When it comes to designing or re-designing a website, it can be easy to get hung up on the aesthetics. "That shade of blue just doesn't look right .... Wouldn't it be cool to have the logo on the right side of the screen? .... How about we put a giant animated GIF in the middle of the page?" However, if you're truly trying to accomplish something with your website (e.g., brand awareness, lead generation, etc.), you'll need to focus on more than just how your website looks. In a world where folks have more than a billion websites they can potentially land on, you need to make sure your website's design is optimized for usability (how easy your website is to use) and user experience (how enjoyable interacting with your website is for actual users). Now, you could spend years studying the ins and outs of usability and UX, but for the sake of giving you a jumping off point, we've put together the following list of helpful guidelines to apply to your next web design project.