Web Design Guide

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Table of Contents

What is Web Design?

Website design is the process of creating the design/structure/layout of your website using images, fonts, colours, content, and graphics etc. These elements when put together systematically give the appearance of the website that is displayed across the web. Generally we hear the terms web developers and web designers; these two terms are not the same. Web developers are the coders that write the code of websites and develop applications. Web designers work on the appearance of your website and convert your idea into a design. Web designers normally have good knowledge of programming languages too along with their main design skills so that they can cooperate better with web developers and also create a professional design for your website. Web designers expertise is in user experience, visual design knowledge, software used for design, JavaScript, CSS, HTML, search engine optimisation etc.

If you want to run a business online, having a website to showcase your products and services to the world is essential. Web design is a crucial part of online marketing and these processes are connected to each other because a website without online visibility is worthless, and without a website you cannot have online presence to market your company’s products and services. If you are planning to setup a new website or re-design your existing website yourself in-house then consider doing some research on user experience, responsiveness, navigability, website speed, search engine optimisation etc before starting to build your website because the website is going to represent your company for years and is going to connect your business with your customers.

30+ Tips for SEO Friendly Web Design

SEO friendly website design means designing and programming/coding your website to make it SEO friendly so that it performs well on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, Ask etc.


Search engine crawlers can easily crawl and index SEO friendly website pages in their database and having all of the SEO elements embedded into a website from scratch gives useful information to search engines in the required manner. SEO plays a key role in improving a website’s online visibility on search engines; that’s why SEO friendly web design is important.

Below are some of the SEO elements that can help search engines to understand and index a website better and reward good rankings in its SERP’s if configured into the website properly from the start.

  1. Keyword Research

  2. Optimise Meta Tags (Title, Description & Keywords)

  3. Header Tags Optimisation (H1-H6)

  4. SEO Friendly URL’s (use page related keywords in URL’s)

  5. Simple SEO Optimised Header Section

  6. SEO Optimised Footer Section

  7. Better Internal Linking Structure

  8. Make Proper Use of Canonical Tag

  9. Competitor’s Analysis

  10. Inbound & Outbound Linking

  11. Text Based Logo

  12. Image Optimisation

  13. Simple Navigation Structure

  14. Avoid Duplicate Content on Pages

  15. Stunning & Professional Pages to Engage Customers

  16. Avoid Dynamic URL’s, Use Static URL’s

  17. Use Alt Text

  18. SEO Friendly & Human Readable Content

  19. Avoid Flash

  20. Solve Multiple Domains Problem on Search Engines

  21. Integrate Social Media Links

  22. Avoid Underscores & Use Hyphens in page URL's

  23. Clean and Clear Webpages

  24. Keep Website Structure Simple

  25. Use Robots.txt

  26. Improve Website Loading Speed

  27. Mobile Friendly & Responsive Design

  28. Avoid Keyword Stuffing

  29. Create Blog Within Your Website

  30. Avoid Large Size Images, Videos & Animations

  31. Use Rich Snippets

  32. Create XML Sitemap

What is Mobile Friendly & Responsive Web Design?

Responsive Websites: As the name implies, responsive websites are ones that change based on the size of the screen, meaning that the website is automatically adjusted based on the size of the device screen that it is viewed on.  Responsive websites offer great flexibility on all sizes of devices. Responsive website elements generally fill the entire width of the screen and resize according to the device size. A responsive website functions differently on Smartphones, tablets, laptops/computers etc. Responsive websites are the only way you can give the best user experience to your website visitors.

The popularity of mobile friendly and responsive websites soared since Google introduced the mobile websites ranking algorithm into its search results. It means that Google gives priority to websites that are optimised for mobile device viewing in its mobile search results in order to give better user experience to the online community. For businesses operating online, having a mobile version of their website alongside the desktop version has become a crucial part of the web design and online marketing approach. If a website is not mobile friendly, your business may end up losing its mobile rankings and suffer a major loss in traffic and sales on search engines.

Not having a responsive website may result in your website visitors finding your website difficult to use and navigate, and therefore leaving your website without exploring. This could increase your website bounce rate, and a higher bounce rate has dramatic negative impacts on search engine rankings, as search engines lower your rankings due to poor user experience.

Mobile Friendly Websites: In simple words, mobile friendly websites are just a small version of the desktop websites and are not fully responsive. Mobile friendly websites do not change based on the screen size or device they are viewed from. In mobile friendly websites, the functionality remains the same but the only thing that changes on mobile devices is the scale of the website. The main disadvantage of a mobile friendly website when compared with a responsive website is the website navigation functionality and drop down menus, which make it difficult to use the website on mobile devices.

If you are looking to choose between a responsive or mobile friendly website, our suggestion would certainly be to go for responsive web design, simply because they adapt to every screen size, and features such as navigation and drop down menus improve user experience which ultimately improves your website rankings on mobile devices.

List of Web Design Elements

A professional website helps to attract new customers, engages existing customers so they keep coming back to the business, improves the business’s online visibility on search engines and remains free of technical glitches to give first class user experience to the audience. 

Before setting up your website, you should consider the web design elements below to create a professional website for your business.


Simple Design: Visitors generally come back to a website if they find the website information useful and if it was easy to navigate during their first visit - not just because they found the web design stunning. Adding needless elements, images, videos, plug-ins etc only distracts visitors, therefore simplicity is the key element in the website design process. You can make your website simple by avoiding the use of too many colours, graphics, animations and unnecessary videos or images.

Visual Presentation: Visually present your elements in such a way that your website visitors automatically drift towards the most significant elements of your website e.g. CTA, main pages, certain tools etc. When visitors land on your website, you obviously aim to sell them certain products or services; by highlighting visual elements with size, colour and position on the page you can attract visitors’ attention towards those elements to convert them into sales.

Layout: To give first-class user experience to your website visitors, it is important to have consistent and straightforward layout of the webpages by arranging images, text and graphics on the webpages in a professional manner.

Navigation: Simple and clear navigation plays a key role in your customer conversion rate on both desktop and mobile devices.

Simple tips for better navigation structure of your website:

  • Simple, Clear & Visible Navigation

  • Breadcrumb Navigation on Every Webpage

  • Avoid Deep Navigation

  • Search Box in Header Section

  • Footer Navigation

Fonts: Choosing the right easy to read fonts for your text presentation is essential to encourage your customers to read information on your website. We highly advise to use the most common fonts on your website such as Arial, Times New Roman, Helvetica, Verdana, Courier etc,

Space Between Elements: To create a professional website, space between paragraphs, images, videos, buttons, animations - in fact every element of your webpages - is important.

Images & Videos: Images and videos can deliver powerful messages, grab visitors’ attention quickly without taking up too much space on webpages. But when using images and videos on your website, make sure they are not too large in size as they might affect the load speed of your website.

Colour Scheme: Using the right colour scheme as per your business products or services is important. Choosing a colour scheme that matches with your brand and message is key to success. Having consistency of colour scheme on pages can hold your visitors on your website and a poor colour scheme can turn them away from your website. 

Consistency on Pages: Consistency in colours, text, design, image size and page layout can keep your visitors hooked to your website. Every page of a website cannot be the same but trying to achieve maximum consistency can help customers find information easily and navigate your website.

User Experience: As more people are using tablets and Smartphones to surf the web, user experience has become the central point of the web design process. Making a website compatible for all devices can not only give better user experience to visitors but also improve your website rankings on Google. Google gives high priority to a responsive website that gives better user experience to the online community on its platform. 

Load Speed: Website speed has become an essential element of web design since Google started to talk about the user experience signal to prioritise its search results. Slow speed websites can distract visitors, increase website bounce rate, impact search rankings, and dramatically reduce your web traffic and sales. It is important to compress your images properly, avoid large images, videos, animations, and use the right hosting company to improve your website speed and give a better experience to your website visitors.

Trustworthiness: Honest and transparent presentation of your products and services with a clear pricing structure on your website can help to win the trust of your website visitors. Burying the information too deep in the pages and not being transparent can distract your customers. 

Content: Content explains your business products or services and keeps your visitors hooked to your website. Content plays a key role in search engine optimisation. Adding the right amount of content on each page and presenting them well can engage your customers on your website. Keep your content informative, engaging, catchy and SEO friendly to reap the maximum benefit in both web design and marketing perspectives.

3 Types of Website Design

Using modern web design building tools, you can create a beautiful website for your business using drag/drop features even without knowing what is happening behind the scenes in the coding. There are three types of website design: the first is responsive, the second is adaptive and the third is fixed.

Fixed Websites: Fixed websites don’t change based on the size of the screen or device type. On modern devices such as tablets and Smartphones, they do not give good user experience and are hard to navigate.

Responsive Websites: Responsive websites are the ones that change based on the size of the screen, meaning that the website is automatically adjusted based on the size of the device screen that it is viewed on.  Responsive websites offer great flexibility on all size devices. Responsive website elements generally fill the entire width of the screen and resize according to the device size. A responsive website functions differently on Smartphones, tablets, laptops/computers etc.  The only disadvantage of responsive websites is the amount of time required for backend coding for custom websites, though if you are using modern website building tools this effort is not required as most of them allow you to edit the design without any programming knowledge.

Adaptive Websites: Adaptive websites are websites that adapt based on the browser width size or device type. Adaptive websites adjust to the screen size of different device types such as Smartphones, tablets, laptops/computers. Adaptive websites adjust to different browser width types such as 480px, 768px and 1080px.

10 Simple Steps to Create a Website

It is fairly easy to create a professional looking website for your business these days using free and paid website builder tools available in the market. You can create a brand new website yourself in-house, or hire a professional freelancer or web design agency for this task. Below is a list of general steps that you can take to create and launch your new website.

Make a Plan: Before starting your website design, you should think carefully what you want to achieve and what kind of designs you like. The best way to do this is to look at your competitors’ websites or other websites that you like in general. Make a plan about the look of your website, content, button, colour scheme, navigability, pages, products and services that you want to display on your pages. If you are not a professional and don’t have design tools, sometimes it is handy to draw a sketch on paper to envision your design.

Register Domain Name & Hosting: It is important to choose and register your domain name before starting to design your website because if you design your logo and website first and later realise that the domain name is not available, you may end up re-doing some work which results in loss of time and money. Hosting can be purchased at a later stage. When you purchase hosting for your website, we strongly recommend going for unlimited bandwidth. Unlimited bandwidth is good for uninterrupted access to your website for your customers because bandwidth is required to transfer files to and from your website. The majority of hosting companies offer unlimited bandwidth in their starter packages at low cost. We also advise our clients to not register their domain name and hosting with their web design agency because if you have dispute with your web design agency and require to move your hosting and domain at a later stage, it creates a bit of an issue for both parties. Whereas if you have a domain and website hosting on a third party website then you can simply change your control panel password and restrict access to your web design agency which is a pain free process for you.

Choose Website Builder Tool: Over the past couple of years, dozens of new quality website building tools have come into the market. Most of them allow you to setup and design your new website free on their sub-domain or free domain and once you are happy, you can purchase their premium paid package to launch your new website live. We have prepared a list of 60+ website builder tools in this article that are currently available in the market and are being used by both professionals and individuals. Using simple drag and drop features and without any programming knowledge you can design your new website at a fraction of the cost of traditional web design methods. We are always of the opinion that for small and medium size businesses website builders are a good choice but for large size business or if you have thousands of products or services to display then custom web design may be the better option for your business.

Choose Template & Start Building: The majority of website building tools have readymade templates for all business types. You can select a readymade template and start editing; this makes the entire web design process a lot easier than setting up a new design from scratch. You can also edit your mobile website to make it more responsive and user friendly.

Customise Navigation Menu: Website building tools give you plenty of options to choose readymade navigational menu designs for both desktop computers and mobile devices. We always recommend keeping the navigation menu simple and clean (on top of each page) so that customers find information easily without difficulty.

Add Pages & Content: Using a website builder tool, adding more pages into your website is extremely easy. You can always create a standard template for your inner pages and duplicate that page to set up other similar pages. Generally the main pages on a website are Homepage, About, Contact, Blog, Services, Shop page etc. You can have any number of sub-pages to display your products or services on your website. We always advise to prepare content in advance before starting your web design process so that you have the content ready when you are setting up your new website, and you can therefore see the new design with real content rather than using fake template content.

Add Store & Payment System: The majority of website builders have a readymade store app which you can simply add to your website with one click and start adding your products into the store. You have the option of customising the store as per your requirements, and once you have designed your store and added products, content etc, you can add the payment method of your choice to receive payment from your customers through the website. It has become so easy to create and setup your store with website building tools these days compared with the traditional ways of setting up the store manually, which required both time and effort.

Add Apps & Plug-ins: Every website builder has required plug-ins and apps ready to be integrated into your website. There are thousands of free and paid Apps available in the market that you can integrate into your website within a click of your mouse e.g. reservation, calendar, bookings, lists & tables, photography, galleries apps etc. You can also add necessary plug-ins to further enhance the functionality of your website.

Search Engine Optimise: Prepare a list of your business related short tail and long tail keywords with dozens of free keyword analysis tools available in the market. Once your keyword list is ready, you can prepare SEO data from your keywords to optimise your website header tags, body content and Meta tags to make your website more search engine friendly. Fully optimise your website using SEO techniques before launching in the market.

Test & Launch Your Website: To make sure your website works fine, test your website on several devices including desktop computers, smartphones, tablets etc to make sure it is free of errors, glitches and that there are no broken links. When you complete your testing, connect your website to your domain and hosting and test the live version of your website again.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

60+ List of Popular Free & Paid Website Builder Tools

Using website building tools/platforms, you can build a new website without any programming knowledge and within just a few hours as the majority of website builders use drag and drop functionality, and all of the required web creation elements are hosted within website builder platforms. Website builders allow you to use all of their images, videos, animations, tables, layouts, plug-ins, galleries, templates etc for free to setup and test your new website.

We have compiled a list of popular free and paid website builder tools below. The majority of them allow you to setup and test your new website without any advance payment, credit card or debit card requirements. Once you are fully happy with the design you can then purchase their premium paid monthly or yearly packages.

  1. Wix

  2. Weebly

  3. Jimdo

  4. Webstarts

  5. Webnode

  6. Strikingly

  7. GoDaddy

  8. Ucraft

  9. Carrd

  10. Squarespace

  11. Mobirise

  12. Site123

  13. Webflow

  14. Voog

  15. Mozello

  16. One

  17. DoodleKit

  18. Wordpress

  19. Zyro

  20. Google Sites

  21. SimpleSite

  22. 8b

  23. Sitey

  24. Webs

  25. IM Creator

  26. Webydo

  27. Zoho Sites

  28. Constant Contact

  29. Jigsy

  30. Incomedia WebSite X5

  31. CoffeeCup

  32. Volusion

  33. Hostpapa

  34. Pinegrow

  35. Joomla

  36. Soholaunch

  37. Duda

  38. Emyspot

  39. Bootstrap Studio

  40. 1&1 Ionos

  41. WebEden

  42. Weblium

  43. 3dcart

  44. Drupal

  45. StartLogic

  46. Elementor

  47. SiteBuilder

  48. Simbla

  49. uKit

  50. BigCommerce

  51. Yola

  52. Simvoly

  53. Network Solutions

  54. uCoz

  55. Moonfruit

  56. BoldGrid

  57. Magento

  58. WebsiteBuilder

  59. SnapPages

  60. BoldGrid

  61. iPage

  62. Pixpa

  63. WebSelf

  64. Shopify

The main benefits of using online website builders are below:

  • Ease of Use

  • Readymade Template Designs

  • Hosting & Domains Under One Roof

  • Email Addresses

  • Drag & Drop Functionality

  • Responsive Web Design

  • Image Inventory

  • Videos Inventory 

  • Apps

  • Appointment, Reservation & Booking Apps 

  • Plug-ins

  • Marketing Tools

  • Fast Loading Speed

  • Blogging Tools

  • Readymade Contact Forms

You can easily deliver your message through social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn etc but in order to win the trust of your website visitors and truthfully establish your business presence online you must have a website for your business.

Web Hosting, Domain Name, SEO Friendly URL’s & Website Content

Web Hosting 

 

Web hosting is a space on the web server where a website’s files are stored and are accessible via the World Wide Web. Once your website files are stored on the hosting web server, they can be accessed via the domain name on web browsers. Hosting is a critical part of your website; bad hosting can result in your website performing slowly, suffering downtime and poor customer support if your website has any performance issues. When your customers interact with your website it should load fast, otherwise they can quit your website and go to your competitor business’s website. That’s why choosing the right hosting is very important for your business website.

The key points to consider before choosing a company to host your website are:

  • Hosting price

  • Bandwidth

  • Security

  • What tools your hosting package has e.g. FTP, cPanel, Email, Wordpress etc

  • Server location

  • Hosting customer service

  • Data backup

  • Amount of storage

  • Server up-time

Domain Name

 

Domain name is the name of your website on the internet. Domain name represents an Internet Protocol address (IP address which is a series of numbers). Because IP addresses are difficult to memorise that’s why domain names were invented. In simple words, the domain name is the address that we use in a browser to see a website. When deciding your website domain name, make sure it is memorable, short, reflects your business and location, and is SEO friendly, especially if you are a small business operating in the local area.

SEO Friendly URL’s

 

SEO friendly URLs are URLs that are optimised for SEO; they are short and keyword rich. Create your webpage URL based on the keywords related to the topic of that page. It should be clear, focussed and try not to make it too long. 

Website Content

 

Contents are extremely important to explain your products and services on your website, and to deliver your business message to the online community. If you have a website then you need content for the search engines to index and rank your website in their search results.  We strongly recommend to put at least 300-400 words of genuine, high quality, fresh, engaging, informative and SEO friendly article on each page of your website. You should add keywords into the article based on the target keywords of that landing page.  It is extremely important that the content is written for people and not for search engines.

The main benefits of contents are:

  • Boosts search engine rankings of your website

  • Boosts sales, leads and conversion rate

  • Explains your brand, products, services and business

  • Engages your website visitors

  • Improves customer relationship, credibility, authority and trustworthiness of your domain

  • Reduces website bounce rate

35+ Web Design Tips & Tricks

  1. Set-up a simple & clean design.

  2. Create a plan.

  3. Business message should be clear on every page.

  4. Easy and clean navigation.

  5. Responsive design that works on smartphones & laptops.

  6. Focus on website speed.

  7. Invest in SEO.

  8. Get rid of broken links.

  9. Choose the right colour scheme.

  10. Use small size images to give visual messages.

  11. Put useful, informative & relevant content on each page.

  12. Keep your header menu short and clean.

  13. Use standard layout for your website.

  14. Create blog section.

  15. Create sales and clearance page.

  16. Show safe purchase information.

  17. Place logo on the left/top.

  18. Show your website is secure to use.

  19. Submit website to search engines.

  20. Carry out keyword research.

  21. Avoid false bottom.

  22. Avoid pop-ins, rotating sliders, tabs, carousels, accordions etc.

  23. Keep contact form & other forms short & precise.

  24. Use live chat software.

  25. Use FAQ’s to address the most common customer queries.

  26. Avoid a busy background and fake images.

  27. Optimise images.

  28. Avoid large size images, videos & animations.

  29. Use genuine pictures e.g. staff, office, building.

  30. Use headline (to deliver message) on top section of each page.

  31. Use white space.

  32. Give discounts, promotional offers.

  33. Use standard fonts & keep consistency.

  34. Use CTA (Call to Action) buttons.

  35. Use social sharing buttons.

  36. Avoid keyword stuffing, images stuffing, and content stuffing on each page.

  37. Show review, testimonials, feedback of your existing customers.

  38. Setup contact page including form, email, address, location etc.

Web Design FAQ’s

Should I Register Domain Name & Hosting with My Web Design Agency?

No, we always recommend to our clients to not register their domain name and hosting with their web design agency because if you have a dispute with your web design agency and require to move your hosting and domain at a later stage, it creates a bit of an issue with both parties. Whereas if you have a domain and website hosted on a third party website, you can simply change your control panel password and restrict access to your web design agency; it is a hassle free process.

Should I Choose Responsive or Mobile Friendly Website Design?

The obvious answer is responsive website design because more people are using mobile devices and a huge chunk of your business web traffic may come from smartphones or tablets. Responsive websites are the only way you can give the best user experience to your website visitors. Google has also recently introduced new algorithms that have started to give high priority to websites which give better user experience to their users; the importance of responsive websites has soared since.

Should I Use Website Builder or Hire an Agency to Develop My Website?

It is entirely your choice. If you are looking to setup a small website with fewer pages and less dynamic functionality then website builders are very useful; you can save both money and time. On the other hand, if you have a large budget and require more customised features with a higher number of products or pages, then you can consider hiring an agency for your project. Many agencies also use website builders to setup their clients’ websites. Website builders are useful from many perspectives such as ease of use, readymade templates, hosting, email and domains under one roof, drag and drop features, marketing tools, readymade contact forms, inventory of images and videos, plug-ins and apps etc.

When Should I Register Domain Name?

We highly recommend that you choose and register your domain name before starting to design your website because if you design your website and logo first and later realise that the domain name is not available, you may end up re-doing some work which results in loss of time and money. You can buy hosting after designing your website.

How to Choose Your Domain Name?

When deciding your website domain name, make sure it is memorable, short, reflects your business and location, and is SEO friendly, especially if you are a small business operating in the local area.

How to Create SEO Friendly URL’s?

Create keyword rich URL’s; make the webpage URL based on the keywords related to the topic of that webpage. It should be clear and focussed; try not to make it too long and avoid keyword stuffing.

What are the Important Things to Remember during Web Design Setup?

  1. User Experience

  2. Responsiveness (Smartphone & Tablet Friendly Design)

  3. Honest Presentation of Products/Services

  4. Website Loading Time

  5. Colour Scheme

  6. Font Style

  7. Simple & Clear Design

  8. Easy Navigation

  9. Clear Message Delivery

  10. Use of Images & Videos

  11. Consistency on WebPages

  12. Search Engine Optimisation

Can I Create a Website for My Business Myself?

Certainly yes, because there are many free website builders tools in the market that allow you to create and see your website without paying a penny upfront and without any programming knowledge. Some of them have easy to use drag and drop features e.g. WIX, Weebly, Jimdo & Webnode etc. Simply signup with an email, without any advance payment, use & edit their existing templates as per your business requirements and see your new test website live. You can use their free plugs-ins, images, galleries and apps to enhance the look of your website and also test your website for both mobile and desktop devices.

Our Advice

If you do not have enough budget and are only looking to setup a new website with limited dynamic functionality, or just a simple website with static pages, you can try free website building tools such as WIX, Weebly & Jimdo to setup your new website yourself and save both time and money. You do not require programming knowledge to setup your website using website builder tools. 

But if you are looking to setup a dynamic website selling a huge number of products or services online then it is best to take the suggestions of an experienced web designer or developer before converting your idea into a live website because having more images, products and hundreds of pages may require some insight into website speed, bandwidth, search engine optimisation, dynamic functionality and responsive design. In such a case, hiring a web design and development agency or professional freelancer may be a better option instead of using a free website builder tool.