My top web design tips for non-designers

by | blogging, seo, website strategy

We all have to start somewhere right!? So, if outsourcing the design to a professional just isn’t in your budget yet, today I’m sharing my top tips for designing a website for non-designers.

As someone in the business of creating websites it’s no surprise that I am totally passionate about the importance of great design. It’s a cliché but first impressions count and if a potential client lands on your website and instantly connects with your brand then it doesn’t take a genius to work out that they are much more likely to convert into a paying customer.

For me, excellent design is all about consistency, great visuals and a smooth user-experience. The best websites out there are not only easy-on-the-eye but also intuitive and simple to navigate. If people can’t find their way around in a couple of clicks then the unfortunate truth is that you’ve probably already lost them to a competitor.

One sure-fire way to make sure you end up with a slick, well-designed site is to enlist the help of a professional website designer. This can feel like a huge investment but with a great website being such an important part of your business, it is a worthwhile one.

My top web design tips for non-designers
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Tip one for non-designers: When in doubt, less is always more

We’ve already touched on the importance of user-friendliness but having plenty of white space without lots of visual ‘clutter’ will make your website easier to navigate.

When it comes to the layout of your site, every element on the page should work together. Consider zig-zagging content to encourage your user’s eye to move across and down the page and always make sure elements are placed in order of importance, with the key sections being at the top.

A good designer will select fonts, visuals and types of navigation that complement one another and capture your visitor’s attention. Good quality stock imagery is available freely online (for more tips on that check out my recent blog post here) and when it comes to navigation, your site menu should make it easy to access your content in just a few steps. Endless dropdowns, buttons, pop-ups and reams of text overwhelm people and are a big no!

Tip two for non-designers: Colour communicates the tone of your website and business

As humans we connect certain colours with certain emotions, like yellow with happiness or red with anger, for example. This colour ‘psychology’ means that certain colours help us to connect with a brand where others might put us off.

If you don’t already have a brand colour palette and have no idea where to start, Coolors is an amazing and easy-to-use free tool that helps you generate beautiful colour schemes at the touch of a button.

To keep things looking professional, be consistent with the colours you choose for your site. Keep all headings one colour, all links in another colour etc. I would advise picking one or two main colours for your site and then selecting a contrast or accent colour for drawing the eye in and taking action (buttons for example).

You can read more about colour theory here: > https://www.canva.com/colors/color-wheel/

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Tip three for non-designers: Choose fonts wisely

Choosing the right fonts for your website is another important one. Typography is a huge part of your brand personality and will add to the tone and overall vibe of your whole site. To keep things simple and uncluttered I would advise non-designers to stick to no more than three (killer) fonts.

My favourite site for font inspiration and what is trending is Type Wolf created by Jeremiah Shoaf.

To actually find and download fonts for your website for free, there are loads of great sites out there – Google fonts and Font Squirrel are two of my favourites. For more unique and paid-for fonts, Creative market or Adobe fonts (via the creative cloud subscription) are my go-to’s.

Serif font

Serif fonts are a great choice for brands that want to be seen as trustworthy, established, and reliable. They give an editorial, authorative feel when used well. It gets it’s name from the line or taper added to the beginning and/or end of a letter, the ‘serif’.

Sans-serif font

Sans-serif fonts have no additional lines (serif’s) added to the letter. They have simple, clean lines that are the same width throughout. They give a more contemporary, modern feel.

Used together (paired)

Serif ans sans-serif fonts

Image taken from https://www.thedenizenco.com/journal/clean-minimal-squarespace-font-pairings

Mobile View - The Engagement Coach custom design WordPress &. Divi website by sm web designs

Tip four for non-designers: Design for mobile

Always, always think of your design on mobile. Don’t dive into getting it pixel perfect on desktop and not check how everything is applied on mobile.

Make sure images resize correctly, text isn’t too small or too large to fit on the screen. Are the buttons big enough on mobile to be tapped?

More that 64% of searches on Google are from a mobile!

Tip five for non-designers: Look at your site as a whole

My final tip is to step back from the nitty gritty and take a look at your overall site design. An effective way to do this is to put the different elements of your design together in a mood board. Canva is a great free tool with hundreds of templates (search ‘mood boards photo collage’) that will help you create one in seconds.

Pinterest is also great for getting inspiration, check out my post on how to create a moodboard in Pinterest.

Remember to refer back to your mood board whenever you’re updating your website or adding new pages in order to keep your design on track.

Design moodboard for nutritionist by sm web designs

Tip six for non-designers: Always consider accessibility

Building a website that doesn’t discriminate means taking steps in the design process towards creating a more inclusive experience for all. Bad website design can put customers with disabilities at a disadvantage and prevent them from getting the information they need or purchasing your products. In order to become a more inclusive (and kinder) business you should look to identify and remove some of these barriers whilst designing your site. As a starting point think about colour contrast, legibility of fonts and font size. Also ensure that any interactive elements of your site really stand out and that you include text alternatives for images and other media.

Whether you’re planning on building a DIY website from scratch or purchasing a Ready-Made template, great design is always achievable.

Following a few simple design principles and knowing where to access the best online resources available can make a huge difference to the overall look and feel of your website and ultimately the number of sales you make.

Sarah x