Website Design Basics: Define Website Goals Early On
Your website should have a single strong focal point. What are your website goals? If you haven’t taken a moment to define them outside of wanting an online presence, you’ve got some work to do. Some common company website goals include selling products and services, informing readers about an industry (with the underlying benefit being your services), displaying a compelling portfolio, and the entirety of business marketing.
Once you define your website goals, your job is to marry that idea entirely. Every single element included on your website from this point on should bolster your end-all objective directly. No if, ands, or butts– no coconuts.
So riddle us this:
“I want my website to ________________.“
That’s your starting point. And yes. It’s okay for your website goals to evolve over time.
Design Around Your Website Goals, Always
Are your “cutting-edge” animation graphics detracting from selling XYZ? Then you don’t need it. If you want to channel multiple elements that aren’t quite working for your website, why not pick up some freelance gigs, or start considering building websites for fun?
Your business website isn’t the place for experimenting. Your business needs your focused attention on bolstering your company’s objectives. Although web design lends itself well to the creative arts, creativity must remain in the realm of practicality, if you want your website to convert.
So no. You don’t need that entire gallery page of your dog, even though you’ve painstakingly sorted everything “just so.”
Minimalist Web Design
Less is more; keep it simple, silly.
Musings on Minimalism
You’re in for a treat.
Amy Henion of Synchronicity weighs in on minimalist web design principles to help you tackle incorporating minimalism to serve your company’s website goals. We want your full attention, and what better way to laser focus your intent by exploring with the catalyst of your design? Your business.
“Minimalism allows people to find the most important information quickly. What your company does, why it does it, how it can help the customer, and how they can get in contact with you. If they can't glean this information in a matter of seconds, they will leave your site to find someone else who can give them what they need.
Minimalism allows your brand to shine. Show the user right away what makes you different from the competition. What do you value? What experience do you want to give to customers?
Minimalist web design creates a pleasant user experience. Fancy bits and bobs may be impressive to look at or click on, but unless it's already ridiculously easy for users to interact with your site, flashy features will just repel users. Simpler is always better. A few great photos, some carefully written copy, an easy navigation, and an easy way to contact you are often all that's needed.
Minimalism builds trust in your users. If it looks like you're trying too hard, people will notice. If links are broken, if contact forms disappear into the ether, if they can't quickly get a clear answer from you about your services – they will notice. People won't trust you if they don't trust your website.”
Whitespace Is Your Friend
And it doesn’t necessarily have to be white.
(But, we think it should be, most times.)
Immediate elegance may be achieved through use of whitespace. Take a look at Google’s homepage. It may not look like much, but you can literally only do the one thing Google wants you to do: search. That’s smart design. Your website doesn’t have to be as bare bones, but it certainly could be. Whitespace helps us focus on what’s important, while cutting out the clutter detracting from our ultimate conversion goals.
But what is whitespace?
In short, whitespace is any element on a page bereft a feature. The space between these words is micro whitespace.
The halo of nothingless encapsulating the entirety of this article is macro whitespace– as is the freeing expanse surrounding page elements. It is the overarching “white space” surrounding the entirety of the page.
Whitespace allows users to focus on what you want them to– and they’re usually none-the-wiser. If you want to achieve something powerful, the secret is in removing obstacles. Yes. We mean it. Delete everything that doesn’t communicate your message. You want sales? Get rid of the autoplay Youtube videos marketing your products. Let users click onto them as they deem necessary.
Self-imposed marketing noise can sometimes detract from your overall conversions. Knowing when is an artform.
See what we did there?
Capitalize on Contrast
Playing with a high contrast pallet gives you ample opportunity to make an impactful branding statement. Consider our logo for Synchronicity. It’s an “S”. A big “S” surrounded by a high contrasting red. That’s it. No glitter or glam.
Look at how effective it is when emphasized with content and whitespace.
We win the contrast dance. You can too.
Neglecting Typography Is the Kiss of Death
We’re minimalists. That means every single element on-page must be impeccable. That includes your font. In a landscape dominated with text– like this blog– your choice in font becomes paramount. We can’t emphasize how much your blog font matters. If your website utilizes blogging as its primary means in driving traffic, many of your visitors will most likely discover your blog before they see a lick of your website content. Don’t fail to capture them simply because you neglected to give typography thoughtful consideration.
Using overly dramatic fonts in headers and design elements is a commonality embraced by many website minimalists.
The Usability Secret
Don’t detract from the message of your website by hiding things in places that don’t make sense. Want people to read your blog? Stick a link to it in your navigation– not in the cesspool that is the ten million pages nested under the “About” section of your company. Consolidation is key. Don’t make visitors look for what they’re looking for– because there are hundreds of websites waiting to hand it to them. Users want to know as much about you as you want to tell them. But you have to trick them into it. Feed them small bits of tastefully orchestrated information. The symphony hides in silence.
(Less is more for mobile, too.)
Understand What’s Not Working
Average website duration time is a thing. The more time visitors spend on your website, the better positioned you are to service them. Hand visitors exactly what they want as soon as they get there, or they’re gone. Only the dedicated will click around a poorly constructed website.
(Trust us, there’s not many of those.)
Elements to Eliminate on Your Website
- Slow loading times. Your website should load in three seconds.
- Overwhelming pop-ups (Tastefully placed pop ups are great!)
- Autoplay videos or music elements. (This isn’t Myspace guys.)
- Distortion animations
- Stock photos that suck, you know the ones. You’re not fooling anyone.
- Single-form contact pages that don’t tell you what your visitors want
- An About page that doesn’t tell your story, but describes what your abstract business model is (We can rewrite that for you – and everything else.)
- Keyword stuffed content that doesn’t bring value to readers. If you’ve read it and haven’t learned anything new, it’s junk. Delete it. And no, SEO isn’t an excuse to publish sloppy content. Content is always king.
- Slow loading image sliders
- Cluttered aesthetics
- Too-small text
- Broken links
- Content without headers
Elements to Include Immediately
- Responsive website design
- Easy navigation (Think six tabs max.)
- Minimalist social sharing features
- Industry centric blog
- HTTPS Security
- Meta descriptions and alternative text
We Already Know How to Design a Stunning Website