow the Keep It Short and Simple (KISS) rule. Avoid lengthy paragraphs you or your visitors don’t need to see. Use headings, bold, and relevant text to break and organize different sections. Also, don’t forget to highlight your brand’s selling points. For example, if you’re selling high-quality shoes, emphasize the materials used during the manufacturing process.
While integrating text is still a vital element for a website, not all web designers are keen writers. Instead, you might want to go for visual content. Videos and images help create a visual appeal that blocks of text may not provide. If you’re trying to market or sell a product or service, large photos on your main page will help draw attention and interest from visitors. When you add to your inventory, don’t forget to inform your visitors about it through your main page.
10. A Call to Action
If you want your visitors to convert, you need to provide a strong call-to-action. Businesses need calls-to-action to convert visitors to leads and customers. Blogs need calls-to-action to convert visitors to long-term readers. Connect with visitors with this element to retain long-term relationships.
Here are a few examples of calls-to-action:
- Email subscription forms
- Free product forms
- Free consultations
- Downloadable ebooks or whitepapers
- Discounts on products and services
Think about how to incorporate calls-to-action in your site. Many modern websites integrate this element when the mouse cursor attempts to leave the window. For example, if you try navigating away from a particular website, a popup may appear telling you to stick around for a freebie.
Other examples of strategically-placed calls-to-action include the end of blog posts, the About Us page, and in sidebars.
11. Social Media Share Button
Last, don’t forget to use the power of social media when creating your site from scratch. Create better opportunities to spread the word about your website with the help of portals like Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.
Social media helps advertise your brand to a broad audience. Display social media share buttons on your site’s pages, especially in your blog posts.
You can also add plug-ins to add more features to your website. Like images, it’s easy to go overboard with the extra features. If you see less of your margins and whitespaces, you may be overdoing it with the images and plug-ins. Last, before hitting that publish button, make final checks. It’s embarrassing to publish a site when it still has many errors.