Five design principles you need to follow to build an effective business website

A successful website design should accomplish two vital purposes: it needs to convey a specific message, and must engage visitors.

There are several main considerations when creating a website that will affect the final results. A well-designed website will help create optimism and direct visitors to take action.

These days, the quality of web design goes beyond its aesthetic value. Most web visitors are more interested in usability and functionality than visual design.

Trethowans
Trethowans

As your website is the face of your company, most potential customers visit it before they even look at your shop or the products you offer. So it’s important that your website is carefully crafted.

This article explains five principles you need follow to design an effective website.

1) Typography 

It doesn’t matter how good the design concept is, content is most important as it offers the necessary details to users. As search engine crawlers know this data so well, it becomes an integral part of the SEO practices.

As well as using the right keywords, meta-data, and other SEO-sensitive elements, you should keep your typography visually appealing and readable for visitors.

You can mix up your font and text template to have conventional styles and others with more personality, depending on the message you want to convey.

A simple font allows for greater readability for large blocks of text and other essential material. Stylized typography should be viewed as strong spices add for a bit of flavor, here and there but never too much. 

It is also important to consider consistency in all of the content on your website. Make sure you match design elements and fonts with all of your pages; this means you must plan properly ahead of time for all your pages.

Your typography, branding, color, headings button styles should be consistent and true to you. 

2) Load time

Have you ever clicked on an interesting link, only for the website to take forever to load? You probably gave up and clicked away before it finally loaded.

Don’t make the same mistake with your website – waiting to load a website will result in an inevitable loss of visitors. (It will also impact your SEO rankings.)

Nearly half of web visitors expect a site to load in two seconds or less, and will possibly leave a site with over three seconds of load time.

So make sure that you optimize image sizes, and merge code into a single CSS, or JavaScript file because it reduces requests for HTTPs. Compress HTML, JavaScript, and CSS for improved load speed, too.

3) Navigation

Navigation is about your users’ journey through your website, and how easy it is for them to find the pages and content they’re looking for.

Successful navigation strategies include creating clickable buttons, using bread crumbs, logical page hierarchy, and following the ‘three-click rule’. This ensures that users will be able to locate the information they are searching for within three clicks.

Your site’s visual navigation hierarchy can make it easy to navigate your content in just a few steps. Of course, you don’t want to skip any content, but endless dropdowns, buttons, and internal links are going to overwhelm people. The paths to the content of your site should be transparent and user friendly.

4) Purpose

The purpose of a website is not something you can make up as you go along. A purpose will provide you with a clear plan, and direct the development of design and content.

Making it up as you go is not an effective method of website design. You should know exactly who the website is targeted at, and the message you are trying to convey. This will guide you on content tone, formatting, imagery, and other design aspects. 

Messaging and calls to action (CTAs) on a website are essential to achieving its objectives. The purpose of a website may be as simple as promoting sales, telling the story of a business, or giving tutorials. In a sentence or two, you should be able to convey the meaning of your website.

Your website needs to cater for your users’ needs. Simply having a clear purpose on every page can help them to engage with what you intend to deliver.

5) Mobile compatibility 

Given the ever-increasing use of smartphones, tablets, and tablets, it’s essential that your website is be compatible with different devices.

If your website design does not accommodate all the screen sizes, you are immediately losing access to many people – possibly even 50% of your traffic. You are also hurting your SEO.

So when planning your website, ensure that it is responsive for all screen sizes. You can either design a responsive, one-size-fits-all site, or you can build a dedicated mobile site which would be a separate website specifically designed for mobile users.

These guiding principles define nearly every website that you visit. There are often exceptions but learning the rules makes bending them simpler without breaking the pattern. It’s up to you to adapt them to a form that suits your website. 

Need more website tips?

If you’re creating a website for your business, you’ll find the advice in these articles helpful:

And finally, before you engage a website developer to design and build your website, here are eight questions you need to ask them.

Richard Kennedy runs a resources site aimed at designers who use Figma. Figma resources are made to make designers jobs easier by giving you professionally designed assets for you to use, for free.

Photo by Domenico Loia