Whether you’re a new web designer or you simply want a layout users are more familiar with, there are a handful of templates that seem to work for multiple types of websites. Think about some of the more popular sites you visit, such as Amazon and Google. Where is the navigation located? Is it easy to find what you’re looking for? Most of the top website layout examples follow a familiar pattern.
There are 1.8 billion websites, but around 75% of them are inactive. Only 200 million are active at any given time. Still, there is a lot of competition for any web developer. If you want your site to stand out, you must choose an intuitive layout but also perfectly suited to your needs.
There are some website layouts examples you’ll see frequently and others only occasionally. We’ll break down each layout type below and offer tips on which types of businesses do best with this design.
1. Traditional Horizontal Navigation
People are used to seeing navigation near the top of the page. The most frequent position is in a top bar with tabs or links. Even within this website layout example, people are used to seeing the Home button on the far left and the Contact button on the far right.
As a rule of thumb, put the most critical elements first. So, if your goal for your site is to have people shop your inventory, your navigation bar might read Home, Shop, Specials, Contact.
Think about how the average person reads from left to right, and you’ll better understand where you should position different elements. We’re used to thinking the most important things come first or last. Horizontal navigation works well for any site.
2. Grid Layouts
The clean, precise lines of grid layouts are appealing to people who love order. If you run a financial institution or home improvement company, then a grid layout shows you are organized and will treat people’s investments in smart ways. Grid-based website layout examples are familiar to most users.
A grid website layout example is precisely what it sounds like. You’ll often see this kind of design on news sites. You’ll recognize clear boxes of content with white space surrounding them. Think of a grid as nestled boxes. They typically are symmetrical and don’t go into one another’s space.
There are many different examples of grid layouts, including line-based placement, repeat notation and explicit and implicit grid columns.
A grid option provides a clean, uncluttered layout. It also works well with mobile devices, as the boxes simply stack on top of one another instead of side by side. This design is one of our favorite website layout examples because it works for many types of businesses.
3. Asymmetrical Designs
A look that’s grown in popularity in recent years is asymmetrical layouts. This is the opposite of a grid. The sections may overlap and layer on top of one another. The concept gives the designer more control over the finished look and provides the page with a more artistic flare.
Asymmetrical designs work well for artists, creative agencies and early education platforms. If the brand is one where structure isn’t as crucial for the buyer, opt for a more interesting layout. Look at website layout examples from sites such as The Bartlett School of Architecture for ideas on how to implement this concept on your pages.
4. Single Column
You’ve likely noticed the use of single-column websites growing. The menu may even be in a hamburger format in the upper right or left corner of the page. The thing you see when you land on the page is a huge hero image and some typography. The designer may also include a call to action (CTA) button.
Single columns offer numerous advantages for mobile responsiveness, sizing down without elements overlapping or falling off the page. According to Statista, there are 4.66 billion active internet users globally, and 4.28 billion of them use mobile devices to get online at least part of the time.
If you aren’t already designing for smartphones, you’re missing out on a lot of potential traffic. A single-column layout works well for mobile-friendliness.
5. Two-Column Website Layout Examples
The two-column layout is very content-focused. You’ll notice the largest portion of the page is devoted to blog posts or images, and the menu is smaller in the sidebar. WordPress themes often offer a two-column design for users. It’s a popular look on blogs and e-commerce sites.
Out of the website layout examples, this one is perhaps the most flexible. You can add a hero image at the top of the page, use a banner, add a horizontal navigation bar or put the menu on the right or left. You can adjust the sidebar’s size, add in widgets and make the design truly your own.
If you build your website on the WordPress platform, you’ll find hundreds of free themes using the layout. The details in the design are what make it unique to your brand.
6. Full Screen
As screen resolutions and internet speeds improve, more and more web designers are implementing beautiful photos and videos to capture the imagination of site visitors. Gone are the days when a photo took forever to load, so you avoided them in your creative work.
A full-screen layout typically includes a background image stretching from one side of the screen to the other. The format adjusts to the screen size of the person browsing. Any text lays on top of the picture.
Full-screen layouts work immensely well for the travel industry, to showcase images of the place the person might visit. They also work well for single product pages. While you can use this design with any site, you’ll find it better suited to some industries.
Other Website Layout Examples
The website layout examples listed above are just a handful of the possible choices you have. If you’re looking for something users already know how to navigate, choose from the options above. If you prefer to think outside of the box, you may want to consider tweaking the designs a bit or going with something more unconventional.
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.