A well designed, well functioning website is crucial to your online success.

If you want to design your own site, there are a few things you might want to consider before getting creative. An informational site, for example, will have to be very well organized so that the information can be easily accessed by the user. A site meant to entertain will have to be somewhat spontaneous and should be more interactive.

Whatever your ultimate goal is, following basic design principles are in order to create a visually appealing and fully functional site. Consider the Three Cs of Design: Composition. Components. Content.

Composition: The way in which the components of a design are visually combined and arranged. Composition takes into account placement, grouping, alignment, visual flow and the divisions of space within a layout.

Components: The visual elements used within a design. Photos, illustrations, icons, typography, linework, decoration, borders and backgrounds are all components.

Content: Abstract elements of theme, connotation, message and style. These intangible ingredients of a design or image are critical to its visual presentation and delivery of message.

Employing the principles within these three areas of design will provide a practical and versatile framework for your creative process, whether you are brainstorming for ideas, constructing your layout or finalizing your design.

The next important aspect of designing for the Internet is usability and being mobile friendly. If you create a site that isn’t user-friendly, your audience will click away and be gone forever, so you want to make sure that you don’t go too wild. Simply pause occasionally and ask yourself whether a certain component is of use and/or easy to use.

Users should know where they are on the site, where they have been, and how to get to where they want to be. To communicate this information, use color, branding, design and links. It is necessary to make sure that your customers have control of their movements within your site by having clear and simple navigation that caters to both novices and experienced users.

If you are unfamiliar with the design process or don’t have the tools or time to design your site, consider calling a professional web designer.