Close your eyes and count with me: 1, 2, 3, 4 and poof!
Your website is live, and all you did was press a magic button, tell it what you wanted and in a jif, you got exactly what you wanted. Now you can sit back and let it do all the work for you. Does this process sound familiar to you?
I didn’t think so.
As a graphic designer who works in web design fairly often, I’ve learned that it’s not just one part that comes into play. There are a lot of moving pieces when creating a website.
Here are the most essential pieces I have discovered to help you create a high-quality, functioning and great-looking website.
Know Your Audience
Think of an email you’re writing. The language you use, and even the content of your message, will change depending on who you’re sending it to. Your website isn’t much different. Sure, the ultimate goal is to reach the widest amount of people possible, but you still need to define certain nuances in your audience.
Are you hoping to reach people that are well-versed in your particular product and services? If so, what’s unique about your offering? Or does your audience need to be introduced and educated on what you can offer?
Here are some questions you should be asking yourself:
- What demographics are important to you? Where people live? Their gender, education, or income? Etc.
- Do I need to have multiple languages?
- Are there particular segments of people I want to reach? (E.g. executives, students, etc.)
- What problem or challenge do they have that can be solved by my products and services?
Answering these questions will help you determine the kind of website you need. But don’t feel you need to re-invent the wheel. See what similar companies are doing in this space. Who are they targeting? How are they doing it? Are they using a particular tone or style? Learn from them, and then aim to do it better.
Develop a Brand Strategy for Your Site
Anyone can build a website and promote it. How does your website fit into your company’s media brand strategy? If you don’t know, you’ll find it more difficult to have a successful website and your site could actually hurt you.
Your website is only one factor in building your media brand on the Internet but you have to clearly identify your site’s role in the big picture.
Do you want your site to serve as an extension of your traditional media outlet, like an online catalog as backup for your in-person sales efforts, to stand on its own as a source of revenue or perhaps just another way to get your company’s name out there regardless of the income potential?
Plan on Becoming an SEO Wizard
Sure, you’re going to want help from the pros and eventually you might even need your own in-house SEO expert, but search engine optimization is something you need to know about too. It has one of the highest ROIs in marketing.
Plus, do it right and SEO can literally put your marketing on autopilot, allowing you to focus on improving the quality of your business, instead of figuring out how to bring in customers to your site. Start reading SEOmoz and stay up to date with SEO changes by reading sites like search engine land.
Build A Robust Brand
The powerful and attractive the web design, the more it will influence shoppers and prospective customers. Besides showing expertise, it helps in building awareness and extending credibility. Quite obvious, an excellent design makes a lasting impression. According to 72% of marketers, displaying content on effective website is simpler & better than advertising in a very magazine.
Make Your Site Mobile Optimized
As per Google’s study, 75% of users prefer a mobile-optimized site. If your site is mobile friendly, there is a high probability that they will return to your website and become your customer.
So make sure your website is running smoothly on all platforms and is browser compatible.
Another critical element of your website branding is choosing the right typography (typeface and color) to match your website design.
Now, if you think about this very carefully, often, regardless of the style or theme you might be using on your site, the moment you change the typography element it instantly transforms the overall design, looks, and feel of your website.
When customizing the typography it’s important to think not just from a design perspective (what you think looks great), but also from a user’s perspective as well.
Where ever possible try and use “web safe fonts” that your readers will find easy to read, as well as fonts that will complement the design and style of your brand.
Remember that majority of people are not interested in browsing the mission statement of the business. If a website has appealing design, it itself talks to the target audience. To capture values through design, why not allow your images do the talking?
Measure Your Traffic
Use web analytics tools to track your site visitors’ habits as they work their way through your content. Monitoring these patterns gives you a clear picture of what’s working on your website and what isn’t. If certain topics drive visitors to your site, you know you can increase clicks by giving users what they want.
If you have other areas of your site that are practically ignored, you can decide if you want to alter the content or eliminate future coverage.
There are many ways to build a successful start-up. Building a killer website/app is an important step when you are growing your start-up. It is the primary face of your business, a place to showcase your product and a place to get your first impression on the minds of your targeted audience.
So what are the best practices that you follow or would like to share?