This is the first post in a four-part series, which will also include articles on Web Hosting, SEO, and Ecommerce.
We’re starting with web design because it’s very important to get your website exactly right. It’s the place you ultimately want your visitors to end up. Your social media, your advertising, your business card, your participation in online and in-person communities; all these efforts should be about getting visitors to your website – the crown jewel in your arsenal.
But it’s not just a matter of whipping up some content, grabbing images, choosing a font, and coding some HTML. A good, professional web designer will have lots of questions for you. These questions will be designed to get you to think about your goals and will help you make decisions on every aspect of your website.
We know. This bit can be dull – we know you want your sexy new website ASAP. But like any complex project, it’s best to have a clear idea from the get-go. This keep things from getting confused and misunderstood down the line. Speak to friends if you’re having trouble getting started and kick around ideas.
What would you like your website to achieve? For example, are you selling a product or service? Do you want people to donate to your charity? Would you like visitors to pay for a subscription to reach your content?
Who are your customers? What information will your visitors and customers be looking for on your website?
It’s time to talk about the structure of your site. Your web designer might still be using pen and paper at this stage of the project. If it’s a bigger website, my favourite technique involves using lots of yellow stickies arranged on a huge piece of paper. This is when the sitemap gets organised, and the overall structure of the site starts to take shape.
It’s also when the designer will determine how the site will be built and what technology will be used. It might be as simple as customising a WordPress site or involve more complex coding by a web developer.
Design And Content
Okay. Now it’s time to start getting creative and have some fun. This is when the designer will work with you to create all things visual, like the branding, look and feel, colours, fonts, and overall graphic design. It’s also time to consider your content – writing, images, and videos, user experience (UX), and SEO.
With the rise in popularity and effectiveness of UX, we feel it’s best to consider all design and content elements at the same time. That way your content and design will flow much better as they have been created together. Great UX will pay dividends – the longer you keep visitors on your site, the more likely they will become a customer.
All that planning is starting to pay off. Your web designer will now start creating the actual website. They might have a few more questions as they go along, but otherwise, they’ll be busy completing the agreed-upon brief.
It’s time to do some testing now that the website is complete. They will test your website in a staging environment, running through quality assurance checklists. For example, they will make sure it’s compatible with all browsers, confirm that it’s functional. Do all links go where they are supposed to, and are any of the links broken? Is the navigation smooth? Are there any orphan pages?
The big day has arrived! Your website has finally launched. Congratulations! Celebrate and share it on your usual channels. Most of the work is done. Now all you need to do is monitor it, make minor fixes, and maintain it.
Always Be Improving
But wait! It’s not time to rest on your laurels. Start analysing your website statistics. Is your website fulfilling its purpose and accomplishing your objectives? Are you receiving feedback from visitors and customers? Do you see any visitor patterns – popular pages, or pages with a high bounce rate. Are visitors and customers behaving as you’d hoped? Website design is never truly finished, whether it’s maintaining a blog with informative, relevant content, or keeping your pages fresh and current.
Also, if you haven’t already, make sure that your branding and visual identity are consistent across all of your social media platforms, marketing materials, and advertising campaigns. This will send a subtle signal to your customer that you are detail-oriented and organised.
Who Are Web Design Review?
Our team at Web Design Review research and evaluate web design companies from across the UK. This saves you the time, effort and money doing the research yourself. We have also developed a handy tool so that you can fill in one enquiry form which is then forwarded to the 10 companies we’ve ranked as the best in the country.
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