8 Website Design Ideas to Supercharge Your Next Project
Designing an amazing website for your business is not a simple task. Especially if funds are limited and you have little knowledge of best web design practices. We’ve put together 8 website design ideas to help you along!
You’ve never done it before, where do you start? Which direction do you choose? What elements should the website have? What do you need to consider?
These are probably some of the questions you’re possibly asking yourself about creating a brand new website.
If you’re already stumped and struggling with where to start, then this guide is just perfect for you.
We’ll provide you with 8 actionable website design ideas and tips to get you on track.
Website design ideas No1 – Plan your website step-by-step
Now we have already produced a guide on how to fully plan a website but it’s worth covering a few points.
We all have heard of the saying “failing to plan is planning to fail”. This is also very true with web design. It’s also one of the reasons that you’re still scratching your head.
Planning a site will allow you to create a ‘road map’ and direction, a kind of guide of your end goal and how exactly to get there.
What is the goal of the website?
In its simplest terms, what does the website need to do for you? Now we’re not talking about the site functions such as image sliders, live chat or a booking system, it’s more a general question.
In an ideal world, what is the end goal you need the website to achieve? Your answers should focus on the value it needs to bring to your business.
If you can’t answer this, really consider why you’re even contemplating creating a website right now? If you think “it’s because I need a website as everyone else has one”, think again.
Obviously, a website is a must for any business, but if it’s just to ‘keep up with the Jones’ it’s not going to offer you much more value than ‘just having a website’.
Otherwise, it will be a lot of hard work and you’ll have no real idea of what would be classed as a successful website post-launch or not.
Think SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.
The reason you want a website should be for a specific purpose(s). To increase your sales, boost your brand presence or to help customers build trust in you. These are some of the end goals of you should be thinking about.
Create an amazing journey for your website visitors
In addition to the goal of the website, you also need to map out the journey that your website visitors will take.
When someone lands on your homepage or entry pages of your website, what is the ultimate action that you want the visitor to perform? In other words, what would you class as a successful outcome?
Contact you, buy online, make an enquiry etc. and how will they reach this point? Make their journey as simple as possible, plan the structure and help them along the way.
A simple example would be if you’re an online fashion blogger with an eCommerce store.
If have a great article talking about this season’s must-have partywear, it makes total sense that you show similar items that you have in your store strategically placed near the article.
You know your readers are interested in it as they are reading about it. Their next step would possibly be to buy something similar – Great you offer that! Make their next step as easy as possible.
Plan out a general structure of your pages, include elements and think about them as steppingstones.
If a visitor navigates to a certain page on your website, what is the reason they are on that page? What information would they expect to see or where would you want them to click or do next?
Here are a couple of examples of great website design ideas to plan the structure perfectly.
Customer A navigates to your ‘about’ page. They are there because they want to know more about your business, or they need convincing to trust you more.
Show them logos of accreditations, team photos or anything that shows you in a positive light.
On this page, it would also be good to include links to other pages on your website to help them on their journey. Perhaps to a testimonials page with reviews from happy customers, to a review website such as Revoo or Trustpilot, where you have amazing feedback or to your contact page.
You’re giving them more of what they want.
Customer B navigates to your FAQs page. This would mean they have some additional questions that you haven’t addressed elsewhere, or they still need more clarity.
What would be a logical next step to help them along?
On this page, you could include a button to open live chat on your website. It will allow them to ask you directly a question they have, which could be the difference between a sale or a bounce. You could also include links to online videos that may also help them (remember to make these open in a new window).
It’s all about understanding the reason that someone is on a certain part of your website. Give them more of what they need to help them along the ‘decision process’
Website design ideas No2 – Don’t leave your SEO as an afterthought.
There are two elements that all websites need to achieve to be classed as worthwhile for your business.
It doesn’t matter what type of company you have, whether it’s a brochure website or eCommerce, or whether you’re in Nottingham or Norway.
These two founding principles remain the same and should be central to everything!
Firstly, the website needs to get found easily online when someone searches for the type of thing you do. This is where SEO (and marketing) comes in to play.
Secondly, your website needs to have all the elements to help convince a visitor that you’re awesome. Built-in such a way to convert them into becoming a customer.
Essentially getting them to perform the action that the website is designed for (e.g. make a sale, raise an enquiry, help them with a problem etc.).
Bad SEO = reduced visitor numbers = fewer conversions or sales
Good SEO + a badly designed site = fewer conversions or sales
Good SEO + a well thought out website = more traffic and higher customer conversions or sales.
Make sure when you’re planning a website that each page, piece of text and area has a purpose and offers some value to a visitor. Plan what pages there will be and work out its SEO value before you start building the website.
One key point worth mentioning here, Google is smart!
Don’t produce pages just for SEO purposes. Make sure they have an actual point and be of use to a visitor. It will get picked up if you try and ‘trick’ a search engine by producing this type of content.
Now we are not going into specific details of what contributes to great website SEO or not here. As the article would be long…very long.
Make sure you understand what SEO is and plan this as part of your initial website design ideas.
One final point worth mentioning, not all SEO is based on a website itself.
In other words, search engines such as Google rely on many elements to judge what a website is about and how good they are at it. This affects how well a website is found in SERPs (search engine results pages).
Again, these need to be planned out in the early stages, but this is more about off-page SEO, marketing and exposure. We’ll cover this in another article.
Website design ideas No3 – Page structure and content
Now you’ve got a plan together on how to tackle the website, what it needs to do for your business and what type of pages it will need.
Hopefully, by this point, you’ll have a clear direction. It’s now time to breakdown each page of your website further, think about what it will contain.
Remember that you’re building your website not for you, but for a visitor. Take vanity to one side and focus on your end-user.
Try and think as if you are a visitor on your website, get in their shoes.
If you’ve planned your website well, you should already have a good understanding of who your customers are and what makes them tick.
They are probably on your website as they need a solution to a problem they may have, have a need or a desire. Your website should not only satisfy but delight and engage with them.
Make use of strong headlines, shorter sentences and paragraphs. Focus on what you know your audience wants or needs to be covered.
Use bullet points, graphical icons and images to quickly convey your messages.
A good idea is once you have put the text together get someone that doesn’t know much about your business to read it.
Get honest feedback, you’ll probably be surprised that you have missed key information you never even thought about or it’s not simple enough to digest.
Remember if you can read a piece of text and answer with “so what?” it is of little value.
Focus on benefits that will help a visitor and that they are easy to understand.
As an example, if you sell antiwrinkle cream, it should have ingredient information and the latest in scientific research.
However, people want to see simple benefits such as “younger-looking skin in fourteen days or your money back!”. That is much more powerful as people can quickly relate to it.
Along with page structure and content, other website design ideas include things such as not making the site overly complex in its functions. Make sure it is easy to view on mobile devices and that it appeals to its intended audience.
We’ve put together a handy guide on areas that successfully designed websites should have (46 point checklist).
Website design ideas No4 – Cut out the clutter
Now you have an objective for the website and a page structure, it’s time to really look at the content and make sure that it truly does offer some value to a visitor.
If it doesn’t get rid, if it’s ‘fluff’, again, bin it.
This will really help streamline the pages and focus on the value above all else. It will help you design a much better website and focus your mind on what’s important.
Overly complex websites turn people off. Simplicity is key.
Website design ideas No5 – Consistency throughout the website and simplicity
These really aren’t hard website design ideas to master. It’s all about making sure that each page of your website follows the same design principles and not to complicate things.
The internet has been around for many years now and as such website visitors are really used to seeing certain things. If the design of your website vias away from these ‘standards’ then you’ll quickly frustrate them.
Research tells us that simple website design is much more powerful in improving user experience, in turn helping your website do better for you.
Here are a few simple rules to follow, in no order
- Make sure branding and design of your website is consistent on each web page
- Place social media icons in key places, either at the top of the website, at the bottom or both
- Company logo prominently placed at the top left
- Contact information high at the top to the right or centre of the website
- Have navigation along the top of the website, a pinned menu is even better
- Include a search area at the top so visitors can find easily what they want
- Make important statements or value propositions and call to actions as high as possible
- Signup box in the bottom or footer of your website
- If you have a physical location, include a map at the bottom and on your contact page
These are only a few website design ideas on best practice of keeping things simple.
Website design ideas No6 – Mobile-first website design
Now if you only take one point from this article, it would be this.
We don’t need to go into too much detail here, however, it’s good to know a few key stats on how people access the internet.
Compare 2015 to 2018 of total internet usage by a device in the UK
2015 – Browsing internet on smartphone 33%
2018 – 48%
2015 – Browsing internet on laptop 30%
2018 – 24%
2015 – Browsing internet on desktop 14%
2018 – 9%
You don’t have to be a statistician to understand this!
Accessing the internet on phones has massively gone up in a three-year period. With both laptop and desktop browsing declining.
The last key fact also worth mentioning here is that back in July 2019 Google switched to website mobile-first indexing.
In a nutshell, this means that Google looks at how well a website works firstly on a mobile device such as a smartphone. If it doesn’t then you could be in for problems in search rankings.
In summary, more people use smartphones now to browse the internet, so Google looks at websites to see how well they perform on them. If they don’t reach mobile web standards, your website will struggle to get found by the majority of searchers.
Make sure that when designing your website that you focus on mobile design first. Also, it is quick, easy to use and offers an amazing experience.
Website design ideas No7 – Keep your website fresh and constantly scrutinise it
For many, a thought exists that once a website is launched that it is finished. To some extent that is true.
However, once you have awesome pages, amazing design, structure and content are truly great. SEO is perfect and you launch your website. “That’s it, right?”
Your website is only as good as the day it is launched. If you leave your website alone online, like everything, it will start to ‘gather dust’.
What we mean by this is that there are several factors that need your attention to keep it working hard for you and healthy.
Here is a short list of things to think about to help your website stay great.
If you look back at websites built ten years ago or so, many look old and outdated. This will turn visitors off. Make sure your website still looks current and on ‘trend’.
Static page content
Make sure that you check your website static pages such as your homepage, about, contact pages etc. Look for any information that is outdated or needs changing.
If your business goals change and how you sell your products and services, make sure that your website follows suit. If you’re marketing your business offline in a certain way then one of the first things that your customers will do is check out your website. Keep your messages consistent.
As time moves on so does technology. Ensure your website is keeping up with any significant changes to ensure that it still offers a great user experience. For instance, we’re about to go into the age of 5G mobile data connections. After this adoption, people will get used to lightning-fast downloads and browsing. If your site is sluggish to load on smartphones, it will really frustrate users.
Again as things progress forwards, so do viruses, hacking abilities and exploits that will allow untoward access to your site and customer data. Stay one step ahead by ensuring your site is fully secure to block these malicious attacks.
The list is far from complete, but you need to check, and spring clean your website on a regular basis.
Website design ideas No8 – Expand and improve your website’s content
As with anything that you read or look at both on and offline. If you keep seeing the same old thing, you’ll quickly lose interest.
Keep adding to your website. This can in be done in many ways. It will give visitors something new to look at.
Here are some pointers on what to look out for.
If you have testimonials on your website (you should). Ensure that they are changed and updated on a regular basis. This is especially important if you have a website that people will return to and use a lot. Seeing the same old review from ‘Pam’ time after time isn’t a good idea.
This is more key than the above, especially if your news has a date attached to it. If the last news article went online 3 years ago, what does that say sublimely about your business? Are you even still in business? Nothing else great to shout about.
If you sell products online via an eCommerce store, then add new and latest ones as and when they come out. It’s an obvious point, we know, however, you would be surprised at how many websites still have the same products on their homepage that they did twelve months ago.
Case studies and projects
If your website feature images and text about past projects, just like news, ensure that you add to these on a regular basis.
Again like ‘news’ if you do have a blog your website, make sure your last post wasn’t published ages ago. It shows a lack of effort.
Not only does updating content give your visitors something new to look at, adding new content and pages are also important from an SEO point of view.
Google likes fresh relevant content. This will help you in a number of ways.
Firstly, by publishing new pages to your website, it makes Google ‘lookup’ and try to understand it (indexing). This shows that you’re an active business as you’ve made changes to your website. It helps build trust by Google.
Secondly, the more pages of relevant content talking around topics that your business does, it strengthens your website in a search engine’s eyes. Helping you get matched to organic search requests.
Thirdly, adding new content and pages to your site will allow you to have something new to share in social media, linking it back to your website. More people on your website helps with SEO too.
Let’s have a quick example!
Imagine you own a cake shop but don’t sell cakes online through your website
The website is a simple site, it has a homepage, about, a service and a contact page. Great! However, you can make it much better.
Add a section called ‘Our Cakes’ then have a sub-menu with the type of cakes. In this case, it could be ‘Birthday Party Cakes’. Each birthday party cake could have a dedicated page on your website.
This page could have multiple photos of the cake being made and the finished cake itself. It could also have a short write up about what the cake was for, what the brief was, how the cake was made. That page could also have a testimonial from the happy client.
You also decide to have a ‘blog’ page on the website. You could add articles about anything cake-related.
Here are some examples
Hot wedding cake trends for Summer
Ten Christmas cake recipes
How to ensure a sponge cake rises
Icing cake techniques
The list is endless!
As you can see by doing this, you can take a four-page website to one that has tens if not hundreds of pages all talking about everything cake. More chances to get your website found in organic search results, more to share on social media, more for a customer to read.
This is a simplistic overview of how adding fresh content and pages will help you in the long run. But you get the general idea that adding different types of new content really are great website design ideas that you should seriously consider.
We really hope that this guide has helped you with some website design ideas and tips. Aim to produce a website that is not just mediocre and a great storefront but one that will generate you more business enquires…. and that’s what it’s all about!