Website design trends are constantly changing and it can seem hard to keep up with them, especially if you built your website years ago and never touched the design again.
As we all prepare for whatever 2021 may bring, there’s an important question to consider: Is it time for an upgrade?
If you’re thinking about providing virtual services — or moving your entire business online if your state requires it — you’re definitely not alone. In fact, the pandemic has caused a massive surge in online sales. It’s no surprise that many trainers are pivoting to try to keep up.
That includes making sure your website not only looks great but is also functional… Meaning it makes it easy for new clients to decide to work with you AND for existing clients to continue working with you.
It can definitely feel overwhelming (or expensive) to consider redesigning your website, or building one entirely from scratch. But it doesn’t have to be scary!
That’s why I developed my Business End of the Dog: Building a WordPress Website class. It takes you through all the steps you need to get set up for success. The next session starts in February, and I hope you’ll consider joining me then!
Are you itching to get started? Don’t worry: I’ve got some tips for you. I’ll be sharing them in the next couple of blog posts, so be sure to follow along for more.
Let’s start with the fun part: What do modern website designs look like? What trends are we seeing in 2020 and going into 2021? Here are just a few:
Soft, Comforting Colors
Everyone is spending more time online these days. Our computers, tablets, and phones have become our schools, workplaces, shopping centers, and social gathering spaces.
With so much time spent staring at screens, Zoom fatigue is real, even if you’re not sitting in back-to-back work calls.
As an answer to that, we’re seeing lots of websites turn to soft colors in natural and neutral palettes. These colors are much more soothing on the eyes than some of the bolder colors we’ve seen in the past. Psychologically, cool colors create a sense of calm and relaxation.
Before you start building or redesigning, consider which tones look good, work with your brand design, and will ultimately keep people on your website. The amount of time spent on your page can affect your SEO rating, so this is particularly important if you’re trying to drive traffic to your site.
If you need help figuring out which colors go together, try mimicking websites that have good reviews for their design. There are also plenty of resources for free color palette generators you can use online — I particularly like Coolors.co.
Scrolling as Interactive Design
Interactive design is so important in keeping people engaged. In real life, they might pick up products on a store shelf to look at the design, read information, test products out, or talk to a sales associate to ask questions.
So how can we mimic these interactions online?
Make your website responsive to what people physically do on their computers. Here’s an easy way to envision this: You slide your fingers across the trackpad or slide the wheel on your mouse and the website scrolls in response.
The important takeaway here is to create a space where customers are surprised and delighted by new content as they scroll down. Some pages — like your “Contact” or “About” page — don’t lend themselves well to this because there just isn’t that much content to put on them.
But for your homepage, don’t feel scared to put too much information on it! This is the page where most people will first encounter your business. It’s where they’ll decide if they want to explore more, so include anything that feels relevant.
An important caveat to this: make sure to create divisions by using separators, white space, images, or icons. Keep information in tidy “containers” so that it’s not overwhelming to look at. Consider using organic shapes as separators, as these have started becoming more popular in the last year or so. Like cool colors, natural shapes can evoke a sense of calm and relaxation.
You can also use strategic writing tricks to keep everything looking neat and orderly. I’ve got some of them outlined here for you!
Prominent Homepage Hero
A “hero” image is an oversized banner at the top of your webpage that is usually a customer’s first interaction with your website. It’s made up of an image, color, or graphic plus text that conveys important messaging you want to establish right off the bat.
This can be your company’s slogan, but it’s usually your “value proposition.” This is a term marketing folks use to describe what makes your services valuable. Think of it as an elevator pitch — What do you offer, and how do you differ from your competition? Keep it concise, memorable, and specific. This should very quickly tell potential customers exactly what you do and why they should stay on your page.
In 2020 and going into 2021, we’re seeing much bigger and more prominent hero images on homepages. Some even take up the full height of the screen! These quickly grab a potential customer’s attention and establish trust by providing explicit information instead of snazzy marketing pitches that might ring false.
While accessibility should never be considered a “trend,” we’re definitely seeing a rise in companies considering ways to make their websites easier to read, view, and interact with.
This can be established through good design practices, such as:
- Using high contrast colors between background and text
- Including explicit instructions and labels in forms
- Including alt tags in your images that clearly indicate what’s in the image (this also helps boost your SEO)
- Streamline your design by keeping it minimalist
- Use headers to structure everything correctly
Take some extra time to make sure your website is accessible. This creates excellent online customer service, which in turn boosts your customer engagement and helps you reach a bigger audience.
Follow Established (and Expected) Website Conventions
It can be tempting to get creative with how you structure your website. My biggest advice to you? Don’t!
There are some evergreen rules for web design that will never go out of style, simply because they work and people know to expect them.
- Put your menu at the top or left side of the screen
- Put your logo at the top left or top center
- Clicking on the logo should take you to the homepage
- Buttons should be easy to find — Make them look like buttons and not quirky images
- Text links should be consistent (such as making them a different color or underlining them)
As I mentioned, trends are constantly changing. That means you should feel empowered to make changes to your design and content as it feels relevant!
You can easily Google the year’s design trends for ideas if you’re feeling stuck. There are also plenty of web building practices that you can put into place from the beginning to make sure your page looks great no matter how far down the road you are.
I’ll be covering these in my upcoming class, so make sure to register at FDSA here if you’re ready for a refresh.
And stay tuned to the Click & Repeat blog for more web-building tips and tricks until then!