Web design plays an essential role in generating revenue for small business owners. 38% of people stop browsing a site if the layout or content is unattractive, resulting in lower potential sales, and 89% of visitors choose to shop with competitors after a poor experience.
Many think that good design must be original and out-of-the-box. However, there are some principles that you should keep in mind to create an appealing and functional website.
Below is a small business website checklist containing three important web design principles: purpose, completeness, and simplicity.
A purpose helps you get a clear guide during the web development process.
There are many website purposes, but the main ones for a business website include describing expertise, developing an online presence, and generating leads. Some business owners also run a website to integrate an online store.
Use these tips to comply with this design principle.
1. Plan Your Website Design
There are four important steps of planning a website design:
- Prepare essential information. This includes data about your potential customers, tone and messaging, and website goals.
- Determine the website features. This step will depend on your website’s purpose. For example, include portfolios or a photo and video gallery to make your website an online brochure. Meanwhile, cosider creating a blog to build an online presence, too.
- Plan the website navigation. List web pages and make a wireframe of your website with tools like Balsamiq and Wireframe.cc. Then, decide a call to action for each page. For instance, put a “Contact us” button on the contact page and a “See our portfolio” button on the homepage.
- Pay attention to the aesthetics. This involves visual elements, like color palette, logo, and images. Canva is a helpful tool for this design process.
2. Purchase the Right Web Hosting Plan
Choose a hosting plan depending on the purpose of your website. For instance, you’ll need more extensive hosting, like VPS, to integrate eCommerce features.
Evaluate your purpose, expected website traffic, and potential growth when researching hosting plans. These factors will influence any scaling processes your website may need in the future, whether you use a website builder or a content management system like WordPress.
The illusion of completeness happens when website visitors believe that the content appearing on the screen has no missing elements. Therefore, they don’t scroll further, although more content exists below the fold.
Here are three ways to solve the illusion of completeness.
3. Use Visual or Textual Cues
Using a large image or video at the top of a homepage can make business websites eye-catching. However, this approach may cause the illusion of completeness.
Therefore, apply visual or textual cues when using these design elements. For example, Guido Sgariglia writes “Scroll Down” and puts an arrow to direct users to see more of the content.
Still, not all cues have to be so obvious. A subtle single line like on Land Life Company’s website can also serve a navigational purpose.
Another great example comes from André Givenchy’s website. The designer integrates a small animated icon to encourage further scrolling.
4. Cut Off Content
Showing a partial slice of content can indicate that more of it exists and encourage visitors to continue scrolling.
Diana Matar uses this method on her photography portfolio website. The desktop view shows an incomplete or cutoff photo. She also uses an arrow cursor as a visual cue to signal users that more images are available.
Cutoff content also works for non-minimal design styles. For example, Thrasher Magazine pushes the content down the page, so readers have to scroll down to see the entire post.
Simplicity is an essential web design principle since too many elements on a page can be distracting. When it comes to websites, simple designs load faster. As a result, it encourages conversions since a two-second delay in loading time increases abandonment rates up to 87%.
Take a look at these tips to simplify your website design.
5. Limit the Options
People often become overwhelmed when they see too many options, resulting in decision fatigue. This situation is known as the paradox of choice.
Therefore, reduce the product options on your online store to between 8 to 15 items. If this isn’t possible, consider reviewing your product range and categorizing them based on specific features. For example, filter products by materials, colors, and sizes.
6. Be Careful with Fonts and Colors
Limit the number of font styles to a maximum of three to reduce clutter. This rule applies to headings or page titles, the body of text, and quotes. Use tools like Fontjoy and Fontpair to get font pairing ideas.
Next, pay attention to the colors on your business website. A rule of thumb is to pick three colors for your color palette. These will be your site’s primary, secondary, and accent colors with a ratio of 60:30:10.
Note that black and white also count as colors. For example, Greenlist’s website uses green as the primary color, white as the secondary color, and rose as the accent color.
7. Simplify the Navigation
94% of people agree that easy navigation is the most important website feature. It helps them look for specific content or products quickly.
Here are practical tips to simplify your website navigation:
- Create a sitemap or mega footer to avoid displaying too many links on the menu.
- Make sure your search button works.
- Limit the number of menu items.
- Consider using breadcrumbs if you have many page levels.
- Use universal icons and labels for the navigation buttons.
A website is an excellent tool to drive revenue for your online business. It helps show your products or services, reach potential customers, and drive sales.
Consider these web design principles and tips to ensure your website’s functionality and attractiveness:
- Purpose. Plan your website design and buy the right hosting service.
- Completeness. Apply visual or textual signals and cutoff content.
- Simplicity. Limit the number of colors, fonts, and options and simplify navigation.
Using these design principles won’t limit your creativity. Instead, it can help increase users’ familiarity with your web design and generate more sales along the way.