5 can't-miss modern website ingredients and why they matter
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In our digital-first world, consumers do most, if not all, of their buying online. They form relationships with brands, build loyalty, and spread word of mouth, all based on a business’ online presence.
In fact, most people make up their minds about a company after spending less than one second on its website.
That means just having a website is no longer enough. The bar has been raised. Today’s website visitors expect impactful home pages, easy-to-use navigation, custom illustrations, sharp images, bold colors, responsive design, and an immersive experience.
They expect to be wowed.
Maybe you made a website in 2002 and haven’t looked back. Or, you switch web providers every year, looking for the perfect service to boost your web traffic.
Either way, you can’t downplay the importance of modern web design.
So how do you elevate your site to reflect modern website design trends? This article will walk you through the key ingredients of creative modern web designs, with great examples you can easily apply to your own website.
What’s considered modern website design?
It’s hard to forget the internet’s awkward 90s graphic design adolescence when websites were all about Flash, bright colors, three-dimensional fonts, and moving graphics.
Everyone has to grow up sometime, and web design is no different.
What does it mean to have a great website?
Descended from the frenetic Atlantic City aesthetic of the early internet emerged a more stripped-down style that highlights the most relevant content of a website.
Now, a home page should have a perfect design with an eye-catching color scheme to attract attention and deliver seamless experiences to site visitors.
The best examples of modern website design focus on your customers
This shift, from web design that shows off to web pages that deliver value, defines modern web designs. Minimalist creative design often uses negative space to make key feature interaction easier.
Functionality delivers seamless performance across computers and mobile devices.
Beyond the way they look and perform, modern web design delivers a novel marketing approach. For example, stripped-down design guides users to the information they want. A home page now might have a clear value proposition, CTA, and scheduling forms.
These tools transform your site from a static digital flier into an interactive inbound lead generator.
What are the benefits of having a modern website?
If your current site generates decent traffic, you might wonder if changing to modern website design principles is worth the effort.
In a world that increasingly exists online, no matter your industry, your website has become your storefront window – you need to merchandise things to encourage people to come in, learn more, and buy. Some reasons to consider upgrading to modern website design:
1. Provides a professional first impression
Users only need 50 milliseconds to form an opinion about a brand based on the website. You have a fraction of a second to capture user attention.
2. Sets you apart from the competition
As much as 75 percent of users judge a brand’s trustworthiness based on the graphic design of its website.
Establishing audience trust and building a relationship with users starts with graphic design.
3. Delivers a striking, personalized experience for your visitors
Website visitors spend about two seconds before landing on key areas. Users disengage from cluttered, difficult-to-navigate design. Modern website examples highlight CTAs for streamlined interactions.
Modern web design helps you operate at the speed of the internet, when first impressions, judgments, and engagement all happen in an instant.
Differences between modern web design and regular websites
Design choices aren’t a matter of preference, and the age of three-dimensional graphics and website animations has passed. The benefits of clean design show up in web traffic, conversion rate, and ultimately, profit.
Besides aesthetics, the difference between modern web design examples and regular web pages is in the approach. For context, a bit of backstory on the evolution of web design and its application.
Traditional web design
If you disregard the Flash animations of traditional webpages, they were essentially static, info-dense representations of organizations. Companies hired designers to build their website, and then they’d park it at a web address for years at a time.
When it was time to update information or services, they’d often pay a new designer for an entirely new product.
This strategy worked fine because users primarily used the internet to gather information and exclusively via computer.
A shift to Web 2.0
Those companies that took a modern approach from the start were better positioned to adapt to the Internet 2.0, with mobile browsing and social media. Here, the user experience rules supreme.
However, for most brands, a company’s web presence was separate from the rest of their marketing efforts. Few organizations took advantage of the true potential for graphic design to create brand trust and engage a new audience.
Businesses no longer have the luxury of ignoring the internet – to thrive in your market, you have to implement modern web design strategies.
Today’s clients expect modern web design
New businesses don’t sleep on building a web presence. Today, before a brand even launches, they establish a website with an impactful landing page and social media accounts full of viral-ready images.
The rise of modern design tools over the last decade makes it easy to update and revise week after week to capture traffic and meet your audience in whatever way they’re browsing, whether on smartphones or computers.
Additionally, website platforms now offer much more in terms of integrations and interoperability, enabling businesses to establish a robust online presence instead of simply a static page.
By studying web traffic metrics, brands can adjust to optimize their site to better capture a new audience. This isn’t the final iteration of the internet.
The companies that review modern website design examples and their principles will be at the forefront of the next generation of marketing strategies.
A great example of modern web design is that which synthesizes the potential of a brand’s web presence.
How can I make my site modern?
Now that you know the essential components of a modern site, you might be wondering how to implement them. Unfortunately, it will probably take more than changing fonts and adding white space to your current homepage. If you’re looking to bring your website up to modern design standards, here are some things you should be looking at:
1. Prioritize good design
Website design is the visual experience of your website. The design choices have a substantial impact on your business’ success.
The way your website looks matters.
Web pages with minimalist designs and strategic use of graphics and imagery can go a long way in showcasing who you are as a professional. Look for design elements and photography that speak to your audience, delight, and create an emotional connection.
If you’re working with outside experts, they should understand your brand and offer suggestions for imagery and graphic elements that will enhance your visitors’ experience. If you’re unsure of where to start, look at other company websites for inspiration.
When you work with professional designers for a modern website, you can incorporate your current branding, such as typography, colors, and archetypes. B12 has a gallery of modern websites that provide industry-specific design examples to help you formulate your own website design ideas.
2. Apply user experience best practices
Standards for online experiences have evolved drastically. Now, more than ever, businesses need to consider the accessibility, navigability, and general usability of each web page they build. With expectations that modern websites should be easy to engage and interact with, it’s critical for sites to meet today’s user needs.
With over 15 percent of the global population having a disability of some sort, it’s critical to have an accessible website. Accessibility standards not only make your site inclusive, they also expand your reach to more potential clients. For some industries, an accessible website is even a legal requirement. When thinking about site accessibility, be mindful of the following components that are part of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) referenced by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA):
Logical Structure and Sequence of Information
- Content is presented in a meaningful order and with logical structure and hierarchy
Use of color
- High contrast imagery and presentation that doesn’t rely solely on color
- The site can be navigated by keyboard and doesn’t trap the visitor or employ character key shortcuts
- Appropriate titles, alt text for images, labels for interactions, and contextual links are used throughout the site
- Icons, headings and buttons are consistently formatted and applied.
Websites designed for accessibility deliver the experiences that users want to decrease bounce rates and drive conversions. They use multiple pages, so users don’t have to scroll forever to find the information they want.
Considering 88 percent of users don’t return to a website after a bad experience, design with responsive features is crucial for growing your audience. With people spending so much time on the go, it’s imperative to have a mobile and browser-responsive site. That means ensuring your site renders seamlessly regardless of device – desktop, mobile, or phone. It also means making sure your site works with the most current browsers and operating systems – whether that’s Android, iOS, or other platforms.
Clear Visual Hierarchy
Beyond accessibility benefits, having a clear information architecture for your website ensures users have context and guidance for how to engage. By using size and contrast, modern web design draws your visitor’s eye to the most important areas of your site. It also applies common patterns that feel familiar to visitors so that they don’t waste time trying to orient themselves.
Since sites today are skimmed and scanned, being mindful of hierarchy of information, and using design to make the most important elements stand out, ensures visitors absorb as much information as possible, quickly.
3. Optimize it for search engines
We can’t talk about impactful web presence without mentioning SEO. Briefly: SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and includes practices and structures to let search engines (primarily Google) know that a website:
Is relevant to the focus of a user’s search
Site content that incorporates frequently-searched keywords into high-value areas of a website demonstrates relevancy.
Has high-quality content
Spamming content with keywords can lead search engines to poor content evaluation.
Delivers fast load speed for both home and other pages
Search engines don’t rank sites that take forever to load. Most users won’t wait more than a few seconds.
Prioritizes user experience with design in their comfort zone
Infinite scrolling and dense language lead to a higher bounce rate. The top search results are easy to navigate with an attractive color scheme and readable bold letters.
Where to create SEO content
SEO content happens in two places on a website, on the page and within the site’s structure.
On-page content puts keywords in high-value places–such as a menu button or header–and throughout paragraph text.
On-page SEO is:
- Page URLs that contain accurate descriptions of page content: i.e., about, store, contact.
- Image alt-descriptions with the deliberate use of keywords.
- Page meta-descriptions tell search engines, other tools, and users the content on each website page.
At the heart of all SEO practices and the best modern website ideas is the core idea of creating high-quality content. By focusing on quality, sites can climb the results page.
4. Ensure it’s secure and reliable
No matter the size of a company, a data breach can devastate brand trust. Users enter their personal data, from home addresses to credit card numbers, into website forms. Security is one of the most important elements of modern sites.
Through encryption and authentication, modern websites are created using the most current security protocols and certifications.
The Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol protects HTTP sites, IMAP mail, and other access structures. It’s the next generation of security protocol after the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).
TLS asks a website to confirm itself through encrypted communication with a trusted third party. It also encrypts data sent to and from the website, making interception by hackers almost impossible.
Is data security automatic in modern sites?
Not every website or web template provider offers these protocols on automatically created sites.
When choosing a provider for your site, consider whether they use the most current protocols. Data security can impact your search engine ranking but also conversion rates. When you work with a professional designer to build your site, they provide tech support to keep your site running optimally.
Users are more apprehensive than ever about what happens to their data online, with 81 percent of internet users feeling that the risks of submitting their data online outweigh the benefits.
A modern website communicates trust through its design and backs it up by using the latest encryption and authentication security protocols.
5. Harness the power of integrations
Thankfully, along with three-dimensional fonts and Flash animations, the days of struggling to get all facets of your workflow to work cohesively have passed.
With a modern website, you never have to enter client information multiple times, schedule appointments across apps, and confirm orders in different places.
Great websites support your favorite platforms
An excellent example of how modern website design templates streamline conversions is the integration with third-party platforms you’re already using.
Instead of learning a new system of scheduling, invoicing, and emailing, modern websites meet users and their clients within their workflow.
Using a modern design tool, you can eliminate pain points and optimize efficiency in the rote aspects of your business, instead focusing on business growth with a beautiful website design.
Your website should work as hard as you do
There’s no denying the internet has made winning business a more competitive game. With most purchasing done online, modern websites provide unique advantages. When built right, they can become your number one sales and engagement tool – helping you win more business, look professional, and save time. Let your web presence position you to dominate your market and drive ongoing growth.