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Thanks to website design emerging technologies and the growing expectation that we should be able to do almost literally everything online, there’s never been a more exciting time in the field of web design. From huge brands redefining what corporate websites can be to the minimal, elegant work of small boutique design studios, the web has never looked better.
Although there is a very real technical overhead to consider when designing a website, sometimes the biggest problem is one of inspiration. Website Design How do you know what design trends are already showing their age? How can you tell if your site is looking stale? How can you make your site look better and provide the experience your users expect?
In today’s post, we’ll be taking a look at eight websites that curate some of the best and boldest designs from across the web. Website Design If you’re thinking of redesigning your site, or launching a new site entirely, these sites might just offer the inspiration you need.
Dribbble is one of the best design resources on the web—period. For website designers, however, it’s a treasure trove of cutting-edge designs from working web professionals and freelancers, making it an excellent resource to discover new trends and be inspired by the work of others.
Dribbble is primarily a freelancer portfolio service. Website Design That means that not only can you find some of the best new and experienced web professionals in the world in one place, it means you can easily contact the designers whose work you like to commission or hire them. Win.
Since responsive design has become one of the singularly most important design considerations for today’s websites, our first source of website design inspiration comes courtesy of ResponsiveDesign.is, a site dedicated to advancing RWD as a design practice and a repository of sites that make excellent use of RWD techniques.
Unlike many other sites that offer galleries of web design inspiration, Responsive Design also delves into the code behind the beautiful designs featured on the site, which can be extraordinarily useful to newcomers to web design or those honing their web development skills.
Crayon is one of those sites that, once you discover it, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it. One of the most comprehensive visual inspiration sites on the Web, Crayon.co is invaluable to marketers, designers, and developers hoping to spark an idea for their next venture or see what’s hot in the world of web design.
With more than 35 million sites and resources available to search, and a set of smart, highly responsive filters that let you find exactly what you’re looking for, Crayon is a must-see.
Next on our list is Webdesign Inspiration, a site dedicated to – wait for it – showcasing great-looking websites. I know, right? Crazy.
One of the things that’s really cool about this site is that not only does it feature a comprehensive catalogue of images, you can also search for sites using a range of filters. For example, you can search for websites in specific industries, of specific type (such as ecommerce or personal portfolios), styles (including options such as Experimental and Minimal), and even by color palette – very handy.
The web design examples featured on siteInspire are truly impressive. Seriously, this site focuses on truly beautiful designs, and includes examples from small boutique businesses and major brands alike. It’s also a genuine pleasure to use, as the site itself is arguably as appealing and intuitive as the examples it features.
You can also use filters on siteInspire to find examples of sites that are relevant to your business, and the site’s Showcase gallery is constantly being updated to reflect the bleeding-edge web design trends that can take years to disseminate across the web, making it the ideal destination for forward-thinking business owners who want their site to really stand out.
The Best Designs is a website dedicated to highlighting not only exciting and daring web design work, but also the designers themselves. Similarly to Dribbble, you can find the contact info and online portfolios of designers featured in The Best Designs, which is a great help if you like the look of a designer’s work and want to hire them.
The sites featured on The Best Designs are curated from designer submissions, so each of the sites seen in The Best Designs’ extensive gallery are of the highest quality and also passed muster with the site’s moderators. This means you can be sure you’ll find many of “the best designs” (rimshot) in the world on this aptly-named site.
One prominent feature of The Best Designs notably lacking from similar sites is the Pinterest integration. Pinterest is an amazing resource for website design inspiration, and it’s interesting to me that more sites don’t feature this integration more prominently.
This site has been around for a very long time (especially in Internet time, which I guess is a little like the whole “dog years” thing), and is renowned and beloved among web professionals for a very good reason.
CSS Zen Garden isn’t a collection of beautiful images from around the web, but rather a demonstration of the awesome power that cascading style sheets offer. Every design featured on the site has the same HTML code – the same essential structure of the page – and only the CSS files have been modified.
Aside from being the best demonstration of the power of CSS-based design on the web, CSS Zen Garden occupies a special place in the web community’s heart for many reasons. The first is that although visual design possibilities are the primary focus of the site, so too is the crucial element of accessibility. In the site’s own words, “CSS Zen Garden is about functional, practical CSS and not the latest bleeding-edge tricks viewable by 2% of the browsing public. The only real requirement we have is that your CSS validates.”
Another interesting part of CSS Zen Garden is that you can also view the designs and submissions that didn’t make the final cut – a rarity these days. You can also download the site’s HTML and CSS files freely if you fancy taking a stab at your own design, which is great for experienced and aspiring developers and designers alike.
CSS Zen Garden is an excellent place to find inspiration for your next redesign, but it also demonstrates the amazing power that CSS has over your site’s visual appearance. Maybe your HTML is fine, and only your CSS needs a little TLC.
Web Design Ledger is another site beloved by many in the web community. Although the site does offer plenty of inspirational content, it’s far from just a curated gallery site, and offers interviews, free downloads and templates, tutorials, fascinating blog posts, and just about everything else you could want from a site devoted to advancing and improving the ways we interact online.
Feeling inspired? We sure hope so!
What happens when you try to sell a house with an overgrown garden, cracks in the driveway, and a broken front door? No offers, right? That’s exactly why you need the best homepage design for your website.
Think of your homepage as analogous to a home’s curb appeal. It’s the first thing many people see when they visit your website, so you want to wow them from the second the page loads.
But it’s not just about aesthetics. You also want your homepage to convert. As I said above, a broken front door and an inaccessible driveway prevents future buyers from even considering the sale. The same goes for your website.
People can’t or won’t convert if you don’t give them an incentive to do so and if you don’t make converting as easy and intuitive as possible.
The first step in winning over more customers is to understand the essential elements that should go into every homepage.
Once you’ve mastered the basics, draw inspiration from 31 top homepage designs so you can find out what will work best for your business and your audience.
A simple homepage design welcomes your audience to your site, tells them what you want them to do next, and allows them to explore your site in more depth.
You can layer on more complexity, but you don’t want to start with a cluttered mess and have to selectively prune it. Always begin with the basics. When you begin planning out your homepage design, make sure every element satisfies at least one of the following four goals.
Website Design You can add complexity to a simple homepage design, but you don’t want to start with a cluttered mess and have to selectively prune it. Always begin with the basics.
What do you need on your homepage? What will your audience expect? And which elements take priority?
When you can answer those questions, you’ll have the information you need for better homepage design. In web design, homepage elements have very specific purposes.
Many of your website visitors will find your homepage first. With that in mind, you need to make a solid first impression.
Your homepage should provide a sense of your company’s values, unique selling proposition (USP), and purpose. You’re more likely to lure in potential customers if you can effectively communicate this information.
Consumers visit your website with a purpose. It could be to check out your product line, read your blog posts, or find out if you sell a particular type of service.
Regardless, you want to direct that consumer to the appropriate page. Your homepage design should facilitate this transition by providing intuitive navigation and a sense of how your website flows.
You want website visitors to convert, but they won’t if you don’t give them the necessary incentive and opportunity. Maybe you want to build an email list, but if visitors can’t find a signup form, your database will remain empty.
By making this information easily accessible on your homepage, you will see an uptick in conversions.
Another way to boost conversions is to create a strong first impression with your homepage. If visitors enjoy their experience on your website, they’ll also be more likely to remember it in the future. Maybe you won’t make a sale today, but that customer will return days or weeks later and buy from you.
Make your company memorable by allowing your brand image and messaging to come through on every page. This is especially true when it comes to your homepage design because the homepage serves as the gateway to the rest of your website.
Your logo, tagline, and purpose need to take center stage. In fact, you might even want to add a form or statement to the very top of your homepage — preferably in a large font — that gives your visitors a sense of what you do:
What problems do you solve for your customers? How do you improve your clients’ lives — whether personal or professional?
Don’t force your website audience to have to figure out and guess what it is you do. Make it clear from the get go.
Now that you know the four goals to motivate your design principles, ask yourself three guiding questions: What do you absolutely need on your homepage? Who is your target audience and what will they expect? Which elements take priority?
Once you have the answers to these three questions, you can begin plotting out how best to improve your homepage. Remember to tie each of your design elements to one of the four goals listed above. Most importantly, don’t worry about getting it perfect. Website optimization is an ongoing process!
There’s no better teacher than an example. I’m going to show you some of the best homepage design examples that I’ve found, and I’ll tell you exactly why they work so you can apply those same tactics on your own site.
I’ve called out Dropbox before as an excellent example of good marketing all around. The company’s homepage is no different. You have a slightly askew hero image that draws the eye and two CTAs — one of which uses a dark background to draw more attention since it’s for the paid version of the tool.
The marketing copy is very simple here. Dropbox knows its target audience and drills down on pain points that affect them, including efficiency and security. Plus, the navigation is pretty stripped down, with an option to “Compare plans.”
I love the Slack homepage design because of its unique illustrations. You can’t go wrong with custom graphics. I also like the tagline — “Where Work Happens” — because it’s creative, but it also encapsulates the tool’s purpose.
Slack makes it clear what visitors should do. They can sign in or create an account. Here, we have more navigation options than Dropbox provides, but each contributes to helping visitors find what they want.
I’m going with another example of custom graphics. Green Mountain Energy leaves no doubt about the company’s purpose. It wants to provide clean energy at an affordable price. There are two equal CTAs — one for residential customers and one for business owners — that use contrasting colors to draw the eye.
CarMax encountered a unique challenge when designing its homepage. The company both buys and sells cars, so it needed to cater to both audiences. As you can see, CarMax succeeds.
Multiple CTAs direct visitors to either find a car to buy or to sell their used car. Clean and simple. The hero image is clearly custom because you can see the CarMax logo on the vehicle’s license plate.
Ecommerce homepage design can get tricky. Do you introduce the business, show off your flagship product, or overwhelm your audience with tons of products or categories?
Hopefully, you don’t do the latter.
In thredUP’s case, the homepage goes for a seasonal approach. Apparently, boho style is in (at least for women), so we see a custom graphic that advertises lots of boho fashions available. The navigation is hefty but cleanly designed, so visitors can easily find the categories that interest them.
Minimal elements, flat design illustrations, and muted colors make the StudioPress homepage design shine. Thanks to the copy, you know exactly what StudioPress does for its customers: “Build Amazing WordPress Sites.” Then, you have three CTAs to choose from based on how you want to proceed.
Sometimes, your approach to homepage design needs to reflect the type of website you’re building. In Healthline’s case, it’s primarily an educational publication that provides tips and insights into healthcare, nutrition, fitness, and more.
This is an example of “showing, not telling” design. Instead of a big headline that says, “We Publish Articles About Health,” Healthline demonstrates that fact with lots of article titles and excerpts above the fold. You also have access to a hamburger menu in the header, which can help you navigate to what you want, and a simple link for the site’s newsletter.
You didn’t think I would write this article without including Crazy Egg, did you? This website’s homepage focuses exclusively on encouraging the visitor to plug in their URL to view a heatmap. There’s also a link to start a 30-day free trial, with the trust-building “Cancel anytime” language right next to it.
You have social proof in the subhead, which tells visitors how many people trust Crazy Egg’s tools. If you scroll down, you encounter expandable content just below some more social proof.
When you click the “Learn more” link, the homepage expands to include even more information about how Crazy Egg helps website owners boost conversions.
This is a lot different from the other examples on this page, but I really love how Abacus Plumbing has structured its homepage.
It might look a bit cluttered, but this homepage includes a ton of social proof. The BBB accredited logo, the review count, and the words “You Can Count On Us” are all strategically placed.
The homepage highlights another trust-building element which is that customers will receive personal information about technicians prior to the technicians’ arrival. Customers can feel safer knowing that they’re actually opening their doors to an Abacus technician.
You might have heard me say once or twice that I love minimal design. You can’t get much more minimal than the trivago homepage design. It’s focused on one thing: Getting visitors to search for a destination. That’s it.
The word “relentless” caught my eye when I first saw this homepage design. If you were hiring a Realtor, wouldn’t you want him or her to be relentless? I would.
The homepage design is attractive and perfect for the Century21 audience. There’s a focus on searching for properties immediately from the homepage, but you also have access to useful navigation.
Nobody would ever call me a fashion expert, but I like the overall homepage design on the Mark Jacobs site. It’s minimalist and sophisticated, which fits the target audience, and the creative copywriting captures the attention of visitors.
Additionally, consumers will immediately notice the free shipping order in the top bar and the well-spaced navigation links.
Laura Worthington has created a homepage design that reflects her approach to designing fonts. It’s feminine and colorful without overwhelming the senses.
At the same time, the elements don’t feel cluttered, and you know immediately what Laura Worthington sells.
I use Skype a lot, so I’m pretty familiar with how it works. Skype has created a homepage design that addresses its target audience perfectly. The graphic subtly communicates that the technology works on all device types, and the word “millions” shows how popular the service is.
Then you have the three things people use Skype for: talking, chatting, and collaborating. The CTA button with the blue background and white text calls attention to itself beautifully.
From the logo to the marketing copy, Fitnessblender has created an awesome homepage. With all the money people spend on the fitness industry, it’s refreshing — and compelling — to see a message that promises workout videos that don’t cost money. Sign me up!
You also have the male and female models, both of whom look fitness-ready, to capture attention and motivate the audience.
The copy and the imagery take center stage for the Nest homepage design. I see some elements of Apple’s design in this example. You have the product lined up in all its colors and the tagline “Saving energy never goes out of style.” The “Buy now” CTA tells visitors exactly what they should do next.
Although the Toastmasters International homepage design might seem a little dated at first, you have to remember its target audience. The organization wants to attract people — usually business leaders — and it does so well. I like the background images and the headline copy. Plus, the colors befit the tone and voice the organization wishes to express.
If it doesn’t work for your business, you don’t have to use a pale color scheme or minimalist design. Feel free to experiment and figure out how best to represent your business.
Here’s another example of a fairly minimal design. Bookouture is a digital publisher, primarily of romance and suspense novels, and its homepage targets authors who might want to publish their books here. The use of the computer image to show cover art is a smart one. In the header, you have a link for submissions, and below the homepage copy, there’s another CTA to learn more about what the company offers.
Ensurem is an example of a minimalist design that still feels cultured and fleshed out. The huge hero image helps, as does the dark color palette. You get a sense of refinement from the design.
Particularly notable is the CTA. It’s big, the background is high-contrast, and the background color recalls the colors in the Ensurem logo. All fit together seamlessly.
Nonprofits have their own obstacles when it comes to homepage design. They want to help as many people as possible but they also want to solicit donations, volunteers, and other help from the public. The Suicide Prevention Hotline accomplishes each of these goals well.
It’s interesting because the primary CTA is a phone number. This might sound antithetical considering what we usually see, but it’s designed for its audience. And if you’re surfing on your smartphone, you can click that number to dial it, which makes it particularly useful.
L’Oursin, a fantastic Seattle restaurant, totally nails the homepage design here. The photographs of food immediately tickle visitors’ taste buds, and you get a sense of the venue’s mood through its photographs and font choices.
Lots of people use The Motley Fool exclusively for articles on finance, but the company offers much more. You’ll notice that one element sticks out on the page — the yellow CTA button that says “Latest Stock Prices.” If you click it, you’re taken to the company’s paid services, which involve providing you with stock picks from analysts and experts.
FindLaw has two purposes: educate people about the law and connect customers with lawyers. It caters to both purposes through its homepage design. You can use the top navigation to find educational information, but the primary CTA — centered over the hero image — encourages you to find a lawyer near you.
If you’re at all familiar with the psychology of color in marketing, you know that blue is often used to symbolize health and emotional healing.
That’s why UnitedHealthcare’s homepage design is so effective. Plus, it uses relevant images to help visitors feel at home, and multiple CTAs offer clear directions about how to proceed.
If you watch my YouTube videos, you know Adam and I have a regular Thursday series where we answer questions from people who have left comments on previous videos. Adam’s business, Viewership.com, focuses on helping people take advantage of video marketing.
The homepage design is ideal. We see the pink/red color in just two places and the green color in just two places. That’s how Viewership draws visitors’ eyes to relevant parts of the page.
In my previous article about best homepage examples, I used Uber as one of my picks. It’s only fair then that I feature Lyft here. It’s a fantastic homepage that uses a clever custom illustration to attract viewers and includes a high-contrast CTA button. It also successfully caters to both riders and drivers.
I like the hubEngage homepage design because it’s ernest and attractive. “Unleash the Power of Engaged Employees.” That’s the business’s sole purpose. Then you have the chat box in the lower right-hand corner, which is an excellent UX decision, and the topical hero image.
Why don’t we close with a bang? Starbucks is no marketing beginner. The company has set the bar high for every other coffee shop, and its homepage design changes regularly based on the products Starbucks wants to promote.
Here, you have two protein shakes that look delicious as well as simple but effective copy. The “New” icons next to the product names attract interest, too.
The Copyblogger website uses the hero image approach to homepage design — and it works beautifully. The site is clean and minimalist, using light colors and an image that’s simultaneously inviting and unobtrusive.
You get everything you expect from a homepage, from the logo and tagline to the navigation bar at the top. There’s also the value proposition on top of the hero image, which helps cement the company’s value.
Why it works: Hero image homepages work well when you’re selling a single value proposition. It’s not ideal for e-commerce homepages — unless you sell just one product — but it’s perfect for service businesses that have a core or flagship service they provide.
Humans respond well to visual imagery. In fact, nearly 60 percent of customers surveyed in one study said they would rather engage with a beautifully designed web page than one that was simply designed. Consumers are judging your business based on homepage aesthetics.
Anyone who knows me will tell you I hate to drive. I’m always calling Ubers to pick me up.
I’m also a big fan of Uber’s website. It offers one of the best homepage designs I’ve seen in a long time.
It’s a great example of seamlessly combining two value propositions: Get a safe, inexpensive ride or become a driver and make money.
That’s no easy feat, especially with so few words on the page.
Why it works: If you look at each individual element on Uber’s homepage, you’ll notice that it’s all designed to funnel website visitors toward one action or another. They want you to sign up for an account so you can order Uber rides or sign up as a driver and earn cash.
Those are two entirely different segments of the market. Yet it somehow works.
Notice the image choice. The guy behind the wheel is clearly an Uber driver, but he’s staring right at the camera — at you. If you wanted to order an Uber, he’s someone you’d feel comfortable getting in the car with. Or, if you wanted a part-time hustle, he’s someone whose success you’d want to emulate.
The rest of the homepage provides tons more information, from a map and quoting form for getting from one place to another to blurbs about the company’s value proposition.
If you’re not familiar with Rosetta Stone, it’s a suite of tools designed to help you learn a foreign language. It’s on the high end of the pricing spectrum, but it’s still hugely popular.
Also, it’s one of the best homepage examples I’ve seen for an e-commerce site.
We’re dealing with a hero image again, this time of a worldly traveler who’s using his phone — ostensibly to access the Rosetta Stone app.
Why it works: Rosetta Stone leads with its primary USP: TruAccent technology. The value-added benefits of the technology set it apart from its competitors and make it seem more effective at helping people learn language skills.
Then you have another value proposition: The company has been in operation for 25 years. There’s also social proof: “The most trusted language solution…”
Rosetta Stone might benefit from some hard numbers here. How many customers does it serve? That might be more impressive. But it’s the only fault I find with this homepage.
There’s a major call to action for launching an interactive demo, but users can also find out about specific solutions for different customer segments: individuals, educators, and businesses.
This homepage does an excellent job of capturing the visitor’s attention and providing plenty of places to explore without distracting the visitor from the primary CTA.
You’ve seen three real-life examples of some of the best homepage designs on the Internet, but what can you take away from them? And how do you design the best homepage for your business?
Believe it or not, homepage design boils down to five simple elements. You have lots of room to play with creativity, but make sure you’re presenting your offer clearly and without distraction.
Here’s a handy checklist of things to include on your own homepage to improve it and boost conversions.
Each of the three examples I mentioned above has a clear, specific headline to anchor the page. Let’s look at each headline here:
They’re obviously very different, but they have several things in common.
First, they use power words. These are words that immediately evoke an emotion or connect with the reader.
Copyblogger focuses on words like “authority” and “powerfully effective.” They’re not impressive on their own, but when built into a concise headline, they help send a stronger message.
Uber takes a more emotive approach. Instead of stating its value proposition outright, Uber appeals to what their target customers want: freedom, efficiency, and a destination.
Then you have Rosetta Stone, which uses words like “only” and “world’s best” to convey credibility and authority. Those words imply that Rosetta Stone is all you need to accomplish your goals.
Write strong headlines by putting yourself in the customer’s shoes. What would impress him or her? What would connect with that person enough to convince him or her to explore the rest of your site? Or to fill out a form?
One of the most common issues I notice on homepages is conflicting CTAs.
Avoid conflicting CTAs as much as possible. You can have more than one option, but make clear that there’s a single CTA you want your visitors to follow through on specifically. You can see how both Uber and Rosetta Stone did this in the examples above by making the alternate CTAs smaller and less obvious.
More importantly, you want to avoid visual clutter. Just like you pick up toys, clothes, scattered magazines, and other detritus at home, you want to remove any confusing visual elements from your homepage.
In other words, keep it simple.
You want enough on the page to attract attention, but not so much that readers don’t know where to look.
Your CTA is where you want your visitors to focus their attention. It’s an invitation: Here’s what to do next!
The CTA button shouldn’t take over your entire screen, but it should get the visitor’s attention. Consider using a unique font if you don’t think it’s captivating enough.
Additionally, make sure you use a call-to-action phrase that makes sense and conveys value. A CTA like “Subscribe Now” doesn’t thrill me. Change it to: “Subscribe Now to Get a Free Case Study.” Now I’m interested.
I’m a big fan of contrast when it comes to my sites. You’ll see my signature orange color on NeilPatel.com and Neil Patel Digital.
Contrast doesn’t mean a loud or obnoxious color. You can create contrast in numerous ways.
For instance, a bold color for the background and a neutral color for the text on a CTA will work well. You don’t want lime green on electric blue — that’s hard on the eyes.
In a CTA, you can also use a color that isn’t found elsewhere on the page. Just make sure it doesn’t strike too much visual discord. Learning the color wheel and how colors complement one another will make you a better designer.
Your website visitors might never scroll beyond the fold. That’s just a fact. If you bury your offer underneath the fold, many of your visitors will never see it.
As you can see from the best homepage examples I mentioned above, every one includes the offer or USP (unique selling proposition) above the fold. It’s obvious from the moment the visitor arrives.
Web design is extremely subjective. I might love a site’s design, while you might hate it. There’s no way to please everyone.
However, you can please most of the people who visit your site. How? You figure out what’s working and what’s not, based on what the majority of your site visitors respond to positively.
Crazy Egg lets you run user behavior reports on your site. You’ll see where people click, scroll, and otherwise react to design elements.
A heatmap, for instance, lets you see what people care about on a web page, and what they don’t even notice (even when they should). On the other hand, a confetti report shows you granular information about referral sites and how people who come from different places engage with your site.
Do people tend to skip over your CTA when they come from Facebook? Maybe your Facebook posts aren’t aligning with the design of your site.
Other user behavior reports allow you to view visitor patterns in different ways. For instance, a standard heatmap shows areas of “hot” activity and “cold” inactivity. Positioning your homepage elements to align with eye tracking can make it more effective.
After you collect this information, create two versions of your website.Website Design Present one version to half your visitors and the other to the remainder. This process of A/B testing individual elements will help you refine your site so it’s ideal for your target audience.
Good homepage design doesn’t require you to follow a specific formula. As you can see from the homepages I highlighted above, some website homepages share common elements, but they’re all different from each other.
In fact, stretching the boundaries of modern design conventions can work in your favor, but only if you don’t obstruct the visitor’s user experience. It’s fine to make bold design choices, but don’t do so at the expense of usefulness.
You don’t want to copy someone else. Build the best homepage design for your specific audience, and make sure you’re presenting your products and services well by highlighting their unique qualities.
Once you accomplish this, you’ll have built a website conversion machine.