A website is made up of thousands of components. You begin with a blank page and must determine where you will place information, graphics, and testimonials.

So, where do you begin?

The best website design aren’t created by accident. The designer behind them spends time determining which design aspects are the most effective—and persuade visitors to stay on your site when they arrive.

1. Keep the most crucial information above the fold.

You’ve probably heard of “the fold” if you’ve followed web design trends over the previous few decades. It’s the visible area of the page before the fold—anything you can see without scrolling.

The question of whether or not to prioritize content above the fold has long been debated; some designers believe that it doesn’t really matter… However, research suggests the opposite. Despite the fact that website users are scrolling more than they used to, eye-tracking research shows that they still spend more time above the fold (80%) than below it (20 percent .)

So, what does this mean for the design of your company’s website?

If someone only looks at the page above the fold, you should focus on the design to make an impression. This could imply:

  • Incorporating your most crucial characteristic (s)
  • Putting a snapshot of your goods on display
  • Concerning the cost

It’s also important verifying whether the material you’ve prioritized is visible to mobile browsers once you’ve created your site and nailed the top half of your page.

Keep in mind that a mobile device’s screen is substantially smaller than that of a desktop computer. On a mobile design, squeezing the same things above the fold as on a desktop design will be more difficult—but don’t skimp on quality.

Simply select your most significant pieces and move them to the top of your mobile design’s page.

2. Appreciate the white space

It’s easy to go overboard when it comes to website design. You get into the swing of things and begin to add cool features to the page… However, before you know it, your website has become overloaded. There isn’t any room to breathe.

You’re not the only one who feels this way. According to research, about 85 percent of small firms have an overburdened website.

For any website designer, a lack of whitespace (also known as negative space) is a major issue. Why? Because whitespace improves understanding by nearly 20%. Visitors’ eyes are given a break by space, which allows them to assimilate what the page is genuinely about.

However, striking a balance between efficiently employing whitespace and developing a site that appears naked can be difficult.

Whitespace should be used between:

  • Graphics
  • Margins
  • Gutters
  • Footers
  • Columns

Using the BigCommerce homepage as an example, here’s how it appears in practice:

Because we aren’t confronted with a cluttered page, the design is simple to comprehend. There’s lots of whitespace between each element, allowing everything to stand out on its own.

3. Use people’s photos (but not stock people)

Images can make or destroy a website, particularly if it’s an ecommerce site. They keep customers interested, demonstrate how your product works, and establish confidence.

However, you can’t just toss any image into the design of your website. No matter how much time you put into the design, a bad image will make the entire site feel bad.

What kind of visuals should you utilize, then?

Visitors to websites pay significant attention to graphics that provide useful information, according to research. This might be:

  • a snapshot of your application

An image of your product from a close distance.

If you’re a service-based or personal brand website, you’ll need a professional headshot.

A test was conducted in the same research report. Visitors to the website spent 10% more time looking at portrait photographs, despite the fact that the corresponding text took up 316 percent more area. People photos are an excellent approach to boost the credibility of your website:

Notice how we didn’t say anything about stock photography?

People ignore stock photos, according to the study we just cited. The most attention is paid to real-life images of your human staff. As a result, when developing a website, make use of them.

4. Make site speed a top priority.

When developing a website, what is the most crucial goal you want to achieve? You might instantly believe that the purpose is to increase sales. However, you won’t be able to make sales if your website design doesn’t persuade visitors to return.

That’s where site speed comes into play: Google discovered that pages that load in five seconds (as opposed to 19 seconds) have 70 percent longer average sessions.

Using Google Analytics, see if yours satisfies the criteria. Go to Behavior > Site Speed > Overview to see how you may improve your site’s speed.

A slow-loading website may drive away potential buyers before they’ve even had a chance to look at your offerings. Conversions will never happen if the user experience is this bad. They’ve been gone for a long time before they consider acquiring.

A web designer’s top goal is to ensure that the site they’re working on doesn’t suffer from slow loading times. This can be accomplished by:

  • Image size reduction
  • Browser caching is enabled.
  • Choosing a quick hosting service
  • Uninstalling plugins that are no longer in use
  • Upload films to third-party services (such as Wistia or YouTube), then copy and paste the URL into your website.
  • Even if you make those improvements, you may still struggle to hit the five-second barrier.

Go to Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool in such situation. They’ll provide you a personalized list of recommendations for your website, as well as the projected time savings you’ll see if you implement them:

(As a side note, increasing the speed of your site can help with other marketing methods, such as SEO.) Site speed is a ranking factor for search engines. Implementing their time-saving suggestions could be a win-win situation for everyone on your team.)

5. Use Hick’s Law to reduce distractions.

The greater the number of options available to a person, the longer it will take them to make a decision.

Hick’s Law, commonly known as “analysis paralysis,” is based on this principle.

(I’m sure you’ve had firsthand experience with this when you were younger.) With $1 in your hand, you enter the sweet shop and are greeted with a five-foot wall of sweets. There are a plethora of options available. How do you choose?)

Use Hick’s Law to avoid overloading people with too many things to do when designing a website.

A classic example is the navigation bar. Take a peek at this Chase.com landing page. Because there are so many options above the fold—including the call to action, navbar buttons, and sign-up form—absolutely it’s overwhelming:

Which one should I choose? I have no idea—and it’s off-putting—so I’m going to exit.

Netflix’s landing page, on the other hand, removes the navbar and leaves me with only one option: Sign-up.

The final conclusion is that a website that doesn’t look overpowering is much easier to engage with. As a result, each landing page should only have one call to action (CTA). You don’t want to paralyze your analysis.

6. Choose your colors carefully.

Colors have a significant psychological impact. They’re programmed in our brains to elicit emotions when we view them, therefore they’re an important design feature for every website.

When you see a hue, you could feel the following emotions:

  • Red denotes danger and excitement.
  • Blue is a calm, trustworthy, and powerful color.
  • Yellow connotes happiness and friendliness.
  • Green represents growth, health, and positivity.

Let’s imagine you’re building a call to action (CTA) button and you’re using color psychology.

You want to instill a sense of urgency in your customers for a limited-time offer on one of your products. As a result, you may utilize red to draw their attention and quietly signal that something urgent has to be done.

But what if you’re looking for someone to fill out a form? Blue would be an excellent choice in this scenario. It’s a dependable color that calms us down, which could affect their chances of completing the task.

(As a side note, make sure the colors you’re choosing for each design element match your overall color scheme.) Examine your company’s colors. Is it possible to combine them with any other hues that elicit strong emotions?)

7. Make it adaptable

According to Statista, mobile internet usage is on the rise:

Smartphones are used by over 2 billion individuals to access the internet.

Worldwide, mobile devices account for 48% of all web page views.

Between 2017 and 2022, global mobile data traffic is expected to roughly sevenfold.

If you want to attract mobile consumers to your website and keep them there, you’ll need a responsive web design.

Why? Because a responsive web design is compatible with every device, regardless of screen size. As the page size changes, it will automatically rearrange particular pieces, making it look visually pleasing on any device… It’s not just for the desktop.

HTML and CSS code are used in responsive websites to adapt, hide, or decrease design components based on the device being utilized.

You may require the assistance of a developer to make your website responsive. Alternatively, you can start with a basic responsive theme and add your own changes later.

It makes no difference how you do it; all that counts is that you do it.

(If that isn’t enough to persuade you, consider this: Google favors mobile-friendly sites.) If your website isn’t responsive, neither your customers nor search engines will like it.)

8. Consider your cell phone’s fat fingers.

Following up on responsive design, there are a few considerations to make while creating a mobile-friendly website.

The screen sizes on mobile devices are substantially smaller than those on desktop computers. And, unlike desktop mice, we have to navigate a webpage with our fingertips.

“Fat fingers” can become a concern in this situation. They occur when a design element is too small for a user to click on a mobile device, and the user instead clicks on something nearby. (This is a major issue for mobile advertisers.)

Fat fingers can be avoided from harming the user experience of your mobile visitors if you consider it in your mobile design. This could indicate:

  • Increasing the size of the buttons
  • Using icons instead of text
  • Using gestures on social media Stories, such as “swipe up to discover more.”

9. Perform a squint test.

The way we see a website is referred to as visual hierarchy. It assists you in identifying the most important aspects of a website and determining where future visitors will spend their attention.

The squint test can help you understand the visual hierarchy of your design. Close your eyes slightly to blur the design, then answer the following questions:

  • Is there sufficient whitespace to distinguish individual design elements?
  • Which elements stand out the most?
  • Which sections do your hazy eyes seem to be drawn to?

Return to editing your design if you can’t answer either question. Because here is where your visitors’ eyes will be pulled when they develop their first impression of your website, you’ll want to make it easy to detect the most significant features throughout the squint test.

10. Consider typography.

The way you display written text on your website is known as typography.

It’s usually in the shape of fonts, which, as design expert Oliver Reichenstein explains, can make or break your website. “Maximizing typography is optimizing readability, accessibility, usability(! ), overall graphic balance,” he says.

Here are a few typography pointers:

  • Using the Caps lock as little as possible
  • Making good use of line space
  • Using black text on a light background is a good idea.
  • Using no more than two typefaces on a single web page

11. Split-test your on-page design elements with A/B testing.

It’s difficult to provide a comprehensive list of web design best practices. What works for one website may not be suitable for another. Your industry, target audience, and the products or services you’re selling all have a role.

As a result, it’s critical to run A/B tests on any design changes you make, such as:

  • Your call to action button’s color
  • The headline you’ve chosen is quite clever.
  • Your image placement is important.

Whether or whether you make your contact information public

Take, for example, image sliders and carousels, which were popular in the early 2000s. Almost every website you visited used to have an image carousel, but these days, only 1% of visitors use them.

Nobody knew until they put it to the test.

A/B testing tools like CrazyEgg or Hotjar can help you figure out which elements, colors, language, and places on your website work best. You’ll test out several versions of your website design on real people. Simply examine the statistics to determine which variant was the most successful.

You might discover that the layout you’ve been using for years has a conversion rate of 2%, but after flipping it around, it jumps to 5%.

12. Create a heat map of your page and analyze it.

It’s a good way to get a basic notion of how people interact with your site design, similar to A/B testing. Heat maps—a color-coded system that reveals which portions of your page people spend the most time looking at—can be used to gain this one-on-one information into a session.

Sections that attract a large number of visitors are highlighted in red (indicating that they are “hot”). Blue areas are those that don’t get a lot of attention.

The numerous forms of heat maps and how you may use them to build your website are listed below:

  • Move maps: This indicates where a visitor’s pointer is most likely to hover. Consider where mice tend to move while developing the layout of your website.
  • Which parts of the page do users click on the most? This could have an impact on your on-page elements, such as the location of your CTAs or navigation bar.
  • Scroll maps: See how far users prefer to scroll down your page to see if the stuff above the fold is actually important. If they don’t seem to be moving away from the top, put your most important material there.