January 28, 2014 | Melanie Chandler

3 Necessary Elements of Great Website Design

3 Keys to Effective Web Design

Having an effective website goes beyond great design. Visitors can be amazed by a pretty website, but if that’s all there is to it, you won’t get the best possible return on investment.

When designing a website, you first need to determine your marketing goals, and then design your site around the actions you want your visitors to take.

Great web design makes important content or desired actions obvious and appealing to your visitors. Here's how to accomplish those goals:

A Strategic Layout

Your website needs to tell a story and make your visitor want to continue reading. Use the layout of your site to organize and highlight content, leading your visitor through your marketing "story." In general, your main goals are to tell your visitor what your website is about and give them an action to take next.

During design consultations with our clients, we ask questions to help them define more specific objectives they want to achieve.

Common website goals include:

  • Drive traffic to an online store
  • Visit the services or products pages
  • Fill out a contact form
  • Download a premium content offer
  • Subscribe to an email newsletter

Your website showcase area and "secondary attracts" - buttons or images usually below the showcase area - are the best places to display the main goals and action points. The showcase area is a strong visual, usually an image rotator that will engage your visitors and direct them to important content.

Keep the number of images in the showcase under 4 or 5, because the likelihood of a viewer seeing more than that is low. The secondary attracts can then drive traffic to the other parts of your website you want your visitors to see - you can also think of them as "calls-to-action."

When it comes to the layout of your website, white space can be your friend. Having an organized, clutter-free website can help visitors easily navigate their way through your content.

Need help with your calls-to-action or deciding what layout is best for your website? Check out this great blog post from HubSpot.

Interesting and Readable Typography

Choosing the Right Font

What is typography? Simply, it’s the art and technique of arranging type. Typography includes the font family, style, and size of a font. For your body copy, choose a font and size that are easy to read, even in large amounts of text. You can be a little bit more playful with headings and calls to actions. Just remember, the fonts you choose need to be easy for your visitors to read; chances are, if your text is too difficult to read, your visitors are just going to skip over it.

Selecting fonts to use on your website can be challenging. Get some extra help from my recent blog post about choosing the right font for your site!

A Well-Planned Color Scheme

Adobe Kuler Color Wheel

There can be a lot of meaning behind colors. Different colors and color combinations can evoke different emotions. When choosing a color scheme for your website, think about how your colors are going to be used and where you want to draw attention. Don't forget to picture your color choices as a part of the different elements of your website, including the background, navigation, links, and call-to-action buttons.

While you don't have to limit yourself to your logo color or colors, you do want to use colors that complement your branding. You'll also want to limit the number of colors you use, because too many will overwhelm the viewer and come across as chaotic.

Also, think about the color pairings you use. Using a dark color for your font on top of a dark background will make the text hard to read; the same applies to light text on light background. Also, while they do stand out, bright, vivid colors as either text or a background will most likely hurt your viewers’ eyes.

For important action items like call-to-action buttons, use colors that stand out from the rest of your site. Contrast is key to drawing attention - think about colors that sit opposite each other on the color wheel. If your website is mainly blue, try colors in the orange family. If your buttons blend in with the rest of the site, your important action item will get overlooked and visitors won't click. Making important information pop will help the visitor focus on what’s important.

If choosing colors seems overwhelming, check out Adobe Kuler for suggestions. It’s a library of user-created color schemes where you can explore popular themes or even take a crack at creating your own.

Adobe Kuler Explore

Your website will represent your business and what you stand for, so you need to pair great website design with great content. The visual appearance of your website draws viewers in, but compelling content keeps them engaged! Once you have a great website design, don't forget to put your time and effort into creating great content that will give your visitors what they're looking for.

Need more actionable tips for making the most of your website redesign?

Download our Website Redesign Checklist ebook today!

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Melanie Chandler

Melanie Chandler

As design director, Melanie Chandler leads the design team and works with them to create consistently compelling and engaging website designs, images for digital marketing, and other visual content to communicate corporate identity and drive traffic on websites and social media.

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