The websites above have vastly distinct designs, but they each follow some fundamental principles of good website design, namely: clarity. Not every website has to use a minimalist design, but they should all offer clear, uncluttered information for the visitor.
When a visitor lands on your home page, they should find two basic things: what you do and what you want them to do, says Stefan Davis, owner and principal designer of Stefan Davis Design, which offers website and other design services for campaigns and nonprofit organizations.
“Whatever your goal is, pick a call to action that gets you to that goal,” Davis said. “[Include] one section that tells [the visitor], what will this website do for you? What kind of information are we giving the reader? And what do we want them to do?”
Davis recommends these key elements of good website design:
- Consistency in colors. Limit your color palette for graphic elements to five colors: one white, one black and three colors that are consistent with your brand.
- Consistent fonts and sizes. Use fonts that match your brand guide if you have one. Choose a single size and weight for header fonts and one for body fonts. Too much variety makes the site look cluttered.
- Use a lot of photos, especially images of people. Davis recommends the home page be 50/50 images and text to avoid overwhelming the visitor with a wall of text.
- Uncluttered. Avoid too much text, and don’t pack multiple CTAs or too much information into one section.
- Include a single CTA on the home page to give the reader clear direction.
A designer and developer can add bells and whistles to help your site stand out, but you can achieve a professional and useful website experience without a ton of technical know-how or a big budget by following these basic principles. Davis notes that drag-and-drop website builders such as Squarespace and Wix are intentionally set up for non-coders, while WordPress is a better fit if you want to heavily customize.