With every day that passes, it becomes harder for great web design to get attention online (at least, the good kind of attention). UX standards keep going up, competition gets fiercer, and people become less patient with sites that don’t quite measure up. If you’re looking to keep your website in contention for traffic, you can’t afford to let your design become outdated.

But before you make improvements, you need to figure out where you’re going wrong, and the easiest way to do that is to take inspiration from other sites that are nailing their design work. When huge corporations invest massive sums in carrying out user testing and slowly optimizing their layouts to reap as many conversions as possible, there’s no sense whatsoever in ignoring the fruits of their labor and trying to reinvent the wheel.

To give you some great ideas of what a great website needs to include today, let’s look at 7 examples of fantastic web design work, and identify some actionable takeaways:

Crypton's Superb Web Design Nails the Techy Aesthetic

Crypton

Crypton is a trading bot designed to help people buy and sell cryptocurrencies by analyzing patterns using machine learning. Is it effective? I have no idea, and tend to distrust any types of financial trading — but I love the website.

What’s so great about it? Right off the bat it nails the techy aesthetic, using a monochromatic baseline and throwing in pieces of color for emphasis. The arrow at the bottom is animated to encourage the visitor to scroll, and as soon as they do, further animations result.

With every step along the way seamlessly yielding to the next, there’s no moment of inactivity to lose the reader’s attention, and the longer someone keeps reading, the more likely they are to want to give it a try.

The takeaway? Know your audience. A page like this wouldn’t work for someone with no idea what algorithms are, but it doesn’t need to. Don’t try to design your website for everyone. Figure out what your desired visitors will want, and cater to them accordingly.

The Joho's Bean website gives users a full experience

JOHO’s Bean

Any kind of comestible product requires more creativity in its presentation, because you’re typically trying to appeal to the senses as opposed to practicality. JOHO’s is a coffee company, and its website is quite a thing to behold.

As soon as you arrive at the site, it tells you that you’ll need headphones, and that you can scroll down to begin — that way, it isn’t an annoyance. And once you begin, you go through a narrative, with each page having distinct sound effects, graphics, and interactive elements.

The takeaway? Appeal to the senses. Doing this with visuals and sound effects is very effective, but you don’t have to do it that way. You can also do it with your copy by picking the right words — think about how inventively soap companies describe soap, for instance.

The Sean O'Keefe website gives users the full experience

Sean O’Keefe

Sean O’Keefe is an Atlanta mover and shaker and his website reflects it. He is a celebrity chef, event planner, writer, and producer.

As soon as you arrive at the site, a short video is ready to give you a rundown of his latest exploits. And once you start scrolling, you see latest blog posts and a selection of social posts from across his social media accounts.

The takeaway? Show it all.  Do this by creating a place where all of your efforts are presented in one place.

Verk's Superb Website Design Concentrate's on Function

Verk

Verk is a store selling minimalist watches, so it’s precisely the sort of site on which you’d expect to see quite a sparse layout, and it doesn’t disappoint. The entire thing is concentrated on function — anything extraneous is left out.

Anyone who arrives on this website isn’t going to have a difficult time figuring out where to go. The product is clearly represented, and the image blends into the background so everything feels cohesive. The internet can feel like an extremely busy place, so allowing some room to breathe is a great move.

The takeaway? Spread everything out. Yes, you have to get to the point, but that doesn’t mean every scrap of space on the screen needs to be filled with content. The more you have on screen, the less significant any given part will feel.

Liberio's excellently designed website reinforces the brand with clear simplicity.

Liberio

Liberio is a search system for interpreting requested parameters and scouring reviews from across the internet to identify the most relevant options, and the homepage has an eye-catching (if perhaps overly bright) design.

Not only do you have the signature yellow tying together the company, the headline, the character, and the sun, but you also have the clear simplicity of the illustration. If you’re claiming to have a service that makes search simpler and clearer, it makes total sense to carry that aesthetic across through the provided visuals.

The takeaway? Use prominent illustrations. SaaS companies in particular seem to love throwing in amateur-style illustrations, and it seems to be the case that they help to humanize these companies that fulfill such technical roles.