What is the first impression your website makes? The importance of good website design can’t be overstated. Not only is a good website design visually pleasing, but it draws the reader in and points him toward the areas of the site you most want him to visit. Things like the CTA are placed above the fold. You can even positively affect end user behavior through a high functioning design.

Best Website Design Tips

The average time spent on a website varies by industry, but overall is about 190.4 seconds. That means that you have very little time to grab a reader’s interest. The average bounce rate is around 40.5%.

According to Go Rocket Fuel, a good bounce rate is around 26 to 40 percent, and 41 to 55 percent is average.

The good news is that you can tweak your design so visitors want to stay on your landing page longer than the average. There are many elements that make for a functional website design.

Responsive Website Design

Smart Insights recently reported that about 80% of Internet users own a smart phone. The majority of those people access the Internet on their mobile devices at least part of the time. This means that making sure your site is mobile responsive is more important than ever.

Look for a design that translates well to different size screens. You can easily test this with Google’s mobile responsiveness testing tool. Google’s latest algorithm looks at how well a website responds to mobile devices.

Pop Ups

Many people absolutely loathe pop ups. However, some experts suggest that a pop up can encourage them to sign up for a mailing list, particularly if you use smart strategies such as offering an enticement in exchange for signing up. Ultimately, your decision on pop ups needs to be dependent upon the types of people you are trying to attract to your site. Will they tolerate pop ups or not? You may even need to conduct some A/B testing to determine what works best.

Clean, Crisp Design

A clean, uncluttered design will always fare better both in function and style. On the style side, there needs to be a balance between images, white space and text. The design should be visually pleasing and organized. However, on the functional side, a site that is uncluttered is simply easier to navigate. Many web designers have turned to capsules to hold information and make some things stand out. These can be as simple as boxes with a solid colored background.

Limiting Elements

Limit the number of features you add to your page. This makes your site more functional, too, because you don’t have a lot of plugins and features bogging your site down. Not every user has lightning fast broadband and a rare few still access the Internet via dial up. While you shouldn’t base the entire design on this consideration, anything you can do to make your site load faster is better for everyone who visits.

Clear CTAs

Create strong, clear Call to Actions (CTAs). Take the time to think about what your goal is for your website. Is it to convert visitors to mailing list subscribers? Then, the CTA should clearly point to that goal.

From the design side, you’ll want to place the CTA in a location that is easy to see, preferably above the fold. The CTA should stand out from the rest of the design and be in a bold enough color to catch the reader’s eye. What color looks best with your design will vary depending on you color palette, but choose something that stands out.

Design standards change frequently. What is popular today may not be popular next year. It is important to choose design elements that you love and don’t mind keeping for a good long time, because redesigns are costly. At the same time, pay careful attention to function now as well as how your site will function as it grows.