Ask a web designer how to improve your website and they’ll suggest a complete redesign. Loads of new features, cutting edge tech, widgets, gizmos and gadgets. Ask an SEO expert and they’ll come up with a ton of new strategies, they’ll tell you to ignore the designer and listen to them. Ask a copywriter and they’ll tell you a complete revamp of your content is needed. You get the picture, probably. Web design, content management and SEO are all crucial parts of creating a successful site, but it’s a fine balance and one that can leave those new to doing business (successfully) online, feeling very dizzy indeed. So what do you really need to consider?
Simple, Affordable Themes
First things first; it’s worth understanding who and what will help to create a quality website. You’ll need a designer (unless you are one), marketing professionals and quality content. Simple pre-built content management systems and affordable designs are easy to source companies like i3Dthemes.com offer these services at affordable prices for businesses of any size. While the temptation to hire design professionals is certainly a positive one, for new businesses, setting up new websites, cost is always going to be a consideration. Given that web designers and marketing professionals will often focus only on their own specialist areas using simple designs, but with an edge of quality, is a sensible route.
What, Who and How?
Three important aspects to consider when creating a site include the following: who is going to use the site? What will they use the site for? How will they navigate to the site? These questions and the answers should be the basis for your web design. While design is an important factor in creating an effective website it is not, whatever a designer may tell you, the most important aspect. Web users like well-designed sites but they prize functionality far more. The audience that you are targeting is a crucial factor in getting your site’s design right. For sites focussed on ‘tech savvy’ users a high element of design rich features may be suitable; however, the chances are that many users will not fall into this category. Design the site to match the ability of the ‘average’ user. In terms of what the site will be used for (information, purchasing items) ensure that this function is highlighted early in the site. Clear, straightforward navigation is crucial, to enable all users to find what they want, preferably in fewer than three clicks (the point where attention tends to wander to other sites!)
Too Much Information
Except in the case of extremely niche sites, or products, it’s unlikely that your website is the only one operating in your area of expertise. Check out other sites and see how they use design, how much and which sites are easiest to navigate. Clarity on a website is crucial and this in design terms means simplicity. Think about how often you visit a site and then click back and revisit other sites in the same sector. What prompts you to click the back button? The reason will apply to your own potential users. In many cases it’s a lack of clarity that causes this response. Unwanted pop ups, lack of simple straightforward information and poor site navigation are all culprits here. Look at your competitors and decide what works and what doesn’t.
Branding does matter and this is an important part of your design. It’s not the only part, however, when it comes to website design. While branding is often mistaken for logo, placed visibly at the top of the page, branding also includes aspects of your design that may not at first be apparent. The tone of your content is a crucial part of your branding, along with more technical aspects of your page, clear layout and ease of navigation will, in your users mind be identified with your brand; or they should be. Think about this in terms of major brands like Apple. While the company’s logo is part of the brand and instantly recognisable, the actual product is also a key factor. In terms of your site design, these additional factors come in to play and are a crucial aspect of your site.
Familiarity Breeds Less Contempt than You Might Imagine
While you may hope to attract users with cutting edge design and features it’s a sad fact of life that most consumers prefer to play it safe. Familiarity does not breed half as much contempt as the rumours would have it; in fact, familiarity breeds trust and confidence, at least in the online world; keeping to simple web design principles and creating quality content is by far the simplest way to users hearts – or at least their wallets!
George Torres, a freelance author and copywriter argues that simplicity is the key to successful web design.