There are definitely standards for how a website should look. But too much focus on fancy design might be hurting your website.

No one ever bought something because of the way the sign, flyer, or website looked.

A reasonable baseline for design is to make it NOT destroy trust or credibility. Since pain is the ultimate motivator, an ugly website will drive people away faster than an attractive website will entice them to read more.

Yet some plain-jane sites are among the most popular on the web:

Here Are Some Things More Important Than The Design Of Your Website

  • you provide a product or service that people actually want
  • your offer is communicated in an enticing and clear manner
  • the navigation is simple, and it’s easy to find all the pages
  • the site loads quickly

This is straight talk. For some, it may sting a little.

In my experience of building websites, people who are focused on the design do it at the expense of everything I listed above.

There may be a time to try different colors on the buttons. There may be a time to experiment with a thicker bolded font. There may be a time to ask for more line spacing between the pictures and the text.

Maybe.

But until you can look at the words that are going to go on your site, and honestly believe they will connect with potential customers, then everything else is just stalling.

Especially if you have no conversions. A conversion means a user comes to your site and takes an action, like emailing or calling or filling out a form or buying something.

So to be clear, I’m not saying you are crazy if you want to test different button colors.

I’m saying that if you care about the button colors before you have written the button text and got a few people to click on the button, then you are doing things in the wrong order.

Now, let’s say you have done all the high priority stuff.

There are a few design aspects to consider, at least so you’re not driving people away or distracting them from your awesome message.

Basic Website Design Standards

1. Consistent Branding
Your website should match the look and feel of all other company imagery: logo, signage, decals, uniforms, ads, etc.

2. Responsive
Your website should adjust to all the different viewing devices: widescreen monitor, laptop, tablet, mobile phone.

3. Readable Text
Your website should use fonts that are web-safe (consistent style for everyone) and readable… this is the only exception to rule #1, in that you should avoid fancy handwriting style fonts even if they match the rest of your branding.

4. F-Shaped Visual Arrangement
Your logo should appear in the top left or the top middle, and your menu should be along the top or the left side; users scan a website in an F pattern so there is no need to try and reinvent the wheel on this.