What Makes a Good Website: Features, Best Practices & Examples

A good website is a mix of aesthetics, functionality, and a great user experience. Need a high-performing site? Follow these web design tips & best practices!

Web design
June 5, 2023

Web design is one of the most complex and exciting areas of graphic design. It combines branding, user interface, and user experience design with the technical considerations of web development. So, creating a good website is by no means an easy feat.

Whether you run a local coffee shop or a multinational corporation, your business needs a website. We’re so used to searching for information online that it’s virtually impossible to build a successful brand and business without a solid online presence.

But while you may be aware that a professional website is a must, knowing what makes a good website can be a little more challenging to understand. You’re in luck! We’re about to share some top web design tips and a few good website design examples you can learn from.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with the basics: why does a website need to be good, anyway?

Why do you need good website design?

Did you know that 75% of people will judge your website’s credibility based on your website? And you don’t have a lot of time to make a good impression either: people only need around 0.005 seconds to form an opinion about your website design!




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Below the header section, there’s another menu focused on examples of their work. It’s a fantastic way to organize information and be user-friendly. First, you give visitors a chance to learn more about your company and showcase your work.

Beyond that the website has a new, crisp look with a simple white background and a layout that allows each image to shine through. The minimalist style is much more appropriate for an art space and will likely remain relevant for years to come.


If a website is slow to load, 25% of people will leave it, and 38% of visitors will stop engaging with an unattractive website.

So, as you can see, good website design is as necessary as the website itself.

So before we explain what makes a good website, let’s answer one fundamental question: how can you judge the quality of your website design?

The most critical statistic, of course, is the bounce rate. If you don’t know, bounce rates represent the percentage of website visitors that leave the site instead of engaging with it.

So, what is a good website bounce rate? It depends on the industry, but generally, a decent bounce rate is between 20% and 40%. Anything under is a bit unrealistic (or you may have really slow traffic, which is a more significant issue). If you’re experiencing extremely high bounce rates (90% and over), it’s time to sound the alarm.

Luckily, the reason for extremely high bounce rates is usually a single issue that could be (easily) fixed. For example, it might be an unattractive or overbearing graphic, incorrect website code, or browser incompatibility. You must identify the issue and resolve it since you don’t necessarily need to overhaul your entire website design for this.

What makes a good website?

Now that you know what is a good bounce rate and how you can measure the effectiveness of your website let’s look at some of the key features of any great website.

A clear sense of purpose

A website is the digital storefront of your business. Have you ever walked inside a shop and left because you weren’t quite sure what it was about? A similar thing can happen with websites.

You must ensure that your homepage instantly communicates the purpose of your website. If you have an online shoe store or legal firm, this might be as simple as including the title “Shoe Store” or “Legal Firm.”

But what about software-as-a-service businesses? Explaining complex software can be challenging even if you have the space of a whole paragraph, let alone one sentence.

The key here is to focus on your value proposition. Don’t say, “we have tax compliance software”; say, “we make taxes simple.” Highlight how you help solve a user’s problem.

There are many good website design examples to learn from, but I’m particularly fond of this one. Hotjar is a well-known website analytics tool that’s heavily user-focused. If you don’t know much about website traffic and SEO, throwing in terms such as bounce rates, keywords, and optimization can be off-putting. Instead, they make their value proposition straightforward and appealing: understand your website.


Aesthetically pleasing interface

We’ve already said that ugly websites repel visitors faster than you can say Jack Robinson. So, a good website design doesn’t just have to fulfill a purpose - it has to do so with style.

But what is style? Despite what Devil Wears Prada tried to teach us, in the digital design and marketing world, it’s much more elusive than a single person’s opinion. The most important thing about your website aesthetic is that it’s on-brand.

If you haven’t sorted it, you should always start with your logo, followed by a complete brand guide. Here, you’ll compile the design elements (colors, fonts, images, etc.) that represent your brand. Only then can you start to design a website, following the principles and rules you’ve established.

Here’s a good website example to learn from. If your website has to include several stunning artworks, the importance of a beautiful interface might not be obvious. However, you can see how the old website design seemed a little cluttered and a tad dated due to the grey background.

art institute chicago old.png

The new website belonging to the Art Institute of Chicago has a much more dramatic look (it features one striking image to promote an ongoing exhibition).

art institute chicago new.png
art institute chicago new 2.png

Easy navigation

So we’ve talked a bit about the importance of making that first impression. Still, if you’re doing your job right, you ought to move visitors beyond your homepage so they can learn more about your business and move down the sales funnel.

The critical aspect of good website design here? Good navigation. If you don’t know, navigation is a term that describes the organization of a website. The most critical aspect, of course, is the menu which helps users find the relevant web pages.

Here’s a great example from a design agency called Punk Ave. The main menu is straightforward and has all the most vital sections. They’ve also included a short description/CTA below each menu option to make it more clickable.

punk ave 1.png
punk ave 2.png

Mobile optimization

Over half of the world’s Internet traffic comes from mobile devices. So, even if you think your customers will primarily use desktops, you definitely need a mobile-friendly version of your website.

Suppose you don’t know much about web design. In that case, you might be surprised that the design of a mobile website is an entirely separate project from the design of your desktop version. While using the same colors, content, and images, you might have to rethink the layout to keep your mobile website user-friendly.

Here are some good website design examples for mobile and desktop website versions. This stunning website belongs to a project from legendary graphic designers Stefan Sagmeister and Jessica Walsh. The site is dedicated to their Beauty exhibition and book.

The desktop website features an ornate animated logo against a stylish dark background. It has 4 clickable options allowing visitors to find out more about the exhibition, book, their design agency or get in touch.

beauty desktop.png

In contrast, the mobile version of the website features a different image that’s also static. The image is much more ornate, so there’s no need for additional motion design to make it more engaging. This also improves the loading speed of the mobile website, which is paramount since 53% of people leave a mobile site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.

The drop-down menu is placed in the top left corner to help achieve the same effect as the desktop website: one powerful visual you can dwell on before browsing the site.

beauty mobile.png

Fresh content & visuals

What’s more important, a website’s content or design? For most parts, they are equally important. A beautifully–designed website won’t be able to fulfill its purpose without relevant content in the form of menus, value propositions, CTAs, etc.

Equally so, no matter how much informative and helpful content you produce, nobody will engage with it if it’s not reader-friendly.

It’s evident how content can improve the design (it’s often a critical component of graphic design). However, the power of graphic design is sometimes less obvious - but often even more vital. Since people read only about 25% of a webpage, visuals are the only way to keep audiences engaged.

For example, infographics and good website design are a match made in heaven since this allows you to share critical information in a fun, digestible way.

We have a list of good website design examples that are infographic-driven, but here’s just one that perfectly illustrates the point. The Arnold Clark Saving Challenge website is designed like one long, interactive infographic. The visuals are fun and beautiful, and the site provides heaps of information without being overbearing or boring.


arnold clark 1.png
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Clear CTAs

After you’ve ticked all the boxes of good website design, there’s only one thing left to do: get prospective customers to take action.

The way you phrase and design your CTA is one of the most vital decisions you’ll have to make. A call to action should be:

  • Concise: Don’t add any additional information to the CTA. Rely on the information provided elsewhere to send a simple message such as “buy now,” “sign up,” “learn more,” etc.
  • Timely: Give visitors enough time to get to know your business and value proposition before asking them to take action.
  • Unambiguous: Green usually means “yes”; red is often used to designate “no.” Pay attention to the usual graphic design conventions and the context of your CTA buttons to avoid frustrating users or creating horrible design fails like the one below.
web form design fail.png

How can you get a good affordable website?

Now that you know what makes a good website let’s explore a few options on how to get the most effective websites (without breaking the bank!).

Website builders

Places like WordPress, Wix, Shopify, and Squarespace are well-known platforms for creating affordable websites (often free). With the help of high-quality templates, it’s possible to develop a good website design.

Nevertheless, remember that you won't have a perfectly customized website, so you risk hurting your brand image. And, the need for rebranding might come sooner than you’d wish. So, it’s a good option for a first website. Still, bear in mind that a truly effective website will need a bit more work, effort, and expertise.

Freelance designers

If you don’t have the budget to hire a full-time designer, a freelancer with experience in web design could be a wise investment.

A web design project takes around 6 weeks from start to finish, and hourly rates for website designers stand between $15 and $30. So you’re probably looking at paying a few thousand dollars for your design.

It’s definitely not the cheapest option, especially if you compare it with free website builders. Still, it does mean a high-quality, custom website that you could theoretically use for years.

Unlimited design service

What if you could get a really good site and plenty of other cool designs for your business in one place? What if it costs you an affordable, flat monthly rate, often lower than a single website design project with a freelancer?

It’s possible with an on-demand graphic design service like ManyPixels. We have lots of experience creating professional websites for thousands of happy clients. With our service, you can also request unlimited graphic assets (social media posts, ads, landing pages, illustrations, and more).

A good website is the foundation of your online presence, but it’s definitely not the end of it. Once you have a solid website up and running, keep building your audience with diverse, stunning graphics that you can get with ManyPixels!

Find out more about the service, or book a free consultation to discuss your design needs with us!

Having lived and studied in London and Berlin, I'm back in native Serbia, working remotely and writing short stories and plays in my free time. With previous experience in the nonprofit sector, I'm currently writing about the universal language of good graphic design. I make mix CDs and my playlists are almost exclusively 1960s.

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