9 essential tips for modern business website design

9 essential tips for modern business website design

Learn how to apply modern business website design principles to your next site.

9 essential tips for modern business website design

Learn how to apply modern business website design principles to your next site.

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Written by
Jeff Cardello
Jeff Cardello
Jeff Cardello
Jeff Cardello

A business website needs great design to showcase its brand and generate leads.

Websites are hubs where potential customers and clients can learn more about your brand and decide whether to make a purchase, sign up for a subscription, or book an onboarding call. Strong business website design centers key information and communicates a brand’s mission so that customers can learn more about what the business offers. 

Combining functionality with aesthetic elements in a site’s design is the final step to help customers feel confident about converting. Here are several ways to improve business website design to grow your or your client’s customer base. 

9 effective tips for a good business website

Every business needs a site that reflects what it is and what it has to offer. Learn how to design business websites that turn casual website visitors into paying customers.

1. Outline your business goals

A business website needs at least one goal — like getting customers to sign up for a newsletter, make a purchase, or fill out a contact form. A software-as-a-service (SaaS) website, for example, will have different objectives than a neighborhood coffee shop. Your goals inform what content and elements a design needs to succeed.

Decide how your website will fit into your or your client’s overall business strategy, and set goals from there. Then, design a website that suits these needs, whether that’s emphasizing social media links to earn more followers or creating an organized navigation system where customers can find items and purchase them faster.

A screenshot of The New Health Club’s website landing page, with dark green background and a white heading that says “Get updated on new feelings.”

The New Health Club, designed by Katarzyna Pomieczynska, is a mental wellness platform and podcast that explores psychedelics. 

As visitors start scrolling down the homepage, a newsletter call-to-action (CTA) appears under the top fold and an accompanying paragraph tells them exactly what they’re signing up for. Email reminders help increase the odds that subscribers will listen to new episodes of The New Health Club podcast and keep up with the business. 

Among the changing earth-tone backgrounds and photos of desert flora, embedded podcast episodes encourage people to listen to learn about the brain. The New Health Club’s main goal is gaining subscribers to the podcast, and this soothing, earthy design encourages people to do exactly that.

2. Use a distinct brand voice

A website is the perfect opportunity to solidify your brand identity. An effective design tells potential customers exactly what makes your brand unique, whether that’s through friendly copy or exciting animations. 

Create a color palette that stands out, and include on-brand illustrations, photos, and copy to leave potential customers with a strong impression of the company.

A screenshot of the Heroes’ homepage, featuring a high-resolution image of a reptile’s eye with the heading “Awaken your inner hero” and a CTA that says “Start your journey.”

Heroes’ landing page, designed by We Met Before, captures the essence of its life coaching service with a bold header, “Awaken your inner hero.” This heading, paired with a few rhetorical questions in a smaller font, speaks directly to the visitor. The hero image of a reptile’s eye seems to look right at viewers, bringing them into the site experience. Full-page photos and intriguing copy assert Heroes’ branding while guiding them through the site content.  

3. Follow structure and organization

Offer a coherent user flow so potential customers can find the information they need when they need it. Plan your website structure so it makes sense for site visitors. A clothing store website, for example, has organized sections — women, men, kids — with subcategories — tops, bottoms, outerwear — to help users find what they need.

A screenshot of Blue Bottle Coffee’s landing page, with an image of instant coffee in a jar and serving bowl on a towel, with a deep spoon above the “subscribe now” button.

Blue Bottle Coffee offers coffee subscriptions and education opportunities, and its navigation reflects that. The bar at the top of the page displays three categories: Shop, Subscriptions, and Learn. These few categories expand to provide options without cluttering the page. Moving to other pages reveals more content and offers the information visitors need to buy some coffee or sign up for a class, thanks to the intuitive navigation and website structure. 

4. Have a distinct user experience (UX)

UX design considers the user’s experience and combines important elements like color, copy, and navigation to create an intuitive and visually appealing website. The UX process usually includes research, like A/B testing, heatmap analysis, or surveys, to identify web elements that keep users clicking. A website with good UX design caters to its target audience with clear layouts and offers a smooth user journey, leading to more conversions and positive impressions.

A screenshot of JO&SO’s homepage, featuring a full-page image of trees in a field and two people sleeping in a bed in the middle, with the header “The cool hotels in Portugal handpicked by two Portuguese sisters.”

Sofia L’s design for JO&SO, a travel website focusing on hotels in Portugal, has a clean navigation bar at the top of the homepage that shows visitors their options without distracting them. Scrolling reveals different site sections — like accommodations in different cities — with colorful buttons a few shades darker than the backgrounds. With rounded corners and thin lettering, the experience is smooth and airy. 

The site design is uncomplicated and makes its mission clear: show site visitors beautiful cities and available accommodations and, if they’re interested, help them book a stay. The large images and CTAs let people peruse slowly, as if they’re already on vacation. This streamlined UX offers a relaxed, user-friendly layout that avoids clutter, even with a website full of visuals and information. 

5. Make ecommerce intuitive

The goal of an ecommerce website is to lead customers to purchase, and the design should reflect that. Ecommerce sites need plenty of product photos, specs, and details to convince visitors to buy. 

Online, a potential customer doesn’t get the experience of physically handling a product, so they need all the information they can get where they expect it to be. Placing shopping cart icons in the top right corner, for example, matches customer expectations to remove friction from the site experience. 

A screenshot of The Alterreal’s product pop-up, featuring an image of a flower-shaped canvas purse along with pricing information and product details.

The Alterreal’s site, designed by Felicity Eku, uses product photos and specifics to show customers what it has to offer, all in pop-ups so visitors don’t have to leave the page when a product isn’t what they want. Each pop-up has a clean white background, high-quality product images, and details about the materials, specifications, and model size. Visitors don’t have to work to find the information they need about products, thanks to Felicity’s intuitive navigation choices.

The modern web design process

Discover the processes and tools behind high-performing websites in this free ebook.

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The modern web design process

Discover the processes and tools behind high-performing websites in this free ebook.

Download now
Download now

6. Keep it updated

Websites with out-of-date landing pages or blogs with no new posts seem abandoned. Customers won’t interact with a website — and they especially won’t spend money — if they don’t feel like someone’s on the other end. 

Update landing pages and headings with featured products and promotions that assure people someone’s maintaining the site. A great way to do this is by keeping it seasonal and including content for different holidays and seasons, like summer sales or holiday gift suggestions.

A screenshot of Dingo Ate My Ticket’s “Latest Posts” section on its homepage, with three rounded rectangles that each have a blog image, title, and description.

Dingo Ate My Ticket does a great job of writing blog content that covers relevant topics for its audience: travelers. On this site, designed by Orange Eclipse, couple Will and Steff share the wisdom they’ve gained from traveling the world with their dog, Olive. 

New content appears first, and each post has a date so visitors can tell when the blog was last updated. Every post also has an image and description with playful copy to joyfully update readers on their latest travels and learnings.

7. Have distinct typography

Varying typography serves different purposes: Bold serif headings entice users to click, and light sans-serif elements work better for clean buttons and body text. Find fonts and styles that match your brand’s character and speak to your target audience — anything from standardized fonts to hand-lettered headings. Create a style guide to keep it consistent throughout headers and body copy.

A screenshot of the Starbucks style guide’s typography page, with text that reads “We’re using three fonts with endless possibilities: Sodo Sans, Lander and Pike.”

This style guide from Starbucks uses three fonts — Sodo Sans, Lander, and Pike — for its web copy, advertising, and other branding. Choosing a few different fonts to use across platforms gives Starbucks’ brand a distinctly recognizable, cohesive feel without one font growing stale or boring. These three allow Starbucks to vary the font usage without using something new, creating familiarity within the guidelines they’ve set.

8. Express a visual identity through color

Like consistent typography, a custom color scheme adds to a brand’s identity and tone. These design elements are part of your brand identity — they should also convey your message and match your target audience. 

Choose a few key colors that match your brand and use them throughout your website and other marketing materials. If your business is a jewelry brand with colorful beads and details, create a color scheme that matches the identity your products create — use bright hues that don’t clash and a few subdued tones to add balance.

A screenshot of the Folk Digital Studio homepage with a lavender heading that says “folk” and a photo of a blonde person’s face looking up.

Folk Digital Studio is a Swedish design agency with a distinct pastel color scheme on its website, with light pink and lavender making up most of the visuals. Other complementary pastels appear as backgrounds for the other visuals, like images of past designs on iPhone screens to showcase their portfolio. The pink and purple are playful and dainty — matching the joy and simplicity of navigating a great design, like the ones Folk Digital Studio creates.

9. Provide contact forms and social media links

Website visitors should be able to contact a business quickly, whether that’s through social media or a contact form. Place these where visitors expect to find them, like at the bottom of the page or on a Contact Us page. Consider adding social media platform integrations, like Instagram accounts, or adding your phone number to a CTA button.  

Give your audience multiple ways to engage so you can answer their questions and build trust and confidence. 

A screenshot of a template for a website’s contact page with a white background, a heading that says “Let’s get in touch,” and empty text boxes.

In this template by Muhammad Mahad, site visitors can learn about the person they’re getting in touch with thanks to a small section of copy on the left. Below are spaces for a phone number and email address. Then, on the right, inquiring customers can add their name, email, and message to quickly get in touch with the site owner. This straightforward form lets visitors contact the business with a brief description of their inquiry for a faster and more helpful response — just like a contact page should. 

Help your business website succeed

A business website takes the user on a journey from a website wanderer to a customer.

Find small business website inspiration, explore retail website templates, and learn design skills at Webflow University. Get equipped with the tools and skills to help your business succeed with modern web design.

Last Updated
March 3, 2023