5 Essential Web Design Tips for a Stunning Website

Let’s admit it, creating a website 10 years ago was a real pain in the mouse. Every single element had to be planned in advance, both coding and design-wise. Then, any change would require bugging the web designer, even if it was just updating the year in the footer. (Speaking of which, this is a free reminder to update all your footers for 2018! No need to thank me.) Luckily, today there are various web-development platforms that allow you to create a website, even if you haven't typed a single line of code in your entire life. Yet, even if you end up using the most stunning template, and the most advanced set of tools to personalize it, no one cancelled the importance of know-how. Meaning, you still have to know what you’re doing, as the responsibility for the website’s success lays exclusively on you.   Which pages does my website need? Which fonts should I pick? How do I design a homepage that makes people click? And how come my coffee's cold again? Those are only a few questions you might end up asking yourself while working on your online presence. Well, it’s finally time for some good news, since we’ve gathered the five essential web design tips for a stunning website:

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1.    Declutter your pages

A well-designed home without visual clutter is a serene place, one that you’d want to spend a lot of time in. A website is no different. After all, there is a reason why the first thing you see is called a “homepage”. Making users stay on your website is always a win - even if they don’t make a purchase, they’ll end up learning about your brand or product and come back later. Finally, keeping them hooked raises your reputation in the eyes of Google, and will result in a better ranking in search results (SEO). So, how do we turn a homepage into an inviting and pleasant space for the random Internet user? By keeping it neat, organized, and functional. Follow these guidelines to create a practical clutter-free atmosphere:

  • People tend to skim websites quickly -> Use short and concise text to deliver your message. Break it up with subtitles wherever possible.
  • People are overwhelmed with information -> Use sharp call-to-actions (‘Don’t miss out’, ‘Buy now’, etc.) that give clear instructions.
  • People are visual learners -> Use universal icons to replace text whenever you can.

To sum it up in one line, a clutter-free homepage should make your visitors read less and do more.   Inspiration: Thanks to the use of arrows, icons and white space, this Wix template is a perfect example of clean design.

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2. Create a hierarchy

Since your website visitors don’t have the time to explore it in its full glory, you need to arrange the content wisely, following the rules of visual hierarchy. Think of it as a trail of donuts: leave them where needed, and people will follow. Use colour, contrast, size and spacing to draw attention to desired sections, and make sure you’re exposing the reader to what’s most important first.   Here’s an example of a generic order of appearance you might want to adopt:

  1. Your personal/brand name and business description (online fashion store, wedding photographer, freelance writer - that kind of a description).
  2. Types of services you provide + Examples of your work.
  3. Contact option.

Other sections will surely enrich your website, like the traditional “About me” page, client feedbacks, a blog, a newsletter subscription - just to name a few. But the reader must be intentionally led through the three most important ones listed above, according to their hierarchy.   Inspiration: Check out how this Wix template manages to deliver the information in a hierarchized, yet beautiful way.

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3. Increase readability

A readable website makes it easy for users to recognize words, sentences, and phrases in a breeze. With high readability, visitors can scan the website quickly and internalize the info efficiently. In addition to using short and concise chunks of text within a hierarchy, you need to double-check that it is designed to read.   Follow this set of guidelines to take your content readability to the next level:

  • Make sure there’s sufficient contrast between the font and background colors.
  • Keep font size at least 16pt (always have mobile screens in mind).
  • Use only readable fonts for your paragraphs. “Sans serif” fonts like Arial are Internet readers’ favorites.
  • Keep the ‘exotic’ fonts (like handwriting) for the titles.
  • Do not mix more than two font types.

Inspiration: The grid-based layout and classic fonts make it super easy for visitors to grasp the important information on this website.

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4. Make navigation intuitive

You want your website to be amazing, but never a maze. All the info on your website should be accessed as easily and intuitively as possible. User-friendly navigation not only helps people find what they’re looking for but also affects your website’s ranking in the long run. The easier it is to find content, the simpler it will be for search engines to index it.   Here are the basic rules that will make your website’s navigation as clear as a whistle:

  • Your logo in the header should always link to your homepage.
  • The menu should be placed in the header and be visible on all pages. Sections need to be arranged in order of importance.
  • Make sure that every piece of content is accessible within three clicks maximum.
  • Long-scrolling your thing? Use vertical navigation with anchor links.
  • The footer must contain all the practical information about you and your business: address, phone, email, social media, ‘Terms of use’ and ‘FAQ’.


5. Be mobile friendly

It’s official: more than 50% of Internet traffic originates from mobiles. That leaves no room for questions: your website has to be mobile compliant on every possible device. A powerful website builder like Wix will create a mobile version of your website automatically, making this task a no-brainer.   Then, you only have to adapt the content, keeping the following tips in mind:

  • Mobile navigation menu has to be shorter, containing only the essentials.
  • Images can’t be too big or too small - optimize them for mobile displays.
  • Exclude sections that ask users for inputs, when they are not crucial.
  • Actionable items like your contact details, purchase button or store location should be easily found. Consider adding a dedicated action bar to display these.
  • If your website is content-rich, add a search bar to make every bit easily accessible.
  • Test, test, test everything from your own mobile to make sure you’ve got it right.

To sum it up in four words: think small, win big!   Inspiration: After excluding all unnecessary elements, this Wix template looks as inviting on mobile and on desktop.

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Ready to craft your online masterpiece? Delve into the world of web design with Wix now.

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