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Allow me to presume that you’re looking to build or revamp your website and want to know the best way to go about it. Let me further assume that you’re not trying to go for DIY and strongly advise against such adventurism if you take your business seriously. I hope you will be working with an agency or team of developers for developing your Perfect website.
(Image Credit: Template Monster)
You’re also welcome to visit our website when you’re going to look for options. But, regardless of who you work with, you must be aware of exactly what a great website actually is, and the qualities that make it great.
The success of your website is hinged on two factors—design and content. It’s the content that your visitors come looking for. However, the design presents the content in an aesthetic and easily accessible way. With a clumsy design, even the best of content can prove worthless.
What is a Great Web Design?
Imagine walking into a store that has everything you want, but you need to pull out the stuff you need from a big heap of merchandize. Obviously, you’ll never shop at such a store and probably never go back. The same thing can happen
when an Internet user lands on a poorly designed website. Designing the perfect website is about making it most convenient for your visitors to find the information or content that they want.
Why? Because you want them to stay on your site, buy from you, and return for more. A great web design delivers a better user experience, which results in more leads and sales, apart from better SEO rankings and more customer traffic.
What’s the Perfect Recipe for Web Design?
There’s no easy answer, partially because the pursuit of perfection is an ideal, a continuous process rather than a one-time activity. There’s also no fixed formula for a perfect Web Design, because each business has distinct requirements and goals. Thus, an ecommerce website will be designed differently from a lead-generation website, and a custom development will follow a path different from that of a brochure website.
In order to find out the Perfect Recipe for your website design, proceed as follows:
1. Determine the Goals of Your Website
Every website is created for a purpose, and you’re the best person to tell the purpose of your site.
- Is it to inform your audience about your business or products (a brochure site)?
- Is it to sell your products or services online (an ecommerce site)?
- Is it to showcase your work or projects (a portfolio site)?
- Is it to generate leads for your B2B business (lead generation site)?
Or is it all of the above? Your goals will dictate the scope and cost of your development. A great website is one that achieves its goals most cost effectively. Learn more about goal-driven websites.
2. Profile Your Audience
In order to design the perfect site, you must understand your target audience, their demographics, needs, and buying behavior. Ask yourself what type of content your visitors will be looking for when they come to your site.
- Will they be looking for general information?
- Will they like to see product-specific information?
- Will they want to compare prices and features?
- Will they like to
make a contact for further correspondence (business leads)?
Or will they come to your site for something else, e.g. watch a video, download an app or use a service? In addition to its goals, your perfect website must also align with the intent of its users. Using the correct targeting techniques can boost your website’s conversion rates up to 300% (Source).
3. Determine Content and Structure
Prepare a content strategy to provide your visitors relevant and valuable content. Design your site in a way that makes it most convenient for your users to extract the desired information. Analyze the actions that your user will take on your website and design a workflow that helps them accomplish what they want in minimum time.
For example, if you’re into ecommerce, your visitors may want to read about the product features, compare prices, and take a decision to buy. Hence, you must provide the product specs, price comparison and a prominent ‘Buy’ button on your sales pages. On the other hand, if you’re a web designer (or another B2B supplier), your visitors may like to learn about your previous projects, clients and testimonials, so you must display these items upfront on your homepage or landing pages.
Your structure should specify the number and sequence of the pages and the content that will go on those pages. It should also define how the pages will be connected and how your visitor will navigate from one page to another.
4. Prepare Design Options
You can go about designing your page layouts in three ways.
- Stock Templates: The first, and the least expensive way, is to go with the stock templates that are abundantly available for WordPress and other development software. These free or paid templates or themes speed up and simplify your development process; however, your site may look ordinary and similar to thousands of other sites using similar themes. This option is suitable if you are a small business and don’t want to invest too much at an early stage.
- A Custom UI: The second option is to develop a custom user interface (UI) from scratch. A custom development takes time and can be costly. However, the results can be phenomenal. Such sites are created around ideas and themes, and are suitable for businesses that have higher and specific goals. Examples include Groupon, LinkedIn, Facebook, SalesForce, and so many others. A custom website gives you unlimited freedom to play with the elements, features and functionalities, and can be optimized to deliver the smoothest and most satisfying user experience. Such websites are suitable for established businesses and brands that have distinct goals to achieve.
- A Hybrid Design: Open source stock templates (such as WordPress, Joomla, and others) can be modified by your designer. Functionalities and features can be added by using different plug-ins. Hybrid sites offer limited flexibility, which may be sufficient for most of businesses. You can add ecommerce, subscription forms, a blog, and almost every other feature that you can think of. You also have limited control over the layouts, fonts, colors, and other elements. Modifying a stock template is economical and time-saving, which makes such websites the favorite among small businesses.
Regardless of which option you are choosing, it would be a good idea to design your menus and navigation on paper first. This saves time and investment. You can brainstorm different design options with your team and select the one that takes you to your goals most efficiently.
5. Pay Attention to Details
It might sound clichéd, but the devil is in the detail. At the end of any development, these are just tiny details that differentiate a great website from an ordinary one. It can be a cute icon, a punchy one-liner, the gradient and color of your action buttons, the texture of your menu, or any other ‘insignificant’ element, which will make your site more appealing than other sites. That’s why it is crucial to consider each and every element very carefully. The more time you spend finalizing the details of your design, the closer your site will be to perfection.
6. Make Your Site Interactive (and Interesting)
The days have long gone when people used to feel satisfied with one-way flow of information. These days, most of them want to interact with your content. Common examples of basic interactivity include comments and social media sharing, features that every website must have today. Social media follow or like buttons allow people to like your social media pages right from your site. You can later target these visitors on their social networks. Read more about how social media marketing increases sales.
There are plenty of plug-ins available for WordPress and other software, using which you can build interactivity into your site. Examples of interactive elements include opinion polls, tag-cloud, vote up/down on content or comments, share-to-unlock, gamification, etc. Be careful not to overdo it or you might confuse your visitors. At the end of the day, a Great Web Design should simplify things while making your site more interesting.
7. Use Lead Capture Forms
Regardless of whether you’re an ecommerce business, a B2B equipment or service provider, a photographer displaying your portfolio, or any other business, it always pays to use your site for generating business leads. This is made possible by using lead-capture boxes or forms, which can be designed in
unlimited ways to give your visitors the option to subscribe to your mailing list, or contact you for a quote, proposal, or more information.
Lead capture forms can enhance your digital marketing performance by connecting you with people who are interested in your products or services. Intelligently designed and strategically displayed lead capture forms work for your business 24×7. By ‘nurturing’ the leads properly, you can multiply your conversions and sales many times. Companies that manage their leads well generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost (Source).
8. Optimize for SEO and Conversions
Many business owners wake up to SEO and conversion optimization only after the development is complete. That’s like putting the cart before the horse. SEO and conversions should be the focus of your attention since Day-1. Unless you do your keyword research and target market study before designing your menus and pages, you will probably never have a truly optimized website. Optimizing ‘later on’ takes more time and costs more money. And your site may still not be as effective as it could have been had you considered optimization from the beginning.
The perfect recipe of web design is such an extensive topic that tens of such articles could be written about each of its aspects. However, the above roadmap pretty much sums up the most important ingredients in the recipe for the perfect web design
To Sum it Up…
There is no single perfect recipe for website development, as the nature and scope of each development is different. However, all great web designs have a few things in common, so we may considered these common qualities to be the ingredients of the perfect recipe.
A great web design begins with the end (or goals) in mind. It is guided by the needs and preferences of your target audience. It is based on a seamless structure and moves with effortless navigation. Each element and detail is carefully addressed to make the design stand out. A great user experience is at the heart of a successful site, and your business goals are its primary focus.
Developing a great website or revamping your old one isn’t something that you can do yourself. Even if you have the temptation to try your hand at coding or check out the user-friendly online site-builders, resist it. The best way to cook up great a web design is to be aware of the above considerations, and work with a professional web design company that follows these principles to build you a goal-driven, cost-effective website.
Want to learn more about how to use these magic ingredients? Why not take advantage of a free consultation with expert website developers? There are no obligations. You only stand to gain from this meeting. Call us TODAY to schedule your FREE consultation.
Don’t want to see us in person? No problem. You can ask your questions in your comments or CALL US for a free quote.
What’s the Perfect Recipe for Your Website Design?
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