So you want to design a website. It sounds simple enough in our modern technological age, right? Truth be told, there are a lot of things that must be considered before you start designing a website, if you want it to be successful. Here is our list of the top 10 things you need to consider before designing your website.
- Establish the purpose of your website and who your target audience is. Are you trying to sell a brand or product? Are you crafting a blog as part of your content strategy? Who do you want to be visiting your site? These are questions that you need to ask yourself early on in order to establish what direction your website is going to take, so that you can craft a relevant, high-performing site. You wouldn’t bake a cake before deciding on the flavor; similarly, you wouldn’t design a website before knowing what you want out of your website.
- Research other sites that you like. This can offer you a good basis for comparison when you start to consider what you find appealing about web design, or what the current trends are. Why do you like those site? Is it the design? Is it the user experience? What makes that website stand out to you? Gather inspiration from other websites (even your competitors!) to figure out what you do and do not like.
- Decide on your timeline for the project and develop your strategy. Designing or redesigning a website takes a lot of time, so don’t underestimate it. How much time do you have to complete this project? What can you reasonably get done in that amount of time? When developing your timeline, be sure to be fair, flexible, and realistic with your expectations. That said, also be sure to be clear with whomever you’re reporting to about those same goals, so that there are no miscommunications about the process.
- Focus on your branding - get your name out there! Branding is arguably the most important part of your website. Users must immediately know which company they are doing business with. Visitors, leads, customers, and promoters must be able to associate your brand with your logo. On your website, make sure that your logo is clear and legible. Spend some time designing it in such a way that is appealing and memorable to your audience. Generally, the upper left corner of your homepage is where most companies put their logo. And be consistent - if you have any printed materials (like bags, flyers, shirts, etc.) be sure to use the same logo across the board.
- Change is inevitable. So stay flexible! Technology is constantly changing, as are consumer needs and wants. Trends in the website or any Internet-based industry shift every couple of years, or sometimes even months. You must be aware of these changes and stay on top of them! Always revisit and update your content strategy, and analyze your data and analytics so that you can make relevant additions to your work. And be sure to produce new content regularly as well - people can’t read your blogs if there’s nothing for them to read! New content must updated and uploaded regularly so that fresh information is provided to the public to encourage them to find you.
- Content, content, content! The content that you provide will not only bring people to your site, but will keep them there for extended periods of time if you deliver effectively. So again, think about who your target audience is. Would they be interested in reading the content you have to offer? Design your content strategy with this in mind. And remember to check, recheck, and triple check how your message comes across. Communication is receiver-oriented; you want to be sure that your visitors are receiving the message that you intend to give them. Be clear, be intentional, and be consistent.
- Pay attention to your SEO optimization. Just because your site has launched does not mean that people will interact with it. When visitors are Google searching for keywords that describe your business, you want to be one of the first options that Google pulls up. Most users do not stray beyond the first page of Google results - they seldom even scroll past the top three! Google algorithms search for the most relevant content based on both short and long tail keywords and their prevalence on your site. Google searches for these keywords in your URL, alt tags, meta tags, page titles, and so on. The more attention you give to your SEO optimization efforts, the more likely your site is to appear on the first page in Google, and the more likely you are to be found by potential leads.
- Invest in high-quality images. Pictures are no longer an option when it comes to your website design. Humans are visual creatures; your site visitors want to see what your business is up to! Include pictures of your team, your product, your location, and any variety of miscellaneous pictures that may enhance your content. Whether you use stock images or your own personal ones from your business, make sure that they are top quality. In the web-based industry, high-quality resolution on your pictures equates to “professional” in the eyes of your leads.
- Calls-to-Action (CTAs). Calls-to-action do exactly as the name suggest - they call on the user to act on your product or service. Use CTAs on your website to encourage users to contact you or to download an offer that you are giving out. This demonstrates that you want to create a relationship with the user and your customers. Tailor your CTAs to the user’s stage in the buyer’s journey. If they just found your site, encourage to subscribe to your newsletter or to contact you. If they are already a customer, give them an offer to join your loyalty program. Ideally, there should be at least one CTA per page on your site!
- #PostAboutYourBusiness. Social media, like your quality imagery, isn’t an option these days. Millions of people use social media every day, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, and so on. In a world where we are constantly checking our phones, social media can be one of your most powerful assets. Social media makes it easier for you to connect with a larger audience, and for customers to promote your brand by reading your content and sharing it with others. Customers can also provide feedback reviews of your product or service, which boosts your business even more. Spend some time developing your social media marketing strategy and be sure to track your engagement on all of the platforms that your business chooses to use.
Designing a website is about more than just the site itself. Investing in your website and expanding your reach is what will get people interacting with your business. Developing relevant, interesting, and helpful content will build trust with your leads and ultimately turn them into customers of your brand. How does your site hold up? We offer a free website audit service! We can take a look at your site and recommend suggestions provided by our wonderful team of experts.