Design Principles and Copy
Learn more about design principles and copy for your website with Search Hustle.
Design principles have been established through thousands of trial and error tests conducted over the last several decades. The combined knowledge and study of these early marketing campaigns have allowed us to come up with a template for success. Following these design principles is essential, but there is still plenty of room for individualized solutions.
What are the main principles of web design?
While you can find lists of principles used in web design, the fundamental principles come down to only a few simple steps. It is no longer difficult to produce high-quality, good looking websites, so don’t get distracted by art and cosmetic choices, while there is still value in these areas, make sure you adhere to these core principles.
First and foremost is a clear and demonstrable purpose. Site wide purpose, page purpose, sectional purpose. Every SEO-hungry page of a website must have a clear purpose. There is no reason to have extra pages or links to purposeless content as these only dilute the value of the content. There are exceptions to this rule when it comes to content that serves other purposes (funnel actions, downloads, etc).
The second is web layout, which is how the website looks to those who are using it. This covers structural points as well as artistic choices. A good web layout is easy to use, see and understand for any potential customer visiting the website.
Third, you have navigation. Just like it sounds, this is a principle that covers the usability of the website. It is imperative that your website be easy to use and has clear, functional navigation to each page.
Finally, content. Structurally there are principles that govern the employment of content, such as load times and being mobile-friendly. There are also some design principles around web copy to consider, that we will unpack.
Understand the Purpose of Your Website
The first step in building an effective website is to determine why you need a website. What purpose does the website serve for the company, and how does it improve the marketing of the business. Understanding the answers to these questions is essential, and serves as the very beginning of website design principles.
A website gives opportunities to establish expertise on a broad scale. Focusing on industry knowledge and sharing this knowledge must be a primary purpose of the website. Building up topical authority is an essential part of establishing a successful online presence.
Build your brand
Building up the business’s brand is a vital component to success in the digital market. A website offers you the opportunity to reinforce and improve brand image on a continuous basis. Make sure that the website helps to deliver a positive and unique brand image. The more this positive brand image stands out, the more successful you will be.
A website should take an interested person and build upon this, turning them from a passive viewer into an active customer. The website allows direct engagement of every potential customer, thereby making leads easier to acquire. The most common way of doing this is to make sure a web form exists so the customer can fill in their personal data and contact information.
Turn leads into sales
Turning a user’s interest into a sale is what generating leads is all about. Engaging with content and targeted advertisement can easily transition interest into purchasing or consumption. This is the final purpose of all marketing efforts and even the website itself.
This area is more about the technical aspect of the website, how it looks and operates. A good web layout exists to guide visitors, leading them around the website. It is about the structural framework of the website which covers how information is presented and displayed.
Information should be displayed in a color that contrasts well with the background of the website. Dark colors on a light background are the most common, and this is for several reasons. It is easier for the eye to read the information that is displayed in a dark text on an off-white or gray background.
This doesn’t mean that you may only use dark text on a light background, but make sure that you don’t use any colors that would strain a visitor’s eyes. This means avoiding bright, sharp colors like yellow and pink. You don’t want information washed out by the background.
The font is extremely important when it comes to readability, but also in appearance. A front should be professional, crisp, and clear. Any deviation from this can make your content appear less authoritative and difficult to read. There are some options but stick with a safe font.
Images can be the most important element when it comes to web layout and design principles. Most people are visually driven, and they scan and take in images before reading words. The images on a website must be clear, easy to see, and convey emotion as well as information.
Navigation, as a design principle, means simply that your website is easy to get around. There are no hidden pages or unlinked areas that can’t be accessed from the main page. To make sure that viewers are even more satisfied, don’t forget to add a navigation menu.
Every page of the website, from the blog to the service pages should be navigable. This ensures that viewers are able to find and engage with the content they want. Keep that in mind when a website design is proposed.
Content may be the king, but without proper design principles, it won’t do you much good. Content is judged by numerous criteria, but importantly it has to be accessible. That means you need to make sure that every time someone accesses your content it loads fast and works for any device.
One of the core measures of successful web content is that it loads quickly. This isn’t just for the sake of convenience, but it is measured by the webpage crawlers used by Google. If the content doesn’t load properly, or if it takes too long, the search engine will lower the rank of the website.
All pages and content on a website must load quickly and without issue. This is the only way to ensure that the crawler doesn’t experience a problem. It is also for the sake of viewers and potential customers, many of whom will be turned away if the website doesn’t load almost instantly.
Around 50% of all web traffic is currently done by smartphones or other mobile devices. This is great news for businesses because many smartphone users can become customers. However, if a website is not mobile-friendly, it won’t be listed when a mobile search is made.
Make sure that the format and style of the website work with mobile platforms. Failing to do so cuts you off from half of the traffic and possibly more than half of the consumers you would reach otherwise. This would be considered a disaster for any business.
How do I optimize web copy?
Web copy is the act of publishing content online. Content that is published online can be helped by a few simple design principles. The real goal of content is to attract viewers and then turn those viewers into customers. That won’t happen if the content is hard to read or difficult to understand.
Here are a few style choices that can be made to immediately improve the way the web copy looks and works. Making the right choices and following the right principles can mean a big difference in the results achieved.
Headers are more than just simple convenience. They help organize text and give readers more ability to scan the information present. Accurate headers will also help improve the number of people that read the article. People want to be able to see where the information they are looking for can be found, and headers to exactly that.
Use bullet points
Bullet points can be effective at organizing information and they also can help emphasize important information. This sets aside what is on the list, drawing the eye and making the reader pay more attention even if they are just skimming through an article.
Bullet points and lists are valuable tools for any content creator. It takes a lot of effort to make effective content, so make sure to highlight the points that are most important. Setting them aside with bullet points is always an effective tool.
Write short, concise paragraphs
A short, concise paragraph is one that is easy to read. This can be difficult when detailing technical topics, but you must always make the effort. Try to limit paragraphs to three or four sentences in order to streamline the delivery of information.
Written content should be to the point, and at the lowest possible level of reading requirement. This will make your content more accessible and easier to understand.
Highlight or bold key terms
Much like bullet points, highlighting or bolding key terms will draw the eye. This can create a more curated experience for your readers. A good, concise article requires that important information be transmitted efficiently.
Highlighting or bolding key terms can also make it easier for readers to follow along with information. This makes the entire experience of reading content more rewarding and easier to understand.
Know your audience
It is important that the choices you make the consumption of content easier for your audience. In order to do that, you need to know who is consuming your content, and why. If you are posting incredibly complex articles but your audience is mostly laypersons, you aren’t going to get a good response.
The same is true in reverse, so make sure to tailor all of your content. This way the people who are reading it get the most value out of it. That will reflect better on the business, brand, and the webpage.