Let’s Enter the Complicated Maze of Website Design
I have been releasing a lot of websites lately. I got thinking about what clients need to know when starting a new website design project. It can be very confusing to a lay-person. Here are 17 web design tips to set your mind at ease:
Make sure before you start the whole design process…you have know what your website’s ultimate purpose is. Do you want to provide information? Do you want to sell products? Do you want to engage users? What is the overall message? It is important to have goals set before the design process begins.
2. Who is My Audience and What Do They Want to Know About?
Secondly, you must decide who your website’s users will be. This is very important. You will want to position your website to cater to certain demographics? You will want to think like the audience to put forth the message tailored to their specific needs and wants.
3. What Image Do You Want the Site to Convey?
It is smart to design a website for the user. However, you want to convey a specific message to the audience. Do you want to sell a product that is trendy and cool? To you want a conservative clean look? Do you want to promote the community or the environment. Everything you put on your site is transmitting a message about your organization. What do you want that message to be?
4. Start Planning the Site Design
As I have said before in previous blogs: Plan, Plan, Plan! A lot of information can be put into a website. Start planning what you want on your site. Gather all information, pictures, logos etc. to have them ready to publish. Set a release date. Look for web design companies. Plan content. What are your competitors doing? Think about Search Keywords. Plan colours. Plan for layout. Plan, Plan, Plan.
5. How Will Customers be Accessing Your Website?
You have to think like a consumer. What devices will they be using? Many people use mobile phones and tablets now. You must ensure your website is mobile ready (responsive).
This is perhaps the most important question that business owners face when they look at building a website. It is also one of the hardest questions to answer because there is no universal right answer.
If you have a lot of time, and a good knowledge of HTML, CSS, PHP, SEO, Image Editors, Widgets, Social Media, and Analytics tools, building your own website may be something that you can handle. However, if you really don’t have much time to spare, or you aren’t that knowledgeable in all of these areas, it may be best to get help from an expert. They deal with websites everyday, and can help you achieve your marketing goals on the web.
7. It Costs More and Takes Longer Than You Think
That being said, there are a lot of steps involved in designing a website, which generally translates into more cost. You have to pay for your domain name and hosting. As well, you will have to pay for fees for a professional web design company….don’t forget about maintenance fees. You may have to pay for photography, content creation, translations, or logo design.
Time is always a factor in web design. Your designer will look to you to provide any information, content, images, logos, etc. for the website. This data is very important to the design process, and putting off getting this information to your designer can impede the design process. Remember, no one understands your business like you!
8. What Will Your Company’s URL Be?
A domain name is an internet address that is controlled by you. It uniquely identifies your business on the internet. ( ie. www.yourbusinessname.com) The two main benefits are:
- It gives your business a professional image.
- You promote your business every time you give out your email or website address.
9. Make Your Website Easy-to-Use
A lot of people want to make their website full of “bells & whistles”. The most successful sites on the web are simple, and very easy-to-use. This is the best time to use the KISS method – Keep It Simple Stupid. Remember, not all of the users may be very web savvy. You don’t want to lose your message.
10. Craft Your Initial Content and Copy
Decide who will write the written content, including your site’s text, articles, newsletters, etc.. You may have to invest in a talented proofreader before you publish.
11. Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most important factors to having a successful website. There are many factors that go into making your website rank high in Google or Bing. This is where you can attract customers like never before.
It can be affected by the proper naming of images, using <ALT> tags, use of Heading Tags <H>, keywords, registering your name with Google, or creating back-links. It would be good idea to get yourself well acquainted with SEO practices before building your site.
12. Image, Image, Image
I have talked about image before. You have to think about what your website says about your organization. Think about colour. Think about layout. Think about what the pictures say about your company. Think about content. Everything on your site conveys an image. What image do you want your website to say about your business?
Test, Test, Test. Go through your site looking for spelling, or grammatical errors. Look for broken links. Test on various browsers, operating systems and devices. Get feedback from friends, employees and family.
14. Bring Visitors to Your Website
Now that your website is ready to go, it is time to start drawing visitors in. You can advertise your site on your personal and business social sites. Get friends to promote your site too.
Of course put it on all marketing materials, ie. business cards, emails, newsletters, brochures, pens, shirts, cards, etc. The list could go on forever. Advertise in your brick-and-mortar…even put on a contest to draw people in. Tell people either word of mouth, posting in forums, directories, related professional associations, networking events, etc. Put it out to the people!
15. Engage in Social Networking
Social networking is one of the best ways to spread word about your website. It is also a perfect way to get user feedback. It is also helps with SEO rankings 😉
16. You Will Need to Maintain Your Website
The best websites on the web are changing all the time. The administrators must pay attention to them, and add new content, as well as, keeping the existing content up-to-date. Plus, eventually you will probably want to do a redesign, to keep the look up-to-date as well. You also need to decide who will maintain your site. Will you do it, or will you hire a professional?
17. Utilize Analytics
Analytics has become one of the most important factors in maintaining a great website. The numbers will show you what customers find interesting. It will show you how long someone is on your site. What pages/posts they are visiting. What the bounce rate is. What they are engaging. You can take this data to tailor your site to specific users needs or to create more dynamic content.
You can use WordPress stats, or Google analytics to find out how users are cruising your site. The data even lets you know how people are finding your site. Information that you can use to make your website better.
Hopefully, this article helps you on the road to a great website. Keep an eye on our blog for more marketing tips, that you can use to achieve marketing power for your business.