Website Design

In today’s modern business world, having a presence on the internet is virtually mandatory to maximize sales potential and stay competitive. Even if you operate a brick-and-mortar establishment, the added number of people you can reach with your products or services, as well as the additional information and customer service capabilities, make creating a business website a crucial step in your developmental process.

Things to Remember When Designing

There are several things to keep in mind when designing your website. While some may seem more important than others, devoting time to each is a good way to end up with an excellent virtual representative of your business.

What Purpose Will Your Site Serve?

There are many different reasons to build a business website. Since many of the specifics of these types can vary significantly, it is best to decide exactly what it is you want your site to accomplish. The top reasons for building a company website include:

  • Direct Sales: Selling products or services online is likely the most common reason to build a business website. Your offerings are posted specifically on the site, usually with electronic means of payment.
  • Company Information: If you run a brick-and-mortar place of business, you may want to build a site that gives company specifics and credentials. In essence, this type of site can serve as an extension to your business card, giving access to much more important data that can help potential patrons decide you are the right business for them.
  • Marketing and Niche Information: A popular trend for many business websites is to compose and post articles dealing with the specifics of the area of business. These not only provide invaluable information, they show that your company knows its stuff.

This should be done first, considering many of the informational and design elements differ depending what your goal is. You should also take the future into consideration as well, and decide if there is a chance you may want to expand its purpose. Keeping these considerations in mind can save you from having to totally redesign your site down the line.

Be Clear and Specific

Most people spend only a few seconds glancing over a website when doing a targeted search for products or services. As a result, it is of paramount importance to show right away what your company does, and why they should pick you above all your competitors. This holds true no matter what purpose your site will serve, and should be targeted and easy to understand.

This is also enhanced by having a clear understanding of your customer base. Not all language and design styles speak the same to different groups of people. Knowing what type of audience you are likely to attract means you can tailor your message and presentation to what they are likely to respond well to.

Easy to Navigate

If a customer has difficulty finding what they are looking for right away, chances are they are going to try somewhere else. Your homepage especially should clearly show where to find specific resources or items, and have clearly-defined icons or text for patrons to click on.

Incorporate Social Media

Social media has become an integral part of not only personal lives, but the business arena as well. Make sure that important products or informational pieces can be shared on popular platforms, such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram. This is done with small buttons or icons viewers can click on to share with whichever service they want to.

Optimize for All Devices

Using a smartphone has become one of the leading ways people use to shop or find out information online. With much smaller screens than their desktop or laptop counterparts, the design and layout must be presented differently, depending on which device your visitor is using. While this used to mean that a separate website needed to be created for mobile devices, today it can all be incorporated into one using a content management system, such as Hubspot COS. Services like these can identify which type of device is being used, and send the appropriate layout automatically.

Ways to Design a Website

There are two ways to design a website, either having an outside professional individual or agency do it, or take the task on in-house. While the former is usually best if you have complicated needs, powerful tools have become available that even a relative novice can use to create something memorable. Each method has its strong and weak points, and which you choose will depend greatly on your specific circumstances.

Professional Design

Graphic design and website building are two extremely popular career choices, and the internet is now fairly overflowing with quality individuals and companies. Choosing which to go with may seem like a daunting task, given how many choices there are available.

Nothing shows a company’s capabilities like actual examples of past work. Most companies have a gallery of sites they have built and graphics they have created. Check through these resources to get a feel for what they can do, and if their design style syncs with what you want yourwebsite to look and feel like. If available, check case studies to see how successful and lucrative their designs have been for their customers.

It is also necessary to make sure that revisions are included, if any are needed. The designer may do a great job, but deliver something different than what you have envisioned. Many reputable companies offer unlimited revisions, or a certain number agreed upon before the job starts. Nothing says frustration like getting stuck with a design you are not happy with.

In-House Design

Whether you are a sole proprietor or a large company with many employees, the decision may be right to simply design the website yourself, or using in-house personnel. Budgets may be tight, or existing employees may have the skill and experience to do an excellent job, making it impractical or unnecessary to look elsewhere.

If available, it is important to use the input of as many people in the company as possible when creating the design. Employees deal with customers on a daily basis, and have an in-depth understanding of your target audience and what drives and attracts them.

The number, power, and ease of use of tools and software available for designing websites has grown exponentially over the last several years. Some examples of helpful design and creation tools include:

  • WordPress
  • Sketch
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • GIMP
  • Adobe DreamWeaver

While many of these have free elements you can use without shelling out any cash, more advanced features may require a nominal charge.

Designing a website can be a fun and educational process, with excellent results possible with minimal effort and expense. Impress existing and potential customers and clients by designing and creating a beautiful digital presence for them to visit and interact with.