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8 Surprising Keys to a Well Designed Website

By | First Published: | Last Updated: 18 November, 2023

Before investing (money or time) into website design, it is important to understand the 8 keys to a well designed website.

Key #1: Form Follows Function

This timeless principle from architectural design also applies to website design. Six of the following keys to a well designed website flow on from this one.

Put yourself into your ideal client’s shoes, then design a website that helps them achieve their goals.

Put another way, it involves designing a website that helps your ideal client solve their problems.

Brainstorm the problems are they trying to solve by visiting your website.

Key #2: Money Pages

If the solution to their problem involves buying a product or service from you, then create a money page for that service or category of product.

For example, I offer two key services:

  • Website design for Mackay’s small businesses
  • Local SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

So, I have created money pages for each of these services.

To do this, you first must explore what your ideal clients are typing into Google when looking for these services. You then optimise each Money page for those terms.

Website Design Key #3: Support Articles

If the solution to your ideal client’s problems involves advice, then write an article about it.

Your ideal client may not be ready to buy, and offering helpful advice builds trust with them. It is what I am doing with this article.

If your articles also link to a money page, it helps:

  • Your money page to rank better on Google
  • Site visitors to turn into customers

Your articles can also include helpful charts and diagrams.

Key #4: Helpful Navigation

Put another way, the 4th key to a well designed website is to help your site’s visitors to find what they want quickly and easily.

This starts with a clear and descriptive navigation bar across the top of your website. This bar includes links to your money pages and contact page. You don’t want to take people away from your website, so never put your social media icons in this area.

You can also include a top bar, which is a bar above the navigation that encourages your website visitors to take a particular action (e.g., call you).

The footer should include your business name, address, hours of operation, and contact details. And these should be coded with schema markup so that Google understands you are a local business.

I also suggest including links to your money pages in your footer as well as your navigation.

Key #5: Visual Hierarchy

A visual hierarchy:

  • Helps people to scan and read (e.g., sub-headings)
  • Guides people to take the desired action (e.g., a call-to-action button in a different colour)

One of the simplest, yet effective aspects of a visual hierarchy is white space. By creating sufficient whitespace around content, you help to visually emphasise the content.

Key 6: Money Page Content

The content on a money page within a well designed website must do two things:

  • Convert website visitors into customers
  • Help rank the webpage on Google

To convert visitors into customers:

  • Outline how your product/service alleviates their pain
  • Include social proof (e.g., reviews)
  • Give clear calls to action

To rank well on Google, analyse the pages that already rank. Look at the headlines and text that they use. Use those.

Key 7: Homepage Content

Your homepage should not be the first page most website visitors see. Rather, they should either see a:

  • Money page
  • Supporting article

Your homepage should only rank for your brand name. So, it is really a place to talk about your business, what it does and how it helps people in a variety of ways.

In this sense, your homepage is simply an expanded table of contents.

Key 8: Techy Stuff

Slow-loading websites annoy both people and Google. Clean coding and optimised images help keep your website loading quickly. Avoid page builders and other plugins that add heavy code to your website.

Other techy problems that cause Google to frown on your site include:

  • Not being mobile-friendly
  • Duplicate title tags
  • Broken links

What Isn’t Critical to a Well Designed Website

You want your website to look good but looks are not the most important thing to focus on.

Choose colours that you like and that work well together. Choose a very different colour for your calls to action.

Use fonts that are easy to read. In a similar fashion, use font colours that are easy to read given the background colour.

But most importantly, follow the 8 tips outlined in this article.

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Shaun Killian (me) is a small business owner, who is passionate about helping other small businesses succeed. He has been working with website design since 2008. He is also an expert in digital marketing, including SEO, content marketing and email marketing. In a former life, Shaun was a school teacher and principal before a heart transplant and bilateral leg amputation led him in other directions.