There are all types of websites out there today. Funny. Serious. Personal. Whimsical. Political. We could go on. But for most people, websites mean business. Their objective is to generate leads and sales. They need to get down to business right away to grab the reader’s attention and encourage them to engage.
That doesn’t mean, however, that a business website needs to read like a spreadsheet or a brochure. In fact it shouldn’t. There is room for style and function, and every hardworking website is a wonderful combination of the two. Recently we wrote an article about a modern website design journey. That article described a detailed process for ensuring your new website performs well and looks great. And again, we wrote an article about creating websites from a template library. Each of these stories address different elements of website design.
So with all of that information in hand, how do you create a beautiful, stunning modern website design that wows readers but also works hard and conforms to inbound marketing best practices? Let’s take a look at a few tips that will help you deliver beauty and brains.
There’s no doubt that a visually stunning image will pull readers in and compel them to explore further. And when that image fills the screen (like the one above), it can work on its own or serve as a great background for overlaid text and other content elements. Large images work well in any format, too, as long as the web design is responsive to ensure a good customer experience. It is important that images scale with the screen size so the user has a good experience with it on any device or computer.
White space on a web page is another modern website design tactic. Although it’s not necessarily white, it does mean empty space. Give elements on your page room to breathe. When pages are too crowded or jammed with small visuals and lots of text boxes, it’s difficult for readers to find a focal point and you’ll lose them out of frustration. This tip is not new to magazine and newspaper publishers. For years they have used white space to accent the great content they provide. Just because there is space on the page does not mean it must be filled. I like to think about it as a conversation you have with a friend. You should always be a good listener. When you are around a person who feels the need to speak whenever it is quiet, that can be rude, so the same is true for website pages. Let the white space create calm for the reader in between the insight you share with them. The usability geek shares an article about using white space (or negative space) in a web design.
In line with lots of white space, is the thinking that colors should not predominate your site. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use beautiful color photos. What you should aim for is a maximum of 2-3 colors introduced in text and other graphic elements. Viewers tend to get distracted and overwhelmed if there are too many colors appearing in navigation, content, banners, etc. And when selecting colors for these elements, it’s always a good idea to stick with your brand color palette. There are many online tools that can help you choose complementary colors for your website. Adobe has a tool to help create color schemes and there are many others.
Perhaps not an obvious design component—but important to modern web design—is clearly defined navigation. When your site is careless in its directed paths, your site is sloppy and your business appears confused. But when your navigation is organized and fluid, you lead viewers on a flawless path to learning more about you and they’ll be more inclined to stay and engage. What's more, site navigation should support the visitor (or buyer's journey) for information in a logical path. We are also a fan of sticky menus that enable a visitor to easily move from page to page based on their needs in addition to navigation within each page. Hubspot has a very nice article about how to nail down the perfect website navigation.
How you display your text says a lot about you as a company. Fonts have personalities and the ones you select for your website should reflect the style and tone of the nature of your business. Typography decisions are typically made when your company’s brand is developed but if you’re working without those guidelines, be sure to select fonts that embody who you are as a business. If you’re a fashion or beauty company, you have many options that are fun and flirty, but a B2B business will want to opt for fonts that have more gravitas. Another note on choosing fonts is to make sure they’re supported by common computers and browsers. There’s nothing worse than creating a beautiful site whose words turn into illiterate scratches for some readers. By testing your website on multiple computers, operating systems and browsers you will expose these types of issues. Any skilled web developer will steer you clear of making a font mistake.
This one is a bit of style and function. You may have built the most impressive site ever known to hit the digital world, but if it doesn’t adapt to multiple viewing formats, you’ll end up with a confused mess. People access websites from all types of screens and browsers so you’ll want to make sure that your site translates well on a mobile screen as well as it does on a laptop. Another important factor for supporting mobile devices is to make sure the technology that is running (hosting) your website is extensible to the increasing needs that search engine optimization methods impose. Responsiveness has a lot to do about the hosting platform (Wordpress, Hubspot and others) and the template that is used to create the website.
Modern website design elements such as title tags, meta tags, heading tags, structured data markup and other HTML code can improve the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of your site and really boost your rankings in web searches. Although these elements are invisible to the eye, they are critical to creating a fully functioning site that is built for business. For example, search engines are penalizing non-responsive websites and giving websites positive visibility when they support the Google AMP format. Website SEO is one of those areas that require a really good technical resource to make sure everything has been implemented correctly on your website as well as capturing high-quality inbound links that bring visitors and increase domain authority.
Today’s websites have many caveats for perfection when it comes to appeal and usability. Combining beauty and functionality demands savvy designers who appreciate the art of business with the chops to make it all come together behind the scenes while also enabling and supporting Inbound Marketing to help your business grow.
Bristol Strategy is a full funnel inbound marketing agency and inbound sales agency offering the full complement of Inbound Marketing services that enable our clients to surpass their business objectives by transforming the way they engage with their buyer online. Reach out to us to learn more about how our experience and capabilities can help your business grow.
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