No further than 10-15 years ago, web design was a highly paid and sought after skill. Web designers were hard to find, therefore they were charging high rates for their services. Today, this changed completely. Any small business owner who starts an offline business can have an associated website up and running in as little as one day and with investments that don't go above the $100 margin. However, if you want a website that looks professional, have an unique and exquisite design and interactive functions, you'll need to take more out of your pocket. We are going to see next what are the characteristics a good website should have today.
A good website should be based on modern programming technologies. HTML 5 and CSS 3 are the newest standards in the industry. If you want to think ahead and build a website to last you at least five years from now on, you should consider building it on these technologies.
As more and more people browse the web from their tablets and smartphones, website owners should try to cater to this fast-growing trend. A few years ago, the solution was to build two versions of the same website: one for normal screens and one for smartphones. Today we have the responsive web design, which is a set of rules that make a website behave differently depending on the device it is accessed from. The site will automatically detect the device and its screen resolution and it will show the user a version optimized precisely for that particular gadget and screen.
Modern web design should keep pace with trends. Just like in the fashion industry, web design has trends which sites that want to stay modern will follow. For example, image carousels are now the latest craze, so you can't imagine developing an online magazine without a slideshow of the latest articles on the front page.
The design of a website should take into consideration the user experience. During the web development process, design teams should present viewers several variants of the same page and compare the conversion rates. If you want the best performance for your effort and money you should definitely ask your users what they think and rely on their feedback.
Years ago, it was difficult to use unconventional typefaces for a website. Not all browsers were able to render those fonts properly, so it was better to avoid too much creativity in this respect and stick to the regular font families everybody was using. Today we have a huge variety of web fonts available. Many of them are free. It is very easy to integrate them in your menus and headlines, so you can make your pages truly unique and remarkable. Besides, you'll be sure fonts will show correctly in all big browsers, so you won't have to worry about that anymore.
The beauty of modern web development technologies is that they can fit all levels of budget and technical knowledge. You can build a site with WordPress for almost free and with almost no coding or design skills or you can spend several thousands and have a stunning and profit-optimized website.