Guidelines and Techniques for Excellent Website Design

The digital space is like a bustling city, pulsating with millions of websites, each vying for attention. A Forbes report shows there are approximately 1.13 billion websites on the internet in 2023. In this whirlpool of pixels, how can your brand's virtual footprint leave an indelible mark?

Guidelines and Techniques for Excellent Website Design

The digital space is like a bustling city, pulsating with millions of websites, each vying for attention. A Forbes report shows there are approximately 1.13 billion websites on the internet in 2023. In this whirlpool of pixels, how can your brand's virtual footprint leave an indelible mark?

The secret lies in excellent website design. A visually engaging, user-friendly website acts as a catalyst that propels your startup from the realm of obscurity into the spotlight of recognition.

Excellent website design goes beyond beautiful aesthetics — it must be a seamless fusion of strategic storytelling, intuitive navigation, and purposeful design elements. Even when using web design tools like Webflow, mastering certain techniques is crucial for designing a winning website.

So, how does one embark on this seemingly herculean task? This guide delves into web design essentials to help you design a site that drives your startup’s growth.

Know Your Goal

Knowing your audience is crucial to excellent website design because it sets the stage for a more targeted and relevant user experience. Your audience's needs and behaviors directly influence your website's goals, shaping the call to action (CTAs), content, and overall structure.

If your website's primary goal is to drive usage or adoption, like for open-source software or B2C brands, your goal should be to encourage users to get started. In such cases, most CTAs should be action-oriented, like "Try Now" or "Get Started."

However, the approach will differ if your goal is to generate more discovery calls — typical with larger deal B2B software or startups exploring problem spaces with regular customer demands. In these cases, the website design and the CTAs should encourage users to engage in a deeper conversation.

Here, your CTAs should be inviting, like "Schedule Free Call," linked to a Calendly setup with qualifying questions to filter prospects. In this scenario, you should frame the call as a valuable, free service, not a sales call.

Make an Easy Skeleton for Your Site

An easy website skeleton reflecting your content's hierarchy can provide a robust foundation for excellent website design. Here is what your skeleton should include:

Hero Section

The hero section is your site's "elevator pitch," strategically positioned at the top of your homepage to grab your audience's attention. It should:

  • Tell: Use a clear and compelling heading, subheading, and a call-to-action (CTA) to communicate your product's purpose and value proposition concisely. The CTA should invite visitors to interact further with your site.
  • Show: Showcasing your product's functionality through illustrations or animations can help visitors understand how it works in a more digestible and visually appealing way.

Social Proof

Social proof is about demonstrating your product's value through external validation to enhance credibility and trustworthiness. You should showcase the following:

Prominent customers or investors: Highlight any recognizable names associated with your brand, which can significantly boost credibility. If you've secured investment from a recognized entity like Y Combinator, highlight that.

Track record: Share any significant milestones or traction you've achieved. Showcase the GitHub stars your project has received or a successful Product Hunt launch to demonstrate tech credibility.

How It Works

In this section, explain your product's functionality in depth. Use illustrations, keeping them simple, to reduce cognitive load.

Advanced Features

Here, you can detail the specific features that set your product apart, offering depth for those interested in more nuanced information. Provide enough information to pique interest and curiosity.


Testimonials will add authenticity and credibility to your website. The best practice is to group the testimonials by common use cases to show your product’s diverse applications and effectiveness in solving different problems.

Teaser Section

This previews key sections of your website based on your key performance indicators (KPI). You can preview the following:

  • Pricing: If your goal is revenue generation through self-service.
  • Calendar Link: If your aim is revenue generation through sales.
  • Signup/Onboarding: If your goal is to encourage product adoption.

A Call to Action Should be Visible on Every View

When we say a CTA should be "visible in every view," we mean it should be easily noticeable no matter where on the site a user navigates. Here's why this is crucial.

Your website is not just a digital storefront but a guided journey nudging visitors toward a desired action. Having a visible CTA in every view continually reminds visitors of that potential action, helping to maintain focus and direction.

Additionally, people have varied browsing habits. Some may scroll leisurely, exploring all your content, while others quickly skim through. By always having a visible CTA, you cater to all browsing styles, ensuring that the opportunity to convert isn't missed.

Your CTAs need to be clear about the action they prompt, and that action must be relevant to the visitor's current context on your site. Misplaced or confusing CTAs can deter potential conversions.

Use Visual Metaphors Thoughtfully

A visual metaphor can enrich your UI design, making your website more engaging, comprehensible, and memorable. However, thoughtful use of metaphors, adhering to these best practices, is recommended.

Consistency in Visual Metaphors

Keeping visual metaphors consistent across your website includes using the same colors throughout and clearly separating visual content from textual content. Consistent use of colors across visual metaphors helps maintain visual continuity and enhances your brand identity. A clear distinction between text (tell) and images (show) ensures that each can be understood individually and together, enhancing comprehension.

Minimizing Cognitive Load

In web design, minimizing cognitive workload means making your site as simple and intuitive as possible. To achieve this:

  • Use one dominant color: Too many colors can overwhelm the user.
  • Use product illustrations to convey complex information simply: Keeping text to a minimum and abstracting away less critical elements can ensure the core message is clear.
  • Use fuzzy product illustrations: Highlight only the most essential aspects of your product, such as a mobile app interface or web page layout, instead of using detailed, full-fidelity mocks. Fuzzy illustrations help users focus on the essential elements without overwhelming them with details.

Use Color to Build Focus

When designing your startup’s website, you should use color to build focus:

Around Your Brand

As a marketing site, your website’s color scheme should align with your brand's identity. Consistently using these colors across your website establishes a visual identity that users associate with your brand.

Around Individual Value Props

For example, using a contrasting color for CTAs or key information can make these elements stand out. The colors will guide users toward desired actions or help them quickly understand your product's unique benefits.

Away From Other Brands

Remember, your website is a stage where your product should be the star. It shouldn’t echo the color scheme of other brands, particularly those within the same industry. Any reference to other products or services should be minimized and visually downplayed.

Map Each Section to a Persona + Goal

Designing each section of your website to cater to a specific persona and their goal is an essential technique for excellent web design. Keep the following in mind:

Understand Your Visitors

Every visitor comes to your website with an identity, background, and goal. These goals can be mapped to a general awareness framework, including these stages: unaware, problem-aware, solution-aware, and product-aware. Some of the customers’ goals could include:

  • Self-education: Visitors want to learn about your problem space or product.
  • Trial: These visitors want to accomplish something with your product, such as signing up for a test drive or trial.
  • Deep dive: Users at this stage want to explore the advanced functionality of your product.
  • Pitch their boss or team: These users believe in your product but need to build a case for its adoption within their organization. For instance, they might be looking to present how your product can improve their company's compliance posture.
  • Buy: These visitors are ready to make a purchase.

Every goal mentioned above should ideally have a specific CTA. This means not only a unique button or link but also a unique copy and potentially a unique destination.

For instance, a 'Learn More' button might lead to an educational blog post for self-educators, while a 'Start a Free Trial' button could lead to a signup page for those ready to test your product. By mapping each section of your website to a persona and a goal, you can create a more personalized and engaging user experience.

Bonus: Easy Improvements

While pursuing an innovative, engaging website design, it's easy to overlook some fundamental yet highly impactful aspects that could drastically enhance your site's performance. Here are some of the tips to ensure your website is effective:

Use consistent CTAs: Ensure your CTAs remain consistent, especially those above the fold. A design system, which provides a set of standards for design and code, can greatly assist with maintaining this consistency.

Include a single CTA in the hero section: Having just one compelling CTA prevents decision paralysis, guides your users more effectively, and increases conversions.

Prioritize a responsive design: Regularly check your website's layout and functionality on different devices to ensure a seamless user experience for all visitors, irrespective of their device.

Include a micro-copy below the hero section’s CTA: Add a small piece of persuasive text to convince visitors that clicking on the CTA will be worth their time. Emphasize the speed of the process and remind them that many others have benefited from taking this action, creating a sense of social proof and urgency.

Let Expert Designers Assist in Crafting Your Excellent Website

Your website is the digital face of your startup, often serving as the first point of interaction with potential customers. It's essential to design it strategically, ensuring it's engaging, user-friendly, and purpose-driven. Executing the above web design techniques flawlessly requires skill, expertise, and a deep understanding of design principles.

That's why engaging a skilled designer to actualize these web design principles is advisable. At NUMI, we will pair you with the world’s best designer whose experience, skills, and work history align with your expectations. Hire a pro designer today and start building your digital presence.

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