To a business designing a website, the internet feels like a massive scale of The Bachelor. Each user is a bachelor standing in front of a giant crowd of single sites trying to court them and draw them in. How do you emerge from the crowd and get that user’s attention?
A great website design is the key. You need to grab a user’s attention for a first date and build a relationship so they want to keep coming back.
Of course, that’s easier said than done. How do you know what will draw in a user? Where do you even start?
If you’re struggling to come up with website ideas, it’s time to look for some inspiration. Steer clear of copying anyone else’s designs, but looking through effective sites can get your creative juices flowing. Here are some of our favorites.
Examples of Great Website Ideas
Your site should be a unique reflection of your brand and your specialty. Still, checking out successful sites can give you ideas for how to incorporate that brand into your design. Check out these sources of inspiration:
1. Woven Magazine
Woven Magazine is all about telling artists’ and entrepreneurs’ stories. They focus on offering inspiration to dreamers, all with a natural, eco-friendly vibe.
Their website is so effective because it exudes this same personality. It has a simplistic, airy, natural look. With one glance, you know the atmosphere they want to cultivate. When it comes to branding your company, your website is one of the top ways to show off your brand, and Woven’s site does it well.
2. FEED Projects
There are a few different types of sites on this list. Some are informational like Woven Magazine, others are e-commerce and others are portfolios. If you want a clean, modern design, e-commerce sites can present the largest challenge.
As you try to include all the products and organization you need, it’s easy for your site to get cluttered. Not only is clutter unattractive, but it can lead to slow loading times that chase away impatient customers.
FEED Projects manages to have an e-commerce site with a clean, modern look. They focus on images, and there is minimal text other than the navigation. The navigation is also easy to use.
For an art-focused website, the web design is crucial. You want the site itself to be a work of art without distracting users from the other artists’ work. That’s the balance NOWNESS has struck.
This site takes “simple” to its peak. NOWNESS is focused on the art of filmmaking, creating and spreading artistic videos. You don’t need us to tell you this, though. The videos are front and center on the site, drawing in the viewer so there’s no need to guess where your focus should be.
4. Mikiya Kobayashi
One of the most important concepts of web design is that your business’ purpose should be clear from the get-go. There may not be any site that does this better than Mikiya Kobayashi‘s website.
As soon as you land on the site, you see a giant picture of one of the artist’s products. Your first scroll takes you to a grid of images where you can see his other projects. There’s no guesswork and no clutter.
Kobayashi’s site is also a great example of how small details can affect a site’s feel. When you hover over an item in the navigation you see a line through the copy. It seems like a small detail, but it makes you take notice because it’s not a traditional reaction. Details like these can make your site look and feel more customized, often without a higher cost.
5. Joho’s Bean
J. Hornig is a company that sells coffee beans, but they’re not your run of the mill roaster. They take pride in the specialty beans they offer, and they want customers to fall in love with their coffee.
To that end, they’ve created a microsite that focuses on one particular bean: Joho’s Bean. This specialized coffee bean comes from beautiful Brazil. The site for Joho’s Bean carries you through the bean’s story and the journey it goes through to get to your door.
This site is a great example of using video to engage users in an instant. The background of the home page is a video with minimal text, and it captures your interest as soon as you land. The rest of the site is minimalist and video-focused as well.
6. Tej Chauhan
Tej Chauhan is a designer who creates useful products with a futuristic look. His site uses a unique feature: it runs through a quick slideshow of products before landing on the static homepage.
This combines a few hallmarks of a great web design. It shows you the site’s purpose right away while engaging you with a dynamic slideshow. On top of that attention-grabber, this site also takes the designer’s modern style into the site’s design. The designer’s branding is front and center.
7. Gary Sheng
You don’t need to have a large corporation’s budget to get a strong website. Sometimes personal resume sites can offer inspiration of their own, and that’s the case for Gary Sheng’s site.
This website opens with exactly what you’d get when you meet a person: a face and a name. From the start, you know who you’re reading about.
We also love another feature of this site you may not even realize: there’s no navigation. It’s one scrollable page, but it includes all the information you need. Some companies think they need a complex structure of pages for their site to look professional. However, this site is proof that if you don’t need dozens of pages, no one will miss them.
There’s no set formula for a great website. Many of the sites above are great because they’re simple and easy to use. What if you want to get more adventurous, though?
APPS is a hard cider brand, but their site is more than a list of products. Instead, it’s an interactive tour of the cider-making process. Using guided interaction, a user can step into the production process and take a closer look at how their drinks are made.
This serves a few purposes. First, the interaction draws a user’s attention. You don’t want to leave the site because you want to find out what happens next. Second, it makes the user feel more invested in the product. The next time you shop for hard cider, you’ll feel more connected to APPS because you feel like you’ve been inside the process.
9. The Everywhereist
The Everywhereist is a personal blogging site that embraces an edgy and clever voice. However, it’s also a great example of using basic graphic elements in your web design.
This site’s navigation has simple four items, and they’re portrayed with sketch-like graphics. As you scroll through the site, you’ll recognize that same graphic style throughout. This builds a consistent and distinguishable brand.
The graphic elements of The Everywhereist also bring something else to the table. They bring home the idea that this is a woman’s journal. It’s a creative place where she shares her thoughts and adventures with the world. Matching your web design style to your product is a strong way to build branding and show users what you’re all about from the start.
10. Case 3D
Case 3D, an architectural design firm, has a simplistic web design. What we want to call attention to is the animations.
On the home page, there’s a modern grid of projects you can preview. As you hover over each project you’ll see the color change to the firm’s signature teal. It’s a simple touch, but it adds to the site’s branding and gives it a high-end feel.
Another key for Case 3D’s website design is the loading animation. Today’s users expect fast loading times and they get impatient if a site doesn’t load right away, sometimes even leaving. Case 3D doesn’t have the fastest loading times you’ve ever seen, but they have an interesting animation to watch as you wait.
This loading animation serves a few purposes. First, it keeps users from getting bored as quickly as they would otherwise. Second, it tells users that their content will show up, it’s just a matter of waiting for it to load. No one wants to sit on a site for minutes only to find out that the site isn’t working. A loading animation tells users that this won’t be the case.
Designing a Website of Your Own
Looking for inspiration on other sites has its pros and cons. It’s a great way to find website ideas you can tailor to fit your needs. Plus, it helps you size up your competition. For some businesses, though, it makes them feel overwhelmed and wonder if they could ever produce a design as creative as the ones they’ve found.
That’s why so many of these businesses hire a professional web designer. If you want a beautiful and effective site, skip the DIY project and hire someone who can make your vision a reality. If you’re ready to get started, contact our web design team.