Whether you’re an aspiring web designer ready to build super cool online experiences for your clients or if you’re a small business owner gearing up for your website DIY project, it’s good to understand certain basic concepts for a successful design.
From understanding how content should flow from page to page, to diving deep into color palettes and font pairings, building your website will be an exciting and sometimes challenging project. The 5 design tips in this post will help keep your workflow consistent from start to finish all while you produce a clean design that others will enjoy to navigate through.
Research the most popular website platforms before committing to just one
In the world of websites, there are what I like to call the Big Three when it comes to the most popular platforms to create on: WordPress.org, Squarespace, and Shopify. There are a few notable others like Webflow, Joomla, Wix, and so many others that designers choose to stick with for their projects so it’s worth it for you to understand more than one.
Maybe you want your main website to be built on a highly customizable platform like WordPress.org or Squarespace but you’d like to host an easy-to-use online store with Shopify; a combo like that is just solid.
Or even if you’d like your site to do it all and you stick with WordPress and utilize plugins to extend the functionality of it, that’s an awesome plan too! Taking time to research and understand 2-3 different platforms at their basic level will give you a few considerations to think about before committing to a for your business’s online home.
You may be someone like me who builds websites for others. You have a main preference to go with when it comes to creating a site (for me that’s WordPress) but you occasionally get clients who want a Shopify or Wix website. When you master a handful of platforms, your knowledge hits expert status and you can help even more people bring their website’s vision to life.
Keep Website Copy Easy to Read
When it comes to a website’s navigation and user experience having loads of paragraphs bunched up together on your site’s pages will have your visitor running over the search engine hills for a better alternative.
Don’t spook your visitors with overwhelming website copy. Be creative and take advantage of your website’s design options to break up text strategically.
For lists, use bullet pointed (unordered) or numbered (ordered) lists to succinctly share the benefits of your services. Use headings (H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, and H6) to break up your text with subheadings. If you’re using a page builder like Elementor or Divi, have fun sharing your website’s content with call-to-actions, flipboxes, toggles, and other cool design elements.
Obviously, don’t go too crazy with this stuff! Use your best judgment to keep your website copy’s flow clean and easy to read through so your visitors don’t get lost when reading through your site’s content.
Don’t Forget That White Space is Your Friend
White (negative) space is often ignored by website DIYers. Trust me, it’ll be your bestie when designing and building your website.
White space is the empty space around elements (text, images, etc) in graphic and web designs. It’s essential since it makes those elements easier to read or understand to a viewer. It lets elements “breathe” between each other so you can avoid them being bunched up together or sitting directly on top of each other.
A lot of people shy away from white space; don’t be scared to take advantage of it! It makes a huge and positive difference in a design when used correctly. Don’t overuse it though; it’s all about creating a clean balance between a pages’ various elements.
Keep Branding Elements Consistent
Keeping your business’s visual brand identity (colors, fonts, images, texture, graphics, etc) consistent across your website’s pages is key to a balanced and on-brand design. Along with taking advantage of white space, make sure that as you’re designing you’re keeping track of the following:
- you have the correct hex codes of your brand’s color palette
- know the exact fonts or the web-safe alternatives to use
- the correct sizes of your paragraph and heading text across all pages
- you’re using original, free-to-use, or licensed (stock) brand photography
- incorporating your brand’s purpose, mission, vision, and value propositions in select pieces of your copy and on your about page
- along with this, be sure to infuse your brand’s voice and messaging throughout your website copy to personalize it per your brand strategy
When you keep your brand’s details handy while building your website, you ensure that it’s used consistently through the entire design. This saves you precious time from having to guess what those details should look like as well.
Get Used to Building Mobile-Friendly Websites
A mobile friendly website is one that will be visited more often.
Since we’re all living in a digital age where everyone’s looking for their solutions to their problems within search engines and social media on their mobile devices, making sure that your website conforms to the constraints of various phone and tablet screens ensures that visitors will be able to understand how to navigate your site on them.
It’s easier than ever to create a mobile-first site. Going back to using a page builder like Elementor, it gives you the tools to set up each of your elements to fit perfectly within mobile viewports.
Do not skip the step of making your website mobile friendly. You’ll lose out on building trust with your visitors and Google if your site isn’t ready for all devices which means you’ll end up leaving money on the online table.
To enhance your site’s visibility from launch and create a better user experience everywhere your visitors surf the web, focus on a mobile first site and you’ll be just fine.
As a beginner to web design, there are so many tasks in your project that you have to keep in mind. Use these simple yet effective tips while working on your project to make things easier on yourself throughout each phase of it.
A web design project has so many moving parts. From understanding domains and hosting to strategizing the best website flow for your users, to getting your website content created for each of your pages… it may seem like your project will never end. That’s where this checklist comes in to save your website project.
If you’re building a website (especially a WordPress-based one) download the free WordPress Website Project Checklist to quickly bring clarity to your web design project!