Everyone has their own ideas about web design, and what people should try to implement. There aren't any hard and fast rules that you must follow. The truth is that many different designs, appearances and styles can be effective when used correctly. More important than trying to follow someone's exact game plan is to learn basic optimization tips that you can deploy in ways that make the most sense for you and your specific site.
When you are designing your website, at the top of your list has to be making your website easy to navigate. Navigation is of course the way that people move about on your site and interact with it. It may seem obvious, but many small businesses overlook this simple step in the process.
You need to have a navigation bar either at the top of the page, down one of the sides - or both - and that navigation needs to be visible on every single page. Remember when websites used to only have "Home" buttons and when you had to either always go back to the home page to pick a new page, or hit your back button? Well if your website is still like that, or anything like that, you will immediately turn off your visitors and send them running.
Another priority with your web design has to be to put the most important information you have at the top of the page. The top of the page is referred to as "above the fold". This just means that it is the portion of your website that visitors see right away, without having to scroll down at all in their browser windows. Because all people see this portion of your page, and they see it immediately, it should include your most important information. Headlines for articles, sign up buttons for your email list, key advertisements and more are all good ideas for the above the fold section of your pages.
When in doubt with web design, always keep things simple. This is something that a lot of us struggle with, particularly when we first get started. The thinking is that the more bells and whistles the better. Well, unless you really know how to deploy them appropriately, then less is more. Keep your site toned down, with colors, color combinations and fonts that are easy on the eyes. Use images and videos to highlight information and make things easier to read, but don't overwhelm people with too many of them.
Don't forget to keep in mind your overall purpose or objective when you are designing your website and all of the individual pages. If you have a website then you have that site for a reason. Are you trying to sell a new product, get people to sign up for a free trial or gather contact information for prospects? Whatever your goal is, you have to design your site with that in mind, so that all roads lead to the desired action you want people to take. Make it as easy as possible for people to follow through on your intentions, whatever that may be.
An overlooked element of web design is making it fit into your overall plan for marketing and search engine optimization. How can SEO be incorporated into web design? To begin with, the page architecture you choose will help the search engines rank your pages accordingly. What is meant by that, is a parent page dealing with a broad category and having five child pages under it dealing with individual subcategories will be a more efficient approach than having all of those pages on the same hierarchical level.
Another way to incorporate SEO into your web design is by naming your pages appropriately. URLs should be kept as short and neat as possible, but should also contain important keywords and phrases. So instead of having website URLs such as www.yourdomain.com/post112.html, you can have URLs such as www.yourdomain.com/targeted-keyword-phrase.html. That way you'll instantly have a leg up on getting ranked for a particular term or phrase, without ever even looking at your content and onsite optimization. It's another easy way that your SEO efforts can be worked into your web design strategy.
The field of web design can be taken in many different directions. There are plenty of do's and don'ts, and lots of information you have to remember. Most importantly of all though, take some basic fundamentals and apply them to your site in the way that makes the most sense for your purpose, your business and your audience.