Nailing your website design is key for winning over your target market. And without careful planning and attention to detail, your business could end up slipping through the cracks. Your website will, in most cases, be the first glimpse that your audience gets of your business, and statistics reveal that 75% of consumers admit to making judgements on a company’s credibility based on their website design alone.
People’s attention spans are decreasing by the day – what with numerous distractions to battle against – so you’ve got to find a way to reel your target audience in and keep them in the palm of your hand. Quite literally in most cases. To help with this, we’ve hounded our design and development team to uncover their hidden secrets, which will answer the all-important question – how do you create a website out of nothing? And most importantly, how do you come up with a flawless design that not only perfectly encapsulates your brand, but that also generates real results? Let’s find out.
Define your goals
The first all-important step to designing a website is to define your goals; in other words, what’s your why? Is there a particular product or service you’re looking to sell? Do you want people to sign-up to something? Or maybe you want to build your brand and produce credible, engaging content? Whatever the case, your design strategy will revolve around these goals, so it’s vital to establish them before getting into the nitty gritty.
The research stage
Before putting pen to paper, get yourself onto the web and look for inspiration. Staring at a blank page and questioning where on earth to begin is daunting to say the least, so ensure that your brain is bursting with ideas as a starting point. By doing your competitor analysis, you can get an insight into which techniques are a hit, and which ones are a miss. If there are particular brands that have caught your eye, store your inspiration in a place that’s easily accessible, like a moodboard. This way, it’ll be easier to pluck certain methods from each one to create your own unique website design. Although competitor analysis is essential, remember to maintain your authenticity. No one likes a copycat.
Building your website
Now you’re equipped with brilliant ideas, you can start building your website – woohoo! But wait – with so many different platforms out there, how can you possibly choose which one to pick? This will ultimately depend on your business goals, along with the budget you’re willing to spend, and any particular features you’ll be looking to utilise, so the answer will differ from person to person. For example, WordPress is a great all-rounder – especially if you’re making a brochure website – being easy to use, set-up and each template is completely customisable. Shopify, on the other hand, can be used for managing your eCommerce businesses; you can integrate it with other sites, like Listing Mirror, to keep track of everything in one place.
Decide on your website’s layout
Next, how do you want your website to look? The main focus should be for it to be as accessible as possible. So as well as choosing a design that’s aesthetically pleasing, ensure that your fancy functionality won’t cause any complications when users attempt to navigate.
Thankfully, designing a website is made simple when relying on the help of a designer, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed with the number of layout possibilities out there. After communicating your business objectives and mentioning what your goals are (refer back to our first step to designing a website), you’ll be able to come up with a design together that seamlessly reflects your brand. With complete customisability at your fingertips, the world wide web is your oyster.
Choosing your domain name
When choosing your domain name, you’ll need to make sure that you’re including the name of your business to avoid any ambiguity. Remember to keep it short and sweet to prevent the possibility of a misspelling, resist temptation to add in any numbers or special characters and incorporate keywords where you can.
Add relevant site pages
To optimise your website’s user experience, make sure that all bases are covered when adding relevant site pages. By this, we mean ensuring that you’re able to efficiently direct your users to the correct place without causing any confusion.
If you’re selling multiple products, or advertising a number of services, you’ll need to find a way to clearly showcase each one on your website. If, for example, you’re a digital marketing agency that covers anything from PPC to paid social, you’ll need to come up with a descriptive page for each that highlights how the service could help a business. For products, you might have a number of categories and subcategories that eventually filter down (perhaps through their colour, size or purpose) to make it easy for users to find exactly what they’re looking for.
You might choose to add in an ‘about us’ page that clearly highlights exactly who you are/what your business does, and how your service or product aims to assist. Similarly, a ‘meet the team’ page that highlights everyone’s experience, awards or credentials is a good way to build authoritativeness, whilst injecting some personality into your website. Some other general site pages include a home page, FAQs, and contact or a ‘where to find us’ page.
Content marketing is another method used to generate traffic to your website, so adding a blog page is recommended. Just remember that there are certain “rules”, as defined by Google, that must be followed to ensure that you’re producing the best content out there. Although it’s important, it takes more than being a whizz with words to receive clicks, so if you do choose to incorporate a blog page into your website (which we highly recommend), consider not only how your target audience will receive the information, but whether it’s likely to get a good ranking on Google. Before hitting upload, ask yourself whether it abides by EAT (e.g. is your content expertly written, is it authoritative and trustworthy?) and YMYL (e.g. is the content you’re producing likely to have a negative impact on someone’s livelihood?) If this comes with even the slightest hesitation, it’s definitely worth going back to take a second look.
Designing your website
Always, and we mean always, keep usability in mind when designing your website. The prospect of being able to play around with fonts, colours and images is undeniably exciting, but if these aren’t well executed in a way that aligns with your brand’s image, it could end up leading to your website’s demise.
So, what are the dos when it comes to designing your website? I’ve previously shared an article that discusses the UX tips you need to know about (get yourself over there, if you haven’t already), along with a blog on the wonders of colour psychology and why it matters. The general theme here is to transport yourself into the mind of your users, and question what your design choices potentially say about your brand. People are quick to judge, so you’ll want to make sure that you’re eliciting the desired response, and not putting people off due to a lack of structure.
According to Google, 61% of users aren’t likely to return to a mobile site that isn’t easily accessible. When considering stats like this, it’s crucial that your website looks just as good on a computer screen as it does on a mobile device. The sizing will differ between each, so if your navigation bars are cut off as a result, or your text becomes troublesome to read, you’re unlikely to transform users into loyal customers. To combat this, make sure to test your website out on different devices, adjusting your design if necessary to ensure a great user experience.
Making an SEO-friendly website
No website is good to go without SEO, so just as you would when writing blog content, insert relevant keywords into your site wherever possible, strategically placing them in titles, URLs and meta descriptions. Ultimately, building up your website and revealing more about what you do will make it easier for Google to crawl through your site in order to determine your business’ purpose. If it deems you to be an authoritative source, you’re more likely to climb the rankings. For more expert tips on this, check out our blog on how to create an SEO-friendly website to nail your strategy.
Google’s algorithm is constantly changing, and with regular updates to look out for, you should never just leave your website to collect dust. Instead, consistently review your site’s performance and consider whether certain aspects of your design could be impacting your generated traffic. Maybe you could inject a few more keywords into your writing, or perhaps the colours you’re using are affecting readability. It might take work, but success is easily attainable with persistent optimisation.
If you’re looking for more ways to optimise your website, but have no idea where to begin, our team of digital marketing experts is here to help design a strategy that best suits your objectives. Give us a call today to elevate your business.
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