What It Really Takes to Create an Effective Web Design. The Six Secrets of Effective Website Design

Every business owner knows how it feels. You’re in a conference with a web designer who expounds the miracles of a beautiful website design. Build it, and they will come: “they” in this case being customers or clients, and sales will flow like milk and honey.

What you get is a website design that looks like it’s straight out of a college rave fever dream. And it’s just as hard to navigate. Instead of customers clicking through to purchase or leave contact info, they abandon their efforts.

That’s because they need to grab a couple of Tylenol to counter the headache triggered by squinting at the screen, trying to find their way through all that site clutter so they can buy your product or services.

But you also know what’s working and what isn’t. You understand what an exceptional website design for business is supposed to do. So does Streng Agency. Being recognized as a top Illinois Web Design Agency on DesignRush we’re willing to share a few secrets with you to make sure the Dilemma of the Hot Mess Website Design doesn’t repeat itself.

Web Design

Okay. So you’re not the expert. That’s why you need a professional.

But you also know what’s working and what isn’t. You understand what an exceptional website design for business is supposed to do. So does Streng Agency. And we’re willing to share a few secrets with you to make sure the Dilemma of the Hot Mess Website Design doesn’t repeat itself.

Six Secrets of Effective Website Design

1. Dazzle is only pixel deep

Of course, you want dazzle. We get that, and we agree with you. Your website design should look fantastic. It should pop with visual impact.

It’s a natural human impulse to linger on that which dazzles. And that’s what you want potential clients and customers to do when they visit your site. To linger. To be enticed to explore. Ultimately, to buy or engage.

Dazzle is in the eye of the beholder and in this case the key demographic that loves your brand.

But dazzle is only one element of exceptional website design.

Think of your site as the docent that offers your customers a guided tour of your business, brand,  and what you have to offer them. The tour guide should be attractive, sure. But the guide should also look and behave like a professional.

The guide should make your customers feel comfortable moving around the space of your website design. The guide should present points of interest that appeal and intrigue. And the guide should definitely make it easy for your customers to find the cash register, make purchases or reach out to contact you.

Does this mean the beauty of a website design doesn’t matter?

No, not at all. Once again, let’s keep in mind that we’re visual creatures. But consider this little thought experiment:

Suppose you had to choose between a dazzling website design that barely produces a trickle of sales and one that’s a Plain Joe but absolutely kicks butt when it comes to results. Which design will best serve your business?

Happily, with a brilliant web designer, you don’t have to “settle” one way or another.

2. A redesign isn’t the be-all/end-all answer.

So let’s do another thought experiment. You’re looking in the mirror wondering if a makeover is a good idea for presenting yourself as a successful business person. You’re thinking that, overall, you’re looking fine. But you need a tweak, just a little…something.

So you ask a hair stylist, who naturally recommends a  great cut. Then you ask a makeup pro who says, “Forget that! You should have a total cosmetic makeover.” You go to a life coach who says, “Forget that! You need to come to my confidence-building intensive.”

When you ask the average graphic designer what to do to improve your website design, what do you think that designer will recommend?


But, an exceptional team of web designers keeps their eyes on the ball and in this case the brand. Actually, an exceptional web design team keeps their eyes on several balls. Because an effective, quality website design depends on many qualities operating at optimal level.

When your message is weak, you need a copywriter who knows he/she can whip that message into shape until it’s doing 300-pound deadlifts. When your branding image is off-target, you need a branding expert that knows how to give that image deadeye aim.

If your marketing strategy is full of holes, a strategic marketing planner knows just the right materials to stop the hemorrhaging.

But who can afford to pay several individual specialists for every element of website design?

You don’t have to. Instead, you hire a big-picture agency that wrangles all the experts needed for a website design that does exactly what it’s supposed to do: boost your business’s bottom line and create new brand exposure.

And here’s the real kicker. It’s not uncommon for a premium agency (say, Streng Agency…you know, just as an example) to do a diagnostic and determine that your website design doesn’t need a full overhaul.

Sometimes just a web designer’s tweak here or a fresh perspective from a marketing strategist makes all the difference. Voila! You just saved your business a big bag of cash. Which brings us to…

3. You don’t need barrels of cash to get a great website design.

Sure, there’s some truth in that old saying “you get what you pay for.” But it’s not a perfect idiom. Few are. A more useful quote comes from motivational speaker Bradley Vinson: “Money is a tool. Used property, it makes something beautiful. Used wrong, it makes a mess!”

You can throw a lot of money away on a web designer that preys on the ignorance of his clients. If you’re in conference with one that tries to blind you with techspeak and elegant coding terms, consider those red flags.

The best agencies will start by listening.

Discovery is a key element to the branding and marketing process. They’ll ask about your budget as well as your business’s goals. An exceptional agency can thread that needle between a unique tailor fit and plug in options that keep you in the financial sweet spot.

4.Unique and functional is a delicate balance.

Naturally, your website design should stand out from your competitors. But if a web designer gets too wrapped up in creative originality and dazzle (remember Secret #1?), you risk losing out simply because prospective customers or clients don’t realize you have the product or service they’re looking for.

Knowing which web design rules can be broken, which should only be bent, and which should stay intact is among the great talents of an exceptional web designer. When you say you want your website design to be stunning, you don’t mean stunning as to how your customers would feel after being smacked with a beautifully rendered baseball bat, right?

Excellent website design needs to follow web conventions and usability rules, while simultaneously rising above.

That means retaining certain useful conventions. Let’s use navigation as an example. Customers are accustomed to looking for menu options on the top right of a website design and the navigation bar just below the site’s header.

On today’s crowded internet, consumer attention span is shorter than ever. If certain reliable features are hard to find, your potential customers will find a competitor who makes things easier to locate.

Your website design may be wildly original. But unless it’s functional and easy to navigate it’s also a millstone around the neck of your profits, plunging them into the depths of red ink.

5. Branding is a specific skill quite apart from website design.

Yet again, this is why an agency is your best bet. A great web designer and a branding specialist are not nec