What do you think of when you envision a good website design? Is it creative with tons of style or are you a minimalist that only cares about the function? A good designer will argue that BOTH are important! A site should represent your individual brand, but also function well for the end-user. So how can you achieve both? Here are some great tips on how to craft the perfect website.

1. Keep it Simple

Since the invention of the smartphone, complicated, flashy sites are no longer desirable. Instead, you have to have a site that works well on both the phone and the desktop, as well as every size in between. Keep the navigation simple and the important things easy to find. Avoid too many images and too much text can make your page extra-long on a mobile device. Instead, remember most people’s attention spans are short and they just want to get their answers quickly. FAQ sections are great for this!

2. Usability is King

If the average user can’t figure out your website, you did something wrong. Your site could have all the bells and whistles, but if it’s impossible to find simple information, it won’t rank high on the list of best sites. Make sure you are thinking like a user when formulating the plan for your site. Sharing your design with someone else can help ensure your site is user friendly.

3. Websites Must Be Responsive

If your website doesn’t automatically change with the different screen sizes, it’s time to get a new website. Not only is this hurting your overall design, but it also hurts your SEO score.

4. Time is Precious

If you have a website that takes an hour to load, no one is going to actually use it. They are going to hit the back button before you can say .. you get the point. You can achieve this by keeping image sizes small, having a good host and keeping your software up to date. If you’re using WordPress and you have plugins that you no longer use, delete them. Having too many plugins can slow down the speed of your site. Only keep the ones that are necessary. Click here to view your site’s page speed – are you in the green??

5. Play the Browser Game

There are just as many browsers as there are phones. It’s a challenge, but you have to make sure your website looks good on all of them. Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Internet Explorer – even if they’re out of date, you may have viewers using them. This can get tedious, but it will help your SEO game in the long run.

6. What’s in a Form?

Forms are great for generating new leads or having users reach out to you – except when they don’t work. Make sure your forms are functioning correctly and clear and easy to use. And most importantly, make sure you are receiving the submissions so you can respond quickly!

There is so much that drives a usable, beautiful website, but if you follow these basic steps, your website will be on its way to looking and functioning great!