It’s true; any person can now build a visually-appealing site from scratch without hiring a professional developer.
With DIY website builders and content management systems like WordPress, all you need is a head full of ideas and some patience to learn the ropes.
Fortunately, there’s a goldmine of
#1. Pay Attention Above the Fold
First impressions matter when it comes to web design. For years, it’s been accepted that the page elements above the fold get 80% of the audience’s attention. This includes the logo, header, menu, and everything else that’s immediately visible upon loading the site.
Over time, website owners have utilized a combination of design practices above the fold that work:
- A Header Logo – In a study that involved 50 marketing websites, 100% of them had a logo on the top-left corner.
- A Search Bar – To help users browse for specific content, 54% of websites included a search bar or button in the header.
- Value Proposition – Above the fold, 80% of websites highlighted a value proposition to capture the audience’s attention, while 78% included a call-to-action.
- Navigation – Lastly, 88% of the studied sites offer a horizontal menu within or adjacent to the header.
#2. Utilize Whitespace
The days of flashy animations and shiny, pseudo-3D graphics are long gone. Today, users prefer simplicity, speed, and usability over fancy visuals. And to guarantee all three, you need to embrace whitespace as the main design feature in your site.
In simple terms, whitespace is a collective term for the sections in a page that are left blank. Rather than cluttering up your site with pointless icons, ads, and other distractions, utilizing white space makes it easier for the audience to consume your content and absorb your message. It also boosts page loading speed, which in turn reduces bounce rate, increases engagement, and maximizes conversions.
#3. Consider a Blog Card Layout
If you want to build a blog, using a card layout might be the only decision you need to make design-wise. An example of a card-based layout is Pinterest. The layout allows you to feature your content using a feature image and a snippet of your text, in addition to date of publication, author, social shares, and others.
It works by making sure content are easily discoverable while applying an attractive, modular look to a site. Even if you publish hundreds of posts a month, having a card layout ensures your blog will never look too busy and confusing.
It should be easy to look for card layout themes for WordPress. Apart from the official theme library, you can also refer to third-party providers by performing a quick Google search.
#4. Use Responsive Design
Mobile users now comprise the majority of online content consumers, which is why you need to build a site with mobile-friendliness in mind. If you won’t adapt to a design that is optimized for mobile viewing, you stubbornly run the same desktop design on smaller screens. Doing so risks your blog from losing visitors because your blog will be difficult to browse on from smartphones and tablets.
However, rather than investing on a mobile-dedicated site, most small businesses and bloggers take advantage of responsive themes that automatically adjust to smaller displays.
An advantage of responsive design is that branding and content elements are easily retained from the desktop version of your site. It’s also easier to implement on any site – thanks to heaps of free responsive themes available for WordPress.
#5. Use Intuitive Forms
Forms complete the online browsing experience of users by enabling them to take action. They make it possible for visitors to convert – whether into newsletter subscribers or paying customers.
When designing forms, it’s important to make them intuitive, easy to find, and non-invasive. Google recently rolled out an algorithm update that penalizes website owners who uses excessive amounts of opt-in forms on mobile devices. While it is true that forms work, you need to be cautious on how you want to feature the forms on your site. Creating a disruptive experience to users where the forms pop up every now and then is a mistake.
Aside from restraining yourself in indulging your site with opt-in forms, only ask for information that’s vital to the completion of a specific action. For example, if a user only wants to subscribe to your mailing list, you don’t need to request for unnecessary information such as their email address or contact number. Doing so will only discourage them from filling up the entire form.
Below are some of the best form-building tools you can use without coding:
#6. Name Your Authors
Naming your contributors is a great way to make your content more relatable to your audience. Although 81% of online users trust blogs, 54% of them don’t trust branded content. That’s why you should introduce the person behind every post rather than crediting your brand as the sole publisher.
Providing author bylines to contributors is also useful for attracting talented writers who are looking to expand their online presence. From a user’s perspective, it makes it easier to track authors down if you happen to enjoy their writing.
#7. Use Authentic Featured Images
Adding a featured image for every blog post is an excellent way to grab the readers’ attention. Stock images from websites like Pixabay may work, but they fall short regarding authenticity. They may also trigger banner blindness in some users especially if you use overused photos.
If possible, do your photoshoot and use original images on every blog post. This is a great opportunity to show the human side of your brand – thus, making it more genuine and trustworthy.
Take note that none of the practices above take away your freedom to design your site as you see fit. What’s important is that you have a site that meets your needs shows your brand’s personality, and makes your content more digestible to your users. For more tips on improving your web design, you can refer to this post.