When designing a business website, entrepreneurs should view the homepage and each section as more than just an engine for selling goods or services. A website should always reflect the personality of the brand behind it, according to Susannah Charbin, founder and creative director of The Beaux Arts, an award-winning digital design agency.
“The best websites feel like they tell a brand’s authentic story,” says Charbin, “and they accomplish this because every design decision that went into the creation of the website was geared towards achieving this goal.”
In other words, view your business website as a platform for telling a story about your business, and perhaps use design to establish an emotional connection with the online customer. More importantly, a solid web design exudes trustworthiness for your online operations.
Here, Charbin and The Beaux Arts design team list the essential elements to consider when building your website. These seemingly small details actually speak volumes about your business–as well as you as the company founder.
In design the smallest details can make a difference, and website design is no different. “At The Beaux Arts we spend considerable time searching for the perfect font to use on each website we design,” says Charbin. The right font can convey every type of brand message whether that be elegance, edginess or friendliness.
A well designed website will use two to three different fonts, starting with the hero font which adds personality, and then the secondary fonts which are normally quieter and play a supportive role. Too many different fonts will give a cluttered effect to the website, while too few can look bland.
Color can be very powerful when used in the right way. The colors you choose should be consistent with your offline branding, says Charbin.
Her pro tip: The amount of color should be considered in relation to the type of content you have on your website. If you have large and bright images then color might be used sparingly just to highlight calls to action, while a website that does not have a lot of content may rely on larger blocks of color to help bring it to life.
“We like to use different layouts to create websites that feel dynamic and visually diverse,” says Charbin. A website needs to have a sense of pace to encourage users to keep scrolling and to keep exploring. The Beaux Arts team might use animation to help with this as it can aid in breaking up some of the traditional grid patterns.
The real challenge is to create a website design that feels unique, while also being easy and intuitive for people to use, and works responsively across multiple screen sizes.
Today great web design often means beautiful visuals. Large scale immersive photography or videography can grab people’s attention and entice them to interact with your website and your business.
The Beaux Arts team shares another pro tip: shooting your own photography is always best, but if this is not possible then make use of services such as Unsplash which provide freely usable photographs. Alternatively if you are using Squarespace you can find visuals through their partnership with Getty images.
While beautiful visuals can grab people’s attention don’t forget to include clear, well written copy. Not only do the right words help to communicate your message, they are necessary for search engines to crawl and rank your website.
Also, the founder or other members of the business should be encouraged to add a blog section to their business website. This is an excellent way to showcase your expertise and further tell a story.
Don’t forget about SEO which stands for Search Engine Optimization, the time to ensure your website is well optimized can increase its visibility in the highly cluttered and competitive world of search engine ranking. It doesn’t matter how beautiful your new website is, if a search engines can’t find it then your customers won’t find you.