Have you ever gone to a movie, didn’t enjoy it, but didn’t know why? The actors were good, the story made sense, the shots looked nice. So why did you leave feeling unfulfilled or disconnected?
One word: theme.
More often than not, the theme is not on the surface, in a movie or anywhere. But it is always there, whether it is intentional or not (and we’ll delve more into that shortly). What is a theme though? It’s a vague, catch-all word that seems intimidating, but isn’t. Simply put, your “theme” is the look, feel, and design of your site. All of these things need to be strong on their own, but fitting those pieces together is just as important. Don’t worry, after this article,
you’ll be an expert.
Save time and stress by following these 5 design secrets:
When you design a site, you are making ten thousand little choices. This color or that color. This font or this font. This picture or this picture. And every time you make one of those little choices, you are building the “Look” of your website, whether you realize it or not.
There is no right or wrong way to create a Look. The best advice I can give is this: be intentional. Another movie analogy: have you ever laughed at a movie that wasn’t supposed to be funny? It was just so ridiculous you couldn’t help but laugh.
That can happen to your site too. Make weird choices that don’t connect with everything else and you’ll likely inspire negative emotions in visitors who come to your site. When you put an image on your site, make sure it is high quality. Blurry photos turn people off. Unless you are selling vintage items and the grainy quality of the photo is part of the allure!
Don’t use loud colors on your site, it will distract and confuse. Unless your brand is loud too, then use bold colors for that exact reason!
See what I’m saying? Anything can be a successful part of your Look, just make sure it was intentional.
What is minimalism, besides a buzzword? Simply put: simple. One of the first things that drives people away from a site is confusion. Is your site too cluttered for people to find anything? You’ll keep losing sales until you declutter.
The harsh truth probably is, out of all the buttons and tabs and CTAs on your homepage, only a few actually get clicks. Just because it's a favorite of yours does not mean it belongs on your homepage. Look at the two examples below and you’ll see what I mean.
A minimalist design. Sleek, clean, and informative. Everything you need to know, nothing you don’t.
I mean, come on. Most aren’t this bad, but if your first instinct is to defend this site, you might be cluttered too.
Think back to art class. Can you list the primary colors, what their complements are, and what they clash with? Probably not off the top of your head, right?
On the flip side, I bet I could show you a website and you could tell me if the color design doesn’t work. People instinctively react to color schemes, good or bad. That’s good news for you if you take the time to learn what colors work with which. Some colors don’t mesh well, but they look good next to each other. Some colors make people uncomfortable or angry, while others make people feel welcome and relaxed. These are all important to know when designing your site.
If the first thing you do after landing on a page is cover your eyes, that’s not a good sign, and nothing you should emulate. Here are two examples: one looks great, the other looks gross. Don’t be gross.
Gross. Just, ew.
Not gross. Also uses bold, neon colors, but they work. Want to know why? Start studying.
I used an ampersand above. Not “and.” Looks better, doesn’t it?
That’s what you want out of your copy. You want it to look good, and read well. Reading well can mean a few things: proper grammar, correct spelling, concise. Be honest with yourself, did you read every sentence of this article up to now? Probably not. But did you read the headlines and captions? If your site is covered in text, most people aren’t going to read it anyway, and you might overwhelm a visitor. That will stop them from converting.
Keep it short. Say what’s necessary, and say it well.
Great copy. Short, confident, and interesting. “Good” what? You’ll probably click to find out.
What’s going on here? Lot’s of words that don’t tell you anything. Too much and too little at the
Are you selling clothing? Shoes? Printed items? Basically anything that can be customized?
Put that right up front. Studies have shown that personalized content connects with users far more than general content. So if you sell clothing, as soon as someone opens your site, they should get to choose the content they want to see.
Users looking for women’s shoes don’t want to waste time clicking through pages of men’s shoes to find what they want. Let them feel like you are customizing the site to their benefit: because you are!
I won’t put a “bad” design in this section to show you that you can personalize in a few different ways.
An example of good design from top to bottom: stunning images, sleek design, and good copy. You know what they sell and can get right to it.
A similar concept, different execution. Not cluttered, but carries a lot more information. Still offers easy navigation to purchases.
If your website already does any one of these things correctly, you are ahead of the curve. Most people don’t put the time and effort into truly understanding how to develop a Look for their site, and they are losing sales because of it. Take the time, do the research, and you will end up with a website that looks Great, not Gross.
Our designers make websites that are Great, not Gross, and they can do that for you. Let’s start a conversation here.