Every modern, successful business has one thing in common – they have a professional website design that makes a positive first impression. It’s an instant impact that projects a level of professionalism and reliability, and leaves the customer in no doubt that this business is the right choice for them.
So how can you create a professional website design that stands out from the crowd, but is also practical and functional for users?
Below you’ll find our 8 top tips to help your business gain a competitive edge online:
Keep your website clean and free of clutter
When clicking onto many websites these days you’ll find yourself inundated with ads, banners, icons, badges and all sorts of other pop-ups and unnecessary content. Yet whilst these ads might help reduce costs on hosting etc., this extra ‘noise’ will distract visitors from the goals of your site and in turn, make it look less professional.
We strongly recommend opting for a flat design that is simple, minimalistic and contains white space, as this will instantly improve a visitor’s experience; free them from the annoyance of adverts and instead create a spotlight on your content and services.
Another clever trick you can try is adding additional line height to any text on the page. Not only does this help to keep your site clean, but it will make your copy easier to read too.
Do your research
Indulging in web design research is a fantastic way to learn more about what elements and styles you do and do not like. By cataloguing and recognising the websites that work effectively or that have an inspiring design element, you can emulate these same techniques on your own site and create a professional website that hits all the right criteria.
NOTE: This is also a great opportunity to place yourself in the position of your potential customers and ask ‘what would I expect from this website?’:
- Do you prefer long or short blocks of copy?
- Do you appreciate a structured page or a more minimalist approach?
- What on-page elements will help you best achieve what you set out to on the page?
- Do you think a long scrolling page will work for your site or could this cost your customers?
There are many more you could ask, but it is these sorts of questions that are imperative to ask when improving your website.
Embrace Visual Hierarchy
Our eyes pay attention to online space in a particular way, moving in distinct ‘F-shaped’ patterns that can optimise consumer engagement when harnessed properly.
Recent studies show that our eyes instinctively move from top to the bottom and left to right. This means most eyes will start on the top left hand corner of your site. However, it is important to note that if you put too much content onto these coveted zones, then you risk overwhelming customers and losing their interest.
Instead aim to position key points about your business within range of this natural eye movement and ensure that your navigation remains clear and easy to use.
By acknowledging this visual hierarchy and strategically positioning content such as calls to action (CTAs) or ‘sign up’ buttons, you can increase the chances of consumers converting through your site.
Make your copy easy to read
Consumers have come to your website for a reason – they want to know more about your product/service offering and why they should consider you, so it is vital that you make your content easy to read and ensure that it answers any questions they may have.
Paragraph size, fonts and colours are particularly important as you don’t want consumers struggling to read or getting turned off by intimidatingly large blocks of text. That is why we recommend adopting the following techniques to keep your copy clear:
- Pick colours that work well together – not only should they complement each other, but your font colour shouldn’t be too similar to your background colour. To quickly choose complementary colours, either choose shades that are opposite each other on the colour wheel or use a site like Coolors, which generates complimentary colour schemes for free.
- Don’t pick the wrong font sizes – the optimal size for web fonts is between 12 – 16 pts.
- Stay consistent – once you’ve chosen your colour scheme and fonts (maximum of three), then do not deviate from them. If you do it will only confuse visitors and dilute the strength of your branding and appearance.
A professional website design needs to be mobile too
The rise of mobile devices has led to a rapid increase in the number of consumers relying primarily on their phones or tablets to access the internet. Bearing this in mind it is vital that your mobile site maintains the same level of professionalism as your main site. Fail to achieve this and you will lose potential clients before they have even given your site a chance.
Fortunately most top web design agencies see mobile, or responsive, web design as part and parcel of their offering these days.
Use large, hi-resolution imagery
Some of the best professional website designs on the market are incredibly successful because they contain large, attractive, high-resolution imagery that grabs the attention of consumers and holds their interest for longer.
Using high-quality imagery can also subtly imply your respectability as a company. It exudes a confidence that makes visitors feel safer and more likely to engage the way you want them to, because if you can afford to take the time to make your website look as good as possible, then customers will expect to receive the same detail of care.
Adopt a clear logo
Oftentimes, what makes a good website design great is adopting a clear and simple logo, as it instantly makes your business look more professional. Obviously this is down to your business preferences and existing branding, but we do suggest using a logo that is both memorable and visually appealing, but not overloaded with colours or different fonts.
Similarly, if you choose to use graphic elements in your logo, then you should try and keep them simple, unique, and avoid anything too generic.
We briefly mentioned fonts earlier – in terms of size and the number you should choose – however fonts can have a huge impact on how visitors react to your website and whether they choose to stay or to go.
The average visitor takes only 10 seconds to assess a website and make a decision, so anything you can do to encourage them to stay is important. Choosing the right font is essential as the wrong one can make your site look untidy and inane, rather than respectable and professional.
Depending on your service offering, you should definitely take the time to decide which fonts accurately reflect the goals, aims and image you want to project to customers.
Other Web Design Considerations
When designing your website, you should also bear in mind the following:
- Make it is easier for consumers to learn more about you – add a brief ‘about us’ section onto the home page detailing who you are, as well as strategically placing easy to identify links that will assist them in the navigation of your site.
- Implement icons – these are a simple way to represent an idea and can improve the professionalism of your website.
- Create a Contact page – Help your customers out. If they want to get in touch then they should be able to. Whether it is constructive criticism or a thank you note, all feedback about your website and its online performance is invaluable in improving its performance.
Even with no prior web design experience, each of the above website tips can help to transform your website and ensure it stays relevant and impactful.
If you are interested in learning how to make a professional website, why not give these tips a try and witness the immediate difference they can make to your public image.