With the availability of professionally designed website layouts and easy to use platforms like WordPress, getting a website up and running has never been so straightforward. Simply register a domain name, pick a template, and upload it along with your branding and content, right?
Creating a successful website is not that simple. There are some important factors you should consider before you start designing your website so that your online presence represents your brand, product, and services. Let’s look at some of the most influential factors:
Your website should have a well-defined purpose
Before you start designing your website, it’s important to establish a well-defined purpose for your site. Ask yourself, what you expect to get out of running a website or blog. Having a purpose for your site will help determine how your site can be managed, the content to include and what messages you want to convey to your online visitors.
It needs to focus on usability
No matter how spiffy your website looks, if it’s hard to use your visitors will head elsewhere. Online users are impatient so whatever the nature of your site, you need to focus on usability. If your website is a shopfront, ensure you set up a user-friendly shopping cart. If you have a large site, create an effective search tool or if you’re planning on having a lot of articles, make sure users can easily navigate between each one.
Navigation should be one of your top concerns
A website with poor navigation will affect its usability and this should be one of your top concerns. Through navigation techniques you can make it as easy as possible for your visitor to find what they’re looking for. Commonly this will include tools such as a primary navigation menu, links within the body of the page or maybe an FAQ’s page. Don’t be afraid of making your navigation tools unique to your site, like adding categories or a popular page’s tab. Just make sure you think of how the user would want to move through your site and what you would want them to see.
Put an emphasis on the right content
There are two types of content, you as a website owner should get familiar with. Firstly, there’s the content that you create for your user to read, like this article. Then there is the content you want search engines like Google to use in order to increase your ranking. Placing emphasis on the right content is about getting the balance between content and keywords, which will appease your reader and meet the SEO requirements. Ultimately, this is the way you are going to increase your traffic to the site.
Your design should complement your content and brand
Everything about your website should represent your brand. From the colours and the layout to the tone of voice, design your website with your brand in mind. This is a great way to build up your online reputation and create brand recognition. Focus on designing your website around your brand and it won’t take long for your brand story, visuals, and philosophy to be cemented into your target consumer’s mind.
The appearance of your website will largely determine your website’s success. You don’t have to spend the big bucks to get an award-winning look, but you do need to ensure your site design will appeal to your target audience and present a positive, professional image. Think of a clean, concise layout with no more than four colours that draws people in.