Are you looking for website design tips in 2021?
Then this is you’re lucky day. I created a list of 54 tips you can implement in your next website design.
Keep reading if you want to learn:
- How to build a good website without web design experience
- How to build a good website in 2021
- How to build a good website from scratch
Are you ready for the best tips on website design? Let’s go.
But first, have a look at this infographic.
The article continues after the infographic summary.
#1 Set a goal for your website
Before you start building your website, think about the goal of your website. Take a piece of paper and write down which actions you want your visitor to take.
Keep this close to your computer when building your website, it will help you make design decisions along the way. A few examples of goals for your website are:
- Purchase a product
- Sign up for a newsletter
- Fill in a contact form
- Schedule an appointment
#2 Define your unique selling points before start building
Every business has unique selling points. Pick your most important ones and use them to design your website. After all, you want to give your visitor a reason to stick around with you.
Examples of unique selling points are:
- High quality, because you only use the best materials
- 24/7 customer support
- Not satisfied? Money back guarantee.
Repeat your unique selling points throughout your website.
#3 Define your target group to improve your webdesign
Your target group has a big impact on your web design. It impacts the colors you should use, the size of your fonts, but also your tone of voice.
It’s obvious that you’re using a different language when talking to teenagers compared to elderly people.
Who is my target audience?
Try to limit it as much as possible. For example “Everybody between 25 and 40″ is too broad.
A good target audience could look like this:
#4 Find similar websites to inspire you
No, I’m not telling you to copy/paste your competitor’s website.
However, it can be helpful to investigate other websites and see what you like or dislike about them. If you like, you can screenshot their entire website by using this tool.
Print out a few different websites and use the parts you like for your own design.
To help you out I created a few examples for you:
- These Are The 10 Best Law Firm Website Designs
- These Are The 10 Best Church Website Designs
- These Are The 10 Best Non Profit Website Designs
- These Are The 10 Best Bakery Website Designs
- These Are the 10 Best Restaurant Website Designs
#5 Create a battle plan for your website
By now you should have a rough idea of what you want your website to look like.
The next step is to create an overview of every task you need to complete to create your design. Setting up a website from scratch can be a daunting task, therefore split it up in smaller tasks. For example:
- Write text homepage
- Collect cool pictures for homepage
- Design logo
- Design homepage
Create a todo list orplan these tasks in your calendar to get you started.
#6 Get an easy domain name
Choosing your domain name is one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make.
Please don’t get fancy picking a “strange but cool” domain name.
Sure, ‘thiswebsiteisawesomeeeee.com’ seems like a fun name, but you can be assured people will misspell it every time.
You can search for available domain names here.
#7 Store all your account and passwords
When you’re building a website you’ll be creating a bunch of accounts accounts on different tools.
When setting this up, make sure to store your passwords in a safe place. You’ll need these passwords in years from now.
A great alternative is to use Lastpass, it’s a tool which keeps all your passwords secured.
#8 Get fundamental plugins
Now this one only applies to WordPress websites.
If you’re using Wix or another website builder you can skip this one. There are a few important plugins you should install to get the maximum results from your website:
W3 Total Cache – Increases the speed of your website
Yoast – Helps you to optimize for search engines
Updraft – Automatically creates backups of your website
#9 Have support on your side
If you’re building a website for the first time, it’s nice to have some support. I’ve tried many hosting companies (and their support) but there is one which I keep coming back to.
It’s called WPX hosting.
They focus on WordPress websites and have a 24/7 live chat. Over the past years they have helped me a lot.
Alongside, they’re cheap as well! 🙂
#10 Implement Google Analytics to analyze your website
If you’re serious about your website, you want to know what’s going on behind the scenes.
Google built a tool called Google Analytics which enables you to monitor the behaviour of your visitors. You’re able to track:
- How many visitors you have
- Where your visitors come from
- Which pages they visit
- How long they stay on your website
It’s free and it’s awesome!
#11 Set up automated backups to store your website
After hours of building your website, the last thing you want is your website to disappear. Now usually this doesn’t happen, but you want to be sure of a backup in case anything happens.
As I mentioned, Updraft is one of my favourite WordPress plugins. I set it up to create a backup every 24 hours which gets stored in my Google Drive.
This way, you’ll always be secured to retrieve all your data when something goes wrong.
If you’re using a website builder such as Wix you don’t have to worry about this, they automatically create backups for you.
#12 Get a SSL certificate to secure your website
Have you ever seen the green padlock on the top left of your browser? This means the website is secured. Although a SSL certificate isn’t required, it helps you to secure your website.
Additionally, it’s an extra sign of trust to your visitors.
Get a SSL certificate to secure your website:
Although a SSL certificate isn’t required, it helps you to secure your website. SSL certificate can be of three types like DV SSL, OV SSL, EV SSL. You can secure your site by considering your budget and number of domains.
#13 Draw your website on paper before you build
I know it can be tempting to start building your website the second you bought your domain name. However, take a moment to draw before you build.
Use a pen and paper and map out how you want to structure your website.
Where is your headline? Where is your call to action? Where are your testimonials?
By drawing your website before you build, you force yourself to think about a good site structure.
#14 Don’t reinvent the wheel when structuring your site
When it comes to structuring your website there are many best practices.
Many websites start with a pretty background image, a catchy headline and an attractive call to action.
When you scroll down you’ll see the benefits of the product/service they’re selling. There is a reason why many websites use this structure. It works.
Have a look at popular websites and reconstruct their structure. It’s okay if they’re in a totally different niche than you.
#15 Design mobile first
Last year over 52% of all the website traffic worldwide came from mobile devices.
More than half of the website visits are on a mobile device.
This percentage will only increase in the coming years, therefore the mobile design of your website is crucial for the success of your website.
When designing your website, think about the mobile design before you build your desktop website.
#16 Limit the menu items in your header
Do you know these websites who have 10 buttons in the top of their website?
It’s because they couldn’t decide what they want their visitors to click on (or they just didn’t think about it).
It’s confusing and it looks messy.
Limit the options in your header navigation to a maximum of 3/4 to keep clarity in your design.
#17 Use templates to get a head start
Many website builders offer free templates to build your site.
Use them to your advantage and pick a nice one, change the texts and images and you’re off to a good start.
Even without any designing experience your first website will look great!
#18 Use high quality pictures
Be careful when adding pictures to your website.
Thanks to the big budgets of big businesses the web is spoiled with amazing pictures. Luckily for you, you don’t need a big budget to get good looking pictures.
You can find free high quality pictures at:
When choosing a picture, just make sure it doesn’t look too much like a stockphoto. But we’ll get to that later.
#19 Get an awesome logo
A good website design is backed up with a great logo.
There are a few ways to go about this:
- Create one yourself with Photoshop
- No photoshop experience? No worries. Create one yourself with Canva.
- Hire a cheap designer at Fiverr
A good logo is crucial to the success of your brand, so be willing to spend some time/money on it.
#20 Make sure your logo is transparent
This might seem like a no-brainer, but if you screw this up it could kill your design.
Make sure you get a transparent logo. You can do this by saving it as a .png file.
This way your logo will fit seamless in your website and you’ll make sure your website doesn’t look like it was built in paint.
#21 Get a color palette
Big corporates high design teams to create a branding strategy to figure out which colors work well together.
Luckily for you, there are free tools which can help you out.
Use a color palette picker to select a set of colors for your website design.
#22 Break up your text in small paragraphs
Remember the last time you read a book which had:
- Long sentences
- Never ending paragraphs
- A small font size
- No images
Did you like it? Probably not.
Give your visitors a pleasant user experience and use lots of ‘breath’ throughout your design.
#23 Use lots of white space
Just like your paragraphs shouldn’t be too long, add some whitespace between each block of your website.
Your visitors need small breaks when scrolling down your website.
It helps your visitors to absorb information and it gives a clean look to your website.
#24 Add a contact page
This is a basic one, yet many websites lack one.
Create a contact page where visitors can reach out to you for questions or proposals.
#25 Add an ‘about us’ page
Just like a contact page, your website needs an ‘about us’ page.
It helps you to create a connection with your visitor. Alongside, this is where you get to take credits for your awesome website 😉
#26 Use storytelling in your texts
Nobody likes boring texts.
Your visitors want to feel like you’re talking to them.
Version 1. “Our processes are optimized to guarantee permanent support to improve your kpis.”
Version 2. “Your company was built with blood, sweat and tears. We respect that, that’s why our team is available 24/7 to help you in any way we can. Yes, we answer the phone during christmas eve”.
Which one is more appealing? Which one would make you pick up the phone? I bet it’s the second.
It’s talking straight to your visitor and tells an appealing story.
#27 Create credibility by adding testimonials of customers/partners
Sure, your company has the best product and the best customer service.
But why would a visitor who never heard about you before trust you? You’re nothing but a stranger to them.
That’s why you need to add testimonials of your clients. It builds trust and shows social proof.
To get a great testimonial from your clients, you should ask strategic questions:
- Before you became a client, what were your doubts about this product/service?
- How did you experience this product/service?
- What results did this product/service bring you?
- What type of people/businesses would benefit from this product/service?
- Do you have any other nice things to say about this product/servie?
Pick the best ones and summarize them to a short and powerful testimonial.
#28 Create credibility by adding logos of customers/partners
Testimonials create credibility, but so do big brands.
Is Apple or another big corporate one of your clients? Perfect. Add a section called ‘Some of our satisfied customers’ and display their logos.
The more relatable these logos are to your visitor, the better. For example, if you’re creating a website for kitchen supplies, a logo from a restaurant magazine is more powerful than one from Apple.
#29 Social media follow buttons shouldn’t dominate your site
So you want to have more followers on your social media?
But unless you’re some sort of an influencer, this probably isn’t your number one business goal.
Don’t add social media follow buttons in prominent places of your website, these should be reserved for your call to actions.
Of course you should add social media follow buttons on your website, but add them to your footer.
#30 Nothing but crucial above the fold
‘The fold’ is considered the dividing line between what you see when you open a website, and what you can only see after you scroll down.
Anything ‘above the fold’ gets most attention from your visitors and should be treated with the highest priority.
Just like you shouldn’t put social media buttons all over your site, you have to be cautious when adding texts or buttons above the fold.
#31 Avoid a false bottom
Some websites give you the feeling that you reached the end of this page, when this isn’t the case. Usually this is because of a sudden switch from a light, to a dark background.
This makes your visitors think they reached the footer of your website, which makes them stop scrolling.
Prevent this by making sure your lower places website areas don’t appear like a footer.
#33 Get rid of rotating sliders or carousels
A few years ago rotating sliders were a big hit. Every website was using them because it looks ‘cool’ and ‘interactive’.
The truth is, they it distracts your visitor from what’s really important. Alongside it decreases the speed of your website significantly.
Think about it, instead of loading 1 image, your website now has to load 3 images.
Alongside it just looks like you weren’t sure about which image to pick, so you decided to just take all of them. Pick a great picture and stick with it.
#34 Avoid obvious stock photos
Stock pictures can be great, but please avoid the obvious ones.
They look bad on your website and could give your visitor the impression everything about your website is ‘fake’.
If you ever see a website with pictures like this one, please tell the webmaster to get another job 😉
#34 Your font style should be easy to read
Don’t get too fancy picking your font type.
Sure, these handwritten fonts are fun, but they will make your visitors leave before they reached the footer of your website.
Use font styles which are easy to read. Personally I like to use a font style called ‘Open Sans’ with a font size of at least 16.
#35 Set a clear call to action on every page
The call to action, also known as your money button.
The call to action button leads your customer to the part of your website where you want them to go. It’s the most important part of your entire website, since this is where your visitors turn into customers.
Depending on your type of website, it could redirect to a contact form, a shopping cart or a newsletter signup.
On every page you design on your website, make sure to have an appealing call to action button.
#36 Make your call to action attractive to click on
Call to actions buttons should be notable. It’s the part of your page which should draw the most attention.
You can accomplish this by:
- Use a slightly bigger font size
- Use a notable background color (anything flashy)
- Use an engaging text which ‘seduces’ the visitor to click on it
#37 Don’t confuse your visitor with too many call to actions
Great call to actions draw the attention from your visitors.
That said, you don’t want your call to action buttons fighting for the attention of your visitor. Pick the most important call to action for that page, and go with it.
In case you want to show multiple call to actions anyway, make sure to give them a different design, with your primary call to action being the most notable one.
#38 The text on a call to action should include a perfect outcome
When writing a text on a call to action button, it’s good to keep the goal of the visitor in mind.
For example, let’s say you’re building a website for a restaurant. Most visitors on a restaurant website are looking to book a table:
#39 Compress all images before you upload them
Who loves slow websites? Nobody loves slow websites.
Yet this seems to be overlooked by many website designers. To increase the speed of your website you should compress all you images before uploading them.
Tinypng is a great tool to reduce the filesize of your images up to 90% without losing it’s quality.
#40 Open internal links in the same window
Whenever you link to another page on your website, make sure that the page opens in the same window.
Otherwise your visitor ends up having to close 5 different windows of your website, that causes a bad user experience and will make your visitor leave sooner than you like.
#41 Open external links in a new window
Whenever you link to external websites, make sure the page opens in a new window.
You can do this by adding target=”_blank” to the hyperlink. If you’re using the Divi theme, just set the link to open in a new tab. By doing this you prevent your visitor from leaving your site.
#42 Keep your forms short
Does your website contain a contact form or a signup form?
Make sure to get rid of all unnecessary fields. Sure, you would like to know as much as possible about your potential client, but this causes many people to drop out.
Depending on your website, you should limit forms to a name, email address and a phone number.
#43 Get a basic understanding of search engine optimization (SEO)
Before you start writing texts on your website, read a little bit about search engine optimization.
Also, definitely have a look at the broken link-building guide by Respona. It’s very helpful!
#44 Do keyword research
Once you have a basic understanding of SEO, it’s time to do some research.
You can use a free tool called UberSuggest to discover how many people are searching for certain keywords every month. Use this data to optimize the content on your website.
#45 Submit your sitemap to Google
Once you created your first few pages, it’s time to tell Google you’re here.
You can do this by submitting your sitemap to Google. If you’re using WordPress you can check out this manual to get the job done.
#46 Set up basic SEO settings
One of my favourite WordPress plugins is Yoast SEO.
It’s a tool which helps you to get more visitors from the search engines. Once you installed the plugin, you should write keyword rich texts in the following places:
- Title text
- Meta text
- The url of your page
If you’re using Wix or another website builder you can open your page settings to set this up.
#47 You only have 5 seconds to capture the attention
The moment a visitor lands on your website you only have 5 seconds to make a good impression.
That’s 5 short seconds to convince your visitor not press the ‘X’ button in the top of their screen.
Make sure the texts on your website are appealing and get your visitor excited.
#48 Use easy words, avoid industry jargon
You might be familiar with your industry’s terminology, your visitor likely isn’t.
Some web designers think it makes them seem like experts if they use industry jargon.
Unfortunately for them that’s not the case. It will annoy your visitors and drive them off your website.
#49 Talk benefits, not features
Many web designers feel like the technological features of their product are important to mention to their listeners.
This is a big mistake.
Instead of telling them how it works, you should focus on what it can do for them. For example:
Don’t say: The new iphone has a 1300:1 contrast ratio
Do say: The new iphone has a breathtaking HD screen which you can use to watch the newest movies.
#50 Write texts with your visitor in mind
Every word your write should be written with your visitor in mind.
For every page you create, try to think what your visitor is looking for. Respect the time of your visitors and get to the point as quick as possible.
#51 Never ask your visitor to ‘sign up for your newsletter’
This is a mistake I’ve seen on hundreds of websites. A business wants to collect email addresses and therefore asks you to sign up for a newsletter.
Who in their right mind wants to sign up for a newsletter in the 21st century?
Don’t you already receive enough newsletters in your inbox? Instead, you should make an exciting offer to your visitor. Promise them a little gift in exchange for their email address.
For example: “Fill in your email address and receive the free guide “12 Hacks To Sell More On Your Webshop”
#52 Ask 5 friends to criticize your website
If you’ve followed every tip, your website should look pretty slick by now.
However, we’re all human and everybody makes mistakes. Ask 5 friends to criticize your website before you launch it to the big public.
Most likely you won’t agree with every single comment your friends make, but there will always be a few valuable ideas you can implement.
#53 Use heatmaps to double check your design
If you want to take the user experience of your website to the next level, consider adding a heatmap to your website.
It’s a tool which tracks the movements of every visitor on your website. This way you’ll discover potential flaws in your design.
I’m a big fan of Crazy Egg’s heat map, they offer a free 30 day trial which should be enough to get a better understanding of your user experience.
#54 Ask for feedback from experienced web designers
When you did all of this, ask an experienced web designer to have a look at your website.
Don’t know any web designers?
There are many Facebook groups for web designers you can use, simply write a post with your URL and ask for feedback.
Want to get more webdesign tips? Check out this article!
That’s it. These were the 54 website design tips to improve your website. I hope it brought you some value in any way!
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