What Makes A Website Visually Appealing?

If you’re not a designer, making your website visually appealing can seem an impossible task. You already know it’s a pretty critical factor in creating trust, because it’s what you look for yourself.

This article breaks down the 4 basics to great visual design for any website, anywhere:

  1. Design & Color
  2. Pictures & Graphics
  3. Usability
  4. Consistency

So where do you start? What colors do you use? What kinds of pictures to use, or not use?

‘Beauty in the eye of the beholder’ goes only so far. It actually breaks down when there’s no underlying set of principles. Which means there are 4 basics. Build on those, and then you can go to town.

Communicate Credibility

Within a culture (created either by time, space or industry), a language is a set of rules for effective communication.

You can have an amazing product, but if no one understands what you’re saying, then you won’t sell it. And if you want to package your brand, product or idea in a way that communicates care, quality and trust, you have to nail the 4 basics.

Design & Color

The first step to making a website visually appealing are the colors you design with. It’s what first catches your eye as you bypass a bus. It’s what makes you pause when flipping through your Facebook feed.

Color catches the eye, and provides an instant layer of communication. Even before the conscious mind has started thinking, the subconscious has already assessed if something is interesting or not. Purely based on colors.

Our brains are sense-making machines. They like to organize stuff so that it can be processed. But the subconscious communicates in impressions, it intuits whole realities that your mind has to break down later. That’s the world of color.

Pictures and Graphics

The stock art trend has passed its heyday, as more and more of us small businesses can take our own pictures.

It’s no longer cost prohibitive to hire a photographer to take pictures of your office and your team – if it’s you and your iphone. And if you have a good eye, your photos can go a long way toward communicating an authentic, solid first impression. 

Overtly stock photos look fake. And their overuse means that we can spot them a mile away. 

The better the pictures, the better your business will look.

First impressions with websites really matter.


A great website is intuitive and usable to everyone. It’s taken us a decade or so, but most websites now have sifted out what works and what doesn’t, and here are your general areas for great usability:

  1. Immediately communicate your purpose, with clarity and an inviting tone.
  2. A simple, clear menu that organizes the pages of the site, with the most important first. Nothing cutesy.
  3. A ‘help desk’ feature, either with a contact page, or contact details in the header and footer, or a livechat so that people can get help.
  4. Enough information to help your visitor understand how things help them.
  5. A layout focused on ease of use, and ease of reading.

Keep things simple and to the point. And don’t spend all your time talking about how amazing you and your services are.


Consistency is often forgotten. Especially by particularly creative people. Consistent design allows the users to focus on the messages

An inconsistent layout means that every page forces the visitor to stop, relearn the language, and then get back to absorbing what’s important.

For example;

At the end of the day, consistency in your website creates trust, because it means you’re not disorganized.