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  • Shane Smith

The Minimalist Guide to Web Design

When you own a small company, your website is your most important business card. The key to obtaining an impeccable, user-friendly website is far from being a modern enigma. As a matter of fact, high-converting websites have a few common attributes that may become your best source of inspiration:

  • (At least one) unique, clear and concise value proposition

  • Tested, compelling calls-to-action

  • Irresistible, magnetic headlines

  • Short signup forms (if you want readers to subscribe to your newsletter or contact you)

  • Highlighted, strategically placed testimonials that drive validation and build credibility and trust

  • A neat, intuitive, well-balanced architecture


If you are disappointed with the current version of your website and think that now may be the best time for an extreme makeover, start by analyzing, filtering and following the simple guidelines listed below, enabling you to take pride in stellar, user-oriented website design that actually helps you sell, sell, sell.

1) Determine Your Website’s Main Focal Point. In the absence of a solid, obvious focal point, the user gets confused and heads back to search engine results. To avoid this major mishap, you have to learn how to prioritize and organize info on your website, based on your objective and the way in which you want your visitors to act. Basically, once you land on a certain website, you have to understand what the company can do for you, as a potential client, in less than 5 seconds. Test the current version of your website by making someone who is not familiar with your business land on it and let him identify the main distractions and the elements that actually captured his attention. Ditch the first category and keep the latter one.

2) Rely on Sufficient Whitespace. Readers with a short attention span need whitespace as badly as you need a break after a busy day at the office. Let them have it! Otherwise, they will just bounce off your page. Whitespace is your trustworthy “clutter buster” allowing users to scan and assimilate your info faster and better than ever before.

3) Let Your User Be in Control at All Times. While navigating on your website, users don’t want to experience the feeling that they are lost. Your website architecture should let them know where they are and help them figure out where they want to get. Furthermore, a plethora of websites use Flash animations to give visitors something to look at while the page loads. Truth be told, web surfers are very impatient and have a minimal tolerance for such tricks. Sliders that change images at the speed of light can make the reader angry or frustrated. If you want to use animation at all costs, at least give your potential customers the chance to skip or stop it. The same goes for audio intros and all other kinds of special effects that may irritate the visitors, instead of entertaining, informing or educating them.

4) Content Diversity Is the Key to Success. Dynamic multimedia content is a mighty king that you cannot afford to ignore these days. Make sure your web content displays a perfect balance between text fragments, video and audio and pictures. Turn your attention to other important factors, like infographics and podcasts, for instance, which can consolidate your bond with your readers and make them appreciate your forward-thinking website design and content diversity.

5) Minimalism Meets Opulence. Well-balanced, minimalist design can never be boring. To get closer to a minimalist, fully functional website, you don’t have to strip it of all the elements that give it character. It just means that you have to keep (and accentuate) the design elements that truly provide value to your visitors, and dump the rest. This way, users will be able to focus on the wow factors that actually individualize your brand and separate it from its main competitors. Sometimes, less is more. Before adding a Flash intro or a Twitter sidebar widget that may disorient your users, remember that simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication. If your message can be delivered in less than 5 words (and even fewer images), opt for this creative approach. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You just have to take it down, understand its mechanism, reassemble itand create your own version.

6) Be Bold, Be Creative, Be Yourself. The most important thing that you should do is to ditch the counterproductive “me too” approach and focus on the custom design elements that individualize your business and make it more attractive in the eyes of the grand public. If you want to turn your website into an appealing, highest-converting masterpiece, don’t hesitate to experiment by putting different design concepts into practice.

Regular Testing Makes Perfect

Nonetheless, don’t forget to test each novelty factor. According to recent studies, 61% of all companies conduct less than 5 tests on a monthly basis. No wonder they fail to attain their business goals! In this context, it is always advisable to work closely with a team of professional website designers who are familiar with your project and have what it takes to improve the looks and functionality of your website on time and on a budget. In case you need a helping hand, get the info that you may require by subscribing to our newsletter. Or better yet, just give us a call and get us involved in the creative work that can support your conversion optimization efforts and help you witness a measurable increase in sales.

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