5 Basic Web Design Tips for Beginners

Illustration of a computer moniter

It’s easier than ever to design your own website. That means more and more people without web design experience are building their own websites.

If that’s you, and you feel a little lost when it comes to designing your website, I’ve put together five design tips that will help make any website look polished and professional.

Illustration of a newspaper

Mind the Fold

“The fold” is a term borrowed from newspaper design. The front page of the newspaper above the physical fold was the most valuable space, because it's what reader can see without opening the newspaper.

On your website, the content “above the fold” is what a visitor see when they first land on your website, before they click any links or scroll down the page. This is the most valuable and most seen part of your website, so it’s important that this section is appealing, communicates quickly what your website is about, and makes visitors want to know more.

Small shapes spaced out

Keep Ample White Space

While you need to make sure the area above the fold has enough information and visual interest to give an accurate first impression of your website, for the rest of your website, you have as much space to work with as you like.

You don’t have to cram all your information onto a small business card or flyer, which gives you the freedom to use lots of white space, which keeps your website from feeling cluttered or overwhelming.

By using plenty of white space and letting visitors deal with small sections of content at a time, you make browsing your website feel easy and relaxing.

Illustration of text hierarchy and photography

Break Up Your Text

Related to the last point, website visitors aren’t generally looking to read long-form content. They feel busy, so when presented with a large chunk of text, they’ll think, “I don’t have time for this.” and leave.

But if you break up your text into small pieces mixed with imagery, and use plenty of headers and sub-headers, you can get them to read the same amount of information without overwhelming them.

Abstract illustration of text columns

Watch Column Width

Another tip to make your website easily readable: keep your column width modest. Lines of text with more than 20 words become hard to read, as the end of the first line of text moves further from the start of the second line. Wide column widths make it easy to skip lines, and is harder on the eyes than lines of text with 10-15 words on it.

Overlapping rectangles

Use Imagery

Finally, while you made your website to inform your visitors, don’t forget to include plenty of imagery. A photo is worth a thousand words.. and if a photo can replace 1,000 words on your website, even better. Images, from photos to icon design to illustration, keep your website fun and interesting, and help your unique visual brand shine through.


An eye over the word brand

FURTHER READING

WHAT IS A VISUAL BRAND? DO I NEED ONE?

As a business owner, you wear a lot of hats. One of your jobs is making sure you're doing everything you can to insure your business is successful.


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HI THERE!

I'm Sierra Kellermeyer, brand designer.

I work with passion-driven small business owners who feel their visual marketing is disconnected from their core identity and ideals. I get to know them, their business, and their services, and design them a Noteworthy Visual Brand that effortlessly attracts their ideal clients.