Any design process requires implementation of some fundamental principles on the highest level. Through time you may come back to them, improve upon them or exchange them for their superiors.
Nevertheless, there are principles that you ought to keep in mind anyhow. These principles help us devise alternatives in specific situation.
It is often that clients cannot provide a vivid enough picture of their desired end-product or they otherwise have quite eccentric demands. As such it is better to be prepared for those situations and not compromise on these principles when push comes to shove.
Principle #1 - Simplicity
You basically will not be able to find anyone who would not prefer to find whatever it is they want to find faster and more easily.
Design elements (the text, graphic illustrations, pictures, divides, etc) as well as functional elements (CTAs, scrolling, etc) should be as easily accessible as possible.
You can test your users on this in order to find out what navigation pathways they are using when on your website.
If you check your website frequently enough you will become blind to some of its navigational flaws, which is why it is a good idea to test others.
Principle #2 - Consistency and clarity
If the anatomy of the website is made up of the constituent parts that are following certain methods, it is advisable that you do not break them. For example, if you specifically use red links to take the user to a google search, do not change the idea behind it in one of your blog posts. It will only confuse them.
When you come up with certain sub-principles do not break them. Your users are searching for products/services not puzzles.
If you want them to use a link, or a CTA in general, then try to focus their attention on mostly that. For CTAs you can apply bold to them, as well as center them (this is just an example, you will have to decide on the specifics depending on the situation). If you want them to click links - underline a few words instead of just one. Use words that will help the user understand what they are clicking.
Principle #3 - Unity
We often come across Georgian websites which are more of an amalgamation of different visual elements rather than a cohesive whole. It is not too uncommon for the foreign websites to just mash beautiful elements together and try to produce something appealing. Instead you should aim to create patters that make up larger different patterns that fit together in an harmonious coalescence.
Principle #4 - Navigation
You can arrange visual elements in a way that attracts the attention of your users to a specific component. You can do this, for example, with contrasting, using negative space, breaking symmetry, etc.