We have been developing websites for years with the mentality that a landing page should be effective.
Developers and designers put together complicated systems to add “value” to a website. But when that website was created to get somebody to find your product or to get somebody to perform one action, what is the point in adding garbage?
Few websites are about more than one thing. I could have ads, blog posts, videos, forums, etc. But my website is still only about selling X product or informing a target market about Y service. Clean design allows for a “kitchen sink” website, but it brings attention to what really matters.
Before we can jump into what makes these design elements good, let’s talk about what clean and lightweight is NOT.
This is NOT flat design
While flat design (think iOS7 or Windows 8) is a buzzword in modern web design practice, clean design does not have to be flat.
Flat design can still be cluttered and clustered. Just look at something like Windows 8.
You will notice that, while everything is rectangular, there is nothing clean or lightweight about it. The operating system itself requires a lot of resources, and boxes are jumbled together in all different shapes and sizes, like a modern tech Pangaea that has just split into random blocks.
It can be a confusing navigation to somebody who is just picking it up for the first time.
While Microsoft is afforded the ability to be cluttered, since people will own their devices for years, you do not have that option with a website. People will visit it for mere seconds, and you have exactly that much time to get them to act.
This is NOT white
Clean design naturally brings about imagery of wiping the slate clean and being bare bones. All of these thoughts carry a very “white” connotation.
But, contrary to popular belief, your website can have color and lots of it! In fact, given the way web design is, featuring color helps to stand out and promote your brand.
Some websites are better off with darker colors! Our real estate theme defaults to a darker, more rustic tone because that is what resonates with people looking at listings for homes or apartments.
What is clean and lightweight design?
Clean and lightweight design is design that brings to attention the important elements in a website all while promoting a brand and being easy to navigate.
What are the important elements of a website?
The answer to this question totally depends on the needs of the person or business making the site.
Typically, the importance is to navigate people to one page on the website or to a call-to-action.
On the front page of this very website, you will notice a large button to buy a product, while still displaying other options in a clean manner. Al navigation options are present, but the user is drawn to the big button, the ultimate ask.
When we designed Brookline.com, we used design that smartly segmented advertising and blog articles. The articles were nice, but the advertising is the ultimate push of the website and the ads were neither intrusive nor were they invisible.
Page Load Speed
We have spent a lot of time talking about the “clean” in “clean and lightweight”, so it is now time to address the other.
Have you ever waited a while for a web page to load? We certainly don’t, and your customers probably will not either. By coding websites to be light and simple, you are making the page easier to digest by both people and Google.
Google actually factors page load speed into where a website will fall in a search. If you are trying to optimize your website for a search engine, keep page load speed low by using themes like ours that are lightweight or coding as such.
The benefit is that people can add whatever plugins or content they wish without worrying too much about the page loading too slowly.
With WordPress, the sky is the limit. Plugins are everywhere, and though they may cost money in some cases they will suit the needs of most any job.
When you download a clean theme, you are enabling the website to be formed like clay to the type of website you want. Plugins are more likely to work because the original web design was not made to stymie creativity. Creativity is encouraged.
Clean and lightweight web design
Remember that owning and operating a webpage is only as good as the initial concept and making sure the website is fit to meet your needs, even years after its initial release.
For most applications, going with a clean and/or lightweight website provides the flexibility needed to address changes that will be made down the road.