It’s important to get traffic to your website, but it’s also important to keep people there. That’s why you should spend time on the design of your website so it is aesthetically pleasing and really embraces the brand and mood of your business. If you’re in the beginning stages of designing your website or rebranding, you can learn a less or two from the best designs out there on the Internet. Take a look at these seven top websites of 2013 and why they are so great from a design perspective.

New Fantasyland

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New Fantasyland is an interactive video website created by Walt Disney. Users can choose from several stories to explore and then complete missions along the way for fun. Each story is based on one of the original Disney movies, too, so it is very appealing to kids.

The website design is awesome because it uses Flash almost exclusively. There is a black bar across the top for navigation, but the rest is Flash. The load time is a little slow, but the graphics and video experience greatly makeup for that. Even though this site is based on Flash videos, the navigation is simple and there is a button on every screen that can take you back to the home page map to choose a different story.

Heartbreaker Fashion

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Heartbreaker Fashion is a website that sells vintage-inspired clothing from the 50s and 60s. The design features pastel colors in a feminine pink and subtle blue on a white background. Then, the website elements are separated by dotted and dashed borders and curved lines to create a delicate feel. The design is great because it encompasses the nostalgic feel of the clothing, complete with a retro-inspired wallpaper at the top of the home page. The website design is also good because it is easy to navigate with a drop-down menu and intuitive checkout and shopping cart system.

Cup Cup

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Cup Cup is a business website for a cupcake specialty shop. The design of their website is awesome for several reasons. The first is that it looks like the actual storefront of a building because the awning banner at the top creates depth. Second, all of the different cupcakes on the menu scroll across the page so customers can view all of their options quickly and easily. Third, the color palette is simple yet attractive with the perfect blend of pink and brown. And fourth, there is a modular design at the bottom of the website so customers can quickly find news about the company, locate the store, and make orders.

Good Year Tires

Good Year is a company that sells tires with chain stores all across the United States. Their website design is great because the colors seamlessly blend with their brand and there is a Flash animation in the background of moving tires for aesthetic appeal. The website also has a user form at the top that customers can use to find the right tires for their vehicle, and then there are options at the bottom to give customers discounts, too.

Of course, the thing that Good Year really does right is on their mobile website. It is optimized for tablets and smartphones. It has all the same features as their standard site, but in a much smaller package. Basically, the same form is used on the mobile site and there are links to the discounts. The only difference is there is no Flash animation on the mobile site.

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Melissa Hie

When you first arrive at Melissa Hie’s portfolio site, it’s fairly blank with just five links on a grey background with a simple pink graphic. However, her website design really shines as you click on each of the links — the pages slide in and are full of color. Each page has its own unique design and color, but they seem to blend seamlessly. Melissa Hie’s website design is so great because it gets users to click on the links because they want to see what will happen. This keeps customers on her website longer.

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Carbon Studio

Carbon Studio is a digital technology company that works on creative projects for clients. The design of their website is non-traditional, yet it’s still easy and intuitive to navigate and use. This is because of its minimalist approach to design. There is a center area where different icons can be dragged to navigate to different pages on the website. Then, most of the pages on the website take on a more traditional layout.

Of course, some of the pages on the Carbon Studio website have a unique feel. For instance, the friends page shows a whole bunch of circles with profile thumbnails from Twitter. Anyone can add a circle of themselves by becoming friends with Carbon Studio.

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FHOKE

FHOKE is a company that helps companies with branding by creating logos, fonts, and color schemes. The design of their website is good because it takes advantage of space. According to Nielsen Norman Group, website visitors make a decision about whether to stay on your site within the first 10-20 seconds. So, you have to use your screen real estate wisely. FHOKE has a one-line message that explains the purpose of the company and then there are tabs at the top that users can click for more information. Additionally, KHOKE has a strong and clear call to action built into the design of the website.

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All of the websites showcased here are unique with an awesome design. Each does something a little different, but we can learn from what they do well. For instance, it becomes obvious that the colors and images in a website’s design need to match the brand of your business, but you also need an intuitive navigation and as much user interaction as possible. What do you think is critical to a good website design?

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