When creating a website, sure, you probably want the website to look good, but why exactly is web design so important?

Web design is one of the most important features of a website. The user’s first impression of a site comes from its design. Not only does it create credibility & trust, but it also aids in user experience. Without proper web design, a website will not successfully attract and maintain traffic.

Using the internet has become an integral part of our daily lives. With so many websites to choose from, viewers consciously and subconsciously use web design to decide which websites they will spend most of their time on. Keep reading to learn more about how web design affects our lives and how you can implement proper design into your website!

Evolution of the Internet and Web Design


Although not as prevalent as it is today, the internet has been around since the 1960s. Before the invention of the internet, information could not be transferred remotely from one computer to another. This made it difficult for government researchers to communicate information with each other. These researchers had to either travel from computer to computer or wait for the information to be mailed to them, both inefficient for research.

Before the internet, there was the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET). The only users of this information-sharing network were academics and researchers contracted with the Department of Defense. After the ARPANET’s success, other networks were formed, and eventually, the internet that we know today was born. (Source: University System of Georgia)

As the internet evolved, so did web design. Before web design became a full-fledged industry, sites used to look very plain, and their information was often cluttered and difficult to navigate. Since then, web design has come a long way. Fast forward a few years past 1992, and internet web design was primarily done using Flash. This software allowed web designers to make their websites more interactive and animated. (Source: WebFX)

Although Flash-based website design prospered for some time, its use required users to have the software themselves and keep it updated. Web designers and browsers have since abandoned the software, and its support has been discontinued. While the proto-internet was primarily information-based with no conscious effort to design, users now rely on a website’s design to determine if they should trust its information. Basically, we look first and decide whether to read on second. This means that web design is a crucial part of modern information sharing.

Importance of Web Design


Currently, there are nearly two billion websites in existence. But according to Internet Live Stats, only around 170 million active websites are actually reliable sources. With 1.63 billion unreliable websites, users have developed a skill referred to as “media literacy” to sift through all the information presented to them.

Media literate users analyze the design of a website within the first seconds after arriving on a website. Your web design communicates several messages to viewers that help them determine whether they stay on your page or not.

Let’s take a deeper look at what these messages are and why they are so important in the sections below. As we go into the importance of web design, we will also be looking at how one company, Apple, masters web design. As we learn about the elements of good web design, we will analyze how Apple implements each of them on its website. Let’s get started!


While many websites have honest intentions and reliable information, there are literally millions of others looking to mislead users or trick them into sharing their personal information. Even if their intentions are pure, they might just have bad information. Your website can set itself apart as a credible and trustworthy source with a professional-looking website design.

According to a poll done by BaseKit, 70 percent of web users said they would not purchase something from a poorly designed website. If you build a website for a business or a product, an unappealing design will greatly decrease your customer base. It doesn’t matter what you sell if people are nervous about trusting you.

Another study completed by the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab found that quality web design was one of the top ten most important ways to gain credibility among visitors to your website. If viewers see a poor design on your site, they will not purchase your product or even read more information on your site.

So, if that’s the case, let’s see how Apple establishes credibility through its website’s design.

The first thing you see when opening Apple.com is the secure lock next to the URL. This lock shows that the website encodes your information to protect you from hackers. The next thing you see is that the page is sleek and professional. If you were to open a website like TWWWE.com, you probably would not purchase anything from them.

While this may be a silly example, some websites actually look like this. You can give your website instant credibility with a properly designed website.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

SEO or search engine optimization is “the process of improving your site to increase its visibility when people search for products or services related to your business in Google, Bing, and other search engines.” (Source)

That’s right. Web design plays a big role in how often your website shows up in search results. How your website looks is just the surface of web design. A much deeper level of web design is how the code looks and operates. It is the actual code of your site that search engines will read to determine how often your website should turn up in search queries.

Web design changes and adds code to your web pages.  Especially when you use things like website builders or templates or themes, these add even more code that affects your search engine optimization. 

This extra code for the web design also affects your page speed, another important SEO factor.

Have a Wix website with speed issues? I wrote this post with tips to help you speed it up.

Have a WordPress website? Go here for tips to speed it up WITHOUT extra code and plugins.

Before you can establish your credibility to keep viewers on your website, you need to use proper SEO to get them there. While you likely incorporate many SEO techniques into the content you publish on your website, do you use SEO in your web design?

The main thing search engines look for in your website is the actual page content. However, search engine bots must sift through various other lines of code along with the code containing the actual text and image content of the page. Make sure to do your due diligence researching and preparing before you design your website.  Find and use website builders, themes, templates that are optimized for SEO.

You want to make sure whatever tools you are using do not add extraneous code or anything that will negatively affect your SEO. Web FX suggests externalizing JavaScript and CSS codes to help the bots get to the site’s information faster. If you have specific web design needs and optimizing them by completing tasks like this is out of your depth, you may need to hire a professional web developer.

Another tip to improve the reading of your site’s SEO is to block bots from reading any information that is not important to the website’s actual content. One factor of SEO we are all familiar with is the use of keywords. While we all include these keywords in our page’s text content (or should start doing so now), many of us do not take advantage of the keyword real estate in the images on our websites.

That’s right. You can “hide” keywords in images. These keywords are kept in the image’s alternate description. This alternate description is used for sight-impaired users. Screen readers will read this description to them in place of the image. While it is important to describe this image for sight-impaired users accurately, be sure to use keywords that will boost your search rankings when read by SEO bots.

As mentioned earlier, Flash, while once standard in web design, is no longer popular. Flash has become outdated and is no longer supported by Adobe, and search engines know it too. If search engines see that Flash or other potentially insecure things are used on your website, those will be detrimental to your site’s SEO.

Brand Development

Ever since the first business was created, branding has been an important part of marketing, and now it is a crucial part of website design. If you are unsure what your company’s brand is when designing your website, keep in mind that it is more of an emotion than a tangible object.

A brand is a result–it’s a person’s gut feeling about a productMarty Neumeier

What does your product (or your website) make others feel?

If you have an established visual identity and look or you promote a certain type of experience, your website should emulate these things. This consistency in design will help users distinguish your product from the other websites and products out there. Like Marty described above, your web design should create a feeling that users know they can come back for.

While your website’s entire design is important to your brand, emphasis should be placed on your logo. Your website’s logo should look professional and summarize the brand as a whole. Make sure your logo is not a cookie-cutter design. If your logo resembles another website or company’s, not only could you get in trouble for copyright, but users may confuse the two and therefore not remember your site as well.

Apple has established itself as one of the most popular brands worldwide. Just like their products, Apple’s website is sleek, simple, and easy to use. They’ve managed to create a website experience consistent with the brand and will give users that premium feeling online.

Elements of Good Web Design


Now that you know why web design is so important let’s cover some of the ways you can implement good web design elements on your very own website. In order to get to a good web design you need to avoid and get rid of bad web design.  To do that, visit this post where I cover a list of 20 examples of bad web design and how to fix them.

In the internet age, one does not have to look far to find a website template builder or hire a designer to do it for them. While these tools make web design more efficient, they have their own downsides.

While templates look sleek and easy to use, so many people use them that your site will look just like millions of other pages. If you choose to use a web designer, be clear and upfront about how you want the website to look and feel. If the web designer does not know these things, their design will not serve your business best.

Responsive Design

Having a responsive website design is crucial for gaining a following. Viewers come to your website from a variety of devices that all have different processors and screen sizes.

If your website is designed with only one screen size in mind, you will lose traffic fast. Instead, your website should be designed to accommodate viewers no matter what device they are viewing from.

Apple’s website is an excellent example of responsive design. Open Apple.com on both your phone and computer. Although the two devices are very different, the website still works and looks proper on both. You can even shrink or expand the window on your computer and watch how the page responds to the available space. We’ve all been to sites where we’re struggling scrolling, zooming, and rotating to try and see things before giving up.

You can make your website more responsive by using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Tool. Just type in your website and see how mobile-friendly it really is!

Clear Navigation

Another notable feature of Apple’s website is its clear, easy-to-use navigation. At the top of Apple’s home page, there is either a full menu bar or three lines that show you the full menu when clicked. Immediately after opening the website, you can easily find what you are looking for.

Your website should do the same! If users find themselves lost in your web pages, they will simply close the page and never come back.

Another important part of navigation is having proper links. If your website has ANY broken or incorrect links, it will harm the user experience. Before publishing your website, make sure all menu items and content links direct users to the correct location.

Call to Action

While web design is ultimately how the site looks, this does not mean that users should only be looking at the page. Rather, there should be multiple opportunities for them to interact with the page or be “called to action.”

On Apple’s website, call-to-action buttons include “Learn More”, “Order”, “Shop”, “Buy”, and “Try it Free.” On your website, call-to-action buttons might include social media share buttons, “Send us a Message”, or even some similar to Apple’s.

Be sure to include a place for users to contact you with any questions about your website, product, or company. Contact allows you to interact with them on multiple occasions. Implementing proper web design methods such as these will determine how successful your website and your company will be.

These are just some of the elements of good web design. I’ve written other posts linked below with good and bad web design examples for you to learn more.

Article 2: A list of 10 good website design signs and their bad web design counterparts to avoid.