Did you know when a visitor arrives on your website, you have five seconds to capture their attention? To ensure that you keep them engaged, you need to create a website that looks good, functions properly and communicates your message clearly.

Here are ten simple tips to help you design a beautiful, user-friendly website that visually stands, communicates your message clearly and keeps your customers engaged.

Design, keeping mobile in mind

One thing to consider when designing your website is to ensure that it is responsive. A ‘responsive website’ is one that works across multiple devices (laptop, mobile, tablet, etc.). It promises minimal scrolling, panning, zooming – and most importantly – confusion. More and more people are accessing the Internet via their smartphones, hence, it pays to have your site working perfectly for them.

The easier the navigation, the better

Do not make it hard for your visitors to surf around your site; keep your navigation simple. As a business owner, you do not want to confuse your customers and overwhelm them with various links. Try to limit your menus to a select few and ensure they can navigate easily to your most important pages – those where they can search for the product/service they want to purchase and the payment page.

Have an eye for performance

A simple, but often overlooked, aspect of building a website is tuning page speed. Having a site that functions quickly will not only boost your search position (a signal that Google looks at) but will also improve your conversion rate (the percentage of customers who undertake a desired action on your website).

Compel them to click

A call-to-action (CTA) button is a piece of text, sometimes combined with an image, which tells your audience what you want them to do next. Your CTA button is essentially the bridge between the content your visitor is already interested in and an offer of higher value. If you want your CTAs to be game changing, use words such as ‘discover’, ‘start’, and ‘learn’.

Integrate social media

Promote your online business by integrating your business’ social media pages and your website. Best practices suggest that social media buttons be displayed on the top, bottom or along the side of your website’s home page. Links or buttons that remain in your navigation as the user moves from page to page are optimal too. Providing links to your social pages will even help you connect with your audience in a more meaningful way.

White space is your friend

To make it simple, if your home is filled with bold, busy walls, will anyone notice your home’s features or furnishings? No. The same principle holds true for websites. Do not try to fill every inch of your page with something; embrace the white space. White space will not only give your website a clean, minimalist look and feel but will allow content to be more digestible and accessible to the user.

Use photos

Images have a bigger impact than you think. More often than not, they are the first things your visitors see when they land on your website. They also lend your website a cohesive, consistent and professional look. The right photos can help promote your brand and convey a message quickly. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, is it not?

Use colour to your advantage

When it comes to web design, colours should not be an afterthought. Use the right hues to ensure that each element on your website captures your visitors’ attention. Do not include a ton of different colors. Pick one dominant colour for your website and then move to pick complementary colors to complete your scheme.

Custom illustrations are a good idea

Illustrations help combine the best of both worlds – beauty and functionality. Their main purpose, however, should be to aid the viewer in understanding your website better. And, while using old stock photos is an easier option, custom illustrations will make the look and feel of your website all the more original. Lastly, their impact will grow if they are informative, designed to suit the target audience and complement your brand’s aesthetic.

Animations make for fantastic additions

Make use of motion and animation with intent. Anything dynamic appeals to the eyes and attracts people. Boost your web design and keep your viewers engaged with animated backgrounds or dynamic menus. However, ensure that they do not distract your viewers from the main purpose – your business.

All said and done, keep in mind that the success of your website goes far beyond beauty. It is about helping visitors find what they need.