Almost every serious business has a website, even if the site hasn’t been updated since 2004 and features the rightfully-loathed Comic Sans typeface. But the most successful businesses recognize the importance of a website that stands out and have taken the time to determine the right website design. Don’t expect to find the nation’s top businesses sporting 90s color schemes, broken plug-ins, and an awkward user interface. If you want to be the best, you need a killer site. So how do you find your web design inspiration? How can you make your site stand out?

Look Inward for Web Design Inspiration

You don’t have to look too far for website inspiration—look at your business! Great sites don’t just sell products, after all. The best websites provide a window into the vibe, vision, and values of their business.

Images speak, so it’s important to make sure your web design is communicating the right things. If you want your company to be known for its eminent professionalism and no-nonsense business approach you probably shouldn’t have a site full of crazy colors and goofy images. But if your business is a bit more fun-loving and casual you can showcase that side of you through your design (by featuring, oh I don’t know, awesome 8-bit artwork. Just kidding, that’s our thing).

It’s also worth considering the story of your business. If you got your start in an interesting way, why not use that as web design inspiration? Stories lend themselves to images and create a mood, so a visual medium like a website can complement your story nicely.

Here’s the point: start your search for website inspiration by reexamining the elements that set your business apart from the competition. A website shouldn’t just look pretty—it should help your business distinctives stick out.

Look Around for Web Design Inspiration

But wait, you may say, what if looking inward doesn’t give you any brilliant ideas? What if knowing your story and values doesn’t provide an epiphany about the perfect web design?

Never fear! There is an incredible number of beautiful and innovative sites out there, and some really helpful pages where you can view many of the best of these sites in one place.

If your brainstorming sessions come up dry, check out a gallery online. There are hundreds of options, but here are a few that stand out.

CSSNectar

The best part about CSSNectar is that their content is carefully vetted. There’s a fee to submit a site for review, a team that reviews each submission, and a period where the community votes on the design, code, and creativity. This triple-vetting approach ensures that you’ll be viewing the cream of the crop.

Crayon

Crayon has an insane amount of web design inspiration—like, an insane amount. If you’re short on ideas, check out their more than 35 million sites. Crayon also features excellent filters to help your search, so you can narrow down your options if you don’t feel like weeding through those millions of websites.

CSS Zen Garden

This site is a bit more specific—it’s dedicated to designs based on CSS, or cascading style sheets. Every design on the site has the same HTML code, with just the CSS file changing. It’s a very accessible site, and it even allows you to download the site’s HTML and CSS files if you’d like to design something yourself.

Conclusion

If you’re struggling with web design inspiration, take heart. Think of your business story, distinctives, and values, and remember that you can always look at the abundance of online galleries if you need to. Website inspiration doesn’t have to be an elusive pipe dream—it might be right in front of you.

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