5 Web Design Trends for 2021

This sponsored article was created by our content partner, BAW Media. Thank you for supporting the partners who make SitePoint possible.For almost everyone, 2020 was a bummer. Many businesses were forced to take creative measures just to survive. Consumers had to make adjustments as well, and even the Web has had to make some changes. 
Some of “yesterday’s” design trends had to make way for new ones too.
What, then, can we expect to see in the way of new design trends in 2021?
We’ll show you some examples of websites that have incorporated some of these new trends, along with a selection of BeTheme pre-built websites that are also putting them to good use.
Whether you’ll be creating sites for new clients or reworking existing sites to align with the newest trends, the following five design approaches should give you some valuable insight.
1. Use Soothing, Reassuring Color Palettes
Recent design trends have favored strong, bold colors. Various gradient schemes have also been both popular and effective. Why? Because these distinctive trends had a strong tendency to capture a visitor’s attention.
2020 gave us more than our fair share of worry, stress, and drama. We eagerly look forward to a return to a time in which we’ll once again feel more comfortable in our surroundings.
We don’t want people shouting at us, or websites shouting at us either, for that matter. Hence, the change to calmer, more toned-down color palettes.
The Bellroy website offers a good example of this toned-down look, with a calming color scheme that fits right in with its line of useful everyday products.

Note that when a brightly-colored product is displayed against a natural color palette it will still stand out, but without getting in your face. The BeSpa pre-built website, with its soothing color scheme, is another example of sending a message that’s calm and inspiring.

Calm and comfortable doesn’t need to be boring. Far from it. An image like this encourages a visitor to live for the moment, and the safety and security that goes with it.

2. Strive to Creatively Blend Physical Experience with Digital Imagery
For the first time in their lives, many people found themselves stuck at home in 2020, with little to do but look at their screens — which in some cases involved remote work, and in other cases playing digital games.
Some web designers have picked up on this by blending real-world images with illustrations and/or special effects.
A case in point is seen on designer Constance Burke’s website.

Instead of showing hand-drawn fashion sketches, or real models wearing real products, her portfolio creatively blends the two.
The BeSki pre-built site also blends the digital with the physical, but in a vastly different way.

The home page starts with a physical image of a skier. Notice how the snow in the hero section blends in with the next section, a section comprised of digital imagery. That section then blends into another real image, which blends back into a digital design.

2020 saw more people shopping online — often out of necessity. This created a situation that encouraged website designers to provide visitors with more efficient pathways to conversion.
Since many of these visitors were newly acquainted with online shopping, it was important that their experience would be as effortless as possible — that they could get in and out as quickly as they normally would in a brick-and-mortar store.
This can be accomplished by more concise product descriptions, improved product search capabilities, add-to-cart shortcuts, and the like.
Walgreens’ product page design sets a good example for 2021 eCommerce website design.

The product’s applicable details as well as picking and shipping options, customer ratings, and discounts or special offers are clearly presented and are all above the fold. Customers can either scroll for other relevant information or take their next step.

BePestControl’s pre-built site takes a similar approach.

Pertinent information is kept short and sweet. The customer can either add the item to the cart or read the additional information beneath the button.
Well-designed navigation aids and product description options combine to make the shopping experience a gratifying one.
4. Place Greater Emphasis on User-controlled Video Content
Once upon a time, video was ”the thing” on websites. While no longer new, video remains an effective method of providing highly useful content, but its popularity has taken a hit.
The reason? A lack of user control on too many websites. Videos are fine, but only when visitors feel a need to view them.
Thanks in part to Zoom connecting friends in 2020, more people have become accustomed to what video can offer. And if they’re given a choice as to what to view and what not to view, you can expect videos to make a comeback in 2021 — sans autoplay or embedded versions.
See how Payoneer has incorporated a Watch Video button in their design.

It’s not big and bold, but you can’t miss the way the white button stands out against the darker background. As you might expect, a visitor will appreciate having the option of watching or not having to watch the testimonial.
The BeOptics pre-built website takes a similar approach.

In this case, the Play button acts as a gateway to additional site or product information. The way the button transforms upon hover makes visitors aware that they have an opportunity to learn more by watching the video.

5. Spend More Time Displaying Trust Builders
Trust builders are indispensable website elements. Brick-and-mortar store shoppers may take several minutes to size up a business and decide if they want to patronize it. Online shoppers will do the same in far less time.
Web designers can choose from a variety of trust-building approaches. For example: 
employing charts, statistic callouts, counters, or other data visualization methods
using logos to help to solidify the brand
providing client testimonials, customer reviews, or user ratings
case studies
portfolios
security seals — such as Better Business Bureau (BBB) or TRUSTe
secure checkout and payment — such as PayPal checkout
proof of community service or social good
Consider which of the above would best convince visitors to become valued customers. Or, choose all of the above (although probably not for a one-page site).
Omaze has taken the approach of giving its visitors opportunities to win prizes when they’ve made donations. This website goes a step further by highlighting the good things its donors have enabled it to accomplish.

It has also set aside a space for highlighting reputable publications that have featured Omaze. This serves to bring added legitimacy to the organization.

It also uses data visualization and testimonials to provide an element of trust-building transparency as to how donations are processed and put to use.

No matter the size of the organization or enterprise you’re designing a site for, there’s always room for one or more impressive trust builders.
BePortfolio shows how this could apply to a portfolio site.  

The home page has dedicated a lot of space to several of the trust builders cited earlier: 
counts of satisfied customers
client testimonials
case studies
samples from the portfolio
an impressive display of client logos
It’s simply a matter of giving people more than enough reasons to trust your brand.
Have You Taken Up these New Web Design Trends Yet?
Out with the old and in with the new? Not exactly. Some trends may never go out of fashion — minimalism and bold headline typography to name a couple. But 2020 changed the way we look at some things, and as a result, some design trends need to be discarded and replaced with others to adjust to the new normal.
Whether you want to update and upgrade existing sites or implement these new trends in your new website designs, BeTheme’s 600+ pre-built websites will steer you in the right direction.

Static Site Generators: A Beginner’s Guide

The Jamstack (JavaScript, APIs, and Markup) is increasingly becoming the development stack of choice on the Web. The title on the Jamstack website suggests that the Jamstack is “the modern way to build websites and apps” and that it “delivers better performance”.Performance is certainly one of the benefits the Jamstack brings to the table, together with better security, scalability, and developer experience. Sites built on this type of architecture make use of pre-rendered static pages served over CDNs, can get data from multiple sources, and replace traditional servers and their databases with micro service APIs.
What makes possible the creation of static sites quickly and relatively painlessly are static site generators (SSGs).
There are tons of static site generators in a range of programming languages, such as JavaScript, Ruby, Go, and more. You’ll find an exhaustive, unfiltered list on staticsitegenerators.net, but if you’d like something more manageable, check out the Jamstack website”s list, where you can filter static site generators by name or by the number of GitHub stars.
In this article, I’m going to list seven popular static site generators and their main features, so that you can form a better idea of which one among them would be a good fit for your project.
What Are Static Site Generators?
A common CMS (content management system) — like WordPress, for instance — builds the web page dynamically as it’s being requested by the client: it assembles all the data from the database, and processes the content through a template engine. In contrast, while static site generators also process pages through a template engine, they handle the build process before the pages are requested by the client, meaning that they’re ready to serve when requested. All that’s hosted online is static assets, which makes sites much more lightweight and faster to serve.
To learn more about the differences between a traditional CMS and a static site generator, and about the benefits of using an SSG, check out Craig Buckler’s article on “7 Reasons to Use a Static Site Generator”.
But, what about all the good things that come with CMSs, like content creation and update by non developers, team collaboration around content, and so on? Enter the headless CMS.
A headless CMS is one that has only has a back end. There’s no front end to display the content. Its only job is to manage content, but it also provides an API that another front end can use to retrieve the data entered into it.
This way, the editorial team, for example, can continue working from their familiar, user-friendly admin interface and the content they produce or update is just one data source among others that static site generators can access via the exposed API. Popular headless CMS software include Strapi, Sanity, and Contentful. Also, WordPress has a REST API that allows devs to use it as a headless CMS.
So, the modern Jamstack tooling makes it possible to build a statically-served website and still get the benefits of a content management system.
Now, let’s go through some static site generator options.
1. Gatsby

Gatsby is a full-blown framework for building static websites and apps. It’s built in React and leverages GraphQL for manipulating data. If you’re curious and want to delve deeper, check out “Getting Started with Gatsby: Build Your First Static Site” on SitePoint and the docs on the Gatsby website.

Here are some of Gatsby’s strong points:
With Gatsby you get to work with the latest web technologies — with React, webpack, modern JS, CSS and so on all ready for you to just start coding your site.
Gatsby’s rich plugin ecosystem allows you to use any kind of data you prefer from one or more sources.
Easy deployment and scalability, which is mainly due to the fact that Gatsby builds static pages that don’t require complicated setups.
Gatsby is a progressive web apps (PWA) generator:
You get code and data splitting out-of-the-box. Gatsby loads only the critical HTML, CSS, data, and JavaScript so your site loads as fast as possible. Once loaded, Gatsby prefetches resources for other pages so clicking around the site feels incredibly fast. — Gatsby website

gatsby-image combines Gatsby’s native image processing capabilities with advanced image loading techniques to easily and completely optimize image loading for your sites.
Plenty of starter sites are available for you to grab freely and customize.
2. Next.js

Next is a versatile framework for the creation of server-rendered or statically exported JavaScript apps. It’s built on top of React and is created by Vercel.
To create a Next app, run the following command in your terminal:

npx create-next-app nextjs-blog –use-npm –example “https://github.com/vercel/next-learn-starter/tree/master/learn-starter”

cd into nextjs-blog, your newly created directory, and type the command to open your Next JS app’s development server on port 3000:

npm run dev

To check that everything works as expected, open http://localhost:3000 in your browser.
Next.js has great docs, where you can learn more about building and customizing your Next-based apps.
Here are a number of Next’s best features:
Next renders on the server by default, which is great for performance. For a discussion of the pros and cons of server-side rendering, check out this article by Alex Grigoryan on Medium.
No setup necessary: automatic code-splitting, routing and hot reload out of the box.
Image optimization, internationalization, and analytics.
Great docs, tutorials, quizzes and examples to get you up and running from beginner to advanced user.
Built-in CSS support.
Tons of example apps to get you started.
3. Hugo

Hugo is a very popular static site generator with over 49k stars on GitHub right now. It’s written in Go, and advertises itself as being the fastest framework for building websites. In fact, Hugo comes with a fast build process, which makes building static websites a breeze and works great for blogs with lots of posts.
The docs are great and on the platform’s website you’ll find a fantastic quickstart guide that gets you up and running with the software in no time.
Here are some of Hugo’s most loved features:

Designed and optimized for speed: as a rule of thumb, each piece of content renders in about one millisecond.
No need to install extra plugins for things like pagination, redirection, multiple content types, and more.
Rich theming system.
Shortcodes available as an alternative to using Markdown.
Since December 2020, Hugo offers Dart Sass support, and a new filter to overlay an image on top of another — Hugo 0.80: Last Release of 2020!
4. Nuxt.js

Nuxt.js is a higher-level framework built with Vue.js that lets you create production-ready web apps. With Nuxt, you can have:
Server-side rendering for your website, also called universal or isomorphic mode. Nuxt uses a Node server to deliver HTML based on Vue components.
Static site generation. With Nuxt, you can build static websites based on your Vue application.
Single-page apps (SPAs). Nuxt gives you the configuration and the framework to build your Vue-based SPA.
Creating Nuxt-based websites can be done super quickly. Here’s the Hello World example on the Nuxt website. You can download it on your machine or play with it on Codesandbox to get started.
Here are some of Nuxt.js’s features:
Great performance: Nuxt-based apps are optimized out of the box.
Modular: Nuxt is built using a powerful modular structure. There are more than 50 modules you can choose from to speed up your development experience.
Relatively easy learning curve. Nuxt is based on Vue, which is a framework that makes it quick and painless to get started.
Integrated state management with Vuex.
Automatic Code Splitting.
Cutting-edge JavaScript code transpilation.
Bundling and minifying of JS and CSS.
Managing element (, , etc.).
Pre-processor: Sass, Less, Stylus, etc.
5. Jekyll

Jekyll‘s simplicity and shallow learning curve make it a popular choice with 42k+ stars on GitHub at the time of writing. It’s been around since 2008, so it’s a mature and well supported piece of software.
Jekyll is built with Ruby. You write your content in Markdown, and the templating engine is Liquid. It’s ideal for blogs and other text-heavy websites. Jekyll is also the engine that powers up GitHub Pages, which means that you can host your Jekyll site on GitHub Pages for free, “custom domain name and all”.
Great features Jekyll has to offer include:
simplicity
free hosting on GitHub Pages
great community that takes care of maintenance and the creation of themes, plugins, tutorials and other resources
6. Eleventy

Eleventy, often considered as the JavaScript alternative to Jekyll, introduces itself as “a simpler static site generator”. Eleventy is built on native JavaScript, no frameworks (although you can use your favorite one, if you so choose), has a default zero configuration setup approach, and lets you use the templating engine that you prefer.
To quickly get up and running with Eleventy, check out Craig Buckler’s “Getting Started with Eleventy”, Raymond Camden’s “11ty Tutorial: Cranking Your Jamstack Blog Up to 11”, and Tatiana Mac’s “Beginner’s Guide to Eleventy”, or head over to the getting started docs pages on the Eleventy website.
Some nice features include:
simplicity and performance
community-driven
flexible templating system
fast build times
7. VuePress

VuePress is a Vue-powered static site generator. Its default theme is optimized for writing technical docs, so it works great for this type of site right out of the box. Its current, stable version at the time of writing is 1.8.0, but if you’re curious about the breaking changes that are in the works, check out version 2 alpha on GitHub.
A VuePress site works as an SPA that leverages the power of Vue, Vue Router and webpack.
To get started with VuePress, you need Node.js v.10+ and optionally Yarn Classic.
For a quick VuePress setup, use the create-vuepress-site generator by opening your terminal in your directory of choice and running either of the following commands, depending on whether you’re using Npm or Yarn:
Npm:

npx create-vuepress-site [optionalDirectoryName]

Yarn:

yarn create vuepress-site [optionalDirectoryName]

After you’ve answered a few configuration questions, you should see the new website file structure in your chosen folder.
Head over to the VuePress Guide for more details.
Here are some great features that VuePress has to offer:
Setting up your VuePress-based site is quick and you can write your content using Markdown.
VuePress is built on Vue, which means that you can enjoy the web experience of Vue, webpack, the possibility of using Vue components inside Markdown files and of developing custom themes with Vue.
Fast loading experience: VuePress static sites are made of pre-rendered static HTML and run as an SPA once they’re loaded in the browser.
Multilanguage support by default with i18n.
Nuxt.js or VuePress?
Both Nuxt.js and VuePress are built on top of Vue.js and let you create static websites. So, which one is to be preferred over the other?
Let’s say that Nuxt.js can do everything VuePress does. However, in essence, Nuxt is best suited for building applications. VuePress, on the other hand, is ideal for creating static documentation websites that display content written in Markdown.
In short, if all you need is a documentation site or a very simple blog in Vue.js, consider reaching out for VuePress, as Nuxt would be overkill.
How to Choose a Static Site Generator
With all the options available, it’s easy to feel paralyzed when it comes to choosing a static site generator that fits the bill. There are some considerations that could help you sieve through what’s on offer.
Your project’s requirements should throw some light on the features you should be looking for in your SSG.
If your project needs lots of dynamic capabilities out of the box, then Hugo and Gatsby could be a good choice. As for build and deploy time, all of the SSGs listed above perform very well, although Hugo seems to be the favorite, especially if your website has a lot of content.
Is your project a blog or a personal website? In this case Jekyll and Eleventy could be excellent choices, while for a simple documentation website VuePress would be a great fit. If you’re planning an ecommerce website, you might want to consider which SSG fits in well with a headless CMS for store management. In this case, Gatsby and Nuxt could work pretty well.
One more thing you might want to consider is your familiarity with each of the SSG languages. If you program in Go, then Hugo is most likely your preferred choice. On the other hand, if JavaScript is your favorite programming language, you’re spoilt for choice: Eleventy is built in pure JS, Next and Gatsby are built on top of React, while Nuxt and VuePress are built in Vue.
With regard to stuff like great documentation, strong community and support, all of the static site generators I listed figure among the most popular.

The Differences in Web Hosting (Go with the Happy Path)

One of our readers checked out “Helping a Beginner Understand Getting a Website Live” and had some follow up questions specifically about hosting providers. Here’s what they asked: What’s the difference between hosting providers? For example, what is the difference between GoDaddy and Hostgator, which seems like “traditional” web hosting providers, to others like Heroku, Digital…

20+ Best MailChimp Email Newsletter Templates (Free + Premium) 2021

MailChimp is the most popular email marketing software available today. Thanks to its generous free plan, many businesses choose MailChimp to start their email list. But, are you using the best MailChimp template for your newsletter? If you’re seeing a decline in email opens or click-through rates, the design of your newsletter might be to…

12 Best WordPress Themes for Your 2021 Projects

This sponsored article was created by our content partner, BAW Media. Thank you for supporting the partners who make SitePoint possible.Virtually any WordPress theme you choose will have its advantages and limitations. Naturally, you’ll want to look for a theme that has a maximum number of the former and few or none of the latter.
Finding the “best” among many is not without its challenges. Because there are so many popular WordPress themes on the market today, sifting through them to find exactly what you’re looking for can be a daunting task, not to mention a time-consuming one.
The purpose of this article is to make the search easy for you. Here, we’re presenting you with 12 top WordPress themes for 2021 — more than one of which could be precisely the one for you.
Instead of a lengthy search, the only problem you may encounter now is deciding among two or three great WordPress themes — unless, of course, there’s one that obviously stands out above the rest.
That said, let’s give it a try.

With its more than 40 core web design features, BeTheme easily qualifies as the biggest WordPress theme on the market today, and Be’s more than 200,000 sales can attest to its popularity and the quality of its performance.
While you’re unlikely to need to take advantage of all of those core features for a given project, the message is that if there’s a design aid you need, you’ll readily find it in this popular theme.
Some Highlights:
Be’s library of 600+ professionally-crafted prebuilt websites guarantees that any project you may be considering will get off to a fast start. These pre-built websites are attractive, customizable, responsive, and cover all the major industries, many small business niches, and all the popular website types or styles.
Be’s Muffin Builder, Admin Panel, Shortcode Generator and Shortcode Library give you maximum design flexibility and negate any need for coding.
The Layout Generator enables you to design a website page from scratch. Plus, there’s a wealth of color, font, grid, and header options and special effects.
Click on the banner to find out everything you’ll ever need to know about BeTheme and each of its powerful core features.

When a theme is designed with perfection in mind, you might find it a bit intimidating to get to know and use. That’s not the case with Total. In addition to being straightforward to work with, you can disable any feature you won’t be needing for your project, so there’s nothing to get in the way or become a distraction.
With respect to theme flexibility, Total’s Dynamic Template Function has it in spades. You can customize a layout exactly as you want to.
The Theme Customizer gives you even more options and flexibility, as it allows you to change colors, column or section widths, fonts, and more.
WPBakery is the page builder of choice, and there are plenty of pre-made demos and page-building modules to work with.
Total is drag and drop and WordPress-plugin and WooCommerce friendly.

You usually can’t go wrong when you select a best-seller, assuming it has the website-building features and tools you’re looking for. It just so happens that with its 450,000 users, Avada is the all-time WordPress theme best seller, so they must have gotten most everything right.
Avada’s building materials include demos you can import with a single click and an impressive array of design elements.
The drag and drop Fusion Builder, Fusion Theme Options, and Fusion Page Options make it possible to create websites quickly, including relatively complex ones.
As good as it is, Avada is only going to improve, and as it does, you’ll receive updates free of charge.
Click on the banner to learn more about how Avada enables you to design and build what you want, as you want it to be.

This ultimate, multipurpose WordPress theme includes every feature and function you’ll need to create awesome high performance websites:
400+ beautiful pre-built websites and templates for any purpose and niche
industry-leading, front-end page builders for easy editing and customizing for Elementor and WPBakery
a rich collection of WooCommerce templates and features for better online shops
a unique tool — TheGem Blocks — with 300+ premium pre-designed section templates to speed up your workflow
TheGem is 5-star rated with a 50,000-strong customer base.

This pixel-perfect, multi-use theme will be a great choice for creative types, agencies, and small businesses.
80.000+ sales to date make Uncode one of ThemeForest’s top sellers
Uncode’s WooCommerce Custom Builder ensures that your online shop or store will provide for great UX
Visiting the site and viewing Uncode’s showcase of user-built websites is a “must” if you want to learn more. Be prepared to be impressed and quite likely inspired.

To call Rey an innovative WordPress theme would be an understatement. Rey is modern, lightweight, and features a selection of genuinely stunning design elements:
it’s easy easy to set up.
it has a library of professionally designed templates is included
it offers powerful integrations into Elementor, WordPress, and WooCommerce, and will take your website-building experience to the next level.
Rey is SEO friendly, developer friendly, and features built-in SVG support.

This highly rated premium WordPress theme, created for more advanced WordPress users, is an excellent choice for beginners as well.
You’ll find a large selection of professionally designed demos and design elements that you can import and put to immediate use.
Popular WordPress plugins supported and included at no cost include Slider Revolution, WooCommerce, WPBakery, and Elementor.
Kalium is responsive, SEO friendly, and GDPR compliant.

XStore is totally focused on WooCommerce, and it’s highly recommended if your next project will be an online store.
The selection of 100+ good-to-go shops is XStore’s most impressive feature.
The XStore package also includes a full Ajax shop, a Single Product page builder, a WooCommerce Email Builder, and more than $500 worth of premium plugins.
XStore was developed by an 8Theme Elite Power Author and has over 55,000+ sales to date.

Typer will convert your blogging website into a powerful, multi-author platform. Front-end publishing, article searches, bookmarks, and recommendations for articles are among Typer’s many useful features.
Typer is Elementor and Gutenberg compatible.
Beautiful user profile and multiple article layout design aids will spruce up your site.
Activity feeds and weekly digests are two other useful features.
Typer was developed by an Elite Author. It’s 5-star rated.

You’re spending too much time answering repetitive questions, and customers are finding your site’s FAQ page a source of irritation and have given it a 1-star rating.
Maybe it’s a good time to invest in KnowAll, which:
provides detailed answers to customers any hour of any day
provides related content suggestions
helps customers formulate their questions through its search capability
Customers will appreciate what KnowAll can do for them and your business will benefit from it.

Pofo is a great match for creative types and agencies. It’s also an ideal choice for creating blogging and portfolio sites.
Pofo is flexible, crazy-fast, and SEO optimized.
Key features include Revolution Slider, WPBakery, 150+ pre-built design elements, and an attractive selection of home and demo pages.
Documentation is online and user support is excellent.

What users like most about this thoroughly modern WordPress theme is trendy demos and its creative design elements and templates.
Hongo will serve you well, whether you plan to use it to create a blogging site, a company site, or an eCommerce store.
Key features include selections of premium plugins and WPBakery shortcodes.
Hongo’s product-related features include compare, quick view, catalog mode, and wish lists.
Documentation is excellent, as is the customer support.
Wrap
2020 was a rough year for many, but any selection from the above listing of top WordPress themes should brighten your mood and put you in a good place for whatever website design challenges you may encounter in 2021.
Since each of these cool WordPress themes features the latest website design trends, there should be at least one that will meet your needs, whether your project is personal or for a corporate entity.
We hope you enjoy your shopping experience.