An excellent design attracts new viewers to your website and keeps them engaged with the content there. But if you’re not a designer, choosing the best design for your website can be a daunting task. In this guide, we’ll explore 18 different website design ideas, along with a collection of real websites you can use as inspiration
18 website design ideas with real examples
1. Use a one-page website
A one-page website keeps all of the important information about your company on one page so users can learn everything they need to without being forced to navigate to different parts of your site. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by placing all of your information on a full-screen slider like the Galleon and Caravan site has done:
The most important thing to remember when working with this kind of design is that you want to avoid crowding the page with too much information.
2. Website design ideas for video
Video content can be an effective component of any website, and it’s a particularly powerful way to welcome visitors to your home page. One site that uses video well on their homepage is the Canadian Agorapulse site:
You can choose to make a video easily playable from your homepage or even set it to autoplay, but make sure you don’t choose autoplay if the video includes sound. Many people prefer silent browsing.
3. Invest in illustration
Custom illustrations are a great way to establish the unique feel of your brand and give visitors an idea of what working with your company will feel like. One site that does this particularly well is Social Media Examiner:
Their custom-illustrated banner conveys Social Media Examiner’s commitment to exploring new aspects of social media and the friendly approach they take to working with clients.
Of course, this route can get expensive, so you want to focus on two or three custom illustrations for your main page.
4. Accent your homepage with animations
Another great way to make your homepage unique and keep visitors’ attention is to feature custom animations. These can fill your entire homepage or be used as an accent like they are on the site for Best Day Ever Education:
Keep your animations simple and brief to accommodate visitors’ short attention spans. You may also want to include a call to action in your animation.
5. Gamify your site
One of the best ways to convince an audience to take action on your website is to make it fun. Zurb has done this particularly well with a website that acts like a choose-your-own-adventure game where you can use to find out how you can work with them.
You can create your own choose-your-own-adventure website fairly easily, or take this strategy to the next level by creating your own currency and rewarding users for specific actions.
6. Add a popup
Popups may be one of the most annoying marketing tactics on the web, but they’re also one of the most effective: in one experiment a single opt-in popup drew in 1,375% more subscribers. However, you don’t want to annoy people with popups before they read your content; the most effective time for a popup to appear is when somebody tries to leave your website.
Social Media Examiner has done this particularly well, with multiple popups using different visuals and wording to draw in the most subscribers possible:
7. Use a full-size photo
Instead of a regular white background, consider using a full-size photo as the background for your homepage. Even better if the photo uses a face, like the background of the Bluehost homepage:
This helps people connect with your website, and your brand, on a more personal level.
8. Website design ideas for eCommerce
Do you sell products online? Make your homepage part of your eCommerce store and encourage people to start buying the moment they enter your website. You can see this idea executed really well on the Jeep People site:
Of course, if you choose this route you also want to make sure that you’re not making any of the common eCommerce site design mistakes.
9. Divide your homepage
Do you have several different products, services, or other pieces of information you want to share on your homepage? Consider dividing it into sections with blocks, vertical dividers, and white space.
One website that does this particularly well is Etsy:
10. Website design ideas for navigation menus
Floating navigation menus stick with your visitors as they scroll, making it easy for them to move to other parts of your website at any time. Many websites have adopted this navigation style to make their visitors’ lives easier, including the websites of smaller companies like STEAMLabs:
You can easily add a floating navigation menu using the free Sticky Menu (Or Anything) On Scroll plugin.
11. Focus on accessibility
If you want to reach audiences with visual impairments and mobility impairments, you need to focus on building an accessible website. The KidzWish Foundation is a great example of a website built with accessibility-first thinking:
You can make your own website more accessible by using large fonts and contrasting colors.
12. Website design ideas featuring your community
Is your website primarily the home of an online community? Consider making the forum, chatroom, or other primary means of communication your homepage. You can see this idea used well on Barista Exchange:
Of course, you want to make sure your page is still attractive. Customize your homepage with welcoming colors and graphics to draw people in.
13. Share your social proof
Social proof is one of the most valuable website design ideas in your marketing toolbox. Feature your best testimonials prominently on your homepage, as I have done on my own website:
You can amplify the power of your testimonials by working them into graphics and building a slider with those graphics.
14. Add a chat feature
A chat box or popup on your homepage allows visitors to interact with your brand and get basic answers right away. Best of all, you can use a WordPress chatbot to automate the entire process.
One site that uses a chatbot well is OptinMonster:
Consider having your bot pop up in the bottom right corner so it doesn’t interfere with other uses of your homepage.
15. Add quizzes with broad appeal
Everyone loves an entertaining quiz that tests their knowledge or shows them something about themselves. You’ve probably spent at least a few hours on Buzzfeed quizzes yourself.
Another site that does this really well is the PlayBuzz site, which centers around Buzzfeed-style quizzes.
You can add quizzes to your own site easily with a WordPress quiz plugin.
16. Use brutalist design principles
This principle won’t work for all brands, but it can be highly effective for companies focused on the arts, youth culture, or DIY culture.
17. Website design ideas for a unique homepage with glitch art
Glitch art uses digital or analog glitches to create a hyper futuristic aesthetic. Some of the most common techniques used to create this aesthetic are pixelation, light leaks, and double exposure.
One site that uses glitch art to create a powerful aesthetic is Active Theory:
18. Use a black and white palette
Sometimes the best thing to do is go back to the basics, and that’s exactly what a black and white palette helps you do. One site that does this particularly well is the marketing agency Councl.