I love web design. I love the beauty of coordinated colors, arranged images, and symmetrical structures. It's more than a love of beauty but also in trying to communicate the correct meta-message for my specific market.
Professional. Organized. Focused.
In other words, I want to convey that my advice and expertise are professional, organized, and focused, too. Whether we are deliberately doing it or not, we create UPAs, or unconscious paralleled assumptions. Users will unconsciously assume there's a parallel between one part and its whole.
The converse is true and worse. People will associate poor design or poor user experience with a poor quality product or service. People will think, “If the website is shoddy, then what they sell, their customer service, or the company behind it must be just as shoddy.”
I've recently redesigned my website. I do it often, partly because I love to experiment and see the results. Each time I do, I tinker with some designs, play around with different layouts, and split-test different elements.
But a few (actually, many) of the people I follow these days — other experts whose content I value — have one thing in common. They all have minimalistic designs. No bright colors, no big images, no videos, no flashy elements. Content is often displayed in single columns, too.
The reason they do this (some admitted to this) is to focus on content, and to get people to signup to their mailing lists.
The other and more important benefit is SEO.
Since 2018, Google has moved to mobile-first indexing. Meaning, the mobile version of your site will be indexed and served up first in search results. Now that Internet usage is comprised of 52% smartphones and 19% tablets (and growing), speeding up load times is a critical component of SEO.
Plus, the whitespace frames the content and drives the eyes into it. The contrast between text and background improves UX, which is now a recent ranking factor with Google and its “Core Web Vitals” update.
So minimalistic, streamlined, mobile-first thinking is a good strategy. Take a look at some of these people I follow to see what I mean:
- Jonathan Stark
- Kevin Whelan
- Wes Kao
- Tom Hirst
- Josh Spector
- Kai Davis
- Joel Klettke
- Tsavo Neal
- Ari Lewis
- Derek Sivers
And these are just a few.
Minimalistic designs are becoming increasingly common. People are ditching the fancy, busy, cluttered UIs for a quicker-loading, content-focused, and bigger, easier-to-read design.
All this to say, this is the reason why I've redesigned my site. It's minimalistic and pared down from what it used to be. Since doing so, my traffic rose by about 17% (and still growing), and my newsletter subscribers jumped by 40%.
After redesigning my website, here are a few more benefits I've realized. Complex and busy designs are also indicative that the websites are complex, too. But a simpler design requires fewer applications, plugins, and elements. So the benefit is that they are less likely to break.
Moreover, there are many big, bold designs with a large number of variations. They often follow trends and fads because design tastes often change. But minimalist designs are not likely to look outdated for some time. Therefore, choosing a simple, minimal design requires fewer changes and updates.
Finally, a cluttered site is also distracting. Multiple elements on the page are vying for your attention. It offers too much sensory information, which makes it hard for the brain to remember. Cleaner, more focused designs are easier to remember because they make such a powerful statement.