The layout comes first when designing a website. It serves as the foundation of your site, guiding where text, images, buttons, video, and other important elements “live” on the page. This essential structure needs to be in place before you can add all the bells and whistles that make it unique. Think of website design like architecture: You can create the plan of your dreams, but if the doorways, hallways, and bathrooms are hard to find, the design may not be as effective as you hoped. This essential concept of website building — UX design — helps move users across the page, and if done well, can even drive engagement with your website and your brand.
The best website layouts, like plans for a house, are easy to navigate intuitively and shepherd your customers along a “journey” to get them to take action. Here are the 10 most effective layout examples that can help your customers get to where you want them to go.
There’s no one single layout that’s perfect for every business. There are plenty of effective options that can help you earn trust and win customers. Check out these layout examples to find the one that will work best for your business.
The single column is the perfect example of web page design that transitions wonderfully from desktop to mobile. Because we spend so much time looking up things on our smartphones, it makes sense that the single column has become incredibly popular. Arranged in one neat line, this is ideal for readability because it draws the attention of the reader to the content — eliminating distractions from the sidelines. Medium, a blogging site, implements this layout for their articles for this very reason.
Similar to the single-column layout, the content-focused layout prioritizes content. You can witness this layout on blog sites and news sites. It features a main central column, like the single-column layout, but it might also have side columns to direct the reader to related information. This info could tell the reader how long a post is, encourage them to sign up for a newsletter, or check out the site’s social media pages. This layout is great for readability — tending to break up larger chunks of text — and it pushes the viewer to act and engage further with your site.
The grid layout displays content artfully and interactively. This is due to the arrangement of information in a grid-like fashion that makes it easy to navigate and browse, selecting whichever neatly defined box strikes your fancy to learn more. The natural browsing ability makes the grid layout superb for an e-commerce website or an online portfolio to artfully display projects, encouraging the casual observer to click.
Like the grid layout, the asymmetrical layout artfully displays content. This layout demonstrates creativity. It lets the viewer know that this brand is different — it’s dynamic, animated, and entertaining. When you have a layout that breaks the rules of symmetry in a way that’s still understandable, it creates a space where designers or artists can showcase their talent beyond the confines of their work on the web page itself.
Diverging away from the allure of asymmetry, the split-screen layout is symmetrical — dividing the screen into two sides (vertically or horizontally). It demonstrates that both sides of a page are of equal importance. For instance, a split-screen layout can divide the page between content and an image that adds additional value to the material. It can also encourage viewers to choose between two options on an e-commerce site that sells both men's and women's clothing.
Consider how you take in information online: You’re probably skimming most content to get the essentials. This glance is usually done in the shape of a “Z.” This means that our eyes go from the top left to the top right of a page, then to the bottom left, and lastly to the right once more. The Z-pattern layout makes good use of this knowledge by distributing key information across the zig-zag form. So maybe a logo comes first in the top left, then the navigation menu in the top right. The center of the “Z” displays intriguing visuals and compelling text. Now, the viewer is hooked, so you end at the bottom with a call to action — to sign up for a newsletter, buy your product, or book an appointment.
Similar to the Z-pattern layout, this design knows how a viewer scans a page, so the layout takes inspiration from that knowledge. With a text-heavy site, readers take in the content in the shape of an “F.” The top section of a page receives the most attention (headline or subhead), then we move down vertically, once more across the page, then to the bottom left-hand side. This layout makes use of the left-hand side and the top fold of a page. It’s another great design for a blog.
Calling all photographers — this website design is for you! The full-screen image layout places a visual at the forefront, resulting in a captivating home page. But the image (or video) needs to be relevant to the offering. For example, a photographer can use the space to show off their latest work, while a local business can display a new offering. This visual is usually accompanied by a header or slogan to provide more context.
Another content-friendly design, the magazine web layout is inspired by the structure of a printed newspaper. This grid-like layout gives you the chance to control the hierarchy of information. Maybe you’re a blogger, and you always want to promote your latest pieces first. You can easily showcase your most recent article with this layout. And, true to being a content-heavy layout, it follows the F-shape that online readers know and love.
It’s clear that we as people like our information presented in chunks — easily digestible ones, in particular. The card-based layout, like the grid, breaks information into chunks and implements visual elements to artfully display content and guide viewers in the selection process. It’s easy to navigate and perfect for product listing pages on e-commerce sites. However, it’s also great for any situation where users need to choose from a list of options, such as blog posts.
Now that you’re well-equipped with popular layout options — and you’re bursting with website design ideas — we’ll show you how to make the right choice for your site.
After exploring the best website designs, you’re probably eager to bring these ideas to life. Now, building a website, especially your first, can feel overwhelming. But thanks to free tools like Namecheap’s Site Maker, creating your own site is a breeze. And with tons of layouts to choose from, you’ll be able to effectively showcase your content and tell your story. Plus, the customization doesn’t stop there: With various fonts and colors, you can build a unique space worthy of your incredible content. Oh, and your website will automatically adjust to the correct screen size for smartphone users on the go. Pretty cool, right? You never know what exciting possibilities await when you have a stellar website, so get to creating!