These days, having a company website is essential. It’s no longer a choice for most businesses whether they have an online presence or not. They simply can’t not be online.Smart businesses understand that websites can be powerful.

They understand that a website can impact a prospect positively, negatively, or have no impact at all. So in other words a company’s website can be a huge asset to the business, neither an asset nor a liability, or a liability (it actually hurts you).

So what makes a website actually work? What makes a website do it’s marketing job effectively? What makes a website actually influence prospects to do what you want them to? What is great web design…?

Obviously there’s no perfect answer. But there are certain elements that we have identified as being paramount for creating a beautiful website that has maximum impact on visitors.

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” —Steve Jobs

We must understand that inbound marketing website design goes far beyond how it looks. Web design is actually how a site works and the feel that it invokes within users. So with this expanded perspective here are 6 ingredients that are critical for an optimal website.

  1. Clean navigation that functions logically. The navigation is the first thing that people see. Obviously it’s important for it to feel pleasant and clean. In order to accomplish a clean navigation, it must be perfectly laid out logically leaving out any unnecessary elements and leaving the user feeling empowered, not confused.
  2. Beautiful typography. Typography is a big deal. A website that looks great always has beautiful type. Typography starts with font choices but goes far beyond this. Usage of color, sizing, line heights, paragraph margins and padding, all come into play. When someone nails all of these elements, you get a website that has a soothing and natural feel. You get messaging that stands out visually as well.
  3. White Space. Proper spacing is critical for a great site. In fact it may be the most important element. It’s the space that actually creates the impact and sets up the design and messaging to stand out. Without proper spacing, a site will turn to visual garbage really quick. Using consistent and logical spacing is critical.
  4. Logical Layout. This one is somewhat vague, but a site must be laid out logically. There must be a flow to it. A great design will take a prospect through a journey, yet a journey they can skip around through (skim). This is about synergy and presenting the right thing at the right time in the right way.
  5. Messaging that fits into the design. This one is often overlooked, but having messaging that fits within the design, and even having the messaging itself be considered part of the design is important. Design and messaging aren’t separate in reality! Actually, they are both simply part of the overall experience. Clearly they need to work in harmony. A great website incorporates messaging as part of the design.
  6. Design elements that communicate. The best design is as little design as possible. This is a foundational concept for beautifully designed sites. Everything within a great website will pack somewhat of a punch or at least be apart of the overall synergy of elements. Obviously you need imagery and design elements, but the key is to find ones that actually serve a purpose and ‘just fit.’

These are 6 ingredients for great design. Let’s take a look at 6 websites through this new filter of perception. Think about the 6 elements I mentioned above as you check out the sites. Pay close attention to how each site nails them all.

1) Nest.com

Nest.com screams smart design. It’s a site I’ve been watching for a few years now. Everything on the site is logically laid out to perfection. It’s one of the best sales sites I’ve ever come across. From the product pages to the blog, everything on nest.com nails it.

Click here to check it out.
nest

2) Sendtoinc.com

The word clean perfectly describes inc.com. From the flow of the site, what they say and when they say it, to the visual elements describing the software, sendtoinc.com is a superior designed site.

Click here to check it out.
nest

3) Nike.com

Nike.com has an enormous amount of products and information, yet it doesn’t feel that way. Whatever team created this site deserves big time respect because the site is near perfect for what it is trying to do. How they fit everything within their navigation is brilliant. And throughout the site you get a perfect mix of information, products, and beautiful imagery.

Click here to check out the site.
nest

4) Infinum.co

Infinum.co is a site I went to and thought ‘wow’ to myself. Everything about the site perfectly fits together for an experience that is fantastic. From the blog design to the unique navigation that incorporates their logo, infinum.co is a site that shines.

Click here to check it out.
nest

5) Automatic.com

Very similar to nest.com, automatic.com is another fantastic site you should check out. From the videos, to the messaging, to the blog, it’s a site that way built right.

Click here to check it out.
nest

6) Learndot.com

Learndot.com is another beautiful site with powerful messaging built into the design. The custom pages they’ve created are beautiful and perfectly describe what they have to offer.

Click here to check it out.
nest

Conclusion

Now you know what to look for within great design. Remember design is how something works! Not just how it looks. So start looking at websites through this new perspective. Also remember these 6 ingredients for great design:

  1. Clean navigation that functions logically.
  2. Beautiful typography.
  3. White Space.
  4. Logical Layout.
  5. Messaging that fits into the design.
  6. Design elements that communicate.