Web Design 101: What Makes a Great Website?

Web Design 101: What Makes a Great Website?


In the digital age, your website is often the first interaction a potential customer has with your business. It acts as the digital storefront, the online representation of your brand, and a significant sales tool. But not all websites are created equal. Some are clunky, confusing, and uninviting, while others are sleek, intuitive, and inviting. In this discourse, we will dissect the fundamental elements that make a great website, providing a roadmap for individuals and businesses looking to enhance their online presence.


Form Follows Function

The principle of 'form follows function' is paramount in web design. Your website must not only look good but also serve its purpose effectively. What is the primary goal of your website? Is it to sell products? Educate your audience? Showcase your portfolio? The design should be dictated by these functions.

Prioritize User Experience (UX)

UX encompasses a user's behavior, attitudes, and emotions about using a particular product, system, or service. Your website's navigation should be intuitive, directing users to where they want to go without confusion. Site speed is also critical as users tend to bounce from a site that takes longer than a few seconds to load. Mobile responsiveness is non-negotiable in today's mobile-driven world.

Design for Accessibility

An accessible website is one that all people, regardless of ability, can use effectively. This includes those with visual, auditory, motor, and cognitive disabilities. Simple practices like using alt tags for images, creating descriptive links, and ensuring sufficient color contrast go a long way in making your site accessible to a wider audience.

Aesthetic and Visual Appeal

While functionality is key, visual appeal is equally important. A well-designed website not only looks good but also creates a positive emotional connection with the user.

Consistent Branding

Your website should reflect your brand identity, using consistent colors, fonts, and imagery. This not only strengthens your brand but also creates a sense of familiarity for return visitors.

High-Quality Imagery and Graphics

Images and graphics play a significant role in capturing the attention of your audience. High-quality, relevant visuals can convey messages quickly and evoke the desired emotions from your audience. Be mindful of the file sizes not to compromise page loading times.

Content Is King

Compelling content is the reason why people visit your website. The design should complement the content, not compete with it.

Clear and Concise Messaging

Your website's messaging should be clear and to the point. Use headlines, bullet points, and engaging copy to keep your audience's attention. Address the 'what's in it for me' from the visitor's perspective.

SEO Integration

Your design should facilitate SEO best practices. This includes creating a site structure that's easy for search engines to crawl, using metadata effectively, and integrating keywords naturally into your content.

Interactive Elements

Incorporating interactive elements into your design enhances the user experience and encourages engagement.

Calls to Action (CTA)

Every page on your website should have a clear CTA. Whether it’s to buy a product, sign up for a newsletter, or contact you, the next step should always be evident.

Forms and Surveys

If you need user input, make it as painless as possible. Use forms and surveys judiciously, keeping them short and easy to fill in.

Technical Fundamentals

Underneath the surface, your website's technical aspects keep everything running smoothly. It's the foundation that supports the design, content, and interactive elements.

Reliable Hosting

Choose a hosting provider that offers reliable uptime, good support, and is capable of handling your site's traffic.


An SSL certificate is a must for encrypting data and establishing trust with your visitors. Regular software updates and strong passwords protect against vulnerabilities.

The Importance of Testing and Iteration

Even the most carefully planned website design will have its flaws and inefficiencies. Regular testing and iteration are key to maintaining an effective website over the long term.

Usability Testing

Gather feedback from real users through usability testing. This can highlight areas that need improvement which may not be apparent from the designer's or developer's perspective.


Use web analytics to understand how users are interacting with your site. This data can inform design changes and content updates to better meet your users' needs.

Collaborate with Professionals

Web design is a complex and multifaceted process. A strong collaboration between design professionals, content creators, and technical experts is often necessary to bring the vision to life.

The Role of Web Designers

Web designers focus on the aesthetic and user experience aspects of the site, ensuring that it looks good and is easy to use.

The Role of Developers

Developers take the design and turn it into a functioning website, coding the various elements and making sure they work together seamlessly.

The Role of Content Creators

Content creators are responsible for the copy, images, and other multimedia elements that populate the site, making it informative and engaging.



A great website is not only visually appealing but also functional, user-friendly, and robust. It adapts to the needs of the target audience, reflects the brand's identity, and evolves with the company's growth. By understanding the elements that make a great website and investing in a thoughtful design process, you can create an online presence that stands out and delivers results. If you need help with your website's design, contact REK Marketing & Design today for more information.

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