All rejoice – you no longer need to rely on web designers to build your online presence.
A modern website builder like Zyro makes it possible for anyone to create their own website fast and effortlessly.
But did you know that it’s also important to understand how to design a website that’s both beautiful and functional?
The fact is, design plays a major role in the success of a website. An unattractive design could make nearly half of visitors to your website leave before they’ve even had time to explore your web pages further.
To someone who’s not a web designer, crafting a good-looking website might sound difficult. But don’t fret, we’re here to tell you how to design a website, and why web design matters.
Step 1. Choose the right website builder
Picking the right website builder is essential when learning how to design a website. This choice will determine the limits of your end result, and how easy or difficult it is to grow your website later on.
Zyro is a website builder that has your back. Its highly intuitive interface and ready-made templates make it possible to design a website without having to have any prior coding knowledge.
Zyro has a selection of beautiful templates you can customize with its drag-and-drop website builder. And what’s more, it also comes with a grid system, ensuring that all page elements are perfectly aligned on both desktop and mobile devices.
Compared to a WordPress website, using a website builder saves beginners time, effort, and, in most cases, money.
As you don’t need to worry about things like web hosting or plug-ins, you’re left to customize the website layout you find best for your brand identity, target audience, and overall needs.
If you’re not sure which website builder to choose, or whether you need to rely on things like content management systems altogether, it’s good to start by asking yourself the following questions:
- What’s the purpose of your website? Are you planning on running multiple eCommerce sites in different geographical areas, or do you simply want to have a professional website to act as your portfolio?
- What’s your budget? This is a great starting point for many, as different website builders have different price points. The best website builder for you is one that sits comfortably in your monthly budget.
- Are you planning on scaling your website in the future? Especially if you’re looking to grow the number of website visitors or are planning to host a lot of multimedia on your website, you might want to be sure you’re not hit with extra fees the moment you need more server space or bandwidth.
Step 2. Pick the right template
When you’re learning how to design a website for the first time, using a website template makes your life so much easier.
Since you’re using a website layout that has all (or at least most) of the website’s pages ready with placeholder content in them, you don’t have to spend a lot of time starting your design process from scratch.
Zyro has a choice of templates suited for many different purposes — from portfolios and resumes to business sites with eCommerce functionality.
When picking your template, be sure that the design fits the goals of your website.
Using the right design is essential to make sure your website looks great and has the right features for the type of website you create.
For instance, if you want to introduce a new product, try the Rida template. It features large photo blocks, letting you show off your merchandise with pride.
Another stunning template is called Sugaro. This one is perfect for any business that wants to look a bit playful.
It’s wise to preview each template to understand how they suit your own content.
But don’t worry if you feel there are certain design elements you don’t fancy, or some pages that you don’t need – all of Zyro’s templates are fully customizable, meaning that you can make your home page and call to action sections fully reflect your brand.
When you have chosen a template, you’ll be redirected to the Zyro Editor.
Step 3. Customize the web pages in your template
Once you have chosen your template, it’s time to unleash your inner web designer and get creative. As Zyro’s Editor lets you customize every part of your template, you can take your time to explore what you can do with the tool.
If you don’t know where to begin, try getting familiar with how the drag-and-drop builder works first.
Select an element and move it anywhere you want, or resize it. The grid system will ensure it stays in proportion.
In case you need more content, click Add Elements in the menu tab. Then drag one of the elements to your template.
Once you’re confident with the general mechanics of editing your website’s design, it’s time to start tinkering with the template some more.
Step 4. Edit and organize the texts
Customizing the text elements is really easy: simply select a text box and click Edit Text.
You’ll be able to customize the text emphasis, color, alignment, letter case, and so on.
Additionally, you can select a Heading or Paragraph style for your text. Each style has its own range of sizes to choose from.
When editing text, make use of ‘typographic hierarchy’. This simply means organizing and styling the text on a page based on its importance.
The hierarchy gives you control over what visitors pay attention to first, and keeps your content readable.
Generally, a website’s text content is divided into:
- Main heading. The most important part, that should instantly capture users’ attention. As a rule, it should be large and positioned on top.
- Subheadings. Important points that expand on the main heading. They need to be distinct enough and keep visitors engaged to explore your website.
- Paragraphs. Supporting details that elaborate on each subheading. The text should be brief, as most people would skim over tet on the page.
To illustrate how typographic hierarchy works, let’s take a look at the Portman template below.
Here, the business tagline uses the XXL Heading style for the main heading. Readers can quickly understand what the business is about.
The subheadings in the template are in the XL Heading style. They are used to divide the page into sections and explain more about the business.
Meanwhile, most of the paragraphs are in the M Paragraph style. To make sure it’s readable on smaller devices, each paragraph has only three to four lines.
Feel free to experiment with your website’s typographic hierarchy.
The key takeaway here is to use different styles for each type of content. This way, users have a comfortable reading experience and can look for the right information easily.
Step 5. Feature images
There’s truth in the saying ‘one picture tells a thousand words’. In fact, the pictures you use and where you place them can make or break your website’s graphic design.
While we’re not saying you need to invest in a fully-fledged photo studio to have a complete website, it’s worth remembering that the visual content on a web page helps to grab the visitor’s attention,
One of the easiest ways to impress visitors and new customers is by using a hero image. These large full-width pictures placed on top of your website are among the hottest trends in web design at the moment.
Hero images create an immersive user experience, set the right mood for the page, and invite people to check out your website further. The Ayomide template illustrates this best:
A hero shot can also show how a product or service can benefit customers.
Take a look at the following example by Luxy Hair. Here, the hero shot shows how visitors can use their extensions to get thicker hair.
In Zyro’s Editor, there are many ways to display images. You can use individual image elements across different pages, or you can make your favorite snap the background of a particular website page section.
Or better still, create a gallery or a slideshow for a product or service page and let your products do the talking.
Here are the top tips on managing images on your Zyro website:
- To change the image elements on your template, select an image and click Edit Image and then Replace Image.
- You can decide whether to use your own picture or choose one from Zyro’s free photo library.
- To upload your own file, go to the Site Photos tab and drag a JPG, PNG, or SVG file to the Editor.
Make sure to use images that are high in quality yet small in size. Large files can cause a significant drop in your site’s performance and negatively impact search engine optimization.
We recommend using image compression tools like Compressor.io to make sure you’re not hurting your chances at dominating the search engines.
You can also use the free photo library and populate your web design with professional stock images, free of charge:
- Go to the Free Photos tab.
- Enter some keywords into the search bar.
- Once you’ve found the right image, press Select.
When using image elements, don’t forget to edit the alt text on the SEO tab of the Image settings.
The alt text helps search engines recognize your picture, and tell visually-impaired people what it contains.
If you want to add an image as a background for a section:
- Click Edit Section on the top-right corner of a section.
- Go to the Image tab and click on Add Image.
- You may use your own picture or one from Zyro.
Step 6. Customize your website
After you’ve got the basics of your web design together, it’s time to get creative and start truly fine-tuning your web design into a true reflection of your brand.
Modify the colors
Colors are a key to any design. They communicate your visual identity and influence how visitors feel when opening your website.
Generally, it’s best to pick one dominant color and a few secondary colors for your website’s color scheme.
The dominant color should be the one your brand is primarily associated with. Secondary colors should enhance or complement the dominant color.
There is no definite rule for how many secondary colors to choose, but it’s better to only use two. Using too many colors can risk your website looking childish, and might distract the users’ attention.
Since every color has different meanings, you need to know which colors represent you best.
Consider what type of website you are making and what kind of impression you want to leave.
Take advantage of color psychology to help you.
Need help with finding the right color scheme? Use a color generator. Tools like Coolors provide ideas on what colors look good together.
After coming up with the right colors, map out where to use them. On Zyro, you can customize the colors of the font and background of each section.
To change a font’s colors, select a text element and click on the color icon. Adjust the settings until you find the right color.
If you use Coolors, you can copy and paste the color code onto the color adjustment tool.
As for the background, click Edit Section on the top-right corner of a section and modify the settings on the Color tab.
The dominant color should be used throughout your website, places that direct a lot of attention, like the above-the-fold section.
Since viewers spend most of their time on your above-the-fold content, having your dominant color here will help them to associate the color with your brand.
For instance, this wellness template welcomes visitors with a beige background. This color is also used in some of the typefaces and visual elements to keep visual consistency.
As a result, visitors know that beige is the site’s signature color. The rest of the page uses white and black as secondary colors, which help the dominant color stand out more.
Keep each web page clutter-free
As you work on your template and content, remember to keep the layout simple and clean. Making your website clutter-free is important to help readability and navigation.
Only feature elements that highlight the focus of your website. Create room for some whitespace, so that elements do not sit too close together.
If you feel like the template is running out of space, click Add Section on the bottom of a section.
You can choose one of the premade blocks or an empty one to fill it with your own content.
Optimize your design
Publishing a website before it’s optimized can damage your chances of success.
You need a tool to see whether the design is working as intended.
One Zyro feature you can use for this is the AI Heatmap, which predicts your visitors’ behavior on your website.
To use the Heatmap, upload a screenshot of your website to the tool. It will display the areas of your page that stands out the most to visitors.
The feature colors elements that get most of the attention in red and those with the least in blue. The closer the color is to the color red, the more noticeable the page area is to viewers.
Use the information provided by the Heatmap to improve your website. Experiment with different layouts and placements so that your website design converts visitors to customers.
As for optimizing your website for mobile users, Zyro has got you covered. All of our templates are responsive, so you don’t need to worry about adjusting the designs.
What’s more, with our built-in SEO tools, your website is guaranteed to rank high on mobile search.
If you want to preview how your website looks on mobile, just click the Smartphone icon on the top-right corner.
As you can see, designing websites with Zyro is an easy process. Our platform takes care of the technicalities, so you can focus on making your site look beautiful.
Step 7. Use other elements to liven up your website’s design
When you design a website, you want it to look like an actual website, with built-in features and third-party apps, right?
While you can get far with text, images, and some color magic, there’s no harm in adding other visually-appealing elements to your landing pages.
Luckily, Zyro has you covered when it comes to web elements. From integrated maps, social media icons, slide shows, photo galleries, a media library with file download, to contact forms and integrated Instagram feeds, you’ll be able to find something to suit your web development project.
Think about making your calls-to-action sections truly pop out with contrasting colors and buttons. Add forms to pages you want to allow web users to contact you (your contact page is the most common suspect).
If you’re building a portfolio or a resume, use the gallery elements to showcase your best work. Ideally, you want to put yourself in the shoes of your target audience and include page elements that they would expect and want to see and interact with.
Step 8. Pay attention to SEO
Traditionally, it has been a web designer’s job to ensure that the WordPress website made with HTML code is also discoverable by search engines.
After all, what’s the point in having a website if internet giants like Google can’t make any sense of it?
Thankfully, modern website builders make the whole search engine optimization process easy and with a few general rules, you can include SEO into your overall design and web development flow.
Meta titles and URLs
You want to pay attention to the page titles and overall URLs of your website. Ideally, the meta title of your page should include a keyword that is relevant and related to the content of your page.
For example, if your web page’s content focuses on detailing the support features available for your product, the meta title should reflect that.
If you sell cars and have a dedicated page about all the different support options that you offer all Volvos, you might want to target a keyword related Volvo family car service packages.
It’s worth using online meta length checkers to double-check your meta titles are not too long – otherwise, they get cut off in the search results and negatively affect your SEO.
Similarly, you want to keep your URLs tidy and reflective of the page contents.
Which one of these URLs would you have an easier time remembering?
By taking the time to design each URL to be as easy to remember as possible, you’ll increase the overall user experience of your website tenfold.
Also, you want to avoid broken links at all costs – they negatively affect both the user experience and SEO. Frequently audit all the links to and from your site to stay on top of any nasty error pages from appearing.
Similar to meta titles, the meta descriptions of your pages are an important part of SEO.
Aside from also including the correct keywords, the meta description is a place for you to entice visitors to actually visit your website from the search results.
Think of it as free advertising space for each of your web page. The better you can give visitors reasons to click and read more, the more organic (essentially free) traffic your website will get.
Image alt texts and page headings
From a design perspective, all of the images that you’re displaying on your website should also come with alternative, descriptive texts (alt texts for short). These help to describe what’s in the image and make the user experience better, even if the images won’t load for some reason.
Your headings should also include the keywords you’re trying to target and follow the right heading hierarchy.
Remember, you can change the visual appearance of your headings, if you’re unhappy with the way the H2s and H3s look on the page.
Pro tip – There are plenty of video tutorials and blogs out there in the digital space when it comes to understanding the basics of SEO.
Step 9. Add an online store (if you need one)
If you have started to design a website with an online store in mind, once you have the overall web design ready, it’s time to add your store to the mix.
You can browse the available store options under the Online store menu button.
The Lite store is recommended for hobbyists and side hustlers, or anyone who wants to try what it’s like to make money online. It’s easy and fast to set up, has flat-rate shipping, a 1% commission fee, and supports Stripe payment.
It also gives you more freedom to embrace your web designer, as you can create your own product pages similar to how you would create pages for other parts of your website.
If you need more firepower, the Online store is best suited for folks who look for more advanced eCommerce solutions. Supporting advanced shipping and payment methods, and omnichannel sales, it’s the right option for online merchants with a passion to grow.
While you have full control over the product photography, descriptions, and categories of your store, if you want to make more substantial changes to the CSS of your store, you need to know how to code.
Step 10. Connect to your favorite integrations and apps
When you design a website, you also want to think about what you’ll be using your website for, and what apps and third-party tools you might need to integrate into your site.
Unlike with many plug-ins you get for a WordPress theme, all of Zyro’s integrations are included in your monthly plan, making it a lot less costly and easier to manage.
While some integrations won’t require you to change or think much about the design of your website, others will require some attention.
For example, if you add Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp to your website, you should double-check where the chat icon appears on each page, so that no important information gets hidden behind it.
On the other hand, most analytics tools don’t require similar on-page design changes, but might help you understand audience behavior on a wider scale.
After publishing, chances are that you probably want to keep track of your website performance. It’s recommended to integrate your website with Google Analytics in order to monitor your site traffic and its sources.
Google Analytics analyzes your traffic, website speed, conversion rates, and more. With Analytics, you can identify and fix any issues on your website. This might include using pictures incorrectly or placing buttons in the wrong places.
If you run various Facebook marketing campaigns or use Google Tags extensively to track different marketing channels, you simply need to link your Zyro website to your Facebook or Google Tags account.
This is done by telling your Zyro website the unique account ID numbers in the Integrations tab in Settings, and updating your website.
Step 11. Use AI tools to speed things up
Many ‘how to design a website’ guides brush over the importance of using existing design elements of your personal or business brand.
By having a visual brand identity, you can set yourself apart from your competitors, and show your credibility and expertise. This in turn can increase your reputation and bring you more customers, helping you succeed online.
Branding elements like a logo, slogan, and content should not be taken for granted. If you’re starting a new business, coming up with a solid brand identity by yourself might be a challenge. Thankfully, Zyro has artificial design intelligence to help you out.
Logo and slogan
You can use our free AI slogan generator to come up with a catchy tagline. Enter some keywords that describe your business and the tool provides ideas to choose from.
Once you’ve found a good slogan, modify it until it sounds perfect to your ears.
Consider taking advantage of our logo maker as well. You can create a logo by editing any of the images provided.
Just add your business name and the slogan you made earlier. You can preview how the logo will look in four different layout options.
Once your slogan and logo are ready, don’t forget to place them on your website.
The slogan can be used as the main heading, while the logo can be featured on the header and footer.
Another tool you can use is the AI Writer, which you can find in the Zyro Editor. To access it, click the yellow icon below the Publish site button.
This feature assists you in coming up with unique, SEO-friendly content. All you need to do is choose an appropriate text topic, category, and type of content.
It generates some examples you can use. Once you’ve found the content you like, copy and paste it to a text element and adjust the content to your needs.
With Zyro, you don’t need to be a Photoshop pro to have good-looking pictures on your website and social media accounts.
The AI-powered image editing tools have your back:
- Image resizer helps you make your images the right sizes for social media and different screen sizes
- Image background remover makes it easy to make your images work for various backgrounds and situations with next to no effort
- Image upscaler is your best friend when you want to upscale older, lower-resolution images to fit modern standards
Whether you need new product pictures for your mobile-responsive online store, or look to reuse your logo in your email marketing campaign, Zyro’s image tools are easy and free for all to use.
Unlike other website builders, Zyro’s all about your success, making it a website platform that comes with all the tools that you need to succeed online.
Step 12. Connect to a domain and publish
Once you’re getting closer to publishing your website, there are a few housekeeping tasks to address.
Grab your dream domain
All websites need a domain name in order to be functional and easily found on the internet.
That’s why one of the last things you need to do in order to design a website from scratch is to secure your dream domain for your website.
In a perfect world, your domain name is the same as your brand or business name, and your social media handles. This way, your online presence overall is more professional and easier for visitors to remember.
Start by brainstorming a few variations of your brand or business name, and putting them through a domain name generator. Chances are that even if your business name is not available with a .com TLD (top-level domain), you can probably grab it with another TLD, like .io or .online.
Preview your web design
Before publishing your website, click Preview on the top-left corner to see how it looks first.
Make sure all the elements look good, the links and media work properly, and the most important content has been included.
Connect your domain and publish
Once you’re satisfied with your work, it’s time to click on Publish site. You’ll be asked to come up with a name for your free Zyro subdomain or connect your own domain.
Don’t have a domain name yet? Use the domain name generator to help you. Press Continue when you’re done setting up the domain.
Once your website is published, click View Your Site to see it in action.
With Zyro, you can make edits to your website even if it’s already public. Just log in to your account and select the website you want to work on in the dashboard.
Click Edit Site on the website you need to customize. Once you’ve made some changes, monitor your website to see whether the changes improve your performance.
Why pay attention to website design?
Websites are key to branding these days. Companies go to great lengths to make their sites look professional and leave a positive impression.
Most people know what they’re looking for when they visit a website. With the right design, users can navigate through your pages and search for the right information with ease.
A bad design, on the other hand, could make visitors leave feeling unsatisfied.
To demonstrate the importance of website design, take a look at Slack.
Here, the business website visuals look nice and clean. The font is readable, the buttons are prominent, and the navigation menu is clear.
As a result, people can explore the website easily and get to know the product better. On top of that, the color scheme and typeface are modern and stylish.
Another great example is Yelp. The website features a search bar on the homepage so people can look for the required service.
It also maintains some whitespace between the content components so that the page doesn’t feel cluttered.
6 practical tips for a good website design
Creating the perfect design is a never-ending journey. Here are a few tips to help you learn how to design a website.
1. Follow the latest web design trends
Generally, web design trends show what users like at the moment. If your website caters to people’s tastes, you can bring customers to your brand more easily.
Need ideas on what trends to follow? Try displaying custom illustrations.
People use illustrations for their branding materials to show a one-of-a-kind aesthetic. Check out the following example by the restaurant Spicy NoSpicy.
Alternatively, consider using minimal website design, as shown in this portfolio by Andy Donohoe.
Not only is it trendy, but it also helps with optimizing site performance since there are fewer elements to load.
In order to stay on top of all the current trends, consider signing up for a handful of web design newsletters and blogs, maybe even social media accounts and YouTube channels.
This way, you’ll be the first one to know which trends are creeping up and what others are doing to optimize their website design.
2. Use a single-page design
As mobile users now make up more than half of the internet traffic, many websites today use only a single page that is optimized for long-scrolling.
This design is excellent for websites that do not have a huge amount of content — like resumes, event sites, or landing pages.
When created properly, single-page sites are powerful. Users focus on moving down through the sections to explore your content instead of navigating to other pages.
Tip 💁 – If you want to use a one-page design, be sure to come up with a strategy that prompts visitors to keep scrolling.
You’ll also need to organize your content logically so that the scrolling experience feels seamless.
A great example of this is Brittany Chiang’s online resume. Within a single page, the website provides everything an employer needs to know about the software engineer.
By organizing her website into sections, visitors can scroll through and read her resume with ease.
3. Include human elements
If possible, consider using images of people on your site.
Studies have shown that pictures of real people build trust with visitors, and increase conversion rates if done right.
You can try what Bench does with its website.
The homepage features pictures of employees and clients. This creates the sense that their service is reliable with social proof.
Consider collecting feedback from existing clients and asking for testimonials. Set up exit pop-ups for checkout pages, or run social media surveys. You could even draft an email campaign that’s automatically sent to clients a week after the purchase has been made.
You can learn from the negatives and proudly use the positive praise to strengthen your brand’s trustworthiness in your marketing campaigns overall.
After all, this way your customers don’t need to just take your word for your greatness – they can read how much others enjoyed doing business with you.
4. Set goals for your website
Like all good web designers, you too should ask yourself what you aim to achieve with your website?
Do you want to build a community, get a job or new clients, or maybe sell products or services?
By taking the time to set goals for your website, you’ll have an easier time choosing the right website template and website platform and looking for the right built-in tools that you need to make your website work properly.
If you’re looking to create a website with a blog, you need a website platform that won’t leave you hanging when you need to create your first blog post.
Similarly, if you expect to have a lot of traffic from all over the world, you need a reliable web host that will have the right resources available for your website at the right time.
5. Have an audience profile
In order to create your own website that actually works for your brand, it’s important to know your target audience.
This way, you’ll save time (and probably money) by not having to essentially redesign your first website to fit the needs and expectations of your audience.
6. Don’t underestimate wireframes
Making a wireframe or mapping out how many pages you will need for your website is a smart practice for a few reasons.
Firstly, it helps you narrow down the website platforms you want and need to use in order to design your website.
A big and complex website might require a content management system to function properly, while a resume website can be easily put together with a website creator tool like Zyro.
Secondly, a wireframe helps you realize which pages are essential to your website, and which you can do without.
How to design a website that reflects your brand
It’s not enough to know how to build a website — you have to learn the tips and tricks to design one as well.
Effective website design leaves a more positive impression on your visitors, making sure they keep coming back.
Moreover, a well-designed site can ease users in navigating through your content and finding the right information.
When designing a website, you should:
- Choose the right platform. An online website builder like Zyro is the perfect place to make a beautiful website quickly and easily.
- Pick a template. Choose a template that suits your goals and looks appropriate for your website.
- Customize it. Play around with Zyro Editor to get familiar with the platform. Try to organize the texts, feature some images, modify the colors, keep the template clean, and optimize the design.
- Personalize your website. Use Zyro’s AI tools and logo maker for your branding efforts.
- Publish it. Preview your website before publishing. Once it’s released, track your website performance and edit it again if you need to.
We hope this article has provided you with the knowledge on how to design a website with a website builder like Zyro.