web design on computer screen

Web Design Basics: What You Need to Know as a Beginner

Think websites are optional? Think again.

Almost 90% of consumers visit websites first before visiting brick and mortar locations. Still not convinced? Experts predict that more than 2 billion consumers worldwide will be shopping online by 2021.

Times have changed. Launching a business without a website is a recipe for failure in the digital age.

You know what you need to do, but you don’t need to hire an expensive professional to do it. Start with these essential web design basics, so that you can build your own site in no time!

What’s the Point of Your Website?

Effective web design starts with asking the right questions. Keep it simple. Your first questions should ask why, what, and who.

  • Why am I building this website?
  • What is the mission of my company?
  • What are my revenue goals for the site?
  • Who are my target website visitors?
  • What do my customers want from my website?
  • Who is my competition?

You need answers before designing your website. Make these questions a part of your market research. With so much data available, you can target the right customers with the right site at the right time.

User Experience

Outlining the purpose of your website is the first step toward a stellar user experience plan.

What’s user experience? It’s exactly as it sounds.

User experience, or UX, covers all the elements needed to deliver an excellent online experience. Remember, good consumer experiences lead to sales. Brick and mortar companies and online businesses are similar in this regard.

Here are the most important UX web design basics to know:

Tell Your Story

Customers don’t like dealing with mystery companies. Excellent user experience starts with a compelling story. People natural connect with stories, and emotional connections generate sales.

Write an effective mission statement that explains your journey, business values, and commitment to your community. Studies show that millennial consumers, in particular, are more likely to patronize companies that align with their values.

Along with a mission statement, you should build a solid about page. Introduce your “work family” to the world. Showcase your cool office or business location.

Cross-promote your company’s story on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to drive more organic traffic to your website.

Integrate Social Media

Speaking of social media, it’s instrumental to effective web design.

Web design basics also include the following social media elements:

  • Visible social media buttons
  • Social media authentication for logins
  • Automatic social media publishing for new content
  • Social media commenting for blog posts
  • Integrated real-time tweets
  • Integrated Facebook live streams

You don’t have to use every social media channel. There are a lot of networks out there. Use only those sites that bring you the most traffic.

At the very least, your website should have a Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Pinterest is another powerful social media network for creative entities.

Stay Consistent

You don’t want to confuse your customers. Since you can’t communicate with all your website visitors individually, your web design must communicate.

Your website is a vehicle that communicates your company’s purpose to visitors. How will consumers understand what your site has to say if your mission statement clashes with your logo? What is a customer going to think if your high- quality product has a low-quality product page?

The moral of the story here is consistency. All your website design basics must work together to communicate a clear message to consumers. These principles apply to all your marketing channels.

Here are a few tricks to remain consistent:

  • Design an effective logo
  • Write a compelling tagline
  • Invest in high-quality web copy
  • Use your company colors
  • Use the same typeface font
  • Let your products inspire your web design

An excellent example to look to is Apple. Apple’s web design echoes the design of its retail location and products.

Site Speed

User experience is central to effective web design. However, web design is more than looks. If your website takes too long to load, that’s a UX fail.

Your website should take no longer than one second to load. If your site takes two or more seconds to load, you’re literally losing visitors by the second. Most internet users give up on websites that take 10 seconds to load!

There are a few ways to speed up a slow-loading website.

For starters, compress large image files and integrate lazy-loading into your design. This method drastically cuts down on your image loading time.

If you use WordPress, install a plugin for website speed. You’ll notice an immediate difference. You may also need to remove unnecessary plugins that are slowing your site down.

If your site is still slow, you’ll probably need to switch web hosts. This issue is common for growing websites. Choose a host that can accommodate your web performance needs.

Most websites use shared servers, but you may want to consider a dedicated server for your business. This solution could give you more control over your website performance, especially if your server goes down.

Monitor your site’s uptime and downtime. This will give you better insight into your site’s speed issues.

Are You Mobile-Ready?

Having a mobile responsive website wasn’t a concern during the 90s or even the early 2000s. Times have changed. Mobile responsiveness is one of the most crucial web design elements in 2019.

Consumers want mobile-friendly websites, and so does Google. The search engine giant is now factoring mobile responsiveness into their ranking algorithm. If your rankings are dropping, now you know why.

Upgrade to a mobile responsive design immediately. Fortunately, many website themes are already responsive. If you have a custom site, call your developer now.

If you join Google search console, you’ll be alerted to issues with your mobile-friendly design.

Turn Web Design Basics into Gold!

A successful website starts with the basics. You have the right web design basics at hand. Now, you just need to put them into practice.

Use these principles to start building an effective online presence that gets sales. Keep building with the latest tips and trends in web design.