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Fun Fact: There are over 1 billion websites in the world today.

With so many websites, it can be hard – seemingly impossible – to stand out.

Getting traffic to your site is hard enough on its own, and getting those people to stay and actually do something is harder still. But…

What makes a good website, anyway?

Alright, so this is a pretty huge subject to tackle. There are thousands of books and courses written on web design.

Before I start spatting off lessons, I want to ensure you can take something away and implement it today.

So, here are the four basic principles of what makes a good website to keep in mind before your redesign/launch:

  1. Purpose. Great design starts with a purpose in mind. Ask yourself, “What do I want to accomplish with this page?” If a page doesn’t have a clear purpose, consider getting rid of it.
  2. Aesthetically pleasing. I’ll dig more into this in section one on visual design, but your site needs to look good. If your site looks like it was built in the 90’s, it’s time for an update.
  3. Relevant and original content. Your site should show content that’s relevant to your target market and original. Plagiarism is illegal and penalized by Google. Besides, it’s better to be a first-rate version of yourself than a second-rate version of someone else.
  4. Clear site navigation. I’ll discuss this further in section two on technical aspects, but know that navigation matters. Any page on your site should be within three clicks of any other page on your site. Your navigation should be intuitive and simple. This helps both Google for SEO and your visitors for navigation.

Branding Through Site Design

Your brand is your image. Everything from the colors you use to the fonts you choose affects people’s perception of who you are.

Sonia Gregory says that “as a small business, you may be competing against big brands with devoted customers. That’s why you have to find ways to differentiate–with a solid brand building process of your own.”

What do you want people to think when they see your site?

Edgy, modern, satirical, professional, something else?

You can convey those things through your design. Just take a look at the psychology of color – different colors convey different emotions.

In fact, a study titled “Impact of color on marketing” found that up to 90% of snap judgments made about products can be based on color alone, depending on the product.

Beyond color, you also have font choice. And yes, there is a psychology behind font choice as well. Ted Hunt from Crazy Egg made this cool infographic about it.

Regardless of the font you choose for your logo and branding efforts, you should always choose readability over emotional feel for your main body font. Typically that means sans serif fonts, as they read the best on the web.

One last tip on font choice: Don’t use more than two fonts in your design. Pick two that compliment each other and stick with those for your entire brand.

Key Takeaway: Choose no more than three colors and two fonts to represent your brand. Write down the fonts and color codes and use them consistently across your entire site and marketing efforts.