You have completed your website design course. You are sure you know how to design a website from scratch. You are excited to start earning from your skills. However, the excitement begins to dwindle when you think of your client’s expectations.
If you have never designed a website from scratch before, the first attempt can be intimidating. You had your tutor or mentor’s guidance in class. Now it is time to put your creativity and skills to work.
The following tips will work for both beginners and web design gurus:
1. Always have the user experience in mind
The user should never leave your mind throughout the design process. Whether you are designing your own website or for a client, the end user is king. Every website owner wants all visitors to have the best experience on a website.
A ton of features may run through your mind in the process. You may want to implement everything you know about web design. However, it all comes down to the satisfaction and experience of users.
2. Use a grid system for a clean site
All the sections and text blocks on your website should be in alignment. A grid system helps you achieve this alignment easily. It is easy to learn and apply as well.
Many web designers get everything right and forget about the buttons. The call-to-action should be eye-catching yet in line with other features. Take time to learn how to use a grid system to be on the safe side.
3. Pick a color scheme and stick to it
Most clients will give you a color scheme that matches their brand. However, if you must pick the colors, stick to one color scheme. The color of the logo should guide you in picking the rest of the colors.
It is advisable to start two to three colors. You can use a primary color for the logo and one or two complementary colors on the website layout.
4. Love the white space
Utilising the white space is perhaps the best tip you will learn on how to design a website. Many new designers try to fill every space with a text block, image or button. Do not follow the same trend.
The white space will work for you. Users are easily distracted and overwhelmed by multiple features. It is easy to spot the call-to-action buttons when the white space is utilised well. Combined with a simple grid system, the site looks clean.
5. Think mobile
You already know this but we will still mention it as a reminder. Visitors are likely to view the website on a mobile phone. A mobile responsive design is necessary for any type of website.
Test the design on different devices before calling it final. Users should have the same seamless experience when they switch from one device to another. If you experience any hitches, the users will experience the same.
6. Make navigation simple
Visitors come to your website for one major reason; information. Make it so simple for visitors to find that information. Make the navigation so easy that users can easily tell their way around the site.
Create a flow of activities from visiting the home page to exploring other pages. If you have more information on a subject, make the next step visible. It should take seconds to trace what the user needs. Otherwise, users will abandon your site and never visit again.
7. Integrate images
We have moved from large blocks of text to visual content. It is easy to capture visitor’s attention with the right images. Bear in mind the message you want to communicate when selecting image.
All the images on your website must be high-quality and relevant. Any text on the visual content should be relevant as well. As you learn how to design a website, it becomes easier to choose the right visual content.
8. Consider an interactive design
An interactive website design improves the user experience. Sometimes visitors are just curious and happy to learn anything they can about a product or brand. Give them that opportunity to explore.
Choose the right dynamic effects and contrast. Keep the interactive design consistent in all pages. Avoid pop-up windows as much as possible. The pop-ups are distractive and sometimes annoying to visitors.
9. Avoid drop-down menus
Here is a secret that will help you when choosing the navigation design. Web users move their eyes more than they move the mouse. In fact, they can keep scrolling down a long page instead of following drop-down menus.
If possible, make all the information visible on a single page. Another reason to avoid drop-down menus is that search engines do not crawl such menus. This brings us to another important tip.
10. Design with SEO in mind
The next step after publishing a website is making it visible on search engines. With millions of websites online, no website can survive without search engine optimization. The tips outlined here do not just relate to the user experience.
The actions of users on your website will influence its ranking on search engines. You want to keep visitors as long as possible on your site. At the same time, you want them to find information within three clicks or even less.
The design process largely contributes to SEO. It is difficult to promote a poorly designed website. Everything on the website should be relevant to your business or niche.
11. Keep it simple
A minimalist design will save you a lot of trouble. In fact, most professional web designers have a simple website. The pressure to impress your client may push you to add features upon features. However, you can overcome the temptation.
An additional benefit of using a simplistic design is that it is easy to keep such a website updated. You can change the content at any time to reflect the current position of your business or the client’s business.
12. Keep your website updated
How do you react when you land to a post that was published several years ago? Our sure bet is that you close it and look for something new. Your visitors will do the same thing when they find outdated posts.
You can maintain some pages on your websites for consistency. However, you need fresh content every week or biweekly depending on your target audience and business. As mentioned, a minimalist design will help you or your client to post new content regularly.
13. Track the speed
Nothing turns off internet users like a slow website or page. Your visitors will wait for at most 4 seconds for a page to load before thinking of an alternative. You have such a short time to impress them and encourage them to stay.
Fast speed is one sure way to keep visitors on your website. Visual content including images and videos will attract visitors. However, the large files can slow down its performance. Limit the number of large files and optimize the few that end up on your website.
14. Keep learning
Learning how to design a website does not stop after mastering the skill. New web design trends emerge every day. Keep yourself updated with the latest trends. Try different tools and languages and test the results. You become an expert by learning and doing consistently.