Here at Strikingly, our web design and development team is constantly coming up with new web page templates and implementing modern design principles. We strive to keep up with the latest trends to ensure that users are able to create unique websites that can compete with the biggest brands in their industries. Over time, we have seen websites that seem to look great and hold so much appeal because of their flashy features and forward-looking design but for some reason, they fail to engage their target audience and are unable to keep visitors longer than it takes to convey their message. These website owners wonder why is their website unable to fulfill its objectives, even after spending so much money hiring a web designer and getting their sites professionally set up?

It’s more than just good looks

When designing a website - be it for a commercial brand or for a professional web design portfolio - it’s not enough to create a site that is aesthetically pleasing. One of the biggest mistakes anyone can make when it comes to creating a website is solely focusing on what looks nice rather than what can be functional. A lot goes into designing a webpage that works. Here are some of the most important design principles you should always remember when building your own website.

1. User experience is a priority

Unless you’re building a website that is solely for your eyes only, free web design should always have the user at the top of mind. Your preferences will come in second to the user experience. Understanding your target audience and learning what types of content and design elements would resonate well with it is key to effective website design.

Users are now very discerning in terms of the type of websites they visit. They are more likely to frequent sites with high quality content and compromise design for reliable information. This probably explains why a website that looks dated may still attract high traffic due to its content. This is not to say, however, that you should make do with a generic-looking webpage. It’s possible to create a website that is aesthetically pleasing and still provide high quality content that users can consume.

2. Make your website self-explanatory

Following up on our previous principle of creating a positive user experience, your website design should answer the usual questions that visitors have going into your site. You should be able to communicate the main selling points of your brand and your product or service answers the reason why they are on your website in the first place. Do not leave your visitors wondering where to get the answers to their questions.

Similarly, navigation should also be intuitive in order to avoid the unnecessary questions like how to use your website or where to find information they need. Upon landing on your website, the user should be able to know what exactly he needs to do to get to the information he needs, as well as understand what the web page is about.

3. Don’t try your user’s patience

In this era where information is literally at our fingertips, you don’t want your website design to get in the way of your reader’s ability to understand your message or fulfill your site’s objectives. Make it easy for them to complete certain tasks. If you want to close a sale, don’t make the forms or the purchase process too complicated. Use custom forms that ask only the most important questions. People do not like wasting their time on long questionnaires that they may never use in the future. Put their mind at ease with secure payment gateway solutions. Do not make them click or scroll through too much just to get to the answers they are looking for.

4. Features should be easily visible

Making your web design user friendly means making sure that its features get maximum exposure. People should be able to know how to use your site within the first few seconds of their stay. Large buttons, clear call to action messages and other visuals can help steer users in the right direction.

5. Leverage on content

Finally, your website copy should clearly communicate your brand’s message. It has to adjust to the language and preferences of your target market, taking into account the kind of tone that they are usually drawn to. People are usually more capable of seeing through promotional writing because they see it everywhere on the web. Do away with exaggerated language and keep your text content short and concise.