7 Key Elements of Modern Web Design

June 13, 2022

Web design is evolving every day. What worked a few years ago may no longer work now, and trends come and go regularly. It’s critical to stay on top of modern web design trends to continue attracting visitors and getting high conversion rates. Here are the seven key elements of modern web design you should know about. 

1. Mobile-Friendly

Did you know that more than half of all website traffic (54.4%) is driven by mobile? Mobile internet usage has seen a steady increase over the last few years and finally surpassed desktop traffic consistently since 2020. 

If there’s one web design trend to pay attention to, it’s the shift towards mobile. Not only are more people transitioning to mobile internet usage, but when someone finds your business on mobile, they’re 3x more likely to convert than if they were to find your business via a desktop search. 

In fact, 70% of mobile searches lead to some sort of online action within just one hour. Not all of them are sales, but the fact remains that people on mobile are more than willing to follow through on their original intentions. 

What does it mean for a site to be mobile-friendly? To start with, you must have a mobile-responsive theme, one that adapts itself to various mobile devices of different sizes, including small and big phones and tablets. It must also load quickly, a factor which I will explain in further depth a bit later. 

All aspects of the site must be mobile-optimized. For example, when you add a pop-up, make sure it doesn’t frustrate mobile users by taking up the whole screen. If it does, and you can’t change the pop-up, consider disabling it on mobile. 

Using AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) can help your pages load quicker on mobile, even on slower mobile connections. 

I recommend using the Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool to check for mobile-responsiveness issues on your site.

2. Condensed Menus

Webmasters are moving towards condensed menus rather than large menus with many options. One way to make your menu smaller is to add a few parent categories which users can expand. 

You don’t want to present users with too many choices from the get-go. That can quickly become overwhelming. Instead, present them with 3-6 choices, with some or all of those choices expanding into an additional 2-5 choices. 

You should also condense the actual menu titles – don’t use long words or phrases. One or two words are enough. 

Some webmasters decide to break the main menu up into two, with the most important options going in the main menu and the rest going in a secondary menu. This secondary menu can be placed in the sidebar or footer, depending on your theme. 

In either case, it’s critical to ensure that mobile users can access your menu easily. Some drop-down menus are horrible on mobile. A menu that opens up from a “hamburger” icon in the top corner is a good idea, as it allows you to save space. Just make sure buttons are properly placed so users can tell when a menu option expands. 

3. Abundance of White Space

A large amount of white space is the norm now. Large blocks of text are things of the past, and it’s essential to avoid them. Cluttering your site with ads, pop-ups, slide-ins, banners, and other graphics will do more harm than good. 

Including an abundance of white space on your site will ensure that users don’t get overwhelmed when landing on it. It also makes the most important information stand out, so users can see the information that matters. 

Here are some tips for including more white space on your website: 

  • Use headers of various sizes (H2, H3, H4) to break up sections.
  • Break up longer paragraphs into smaller ones of 3-5 lines.
  • Include around 4-6 images per 1,000 words, with line breaks before and after the images.
  • Remove most ads.
  • Make pop-ups easy to close.
  • Use bullet-point lists (like this one).

4. Clean and Unique Typography

The font you use matters more than you may think! Themes typically come with a certain font preinstalled, but you’re not forced to use that font. You can switch it up, especially if the font is hard to read. 

Fancy and stylish fonts aren’t great. They might work for poetry blogs, but for standard, informational blog posts, you want a font that is easier on the eyes. Use a simple and clean font. 

Remember that people will be reading your post on different types of devices, and some may have better eyesight than others. That’s why the typography should be a decent size – not too small, and not too large. 

Break up sentences into two parts if they’re too long. If a sentence has more than 30-40 words, it’s probably too long. 

5. High-Quality Media

High-quality media will increase engagement and lead to an increased time spent on-page. Let’s start with the basics: images and videos. 

Good images aren’t those taken from free stock photography sites like Pixabay. They can work in a pinch, but try taking images from the second, third, and fourth pages of the results instead of the first. The images at the top are overused, and people may have already seen them on other sites. 

If you can, purchase stock photos from premium sites like Shutterstock. If you can hire a photographer to take custom pictures just for you, that’s even better. 

Videos are important as well. You can insert videos to further explain a topic, show users how to do a task in a few simple steps, or introduce testimonials or new viewpoints. Don’t make the videos too long – a few minutes is typically enough. 

However, high-quality media goes beyond images and videos. You may also want to consider inserting “tweet quotes” that people can click on to instantly tweet a quote from your article. It increases engagement and helps you get more exposure. 

GIFs and memes can have a place too, though it depends on the topic. If your blog post has a fun, personal, and humorous tone, you can even insert a few emojis throughout the post. Just don’t overdo it, or it will look tacky. 

Using emojis instead of emoticons can add more flair and personality to your post. However, it’s important to realize that emojis can show up slightly differently on different operating systems. Emojipedia is a great resource for figuring out how emojis will show up on different platforms. 

Nevertheless, lesser-used emojis may show up as question marks or blank boxes on some operating systems, especially older ones. Use emojis carefully, and do user testing beforehand. 

6. Fast Load Speeds

Back in 2010, Google confirmed that site speed was introduced as a ranking factor for SEO. Things haven’t changed since then – if anything, site speed is more important than it ever was. 

With the rise of mobile internet usage, it’s essential to make sure your site isn’t loading slowly. People on desktop devices may have more time to wait until a page load, and they may enjoy faster internet connections.

People on mobile, on the other hand, often have to rely on cellular networks, which can be spotty in some places, even in the US. Even if they are using a Wi-Fi connection, their connection speed can vary based on how far they are from their router. 

So, how can you tell how fast your page is loading? There are two tools I recommend. The first is Pingdom, which will show you how fast your site is loading in different locations and help you identify things holding you back. Google PageSpeed Insights is also highly recommended. 

In any case, there are simple things you can do to avoid slowing down your site, like using clean code, compressing images before uploading, not hosting videos directly on your site, and not installing too many heavy plugins. 

7. Optimized for Search Engines

Finally, make sure your website is optimized for search engines. I’m not only talking about optimizing your content for SEO, although that is certainly important. Instead, I’m referring to optimizing your web design with the search engines in mind. 

What does that mean? It starts with things that have the highest impact on SEO, which I already talked about: mobile responsiveness, site speed, and navigation. Internal and external links are critical too. Audit your site for broken links and redirects. A clean site structure and clean URLs will help. 

SEO is something you should have in mind when designing your website. You can tag blog posts with keywords, for example, or upload keywords in the alt text of images. A good SEO strategy is critical, and that includes building high-quality local links. A well-designed site is more likely to attract organic backlinks. 

Final Thoughts

If you pay attention to just these seven elements and fix any associated errors, you will start seeing incredible results. It’s important to audit your website frequently, using tools like Pingdom, to check for errors. Stay on top of emerging web design trends and adjust your design as needed.

At First Rank Digital our packages already include Schema, link building, keyword research, and on-page SEO. We work together to build your brand online and also get qualified leads to your site. If you would like to find out more about our SEO services, feel free to schedule a call with us today.

We are excited to talk about the SEO Services we provide in Tampa and surrounding areas and how we can collaborate with your next project.

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