The difference between a fair design and a great one is always attention to detail, but within a minimalist website design you only need to get a margin slightly out and it’s going to be glaringly apparent. That’s why you need to pay special attention to detail – style every element, check and re-check padding and margins, adjust line-heights and font-sizes. Using a grid will help with this.
Just because there’s a space doesn’t mean you need to fill it. Strip back to the bare essentials and refine your content – if it doesn’t need to be there, it shouldn’t.
Minimalist doesn’t have to mean black and white, but you don’t want to overdo it either. Colour can be a useful tool for creating accents and changing the feel of your site, but the content should take centre stage so try not to detract from it by using too many or too much. Again, think about what you’re trying to achieve and only use colour where it has a purpose.
Gone are the days when Arial, Times New Roman and the like were the end game in terms of compatibility. Web fonts give us thousands of typography options and getting the right combination can drastically change the look and feel of your website design. Try a sans serif font for your headings and serif for body text to create an interesting contrast. You can also play with sizes, weights, colours and spacing to highlight certain pieces of content and increase readability.
The old adage goes that a picture paints a thousand words. In that vain, try using images and icons in place of text where appropriate.