Designing a website is easy. Designing one that meets your goals is a tad harder.
However, getting it right is important because your website is your online identity. It speaks for your brand. Which is why you need to think beyond content, to some other basic considerations. These are key to building a website that is not just attractive and user-friendly, but has sound functionality, SEO and user experience.
- Site’s purpose and target audience
To design a successful website, you’ll need to first think about who you and what your passions are. Also, identify the core values of your business. This will, in turn, lead you to what you want your website to achieve. Is your website trying to inform your audiences, or trying to drive sales of your product/services? Next, determine who your ideal customer is. Only then can your business connect in an authentic way with your audience. Your answers to these questions will determine the content, design, and navigation of your website.
- Select & register a domain name
Choose a domain name that is simple and easy to remember. Putting the name of your company or brand in the web address is a smart move. Match your domain to your website’s purpose – like .com, .net, .edu etc., for commercial, network, education and so on. Incorporating a keyword into your domain name is an added benefit for your SEO strategy.
- Consider your host
Where will you be hosting your site? Will you use a private server that you will maintain, or will you use the services of a hosting company? Consider how much bandwidth (the amount of data transfer you are allowed within a given time frame) you will require to handle the anticipated traffic to your website. Remember, as your website grows, you may need to increase bandwidth. Of course, you could always upgrade at a later time.
A wireframe is simply a blueprint of your website design. Making a schematic representation of your website will help you focus your thoughts and approach it from a different perspective. You will be able to plan your pages better so that your website can achieve its objectives. Think layout, content, pictures and functionalities. This will help streamline your choices for templates.
- Make your website easy to navigate
Most online sales are lost simply because users cannot find what they are looking for. If people cannot find what they are searching for within a few seconds, chances are they will move on to the next website. To keep your user on your site, make things simple and clearly visible. Organize the website into clear sections with links to all these sections at the top of each page. This will leave no doubts for navigation.
It also helps to have white space, readable font size, and lightbox options to direct the attention of your users towards what they want.
- Use a site map
A site map lists all the pages or URLs in your website. This helps search bots and visitors to find pages on your website. You could index your website with Google Webmaster Tools.
- Test across different web browsers and devices
View your website on popular browsers including Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari and Internet Explorer. Make sure that the design and structure are being displayed on each, as intended.
With most people accessing the Internet on their phones, designing a mobile-friendly website will ensure that your pages serve their purpose on all devices. You could check here to see if your webpage is mobile friendly.
- Use SEO-friendly code
Not everyone is going to visit your website directly. Which is why you need SEO to effectively run your brand’s online presence. Using Meta and ALT tags will ensure that your website appears on search, and that keywords in your content are displayed. ALT tags describe the pictures on your website and inform the search engines and users about the kind of pictures you have on your website. Use backlinks, keywords that are commonly used in searches in your content, and links to other trusted websites. These are just some ways in which to keep your site search-friendly. Also, check how to write SEO optimized content.
- Install website analytics
Analytics will help you identify who, when and where from your traffic is coming. You’ll be able to keep track of the number of website visits, the time visitors spend on your site, the average number of page views per visitor and other such statistics that are vital in strategizing. Using such software will help you tweak your website to increase its effectiveness. While Google Analytics is the most popular analytics tool, you’ll find others that could cater to your specific requirements.
- Back up your website
Don’t forget to keep a backup of your website files. Keep one copy on your hard drive, where it is visible only to you, and you can use for editing. The other copy is used by your web host, and viewable across the Internet. Take regular backups so that you can access the most recent update in case a problem arises.
Finally, one last, very important thing to remember as you design your website. Ensure that it is your email ID that has been used for every aspect of your website, like the domain, web hosting, Google Analytics etc. This will give you access at all times, and you will not be dependent on the person in charge of your web design.
At Them You & Me, we can take care of the entire A-Z process for your website design. If you need to design your website or run an audit, we can help.
This useful article was inspired by wikiHow.