1. Content First
Our first point is a mistake that many make. Picking their design before knowing what content they have for their website. Yes it is important and exciting thinking about how you want your website to look, but your content is what makes your website what it is, and different from the rest, so have an idea of what content you have and design around that.
2. Consistent branding
Before you have a website you should have sorted your branding out, knowing what you stand for, having a logo and colour scheme as well as typography. This then needs to be present throughout your website to keep your image consistent. Use your colours and font throughout the website.
Speaking of branding, your logo should be prominent throughout and used as part of your navigation. Make your logo link to your homepage as this is expected by many these days.
Make your navigation simple. There is nothing worse than struggling to find something on a website. Stick to a simple horizontal menu along the top with drop down menus if needed (for desktop). This is the way people are used to seeing a menu so don’t make your user figure out a new way of navigating your site because more often than not, they can not be bothered.
Then, use a simple mobile menu to navigate when users are on smaller devices other than their PC or laptop.
Make your layout clean and attractive. Don’t cram as much as you can in front of your users making them not know where to look. Also, bare in mind to put important, eye-catching content above the fold (so in view when they land on your page) to catch the visitors attention.
Images are so important when it comes to web design. You could have the perfect layout for your site, but if your images are of poor quality, they will make your website look poor, no matter the design. Invest in getting your images taken properly or buy some off a stock image website.
7. Mobile Responsive
This is huge! Mobile is how most people these days are accessing your website, so not only does it have to fit a mobile screen, but it also has to be usable. There is a difference between it being mobile responsive and mobile friendly. It needs to fit and be as easy to use as the desktop version.
8. Call to Action
Your website's purpose is not to just look pretty. Its purpose is to get the desired action from its user. Whether that just be to keep visiting and reading or to sell something online. Here is where the call to actions come into play. Make it easy for a viewer to convert to a customer by placing eye catching call to action buttons next to information that you think might persuade them to take the desired action.