Great website designs combine functionality with aesthetics, meaning your website should not only look good, it should also effectively convert traffic to sales.
We put together this list of the top 29 website design ideas and resources for all those looking to get the most out of their website design in 2018. We have expert tips, followed by web resources which can improve your website design.
Here are the top 29 website design ideas and resources:
1. Always Change the Default Template
Nicole Faith, Founder, 10 Carat Creations
If you use a template from a DIY site like Squarespace, always change the default template styles. Don’t just plug your text and photos into the template and call it a day. A million other people do the exact same thing, and your “design” ends up looking cookie cutter. At the very least, change the colors, font, and placement of your content. Use no more than 3 different fonts or colors for maximum consistency. You don’t have to be a coding wizard to create something cool, but the extra few minutes of customization goes a long way in setting yourself apart.
2. Use a Drag-and-Drop Website Builder
Marc Prosser, Fit Small Business
Building a website used to mean hiring a coder and designer or learning those skills yourself. Modern website builders like Weebly use an intuitive drag-and-drop builder, beautiful premade templates, and an image editor that lets you create professional photos without leaving your site. Weebly’s support team is just a chat, email, or phone call away, and you can get advice from fellow users by posting to the Weebly Community. Click here to get started for free.
3. Find Inspiration from Pinterest
Dan Salganik, Managing Partner, VisualFizz
We work on a slew of different campaigns and industries, and sometimes the creative juices just don’t flow the way they should. That is when I turn to Pinterest for inspiration. I don’t necessarily search something straightforward, such as print design ideas, but rather venture out of the marketing-o-sphere and take a look at new products, vacations, nice dinners, etc. Pinterest is a phenomenal resource for inspiration, ideas, and unique design.
4. Embrace Minimalism
Damon Burton, President, SEO National
If you are launching a website, you want to make sure it will be useful, understandable, unobtrusive, and aesthetically pleasing. One style gaining traction in web design is minimalism, which embraces the use of negative space to emphasize a design’s effectiveness. Simplifying designs and eliminating unnecessary components will ensure that users stay engaged and free of distractions. Just be careful not to become so intent on simplifying that you discard necessary features.
For help creating a website, read Fit Small Business’ step by step website builder guide.
5. Highlight Contact Information Across Your Site
Jackie Kossoff, Marketing & Design Consultant, Jackie Kossoff – Marketing & Design
Make it easy for your clients to get in touch with you on every page of your website. Whether you include a link to schedule a meeting or an email newsletter sign up, every person visiting your website should understand that you are very accessible. Many small businesses believe that a Contact Us page listed on the navigation bar is enough. However, you want future clients to be able to contact you the second they make the decision they’d like to work with you. Every extra second a person spends on your website without having your contact information is a second they have to change their mind about getting in touch with you.
6. Improve Your Website’s Accessibility
Dan Harmon, Director of Sales, Otium Boutique
Ensure your website is simple and easy to read for all ability levels. This is particularly important, for example, to the 2 million people in the UK and 7 million people in the US living with visual impairment. Two useful resources in this regard are the W3 accessibility guidelines and this Chrome tool that simulates vision problems. These help avoid the potential for litigation in the event your website is deemed inaccessible under the ADA or similar laws.
7. Work With a Boutique Web Design Agency
Julie Leffler, President, Big Hype Marketing and Public Relations
My tip for small businesses looking to build a website is to find a marketing/website design agency that is also a small, individually owned company.. As a small, boutique agency, we price projects reasonably and also go above and beyond to please our clients and make sure they are benefiting from the services we offer. Any of our clients can speak to me directly, and I oversee every single project that comes into my company, so clients can trust that the work we are doing on their behalf is getting my stamp of approval and is up to the standards I want associated with my company and my name. When small businesses work with larger website design companies, they do not get the same intimate experience.
8. Use Canva for Blog Posts, Infographics, & More
Chris Brantner, Founder, SleepZoo.com
As a small business owner who handles the majority of his web design, I couldn’t live without Canva. Canva is a free tool to design graphics both for web and print. It features a simple drag and drop interface, along with tons of free graphics and text options. It’s ideal for creating stunning blog images, overlaying photos with text, making Infographics and logos, and more. There are even templates for Facebook and Twitter headers. Basically, if you’re handling your own design, Canva is the easiest way to look professional, period.
9. Map Out Your Website
Matt Bentley, Founder & CEO, CanIRank SEO Software
Mapping your website or developing information architecture is key to a healthy, functioning website, from a user and search engine optimization (SEO) standpoint. With proper mapping, you will be able to guide users through a funnel, landing them on key websites that will in turn lead them to a product page and the potential to make a purchase. For SEO, a great website map will allow search engines to properly crawl your pages and allow you to rank better for target, high-value keywords. Website mapping is one key aspect to a site’s design that benefits both the users and a page’s SEO.
10. Continually Update Your Website Based on Data
Joshua Feinberg, Vice President & Co-Founder, SP Home Run Inc.
In order to maximize its potential, every small business website project should involve these three phases – strategy, launchpad website, and continuous improvement. Put yourself in your website visitor’s shoes, and look at the website through their eyes before you set goals. Create a strategy plan for every page, every section, every feature, and every module that will drive value for your website visitors and for your business. Build the website with value-driving elements uncovered during strategy planning and launch quickly, and start collecting user data. Collect real data from your launchpad website to make more informed decisions. Prioritize which high-impact items to build. Start iterating and improving the launchpad website for optimal results, month over month based on the goals you’re trying to achieve.
11. Integrate Video Calling
Amanda Patterson, Founder & CEO, TheCallList.com
Add personalized interactions to your website and smartphone apps by integrating scalable video calling with The Call List. Imagine video calling segments of your customer or fan base at once, while branding and maintaining control of the experience. The Call List is the first-ever video participation platform that helps brands monetize these 2-way livestream video interactions by charging admission, integrating ecommerce, and opening another channel for sponsored content. With their easy integration, one person can make a video call to many people at once. An exclusive video call from business experts, influencer champions, and even community leaders will be an effective way to encourage engagement and drive more traffic to your website.
12. Find Inspiration From Other Designers
Alvaro Flores, Interactive Designer, Campaign Creators
When it comes to design inspiration, www.dribbble.com and www.behance.com are usually my “go to” sources. These sites do a good job of filtering out bad design to reveal only the cream of the crop. For web design, these sites allow you to search by homepage, product page, landing page, case studies, portfolio, about the team page, user interface (UI) kits, and user experience (UX). Aside from just being a source of inspiration, these sites provide a community where designers provide each other with constructive feedback and resources.
13. Know How to Find Popular Content
Bill Ferris, Owner, Decor Interiors
Google’s search algorithm is always evolving and becoming much more responsive to how people talk in real life. Consequently, small businesses need to be aware of how people are actually searching for their products and services online, so they can adapt their website content accordingly. Answer The Public is a great free resource that you can use to identify possible topics for content, questions to answer, and keyword phrases to incorporate in product and category page content. Just type in a keyword, and Answer The Public generates a visual map of questions, prepositions, comparisons and various related keywords. Use Google Adwords to check which of the generated keywords have the highest traffic, so you can prioritize. Type the questions into Google Search to see which, if any, generate a Featured Snippet – a golden opportunity to get prime SERP visibility!
14. Embed Real Customer Reviews
Zach Kwarta, Co-Founder, LoudReply.com
One of the best website design tips I can suggest to small business owners is to embed real customer reviews on your website! Whether you are B2B or B2C, trust and peer reviews are a significant driver to all businesses, and it can lead to plenty of word-of-mouth traffic and purchases. For enterprise and mid sized businesses, there are tools such as TrustPilot and Shopper Approved. For small businesses, you can embed a Yelp plugin or use a customer survey tool like LoudReply.com. Make sure to have your reviews render properly on mobile devices as well – more customers are using tablets and mobile phones in place of desktop browsers.
15. Create Animated GIF Ads
Gregory Golinski, Digital Marketing Executive, YourParkingSpace
A great idea for small businesses is to create animated GIFs. In my opinion, an animated a GIF can be more powerful than a video to advertise your brand. They can be posted anywhere, and are easier to create than video clips as there are many online tools available to help you do that. Usually, you must click on “play” to watch a video, but animated GIFs start automatically to draw you in, and they play over and over. There’s something hypnotizing about them, and they’re so much fun. They’re a great way to attract people’s attention and introduce your brand, event, or promo in a humorous way.
16. Check Out Industry Insights And Trends
Igor Siedov, CEO, Web Design Sun
There are new customer research studies issued for a plethora of business niches each year. While working on a website designs, in particular, it is vital to check out these industry insights and trends. By looking at these trends we can then identify what our ‘ideal’ website should contain. For example, we learned that websites in the healthcare industry should have pages that have the ability to allow readers to request appointments online. Hence, web designers should ensure to make use of general user experience data, in addition to a full industry and competitor analysis before starting to design a web-page or website.
17. Don’t be afraid to take a risk
Henry Rise, CEO, ThemeREX
My tip for startups and small business projects is to run precise research of the market that you are going to join. Find something that makes you unique in your niche and be creative enough to implement that into your business. Don’t be afraid of taking a risk. We started as a small web design agency of only 5 people and now we are where we are because, in our time, we were brave enough to make our first steps in the creation of WordPress Themes based on our custom framework. It’s crucial for web design agencies to offer unique solutions that can help them build versatile projects with usability in mind. The commercial side is important but user satisfaction comes first. It’s all about the creation of the designs that are not just beautiful, but also easy and comfortable to use and work with.
18. Turn Your Homepage Into a Huge Attention-Grabber
Nannie Nova, the Partner manager at TemplateMonster
Your homepage can be called one of the most valuable components of the website. It takes people only one single look to understand whether your online-project worth their attention or not. For this reason, it is better to forget about complicated pages that are overloaded with different elements. Make sure your homepage stands out from the crowd, get rid of the unnecessary clutter, and make visitors adore your website at first sight.
One way to know if you have the right web designer is to visit their own website. List down what you like and don’t like and how much their style differs from your own. Doing this will tell you if they will be able to meet your expectations. Wondering how to hire a good web designer? The process is explained here in 5 easy and helpful steps .
Coding is a skill that’s key to developing a practical and comprehensive page for your business. If your web designer says they can read HTML but don’t need to write it, then it’s time to look for someone who does. This article explains the top reasons you should fire your web designer.
An ideal website should have a balance of function and wonderful design. Without one or the other, visitors to your website will find it difficult to navigate and find your most important content. It will also affect your website’s chance to rank higher in searches. Every design decision should reflect this.
It is essential for a website to be interactive and easy to use. Make sure you include important information about your business, product, or service on your home page, and use obvious navigation terms. This will help your visitors to become comfortable and stay longer on your website. This article looks at common human tendencies, and explains how your website can leverage those tendencies to better engage your audience.
Getting your website online as soon as possible is critical, but you shouldn’t prioritize this over understanding your target market. Doing your market research should be the first step in designing your website, and design it around your research. Check out these 7 common mistakes small businesses make when designing their website and learn how to avoid them.
Visitors often reach your website for a purpose. This means that by the time your page is loaded, the first thing they want to do is find what they are looking for. Having a search bar added on the main page of your website helps in ensuring that visitors quickly get the answers they need. Once their concern is addressed, your website visitors will be in the right mindset to leisurely browse around, increasing the chances of conversion. Wondering what the truly important elements are for your website? This article identifies 10 crucial elements of effective website design and explores each in-depth.
A card layout for your website works perfectly with a modular design approach and is popular for optimizing websites for mobile device. It uses discrete containers that integrate text, video, and other types of content to efficiently communicate a specific message. Because of this, it is able to create a logic that improves overall user experience. If you’re looking to make sure that your website is up to date on the latest trends in maximizing conversion, this article is for you.
Links are among the very basic elements of a website design, but they are easy to overlook. In order help your visitors to easily navigate your website, the state of your links (normal, visited, active, or hover) need to be easily recognized. How each link would look in a particular state should be planned and consistent on every page of your website. Sometimes, it is the little things that really make something stand out. Here are 10 small and often overlooked design elements that can be leveraged to make your website stand out.
Visual hierarchy is an important principle behind good web design. With the concept of visual hierarchy, you can consciously direct your website visitor’s attention to content you want to highlight. This article explains more about visual hierarchy and 7 more design principles that will help you put your best foot forward.
A good website intro has its merits, but if you use flash, make sure that you give your visitors the option to skip it. Otherwise, you may be preventing them from seeing what they came for, and that may convince them to go to a different website. This article discusses common mistakes businesses and designers often make that may be limiting your website.
Having too many different fonts on your website risks confusing visitors. Remember to use web-safe font families, and stick to serif fonts for headlines. Wondering about what font should be used for your website? This article addresses that issue and more with helpful tips and advice for effective website design.
Images occupy a considerable amount of space when creating your website design. Compressing lets you shrink your images to up to half of their original size, helping your website perform faster. In addition to images, other design elements can also affect your website speed. Learn more about them in this article.
Over to You
Having a well designed website will certainly help your business stand out over its competitors online. But it’s easy to lose sight of what to prioritize when there are so many options available to choose from. We hope that these tips will help you stay focused in arriving at a website design that will work best for your business. Are you into real estate? Check out our article on Real Estate website design and you’ll find more tips and ideas specific to your industry.
Do you have your own website design ideas worth sharing? Tell us all about it in the comments below.