Professional Website Design Basics and Best Practices

In today’s digital age, having a website is crucial for any business. It helps establish an online presence and serves as a platform to showcase products or services, provide information to customers, and generate leads.

However, having a website is not enough. It must be professionally designed and developed to communicate the brand message and attract potential customers effectively.

I. Website Design and Website Development

Website design and website development are distinct but closely related aspects of website creation. Website design refers to a website’s visual appearance and layout, including its color scheme, typography, images, and overall style.

It involves designing a website’s user interface and experience (UI/UX) to ensure that it is visually appealing, easy to navigate, and functional for users. The goal of website design is to create an engaging and enjoyable experience for website visitors, while also conveying the desired message and branding of the website owner.

On the other hand, website development refers to the technical process of creating a website. It includes writing and coding the backend functionality, database management, and website programming. Website development also involves developing the website’s front-end or client-side, including HTML, CSS, and JavaScript coding.

The goal of website development is to create a fast, secure, reliable website that performs optimally across different devices and web browsers.

Website design and website development are two integral components of the website creation process. They work together to ensure the final product is aesthetically pleasing, user-friendly, and technically sound.

II. Importance of Professional Website Design

A website is the online representation of a brand, and having a professional website design is essential for a variety of reasons, including:

1. First Impressions

Your website is often the first point of contact between your business and potential customers. A professional and well-designed website can create a great first impression and convey that your business is credible, trustworthy, and capable of delivering high-quality products or services.

2. Brand Image

A professional website design can help you establish a consistent and memorable brand image across all online channels, including social media, email marketing, and advertising. On the other hand, an unprofessional website design may damage your brand’s reputation.

3. User Experience

A well-designed website is user-friendly and easy to navigate, making visitors more likely to stay on your site longer and explore your content. A poorly designed website can frustrate users and lead to a high bounce rate.

4. Search Engine Optimization

A search engine-friendly website with well-structured content, optimized images, and meta tags can improve your website’s visibility in search engine results pages, driving more traffic.

5. Competitive Advantage

A professional website design can give you a competitive advantage over other businesses in your industry and convey a sense of professionalism and expertise, especially if your competitors have poorly designed websites.

6. Customer Trust

It can help build trust with your customers, showing that you are a legitimate and trustworthy business.

Website design team planing website development

III. The Importance of One’s Brand and Website Being Visible

Investing in search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, and other online marketing strategies can improve your website visibility and attract more customers to your business.

Having a visible brand and website is incredibly important in today’s digital age, where most people turn to the internet to research products and services before making a purchase decision.

Here are a few reasons why having a visible brand and website is so important:

1. Establishing Credibility

If potential customers can easily find you online, they are more likely to trust that you are a legitimate business.

2. Increasing Brand Awareness

More people are exposed to your business when your brand and website are visible, which can help increase brand awareness and attract new customers.

3. Driving Traffic

A visible website can help drive traffic to your site, leading to more leads, sales, and revenue.

4. Enhancing Customer Engagement

By providing valuable content and interactive features, you can encourage customers to spend more time on your site and build a stronger relationship with them.

IV. Modern Trends and Functionality

Website design and website development have come a long way since the early days of the internet. Today, several modern trends and functionalities are shaping website development and how websites are experienced by users.
Some of these current trends and functionalities include:

1. Minimalism

Minimalist design, with clean lines, simple colors, and plenty of white space, is popular in website design. It creates a modern and sophisticated look that is easy on the eyes, allows the content to stand out, and makes websites easier to navigate.

2. Responsive Design

With the proliferation of mobile devices, responsive design has become a must-have website development feature. It ensures that websites are optimized for different screen sizes and resolutions, allowing users to access and navigate them on their devices easily.

3. Interactive Design

Interactive design involves animations, videos, and other interactive elements to engage users and create a more immersive experience. It can include hover effects, scrolling animations, and interactive graphics.

4. Chatbots

Chatbots can provide users with instant support and assistance and help automate customer service tasks.

5. Personalization

Personalization involves tailoring a website’s content and user experience to individual users. It can be achieved through data and analytics and can help improve engagement and conversion rates.

6. Artificial Intelligence

AI can automate tasks, personalize content, and improve user experience through voice recognition and natural language processing features.

7. Voice Search Optimization

With the rise of smart home devices and voice assistants, optimizing websites for voice search has become more critical. It includes using natural language in content and incorporating structured data to help search engines understand the context of your content.

8. Accessibility

With more attention being paid to making websites usable for people with disabilities, website accessibility is becoming increasingly important. It includes designing websites with screen readers in mind, incorporating keyboard navigation, and ensuring sufficient color contrast.

9. Website Performance

Websites that load quickly, have optimized images, and use caching can provide a better user experience and help improve search rankings.

10. Security

In website development, security is a growing concern, and protecting user data and preventing hacking attempts are essential. It includes using SSL certificates, implementing two-factor authentication, and keeping software up to date.

Website designer sitting at workstation

V. Common Practices

There are several common practices in website development that designers should follow to ensure that their websites are professional and effective. These include:

1. Keeping it Simple

A cluttered website can confuse and overwhelm users. Keeping the design simple and easy to navigate can improve the user experience.

2. Focusing on the User

A website should be designed with the user in mind, making it easy to navigate, find the information they need and complete specific actions.

3. Prioritizing Speed

Websites should load quickly to avoid frustrating users and causing them to leave the site. It can be achieved by optimizing images, minimizing code, and using a fast-hosting service.

4. Use of Whitespace

Whitespace is the space between elements on a web page. Using whitespace to create a clean, uncluttered design that is easy on the eyes is essential.

5. Quality Content

Websites should feature original, high-quality, informative content relevant to the site’s target audience. Content should be well-written, error-free, and easy to read.

6. Consistent Branding

Your website should follow your brand’s style guide, including your logo, colors, and fonts. Doing so helps create a professional and cohesive look for the website.

7. Testing and Optimization

A website should be tested and optimized regularly to ensure it performs at its best.

8. Effective Calls to Action

Every page on the website should have a clear and compelling call to action (CTA) that encourages users to take a specific action, such as making a purchase or filling out a contact form.

9. Secure

By using secure connections (HTTPS), strong passwords, and keeping software up to date, websites can ensure user information is protected.

VI. Latest Google Policies

Google is constantly updating its algorithms and policies, and it’s essential to stay updated with the latest changes to ensure that your website is compliant. These policies aim to improve the user experience and prevent websites from using deceptive or manipulative practices.

Some of the latest and most important Google policies for website design include:

1. Mobile-First Indexing

Google now prioritizes mobile-friendly websites in its search results. If your website is not optimized for mobile devices, you may be penalized in the search rankings.

2. Core Web Vitals

Google has introduced Core Web Vitals, a set of metrics that measure the user experience of a website, including loading speed, interactivity, and visual stability.

3. E-A-T

When ranking websites, Google emphasizes the importance of Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T). It means that websites need to have high-quality content and establish themselves as authoritative sources in their niche.


Google now favors websites that use HTTPS over those that don’t. HTTPS is a secure connection that encrypts data between the user’s browser and the website.

VII. What to Do and What Not to Do When Designing and Developing a Website

When designing and developing a website, several things should be done and avoided to ensure that the website is professional and effective.

What to Do:

1. Research

Conduct thorough research to determine your target audience, what they want and need from your website, and what your competitors are doing.

2. Plan

Create a clear plan and strategy for your website, including its purpose, content, structure, and design before proceeding to website development.

3. Keep it Simple

Make sure your website is easy to navigate and understand. Keep the design and layout simple and uncluttered.

4. Optimize for Search Engines

Incorporate search engine optimization (SEO) strategies into your website to increase its visibility and ranking on search engines.

5. Make it Mobile-Friendly

Ensure that your website is optimized for mobile devices, as more and more users are accessing the internet on their smartphones and tablets.

6. Use High-Quality Images and Multimedia

Use high-quality images and multimedia to enhance your website’s visual appeal and engagement.

7. Test and Refine

Continuously test and refine your website to improve its performance, usability, and user experience.

What Not to Do:

1. Overcomplicate

Don’t overcomplicate your website with too much content, graphics, or multimedia.

2. Use too Many Ads

Avoid overloading your website with too many ads, as this can make it difficult for users to navigate and detract from their experience.

3. Neglect Security

Don’t neglect website security, as this can put your website and its users at risk of data breaches and other security threats.

4. Forget About User Experience

Remember the user experience when undertaking the process of website development. Ensure it is easy to navigate, engaging, and provides value to your users.

5. Neglect the Importance of Website Speed

A slow-loading website can cause users to leave, harming your search engine rankings and user experience.

6. Use Autoplay Videos and Audio

Autoplay features can irritate users and may cause them to leave your website.

7. Ignore Accessibility

Ensure your website is accessible to all users, including those with disabilities. It includes using alt tags for images, providing video captions, and using easy-to-read fonts.

VIII. Conclusion

Having a website is vital for businesses in today’s digital age. Professional website design and website development are equally important to ensure the website is visually appealing, user-friendly, and technically sound.

Modern trends and functionalities like minimalism, responsive design, and interactive design are shaping how websites are created and experienced by users. It is also essential to consider the standard practices in website design and website development and to comply with Google’s latest policies.

Finally, knowing what to do and what not to do when designing and developing a website smoothens the process and ensures that the website is professional and effective.

Deedra Determan, Founder

Deedra Determan started her career working in television for one of the top media companies in the country and later became a marketing consultant in the television industry.

Determan went on to launch a niche website for moms in her local market with over 100,000 moms visiting the website each month using the power of Facebook. After one year from launching, Determan sold the website to Oklahoma Media Company, Griffin Communications. Determan went on to launch a digital marketing agency, D2 Branding – Tulsa SEO, Marketing, and Website Design that was recently recognized as one of the “Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America” by Entrepreneur Magazine’s Entrepreneur360.

Determan is the host of the Do It My Way Podcast Show, empowering women business owners and CEO’s to do business on their terms with no regrets, hesitation or fear. Determan coaches these women on how to create a personal brand so they can live a life of financial freedom, working when they want to work and making the money they want to make!