Web design: find out what it is, its key elements and why it's important

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If your website doesn't meet market standards for web design, it won't be able to capture the attention you expect and may even affect your company's personality and credibility.

That's why it's important that when you create a website or improve the one you already have, you know how to do it creatively and effectively. Since, according to the same report, '73% of companies invest in design to differentiate their brand from the competition'. And in the increasingly competitive digital world, your company's differentiation is vital to its growth.

In this article, you'll learn about the most important strategic aspects of web design: what it is, what its basic principles are, what elements to consider when creating your site, and how to improve the browsing experience from any device.

Strategic aspects before starting a web design

A website is said to be like a business card; it's actually that and more. For all this, before you start the design or construction stage you have to define a buyer person that meets the essential characteristics of your customers. From this you will be able to effectively design your website.

Some questions to answer before you start designing your site include:

  • What is the purpose of your website? It's impossible to start a website if you're not sure what you're building it for.
  • What's your stamp as a brand? Think about all those aspects that set you apart from the competition and make you stand out.
  • What kind of content do you need? Maybe they're brand-related items or just more detailed descriptions of your product's features.
  • What features of your branding do you want to highlight? At this point it's important to know the relevant image aspects that can make your website stand out and shine on its own.
  • What do you want on the menu? You may need a page where appointments are made, another where you simply gather all the products and even one more to fill out a contact form. This information must be established before you start designing the website so that when you reach the menu creation stage there are no omissions.
  • What kind of language do you want to use? To define it, it's important to know your customers: what they like, how they talk, and who they relate to. If you have this information, you can draw your attention with custom-made copys.

Remember that your goals and personality as a company should be reflected on every page and content your site has. That's why it's crucial that you be very clear about the identity of your business before you start web design.

The appearance of your website is the first impression a visitor makes of your brand, and it can invite or alienating those who enter it. It is no coincidence that 94% of negative customer feedback relates to web design.

The 3 principles of web design

Web design is governed by 3 basic principles that should be clear at all times:

  • Functionality– The site must have a useful, convenient and simple configuration for the user.
  • Shape– Visual elements that capture the user's attention and transmit quick messages without explanation are used. Some shapes are natural, others are abstract and some are geometric; use the one that best expresses your brand identity.
  • Compatibility– Each website is searched to be visible from any browser using CSS codes and styles, among other techniques.

Why is web design important to a company?

Now you know what web design is and what its principles are, but maybe you're wondering why you should care.

Your website can be a great way to present your business to potential customers around the world. After all, the internet is a global showcase. Specifically, your website is a digital space where you can tell the story of your business, show what you offer and why you offer it. But what if you provide the information in a disorganized way or it is difficult to access it?

Chances are visitors will get frustrated from your site and may not return: 57% wouldn't recommend a business after experiencing inadequate web design. That's why web design is essential these days.

In addition, there is a lot of competition on the internet and people stay with those who offer them a better experience, which is defined by aspects such as simplicity and visual hierarchy.

Don't lose leads by lacking an up-to-date website, with good content and a structure that allows them to navigate easily.

A web design tailored to the needs of the customer, and in harmony with the personality of the brand, the business model and the industry to which it belongs, are key when positioning your site in search engines like Google, since they always prioritize those sites that provide a good user experience.

Remember that if your site is attractive, people who visit it will do their best to recommend and share it, so don't forget to add your social media icons on the homepage and key social media content.

Design elements of a website

However, for your company's website to be a success, it must meet several requirements: navigation must be easy; charging times, minimum. In addition, the design must adapt to the personality of the business, that is, your brand, through visual concepts.

Use the web design elements presented below to your advantage and you'll see that you'll be able to create the style that best represents your business.

Visual style

The visual style of your website will depend on what you want to convey and make known about your business, so it will have to be aligned to corporate identity. Use the style manual to highlight the details that make up it and support the following elements:

Colors

Choosing a suitable color scheme is key when presenting your website content. Light colors make it easy to see, generate a clean, organized look, and, most importantly, don't tire the user. Dark tones, on the other hand, give an elegant look that can contribute to your brand's image.

Be careful when using eye-catching color combinations, as overuse can bother you, especially if you're using them as a background for your websites.

Color can help you increase brand awareness—depending on the color philosophy you adopt, you can encourage visitors to your website to make decisions. It has been shown that adjusting the color can increase the conversion by up to 24%,according to what is known as emotional targeting.

Typography

Fonts you choose to use for your company's website should be attractive and easy to read. Remember that you're looking for users to read your content, so don't tire them with ornate fonts that can distract or confuse.

The three most recommended sources for their clear and simple personality are Times New Roman, Arial and Cambria.

However, don't hesitate to use bolder, more elegant or romantic fonts on some key sites, such as the header of each page.

Images

The images complement the content of the site and give it dynamism and contrast. It is important that you choose good quality images and that they are relevant. There are many free image banks with a huge variety of proposals (e.g. Pixabay). You can also generate your own photos if you want to present your products in an attractive way. This will give clarity to your customers, as they will know very well what you offer. Images are an important part of attracting users' attention, as their eyes take only 2.6 seconds to reach the area of a website that most influences their first impression.

A clear example of how this should not be done is the images that fast food restaurants use to promote their dishes. When you see the burgers in photography, they look big, juicy and delicious, but when you visit the establishment they don't look like the menu picture. It is valid to retouch the images of your products, but make sure that what you project does not move away from reality.

Interactive components

This is another important element of web design. Add animations, CTA buttons, and other visuals where visitors can click. Think about the hierarchy and level of relevance so that you highlight those components that you find most useful. We recommend highlighting the elements that talk about your offer and also those that indicate how you could solve your customers' problems.

You can also add GIFs or icons, always with a harmonic layout, so that each page looks more dynamic. It is important that you consider this aspect, as today 90% of visitors expect websites to have interactive components.

Relationship between design and web content

It won't do any good to have a perfect design that captures your company's personality or professional images if your content isn't appealing to the target audience.

Align the image with the content you offer and don't forget to be consistent with your posts. The more content users see on your site, the more eager they are to visit.

They will also become regular visitors and you will have constant traffic that will be reflected beyond the interactions you record on social networks. If you don't update your information, your leads will never know about the promotions, discounts or new products you offer.

For example, if you want to highlight a product-related concept, use large-format fonts and large geometric visuals, but without losing harmony with the rest of the page. If you add movement to this, rest a sure you'll get the public's attention.

Remember that the content is first, and the design works as a support for that content. Together they have the ability to move the interested party towards the action, that is, towards the purchase.

Design to do inbound marketing

Inbound marketing is an excellent option to succeed from your website. First, you need to focus on defining your buyer people,so you understand what they need and how you can add value to them.

Once you've created the person buyer profiles, use your blog to generate value content. Add CTA (call to action) buttons where you offer relevant content such as ebooks, templates, or downloadable infographics. This strategy will also allow you to obtain visitor data, as they get the download through forms.

With this type of dynamics you will also be able to understand what your customers and leads are interested in, how they behave and at what stage of the purchase cycle they are at. Thus, you will have the opportunity to offer your services in a more relevant and personalized way.

Web design and SEO

The website, as already mentioned, is a very important cover letter. Having a digital presence is one of the current components that make a business achieve the desired success. Therefore, optimizing each of the elements included in a website represents a very important factor when competing with other sites in the same industry in search engines.

Good web design should look at all the components that influence search algorithms, such as Google or Bing. Believe it or not, website design also affects SEO, as it has to do with site speed, domain, and navigation, to name just a few elements. That's why it's important to review all components in detail so that your website works the right way and meets your marketing goals.

What is responsive web design?

However, web design (like everything) has had to evolve due to changes in technology and user behavior. It is increasingly common to see a person surfing the internet from their smartphone. Mobile devices have become a very recurring means of consuming digital content.

Therefore, if you want your business to grow you have to be where the user is, and to achieve this you must adapt your website so that users can navigate smoothly from any device: that is the function of responsive or adaptive web design.

Get the right view of your website—whether it's on a desktop, tablet, or smartphone computer. With the implementation of this type of design you will provide a better user experience, offering convenience in any resolution and device.

Even Google values this design very much, as:

  • Avoid duplicate content
  • Increases the chance of content going viral
  • Reduces development time
  • Improve web analytics
  • Facilitates indexing in search engines
  • Increases social media outreach
  • Fits any screen
  • Load the site faster

Surely you've ever entered a website where its content was so small that you zoomed in on the text to read it. Maybe you left the page because of the discomfort it caused you. This situation is what seeks to eradicate responsive web design. Put your business in the hands of your customers and give them the possibility to view your content without difficulties. This will make sure you have an advantage over the competition.

It is very important to differentiate an adaptive website from a mobile version that is actually a second independent site. The responsive design has a single code structure that adapts to different resolutions and devices. These are not different websites that require more than one administrator.

How to make your website responsive?

The easiest way for you to have a responsive website is through a CMS that has the built-in feature, in which you can create your business website quickly, without the need for web programming knowledge. The process can be as simple as choosing a template. From this point on you will start to structure the site according to your needs: with CMS Hub you will find that all designs are responsive, by default.

If you're using another CMS, it should be with an appropriate theme. You can also use a plugin like these:

  • MoFuse– Creates a mobile version of any blog automatically.
  • WordPress Mobile Pack: works on iOS and Android, as well as on any browser.
  • WP Mobile Menu: make your menus adaptive with this contraption.

If you don't use a content manager, you'll need to create meta items on your site using HTML and CSS code. You can do this on your own, but it will always be better to help a specialist to make the settings the right one.

How to improve your web design with a CMS

Now that you know the importance of web design and its essential components, you only have to choose a CMS (content manager) that will help you boost your website and achieve your goals. The first thing to keep in mind is knowing your needs, whether you need to show videos, a specialized blog and even if you need to have an online store. All these needs must be met by the CMS you select to design your website.

Another important thing is the functionality and the way it's managed, because you don't want to get too complicated. Look for one that's intuitive and doesn't require a lot of training, just in case you need to use it yourself at some point to make small changes.

Last but not least, keep in mind the security and benefits offered by each CMS in the market according to your business type. This will make your choice easier and help your site, along with a well-made web design, get better results.

With CMS Hub you'll have everything to increase your visitors and buyers; Get inspired to implement these changes to your web design and enjoy the achievements!