branding design

What is web design and why do you need to get it right?

Reading time: 8 minutes

What is web design? If you think it’s “just a website” then think again. An outdated or confusing website isn’t only a slight setback, it’s a major blow to your brand reputation. It’s not a matter of if—but how much—it will harm your brand. So, what’s the game plan for success? Kick things off with stellar web design. We will dive into the ins and outs of web design, why it’s crucial for your success and how you can nail it from the start.

Table of contents

  • What is web design?
  • Why is web design important for business digital marketing?
  • What is good web design?
  • Can you create a good website without web design knowledge?
  • What doesn’t work in web design?
  • Are you ready to design your business website?

What is web design? 

Web design is the artful and technical process of defining a website’s aesthetic, layout and functionality. It is a meticulous orchestration of images, color schemes, fonts and graphic elements used to deliver a visually appealing and unified online experience. 

By transforming conceptual visions into operational interfaces, web design ensures websites are engaging, intuitive and effectively communicate their intended messages across various devices. This discipline merges strategic planning with creativity to create digital spaces that reflect a brand’s identity and values, enhancing user interaction and accessibility.

Web design for a hotel’s website

Web design for a hotel website by DSKY via 99designs by Vista

The architecture of web design is built on several key pillars, each contributing to the website’s final look, feel and functionality. This includes: 

  • the art of graphic design
  • the science of user experience (UX) design
  • the craft of interface design
  • the strategy behind search engine optimization (SEO)
  • the creativity required for content creation

Together, these aspects shape how a website presents itself and operates across different platforms.

Web designers are crucial in translating visions into visual models and crafting detailed mockups that outline the future online presence. Meanwhile, web developers — the technical architects — breathe life into these designs, ensuring the website operates flawlessly online. They enhance functionality, develop custom widgets and maintain the seamless operation of the site’s features.

Not to be overlooked, UX developers merge technical expertise with a focus on the user’s needs, making websites not only functional but also a pleasure to navigate. They bridge the gap between aesthetic design and practical usability to create engaging and accessible digital environments that attract and retain visitors.

Why is web design important for business digital marketing?

Crafting a standout website might be a journey that demands patience and dedication, but investing time and resources into web design is indisputably worth its weight in digital gold. Embarking on the path to exceptional web design opens up a treasure trove of advantages for your business:

  • Enhanced trust from the first sight: According to a study by Stanford University, 94% of first website impressions are design-related. A well-designed website establishes credibility and professionalism from the first click, influencing how potential customers perceive your brand.
  • Enhanced user experience: A user-friendly website significantly reduces bounce rates (how often people click “back” away from your page). For instance, research by Pingdom shows a site that loads within 2 seconds has an average bounce rate of 9% while loading times of 5 seconds increase that rate to 38%.
  • Improved search engine rankings: Good web design practices and optimization leads to higher visibility in search engine results. Search engines like Google favor websites optimized for mobile devices and fast loading times.
  • Mobile optimization: With roughly 58% of global website traffic coming from mobile devices, a responsive web design is crucial for reaching a wider audience and improving engagement rates.
  • Brand consistency: Effective web design helps maintain brand consistency across all site pages, which is vital for brand recognition. 
  • Cost-effective marketing: Once set up, a well-designed website serves as a cost-effective and persistent marketing tool, showcasing your products or services to a wide audience without needing continuous investment.
Website homepage design for a Subscription Service Management tool

Website homepage design by Paul Adrian I. via 99designs by Vista

In essence, top-tier website design is your secret weapon in the digital arena, distinguishing your brand from the competition with a more captivating and user-friendly site. This not only attracts a broader audience but also encourages visitors to stick around, increasing lead generation and boosting sales. 

What is good web design?

To leverage the benefits of a well-designed website, you need to… Well, create a well-designed website. Now, what exactly does this mean? 

While it’s true that design can be as subjective as art, in the world of web design, what makes a website great instead of just okay is actually quite clear-cut. The qualities that set apart an excellent website are specific and measurable, making it easier to identify what works and what doesn’t.

Simply put, a well-crafted website delivers the exact experience your visitor seeks. But that’s still quite vague, isn’t it? Let’s dive into the defining characteristics of what makes a website design truly effective. 

When it comes to web design, success is measured by action — specifically, the action users take in response to your site. A design that “converts” skillfully guides visitors towards taking a desired step, whether that’s subscribing to a newsletter, completing a purchase, registering for an account or engaging with more content.

Pricing page design

Pricing page design by Paul Adrian I. via 99designs by Vista

A high-converting web design weaves together several critical elements to foster this kind of engagement:

  • Strategic use of negative space that draws the eye to key components of the page.
  • Presentation of choices in a clear, concise manner to prevent user paralysis by analysis — simplicity is key.
  • Direct and unambiguous calls to action that leave no doubt about the next steps.
  • A streamlined user journey free from distractions, where every image, piece of text and button has a clear purpose aligned with the page’s topic. This includes using font variations intentionally to highlight calls to action, rather than for decorative purposes.
  • Responsive design that ensures a seamless experience across all devices, be it a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop.
  • Font sizes and styles that create a visual hierarchy, contributing to the site’s navigability and focus.
  • The inclusion of relevant, compelling content and visuals that capture and maintain the audience’s interest.
  • A careful balance between text and imagery, avoiding information overload or underwhelm, to keep visitors engaged without feeling overwhelmed.

Dive in with more helpful information on the latest web design trends.

Trendy web design that uses pastel colors

Trendy web design by LOVELY GRIT CREATIVE via 99designs by Vista

By prioritizing these aspects, your website will captivate visitors and convert their interest into tangible outcomes.

Yet, despite following all the best practices, a website cannot truly stand out unless it embodies your brand’s core identity. Ensuring your web design is in harmony with your brand’s unique character is essential — weave your brand’s colors, fonts and logo consistently across all pages of your website. 

Can you create a good website without web design knowledge?

Even if you don’t have hands-on experience designing websites, there are plenty of resources online that will guide you through that process and direct you toward best practices and actionable tips. One such resource is our Ultimate Guide to Web Design, which breaks down creating a website into seven doable steps. 

If the prospect of tackling web design seems daunting, rest assured there are practical alternatives available.

For those with the budget, contracting a professional web designer is a viable solution. Whether you lean towards the flexibility of a freelancer or the comprehensive support of a web design agency, the key is to thoroughly vet their portfolio. It’s essential to ensure a harmonious blend between their creative style and your vision to guarantee an outcome that resonates with your brand’s essence.

Platforms such as 99designs by Vista provide a streamlined avenue for finding skilled web designers tailored to your project’s requirements.

A screenshot of the 99designs by Vista landing page

You can find a skilled designer for any kind of web design project on 99designs by Vista

Alternatively, there are user-friendly, drag-and-drop website builders available. Services like Websites by Vista x Wix offer a rich selection of customizable website templates tailored to various needs, allowing you to craft a site that aligns perfectly with your business objectives, all without needing to write a single line of code.

Websites by Vista x Wix web design templates

Build your website using Websites by Vista x Wix customizable templates

Next steps: Explore the difference between web design and web development.

What doesn’t work in web design?

Ensuring your website dodges the pitfalls of design faux pas is key, whether you’re rolling up your sleeves to do it yourself or passing the baton to a professional. 

Being clued in on the no-gos of web design and those all-too-common missteps steers your project clear of the rocks and arms you with the savvy needed to evaluate a potential hire’s portfolio critically. This knowledge lets you pick a candidate whose skills meet your needs and enables you to provide meaningful input on the initial versions of your website.

Here are some of the common missteps that can significantly hinder user experience, turning what should be a seamless journey into a cumbersome ordeal…

  • Avoid vague calls to action that leave users guessing their next move — clarity is king. Navigational elements like links and buttons should be immediately recognizable and accessible, not hidden treasures to be unearthed. This principle extends to form fields, which should be clearly marked to avoid user confusion.
  • Employing fonts with low contrast that blend into the background is a recipe for frustration, not sophistication.
  • A common pitfall involves the use of distracting images or repetitive backgrounds. While the temptation to add visual flair might be strong, resist the urge to use tiled backgrounds, as they often lead to visual chaos rather than cohesive design.
  • Ignoring the necessity for a responsive design is a critical oversight. With the dominance of mobile browsing, your website must adapt gracefully to various screen sizes.
  • Steering clear of generic stock photos and filler content is also advisable. Such elements can dilute your brand’s authenticity and fail to engage your audience meaningfully.
  • Approach animation with caution. The web design trends of the late ’90s, complete with cursor trails and overly animated mascots, are long passé. Today, any animation should serve a clear, conversion-oriented purpose, like drawing attention to a crucial call to action, rather than serving as mere decoration.

Are you ready to design your business website?

A series of deliberate choices draw the line between a successful and a faltering web design. Good web design hinges on clarity, accessibility and a seamless user experience, characterized by distinct calls to action, high-contrast fonts and a responsive layout that caters to all devices. It embraces simplicity, ensuring that every element, from navigation to content, enhances the user journey.

After reading this article, you should have a better understanding of how to design a website that avoids the common pitfalls and effectively drives conversions. 

So, what are your next steps?

It’s time to put this knowledge into practice and start working on your website design! Check out the website templates at Websites by Vista x Wix, choose the one that speaks to your heart and use it to make a unique and effective website for your business.