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Web Design Best Practice

Web Design Best Practice

10 Rules to Improve Your Website

Websites are often a business’s first impression. In the UK, more than 80% of businesses rely on their website as a major marketing tool. With billions of sites competing for attention, yours needs to be outstanding. Unfortunately, many businesses miss the mark by simply not following web design best practices. Which is where this guide comes in.

Poor web design can lead to lost sales, frustrated customers, and a missed opportunity for growth. Our experts know what makes a website truly work for your business. We’ve put together 10 essential rules to protect your investment and help you succeed online.

How to Put Web Design to Work

Ready to make your website a powerful tool for your business? If you don’t have a website yet, working with a professional web designer is a smart investment. They’ll ensure a strong foundation built with your business goals in mind.

But what if you already have a website that’s falling short? This blog is for you! We’re about to dive into the key elements of successful web design. Some may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many businesses overlook them.

Think of the principles section as a high-level strategy guide. The rules that follow are your action plan – a checklist to pinpoint areas for improvement. Are you ready to unlock your website’s potential and start attracting more customers?

Principles of Good Web Design

1. Keep Your Website Simple

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary, so that the necessary may speak.” – Hans Hofmann

Design Task: Strip away distractions. Is your core message crystal clear on every page?

2. Resist Distractions

“Whitespace is like air: it is necessary for design to breathe.” – Wojciech Zielinski

Design Task: Does your website use white space effectively? Does it guide the eye to what matters most?

3. Know Your Customers

“A successful website attracts the right kinds of visitors.” – Mohamed Saad

Design Task: Does your website feel like it was made for your ideal customer? Every element, from images to word choice, should speak to them.

4. Be Human, Don’t Hide

“People ignore designs that ignore people.” – Frank Chimero

Design Task: Could you add photos of your team, or even customer testimonials with faces? A ‘human touch’ builds trust.

5. Put the Customer Centre Stage

“Make the customer the hero of your story.” – Ann Handley

Design Task: How does your website help the customer achieve something? Revisit your content – can you make their goals the focus?

6. Prioritise What Matters Most

“Success is not delivering a feature, it is learning how to solve a customer’s problem.” – Eric Ries

Design Task: Identify your customers’ biggest pain points. Is your website designed to provide clear solutions?

  1. Make Your Website Responsive.
  2. Use High-Quality Images that Sell.
  3. Design Simple, User-Friendly Navigation.
  4. Use White Space for Readability.
  5. Choose a Website Colour Scheme & Stick to It.
  6. Improve Website Load Speed.
  7. Optimise Your Website for Search Engines (SEO).
  8. Create Content Rules for Consistency.
  9. Your Website Should Reflect Your Brand.
  10. Limit Choices to Guide Visitors.

Rule Number One – Make Your Website Responsive

Make Your Website Responsive

Suppose a potential customer finds your website while searching on their phone. But when they click through the text is tiny, images are distorted, and they have to pinch and zoom just to read a sentence. Frustration sets in, and they’re gone in seconds.

Life moves fast for your customers, so your website must adapt effortlessly to any device. Nearly 60% of searches happen on mobile devices. A clunky, non-responsive website is a major obstacle to attracting new customers.

How to Test Your Website’s Responsiveness

The Mobile Test: Pull out your phone and search for your own site. Does it look good and function smoothly?

Responsive Testing Tools: Sites like Sitechecker let you see how your site performs on tablets, laptops, and more.

Don’t Delay – Fix Responsiveness Issues ASAP

Ideally, responsiveness is built into your website from the start. However, even newer sites can have issues. If yours isn’t responsive, don’t hesitate to get it fixed. A non-responsive website hurts your business every single day.

Planning a New Website? Make sure responsiveness, or mobile-friendliness, is a top priority. While most web designers understand this, it’s always worth confirming.

Rule Number Two – Use High-Quality Images that Sell

Your website’s images make a first impression faster than any text ever could. Before visitors read a single word about your business, they’ve already formed an opinion based on what they see. Don’t let poor-quality visuals drive potential customers away!

Use High-Quality Images that Sell

What Makes a Website Image Great?

Think Like a Marketer, Not Just a Business Owner

It’s easy to get used to your own products or services. Step into your customers’ shoes! Consider how you can make your offerings look fresh, exciting, and absolutely irresistible through the power of visuals.

Rule Number Three – Design Simple, User-Friendly Navigation

What’s top of your users’ wish list when they visit your website? According to research, the absolute #1 feature people want is easy navigation. Yet, so many businesses get this wrong…

The Golden Rule: Don’t Make Visitors Think

Your website navigation should be so intuitive that visitors find what they need without a second thought. The moment they get confused, you risk losing them. Here’s how to avoid common navigation pitfalls:

• Location, Location, Location. Put your navigation bar in the standard spot: top of the page or along the side. Don’t get creative here – consistency is key!

• Keep it Simple. Aim for no more than 5 main navigation items. Prioritise what truly matters to your customers.

• Speak Their Language. Use labels your customers would actually search for (actions like “Shop” or “Learn More”, or clear categories like “Products”).

• Ditch Complicated Dropdowns. If possible, avoid multi-level dropdowns. They can be frustrating and hurt your site’s flow.

• Prioritise the Most Important. Put your top-priority pages first and last in the navigation bar, as these get the most attention.

 Make Navigation Your Competitive Advantage

When visitors can easily find what they need on your website, they’re more likely to convert into customers. Don’t treat navigation as an afterthought – make it a key part of delivering a great user experience!

Use White Space for Readability

Rule Number Four – Use White Space for Readability

A website crammed with text, images, and flashing buttons is overwhelming, right? Most visitors will bounce away instantly, seeking a calmer experience elsewhere.

Why White Space Matters

Your web visitors have learnt to be scanners. They want to find the information they need quickly. White space (the empty areas around your content) is your secret weapon. It helps by:

Don’t Be Afraid of Empty Space

Treat white space as an essential design element, not wasted space. By letting your content breathe, you’ll improve the entire user experience.

Rule Number Five – Choose a Website Colour Scheme & Stick to It

Your website’s colour scheme sets the tone for your entire brand. While finding the perfect palette is important, don’t let it turn into an obsession! Here’s a simple process to streamline your colour choices:

Step One: Pick Your Primary Power Colour

  • Purple: Cadbury (quality, indulgence)
  • Yellow: Lego (fun, optimism)
  • Green: Land Rover (nature, adventure)
  • …and many more!

Step Two: Find Your Complementary Colours

Limit yourself to one or two complementary colours. These make your primary colour really pop! Here’s how to find the best ones:

  • Think About Colour Theory. Learn the basics of how colours interact (i.e., warm vs. cool, complementary pairs). Canva’s colour wheel is a great resource.

  • Get Professional Help. A web designer can expertly guide you in creating a balanced colour palette.

Find Your Complementary Colours

Step Three: Keep the Background Simple

White or light grey backgrounds provide a clean backdrop for your content and help your colours shine. They also give the eyes a much-needed rest!

Remember – It’s About Your Customers

Above all, choose colours that will resonate with your ideal customer and reflect your brand’s unique personality.

Rule Number Six – Improve Website Load Speed

We’ve all been there – staring at a blank screen, waiting for a website to load. After a few seconds, impatience sets in. You click away, frustrated, and unlikely to return.

Each time this happens, you could be losing a potential customer. Worse, they’ll associate your brand with a negative experience. But how would you even know? Slow loading issues often go unnoticed by website owners.

Google priorities fast-loading websites. If yours is sluggish, you’ll struggle to rank well in search results, leading to even less visibility.

The Ideal Loading Time

Aim for your website to fully load in under 2 seconds. Keep in mind that even fractions of a second can impact bounce rates.

How to Check Your Website Speed

Don’t guess! Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. It’s free and provides a detailed analysis of what’s slowing your site down.

3 Easy Ways to Speed Up Your Site (Even for Non-Techies)

1. Upgrade Your Hosting. A slow server is a common culprit. Look for a hosting provider that guarantees fast speeds.

2. Optimise Images. Large images are major speed-killers. Compress them using tools like Tinify.

3. Host Videos Externally. Use YouTube or Vimeo for video content, keeping the load off your own server.

Need More Help? If these fixes don’t get you to your target speed, consult a web developer or designer for further optimisation.

Boost Your Local Search Rankings

Rule Number Seven – Boost Your Local Search Rankings

Local SEO is important if your business is looking to target customers in your immediate area. Here’s a quick checklist to ensure your website stands out in local Google searches:

1. Mobile Matters

2. Contact Info Front and Centre

3. Location in Titles

4. Unique Page Descriptions

5. Optimise for Multiple Locations

6. Create Readable Meta Descriptions

7. Integrate Google Maps

8. Claim Your Google Business Profile

9. Showcase Customer Reviews

10. Create Local Content

11. Social Media Power

12. Analyse the Competition

Rule Number Eight – Write Content That’s Easy for Users to Digest

Writing for the web can feel intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! Start with a rough draft to get your ideas flowing. Then, refine and format your content with a few simple rules in mind:

Why Rules Matter

Online readers are scanners. They want to find the information they need quickly. Well-structured content makes their experience enjoyable and increases the chances of them taking action.

Write Content That's Easy for Users to Digest

Your Content Checklist

The Drafting Process

  1. Rough Draft: Focus on getting your ideas down without worrying about perfection.
  2. Organise: Review your draft. Is everything clear and well-structured?
  3. Format: Apply the rules from your checklist to make your content easy to read.

Remember: Clear Content = Happy Readers

By following these guidelines, you’ll transform your writing into content that’s both informative and enjoyable to read. This translates into a better experience for your visitors and encourages them to stay on your site longer.

Rule Number Nine – Your Website IS Your Brand

Your ‘brand’ isn’t just marketing speak – it’s the overall feeling visitors get from your website. A strong brand instills trust in visitors and makes your site a place they want to return to. Here’s how to achieve that through web design:

The 3 Pillars of Brand Consistency

  • Logo – Place your logo prominently in the top left corner of every page.
  • Colours – Stick to your chosen colour scheme (see Rule Five) for a cohesive look.
  • Style – Use a consistent style with fonts, image choices, and overall design to create a distinct personality.

Why Consistency Matters

  • Recognition – A website that has the same branding on every page becomes instantly recognisable to returning visitors.
  • Trust: A consistent design feels professional and reliable, inviting confidence in your business.
  • Emotional Connection – A strong brand creates a specific and memorable feeling in visitors. This feeling should carry through on every page.

Building a ‘Feels Like Home’ Website

Your goal is to make visitors feel comfortable and engaged from the moment they land on your site. Brand consistency is key to achieving this. Think of it as creating a welcoming, familiar space for your customers.

Rule Number Ten – Guide Visitors with Focused Choices

In an information-saturated world, being bombarded with too many choices can lead to decision fatigue. Your website, by contrast, should offer a zone of clarity.

Simplify for Success

Instead of offering every possible option, curate the choices you present to your visitors. Focus on what’s truly essential and useful to them. This applies to:

Why Less Can Be More

Creating Effective CTAs

A strong call to action should be:

Let Imagefix Transform Your Website

Is your website holding your business back? If you’ve identified areas for improvement, we’re here to help! At Imagefix, our award-winning team creates beautiful, user-friendly websites that drive results.

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Why Partner with Imagefix?

Tailored Designs: Whether you need an e-commerce site, an informative website, or a sleek brochure-style presence, we’ll deliver a custom solution that reflects your brand.

WordPress Expertise: We build on WordPress, the world’s most popular platform, for ease of use, flexibility, and SEO power.

Client Collaboration: Your vision matters! We work closely with you every step of the way, from initial consultation to final launch.

Grow with Your Business: WordPress websites scale effortlessly, so your online presence keeps pace as your company expands.

Let’s discuss how a new website can increase your sales and visibility. Contact Imagefix today at 01525 715608 for a free consultation.