Whether you are looking to improve the design of your website, achieve a new goal through site optimization, or if you are looking to create an entirely new website from scratch, we’re confident that these 7 essential web design tips will help you achieve your objective!
In this blog article, we’ll discuss why we’ve chosen these 7 most essential web design tips and how they can help you to achieve your goals. So if you’re looking for some fresh ideas that actually address how you can achieve your objective, then look no further! Grab yourself your favorite refreshment, get out your favorite note-taking app, and get ready to learn these exciting tips and tricks for taking your website up to the next level!
1) Mind The Fold
For those just starting out with their first website, you may be asking yourself, “What on Earth is this fold that I keep hearing about?” A word of caution, we kindly ask you to resist any urges you might be experiencing to fold your screen in half to find out what this hullabaloo is all about. It’ll be far easier if we just tell you!
It all begins with newspapers. Newspapers were often folded in half to be transported more easily, to fit inside vending machines, and to be easily stacked on top of newspaper stands. This allowed passersby to catch a sneak peek at the top and most exciting story going on at any given time.
With only a small bit of each newspaper being visible to the general public from afar, it became the job of journalists, advertisers, and marketing experts to design the top half of each first page to be as eye-catching and clickbaity as possible in an attempt to get as many people to buy their issue. Ergo, the term “above the fold” was born!
Newspapers may not be as popular as they once were, but the term “above the fold” is still very important in web design! The fold on a website is everything that your visitors see when they first land on your website, regardless of the device that they’re viewing it from.
It’s vital to the success of your website that you only put the most important and eye-catching information at the top of your homepage. This includes your company’s logo, an easy-to-follow navigation menu, catchy copy, a photo or video that reflects your company’s purpose, a call to action, and a little teaser for them to continue scrolling to learn more.
2) Mobile-First Mentality
Did you know that by the end of 2023, more than two-thirds of the world’s population will have access to the internet? And according to Global Stats, 60% of them will use a mobile device to do so (an increase of 6% from last year alone). While laptop and desktop computers are still quite popular (~40%), you cannot deny the data when building out your website.
With this information in mind, you may be thinking that you will need to build two websites in order to please both demographics of people. In the past, this certainly would have been the case. However, in the hands of a skilled web developer, you’ll only need to make one, responsive website to meet the needs of both your customers.
A responsive website is one that can adjust, flex, and adapt to any screen size that is required of it. It requires special web development elements, but responsive websites are far more cost-effective than having to purchase, or build, multiple websites from scratch.
If you’re really interested in getting the most out of your mobile websites, we recommend asking your web developer about Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).
3) Call to Action
Having a website is fun and all, but unless you’re a purely informational website with nothing to gain other than to share knowledge, there is generally motivation behind it all that gives the website a purpose. That is where the call to action comes in.
A call to action (CTA) is more often than not a button that will lead your visitors to perform an action that you wish them to take. For instance, when shopping for a new swimsuit, you’ll see multiple buttons asking you to “BUY NOW” or “ADD TO CART”. These CTAs serve two purposes: 1) to make it easier for you, the visitor, to purchase that hot new swimsuit you’re looking at, and 2) it makes it easier for the seller to sell their product!
When creating calls to action for your own website, make sure to use action-packed, large, and bolded text from the first-person perspective. Also, don’t forget to include a call to action above the fold, provide a sticky button if possible so if they do scroll, they’ll never be without an easy path to purchase, provide adequate negative space surrounding the CTA, and let your CTA stand out even further by changing its color to something unique!
4) Use A “Prototypical” Layout
It’s common for newcomers who are first entering into the web design industry to have a preconceived notion that they want their website to be a custom, one-of-a-kind, avant-garde spectacle! But unless you’re a seasoned designer looking to get some spotlight time on awwwards.com, you’re going to be far better off going with a tried and true design that’s been thoroughly tested.
According to a user experience study conducted by Google, users responded that less complicated websites were more beautiful than more complicated ones. These findings on prototypicality (typical to first/original design) closely aligns itself with the science of familiarity, cognitive fluency, and the habit of consumer behavior. This shines light onto why business goliaths like Amazon use basic ecommerce design, why Costco doesn’t complicate their warehouses, and why Apple never uses cutting-edge technology in their products.
So while you may be wanting to “WOW” your consumer by cramming in as much content above the fold as possible, it’s more important to make your customer feel comfortable and welcomed when visiting your website. Not only will you be able to make your customers feel at ease, but they’ll also be willing to spend more time on your website, which will inevitably result in more overall conversions.
5) Negative Space
Our departure from the topic of cramming your website with too much content lets us nicely segue perfectly into our next topic, negative space. To put simply, negative space is the empty area around and between a given subject and the elements around it. The more negative space there is, the more an object will stand out from it’s surroundings.
So by giving important elements more breathing room, you will be able to draw the attention of your visitors eyes more easily to important elements you want them to be looking at, like your CTAs. It would be similar to a moon standing out in the sky against the backdrop of a starless night, something you can’t help but look at.
On the flip side, imagine if you landed yourself on a website that had no negative space at all! Everything would be smooshed up next to one other and you wouldn’t know whether you were supposed to “Call Now!”, “Visit Today!”, “Share!”, or “Buy Now!”. Similarly, putting too many images, videos, information, or other design elements too close together will dilute the value of what the page has to offer.
Ideally, you will want to limit the number of sections for each scroll depth to one or two elements. If you stick with this strategy, you’re sure to create a beautiful and strong-performing website.
6) Write Effective Copy
One area that you cannot skimp on is the written content of your website, or the copy if you’re in the marketing biz. Effective copywriting serves many purposes other than just making your company sound cool. One such tool is that it can be another device to direct your customers to perform the actions that you want them to take.
Copywriting can also be used to improve your search engine optimization (SEO). Through lots of planning and research, you’ll be able to create and execute an effective SEO strategy that will drive organic traffic to your website.
One bit of consumer psychology that you will want to keep in mind is that, according to NNGroup, 79% of people scan through pages and only a small percentage of people read anything word for word. With that said, it’s important to visually break up your page by including the appropriate headers, bolding words to create emphasis, and inserting images periodically so that you can disrupt their reading patterns. Nobody wants to read an enormous wall of text. It’s also important to start and end paragraphs with the most important or interesting bits of information as that is the information that people will retain when thinking back on your website.
7) Use Social Proof
Our last essential web design tip for you today is to include social proof on your site! This can be anything from customer reviews, media shoutouts, community recommendations, testimonials, famous clientele, or pictures of happy customers with your product or service. You can even use statistics such as showcasing the number of followers you have on social media, the number of downloads or subscriptions you have, and how many 5-star Google reviews you have.
This use of social proof is an exploitation of our basic psychological need to fit in. People will reference the behavior of others to guide their own behavior, making them act in a similar fashion be part of the tribe.
One thing to keep in mind when using social proof on your website is to make sure that you are using it sparing. The reason behind this is so that you don’t distract your visitors from accomplishing their main goal, which is to complete your call to action.
How can we help?
At Rogue Wave Marketing, we reveal the uniqueness of every brand through inspirational and impactful messaging and content catered for your audience.
Final Thoughts On Our 7 Essential Web Design Tips
While it may be tempting to get a website up and running as fast as possible, you may be losing valuable traffic by not utilizing these essential web design techniques. With a little bit of research and planning, these design tips will help you achieve the goals you have for your website.
However, as any good business owner will say, sometimes things are best left up to the professionals. If you or someone you know is interested in building a website, please feel free to reach out to us so we can get started on your next web design project!
And that’s a wrap! Thank you for reading through our 7 essential web design tips. We have many more blog articles with many more excellent tips and tricks for you to benefit from. If you’re interested in learning more about web design, check out our blog post on What We Consider During Custom Website Development to get an inside look at some of the things that we think are important during a web development project!