The internet. They said it would never take off, but look where we are today. It’s arguably the most useful communicatory tool produced by the human race, and unless you’re sat in a bunker somewhere in the desert, wearing a tin-foil hat, it’s likely to play a crucial role in almost every aspect of your life. Whether it’s giving you directions, answering your questions, connecting you with friends, organizing your money, or providing literally every form of entertainment imaginable. It’s in our hands, and in our homes.
As a business owner in the internet age, you have a range of applications at your disposal that people 50 years ago could only have dreamed of. There is a multitude of different ways that you can advertise and market your goods and services, which allow you to generate sales and reach customers all over the globe. But first, you need a website. It’s the first place most consumers will go to check and judge your enterprise. Look at it as your calling card, or the first impression that you will make on potential leads looking for the solutions that you can provide to their problems. As such, website design is indisputably the Don.
Regardless of your business model, successful website design is heavily focused on User Experience (UX). You first need to decide how you’re going to use your website. Will it simply stand as a digital sales brochure for your company, or will it support your clients in a deeper, more informative way? Either way, it needs to be aesthetically pleasing, user-friendly, and fully functional for everybody. You wouldn’t try to attract people into a jewelry store with a cracked window and a jammed door.
People’s decisions about choosing your offerings will be heavily swayed by the ease with which they can browse them. This is where the functionality element comes in; when designing websites, you cannot ignore the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Having a technically optimized website is key to attracting organic traffic from search engines, and involves components such as sitemaps, page speed, URL structure, schema and site navigation. All of the above have an impact on your website’s overall infrastructure, speed, and how mobile-friendly and easy to navigate it is. Once it looks good and works properly, it’s then your job to ensure it features relevant content, which is stocked with good keywords, meta information, and a strong internal linking structure.
To be able to serve anyone, and everyone, you need to make sure that your website is accessible to people with disabilities. This can include offering options for high contrast imagery, keyboard control, suggesting corrections, and allowing text to be scaled to the user’s preference, or even just writing compelling and accurate page titles. Implementing a Call to Action, such as ‘subscribe,’ on the softer side, or ‘buy now,’ going in stronger, is a clever way to empower your viewers in taking the next step of the journey you’ve mapped out.
With this advice under your belt, it’s time to consider the most suitable website design platform. As we mentioned before, you first need to decide how you’re going to use your website. With this motive in mind, it’s easier to choose the right developer to match your criteria from the various specialists designing websites.
If you’re looking to establish an e-commerce website, then Shopify is a popular builder dedicated to designing online stores. For example, it features an integrated payment solution, which enables users to accept credit cards, along with a complete inventory management system and easy marketing solutions to help you on your way.
Perhaps you’re a self-employed content creator looking to establish a portfolio to demonstrate your capabilities, in this case, Wix offers a simple way to design websites and get them off the ground quickly. It features artificial design intelligence that can support you, along with plenty of templates to get you started. This website creator is also fully hosted, which saves you both cost and hassle, and offers both free and paid subscription options.
Remember our analogy about the jewelry shop? That would be an example of a bad website design. A faulty entrance that doesn’t allow everybody through, broken windows, and an unreliable-looking aesthetic. Your website is your shopfront, and you should decorate it as such: to invite people inside, portray your brand and its personality, and provide a beneficial encounter for all parties.
When designing websites, design for emotion, storytelling, navigating, accessibility, and experience. The first four of these elements have similar goals regardless of your brand; to evoke emotion to create a connection, tell your story to develop a bond with your clientele, devise a clear path for navigation, and make it so anybody can access what you are offering. Experience, however, is a little more dependent on the kind of business that you have. If you’re looking to set up an online clothes shop, and therefore lean towards e-commerce website design, you will need to implement filtering systems to allow your users to effectively search through the most relevant categories to satisfy their needs. If it’s a portfolio of sorts, you’ll want to ensure that there is a clear link to your LinkedIn account or other contact details.
Creating a website that is as equally beautiful as it is beneficial to your business can be time-consuming. We have extensive experience in multiple website platforms, with experienced in-house website designers. Get in touch for more information on how to design a website, or let us take away the stress, and build a website that works for you.
Written by Steven Dobinson.