The goal of website design is to create a unique and captivating atmosphere that facilitates a visitor’s prolonged stay on a given page. Sites that do not properly brand themselves and clearly present information about their products and services through the layout of their site will maintain a lower volume of visitors than those whom have put effort into the formatting of their site. For example, Mama’s Java in Seattle has signature coffees but no signature website design. A simple and bland website not only doesn’t attract clients, it doesn’t keep existing clients interested or invite referrals. Coffeehouses like a Mama’s Java have to differentiate themselves from the multitude of other coffeehouses and websites in the Seattle area. Just as the creation of a company takes planning and foresight; an excellent website design requires the same level of planning and attention to detail. Following these four basic steps can help you begin and complete the web design process for an excellent website design:
Step 1: Don’t Fail to Plan
A perfect cup of coffee requires the right beans, coffeemaker, a barista to complete the sale. The first step in creating an excellent website design is: planning. Before Mama’s Java could open their doors, they had to plan their business’s image by choosing coffee types, equipment, employees, and their public image. Customers walking by instantly knew what Mama’s Java offered because they planned before creating a logo or advertising so the image was consistent, strong, and represented the company in the best possible light.
Before you begin creating your website design, you need to start by planning out the online image you want portray. When customers search, they will come across your well-designed website just as the right storefront functions. You must consider:
- What is your business focus?
- What are you selling?
- Services? Retail? Location?
Who are your current customers? What type of visitors would you like to add your customer base? This can be a very specific subset like “gourmet coffee drinkers” in the case of Mama’s Java but could also be a broader demographic that you already serve or that your website misses in its presentation.
What do you want your clients to do when they initially navigate to your site?
Making the site easy to find will not help your business if customers arrive to a website that doesn’t offer anything or doesn’t offer the right materials, services, newsletters, or options.
Look at the site plan from the viewpoint of a visitor. What do you look for in a website that you find easily? What about a site draws you in? Is it easy to navigate? Does it offer a visitor something more than just a pitch?
Step 2: At the Design Table
Once you have decided on your focus and audience, you can start with the actual design process. Again, planning is crucial. Will you design the website or do you need someone to do it for you? Even if you have help from an outside web designer, you need to discuss the colors, layout, and function of the pages.
Basic determinations you need to make for website design include the colors, layout, font families, and font sizes for the website. For Mama’s Java in Seattle, these details might include brown or sepia tones to reflect their coffee influence with stylized fonts that echo their logo print type. Picking colors and fonts that are easy to read and interesting will keep your visitors reading and seeking out information which in turn, leads them to your product or services.
Step 3: The Design Plan and Development
As you begin creating the actual design of your website, planning is key again. Finding or creating content for your website is crucial. While you may not have all the articles or copy written before you begin your web design, you should have a good idea of what content you want on the site and where you want the articles, headers, and general content to be on the site.
Coding is very important as you begin your web design. Determining what format you will create is important as the technical aspects of website design like coding keep the site running and updated. The best website content won’t attract or retain visitors if the technical side of things isn’t running correctly.
Step 4: Content is Key
Search queries are often what lead potential clients to your website. The content on your side has to be geared to put your site at the top of search queries looking for the latest, newest, and original content. Deciding what content you want to offer to your clients is something you need to examine. You can either write or purchase content to best address those needs and search engine optimization requirements.
After you have created or planned your content, you need to make a simple sitemap that makes your site easily navigated by visitors. The best content in the world won’t benefit your company if it is buried in the website with a multitude of click-through pages.
By examining these simple steps as you design your website, you have the basis for the creation of an excellent website. In turn, like Mama’s Java of Seattle, you can better drive your business and serve your clients online.