Build You Own Website: 10 Best Practices

Marketers may not think about design standards a lot, but they are crucial for web designers. Web design best practices are the standard web conventions, or rules that developers follow to ensure your website aligns with your visitor’s expectations. These guidelines direct designers towards usability and clarity.

So, What Is a Best Practice?

To answer this, we have created a list of 10 best practices that will help you build your own website. Print this checklist out and keep it close, and you’ll ensure your site is a hit with visitors and attractive to new leads, too.

1. Logo Placement

If there is just one standard you adhere to it, let this be it: popular, attractive websites with high traffic have one thing in common; they place a clickable logo in the upper left corner of every single page on their site.

2. Contact Details

How will customers reach you if they don’t have contact information? Busy websites place a contact link or button on the top right of every page. Including all of your contact details on a dedicated page is just best practice.

3. Navigation Placement

Where is your navigation bar currently? 88% of popular websites place theirs across their header, or at the top of every page. Thus, top-level, horizontal navigation is a web design standard.

4. Homepage Layout

What’s going on your homepage right now? High-traffic sites tend to have a homepage slideshow complete with a rotating series of messages and images. However, there are those who favor a static featured image. Results seem to vary so you’ll need to choose the best option for your visitors, message, and overall site.

5. Value Proposition

The majority of marketing websites have a clear value proposition placed high on the homepage. In other words, they explain their value “above the fold” – a space before visitors start scrolling down; an area that is guaranteed to be noticed.

6. Placement of a Call to Action

Do you have a call to action? If you want your visitors to do something, be it call you, email, sign up for a newsletter, place an order, or download a catalog, you need to tell them what to do. Make sure your call to action is in a prominent place on your site.

7. Make It Easy to Search

Most websites have a search feature, usually located in the header. While search tools may not be necessary for all sites and industries, it is a good idea if you have a large amount of content.

8. A Signup Box

Do you send out regular email updates and newsletters? Then you need to ensure that it’s easy enough for visitors to sign up for them. Popular sites place their signup box in the footer of their pages. General content also commonly found in footers is legal, copyright, sitemap, privacy, and contact information. Visitors have come to expect this information in the bottom center or bottom right of websites. If one of your primary objectives is to get visitors to sign up for something, you may want to reconsider the placement of your signup box and put it in a more prominent section of your site.

9. Social Media Icons

Do you have social media accounts? Make it easy for your visitors to find them and Like or follow you by placing your social media icons where visitors have come to expect to find them – in the footer of your website.

Clicking on the icons should take visitors directly to your social media site. Think about that for a moment: when a visitor clicks on the social media icon, they move away from your site. This can increase bounce rates, cost you traffic, and hurt your results.

That’s why it is better to place the icons in the footer, so visitors will have to scroll through your pages first to find them. To further reduce the visual prominence of the icons and not entice visitors to click away just yet, ensure the full-color version only appears once a visitor moves their cursor over the image.

10. Responsive Design

More than half of the websites on the internet use responsive web design to ensure they are mobile-friendly. This means that no matter what device a visitor is using, be it desktop, tablet or smartphone, they will have a great experience.

Responsive web design is a combination of programming and design that is tricky to add once a site has been built. Typically, it forms part of a redesign. So if you’re redesigning your website or creating a brand new one, this is the time to take responsive web design into account.

Let’s Sum It Up

Custom web design has become a dominant marketing practice. While not all design standards are quite standard, there are best practices you can follow to ensure your site is seen and easily navigated. These include:

  • Logo placement
  • Value proposition
  • Main navigation
  • Call to action
  • A search tool
  • Social media icons
  • Responsive web design
  • Contact details
  • Homepage layout
  • A signup box

There are other design features that some may consider best practices, but not all are used by all websites. You need to build your own website, custom to your business and audience.

A Couple of Insights for Designers

Using the 10 best practices in this article is an easy way to meet your target audience’s expectations. The internet is saturated with websites and visitors will head over to yours with strong ideas about what they are going to find and where they will find it.

Other than the 10 points listed here, there are a few types of web design standards that good designers adhere to. These include:

  • Accessibility – always try to include title, meta, alt, and other relevant tags wherever possible to ensure all visitors, regardless of ability, can adequately use the website.
  • Coding – websites built using the W3C-agreed programming standards makes sites more likely to display and behave flawlessly in browsers.
  • Branding – tone, style, and colors are unique to every business. Create a style guide for your site and consistently follow it throughout.

Standard best practices for web design will ensure you create a great website!