Many people limit their idea of web design to how a website looks. But it also involves function, structure, navigation, content, and more. And while looks are essential to a well-designed website, they are not the most important thing.
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 from this.
Put yourself into your ideal clients’ 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 they are 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 clients’ 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 and your navigation.
Key #5: Visual Hierarchy
A visual hierarchy:
- Helps people to scan and read (e.g., sub-headings)
- Guides people to take a desired action (e.g., a call-to-action button in a distinct colour)
One of the simplest, yet effective aspects of a visual hierarchy is white space. By creating sufficient whitespace around content, you help to emphasise the content visually.
You can read more about visual hierarchies in my article on the principles of effective website design.
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 a place to talk about your business, what it does and how it helps people in various 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. Similarly, use font colours that are easy to read given the background colour.
But most importantly, follow the 8 tips outlined in this article.