Creating a website, yourself is one of these wonders that has become a reality with today’s technology, but just because it is possible, doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to figure out how to design a website by yourself now does it?
If you'd class yourself as one of the best website designers then you’ve probably got everything covered, and that’s great! However, for the majority of folks reading this blog, learning how to design a website is a new question that needs answering and we are here to do just that. Below you will find a list of what we like to think of as web design shortcuts which the best website designers will know and utilize well:
Tip N0.1: Set A Goal -
Before you can begin to even visualize where you want (and need) your site to go, you’ve got to be crystal-clear about what you want to achieve with it. With so many website ideas out there, yours could take on many different forms, such as:
- An online store
- A portfolio
- A landing web-page
- A résumé
- An online blog or journal
- An events website
Naturally the list above is NOT conclusive of the ways in which you could make your mark online, but these are some of the more common sites online today. Whatever form your site may take, your website should meet one main goal and every single element on your site should serve that ultimate purpose. For example, if you owned a site whose purpose was to sell original artwork/ photography prints such as www.lukasgriffin.com, you should be aiming to utilize multiple techniques to support your efforts such as;
- Displaying your artwork clearly.
- Categorizing work clearly into separate web-pages/ collections.
- Providing background information on the work available to purchase.
- Curating blog articles to share knowledge and expertise.
- Offer insight into who you are as an artist.
On a separate note from the above list, it is extremely important to remember that the visitors of a website (alongside Google bots) need to understand what your business is all about. Having multiple so called ‘main objectives’ or goals will likely result in confusion, which ultimately will turn into an increase of visitors leaving your page prematurely.
Tip N0.2: Web Builder -
Now that you’ve taken the time to identify the goal behind your website, it is time to pick the right tool in order to reach it successfully. A website builder (also known as a ‘content management system’ or ‘CMS’) is a platform in which you can create and design a website, personalize and hit publish at your leisure. You don’t have to be a web-wiz to know that there are dozens of platforms available on the digital market to choose from. However, you may be unaware that not ALL website builders are born ‘equal’.
When you’re well acquainted with the ways of web development and design like we are here at ReWork, it becomes apparent over time and after a certain number of projects that certain website builders are more advanced and skillful compared to others. A web builder that is worth perusing will give the individual behind the domain an in-depth understanding in regards to the technical aspects of running a successful site, whilst delivering a digital experience that will make a statement with a combination of beautiful design, modern animations, and intuitive UX for visitors of your website.
If you’re just starting out and are new to the world of web development and design, a lot of the information you’ll read on this subject will more than likely feel like a LOT of information to take in. That’s why it’s a good idea to ask for help if you’re not quite sure what to do for the best! We’d suggest picking a web builder whose goal is to understand your specific needs and wants from a site and if they’re anything like us here at ReWork, they’ll want to help you reach them so you can begin your journey and start your online business, blog or whatever it is that you want put out there on the web. Let us worry about how it all works, while you make your mark!
Tip N0.3: Design Layout -
Did you know that it takes just 50 milliseconds for visitors on a website to form an opinion? This FACT is precisely why the visual aesthetic of your site’s pages is crucial to master and this applies to any website that wants to be taken seriously on the internet. Whether you’re a new website owner just starting out with what we like to call a blank canvas, or an individual who feels it’s time for their online business to re-design, the importance of selecting the right website layout is imperative to your site and the impression it will leaves on your visitors.
As passionate experts in the field, we believe that it’s super important to set off on the right foot as it were, which is why we uphold such value and credibility in the notion of executing both careful thought and planning to create beautiful, modern, intuitive and engaging websites and platforms. Our focus is to create an outstanding online experience. We design not only look great but to work and feel great too.
Tip N0.4: Domain -
The next thing you’ll need if you are hoping to design a website successfully would be the creation of a unique domain name for your site. To put it simply, a domain name refers to a web-address on the internet. In other words, a domain is what site visitors see in the web-bar of their browser. A site with a clear domain is smart business, as registering for a domain name will be important to the success of your online site. Typically, websites with a customized domain name are automatically perceived by internet users as ‘professional’ and ‘trustworthy’.
When selecting a name for your domain, it is important to choose wisely. The name of your website’s domain will help search engines such as Google and Bing understand the contents of your website and how to categorize it. This in turn will positively impact your site’s SEO characteristics. A clear and smart domain name will look a little something like this - www.reworkweb.com.
Our tips for a clear and effective domain name, we would suggest that it is short in length, because the longer it is, the higher the chance is that visitors will miss-spell it. Secondly, it should be simple to remember and type. Symbols, special characters and numbers should be avoided. Thirdly, a domain should be kept professional. In order to achieve a ‘profesh’ aesthetic, we would suggest incorporating your business name into the domain to avoid confusion and lastly, practice evocative! Your domain name should hint at what you do into your domain name, by looking for words that are related to your business. Subsequently, owning your own domain name will be the first step to acquiring a custom email address. A business email address is personalized to the name of a domain. For example, ours is - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tip N0.5: Content Planning -
Now it’s time to get practical and prepare the materials that only the best website designers would consider. If you’re passionate about your website being full of high-quality content, this will be as clear as day to your site’s digital users in an instance. So, in order to gain the trust and respect of those who swing by your site, you’re going to need to think about your approach to content planning. Simply put, the term ‘digital content’ on a website refers to a variety of media elements such as; images, slogans, videos, texts (such as a blog/ journal) and more. The list goes on, but whatever content you choose to employ on your site, it should be understood that using original materials of your own as much as you can will ensure that your site offers both valuable and branded content in the eyes of a credible search engine filtering system, alongside your site’s users.
If you find yourself in the position where not all of the content shared on your site is your own, you MUST ensure that you acquire your sources in legal ways and give credit where credit is due to the rightful owners. If images are what you’re after, we’d recommend checking out Unsplash for a wide variety of high-quality resolution images, covering an extensive array of topics. If you’re looking to create graphics, Canva would be our recommended go-to source.
While plenty of content on a website is fantastic for your site’s viewership, just remember to always put quality first over quantity. Did you know that people will read 25% slower on a screen compared to words on a page? Therefore, web-visitors are less patient when scanning digital text for information. We are living in an era of decreasing attention spans, so to catch the attention of your website’s visitors, you need to put your best foot forward. Or your website does. So, it’s time to showcase the BEST content that you have to offer and if it isn’t your best, then it shouldn’t make the cut.
So, going back to what we were saying about quality over quantity, it should be remembered that moderation within the realms of a site is key. Basically, the more content you put on your site, the longer it will take to load. If your site’s visitors feel like they’re waiting too long, they will leave your page without taking any action. This is known as ‘bouncing’ because a user will bounce in and out of a domain before they have even seen the homepage. This is NOT ideal, especially for your site’s SEO. So, make sure that you spread out your content across different pages on your site.
As a last point, fully branded should be in FULL force across your site. Think of your website as an ‘online persona’, whose job is to either represent you, your work, or your company fluently. Only the best website designers understand the importance of choosing visually pleasing brand colors and fonts, not to mention the right logo for a site. Remember that it takes just 50 milliseconds for visitors on a website to form an opinion, which is why it’s super important to translate the correct message quickly and clearly.
Tip N0.6: Web Pages -
If you want to successfully design a website, you should know that there are elements within a web-page that visitors will expect to see. So, no matter which niche or genre that your site falls into, there are ‘must-have’ pages that every website NEEDS to feature:
This element must be the most obvious of them all. It is of course essential to have a homepage on your website. You only have one chance to make a good first impression and a homepage will more than likely be the first thing visitors will see.
As we mentioned in our previous article - ‘A guide to website re-design' the aesthetic of a site (and its homepage) needs to be clean, organized and eye-catching. A homepage should clarify who you are (as an individual/ business) and what you do. It should contain the most crucial information; your logo, the name of your business, your slogan (if you have one), and a button inviting visitors to browse further. All of this information should be included ‘above the fold’. Simply put, this means that all of the essential information should be visible on the loading of a website’s homepage without requiring the visitor to scroll down for further details.
Product/ Service Page:
A product page is where website visitors will discover what you (or your company) have to offer. If they’re convinced by what they see, there’s a chance they will make a purchase through your site. There are a number of techniques which you can employ to increase the chances of online sales across your site. They are as follows:
- Utilize high quality product photography.
- Write precise and engaging service/ product descriptions.
- Be transparent about T&Cs (terms and conditions) such as the shipping and return policy.
This is your space. It’s a place to tell your story, and share your values, methods and any other piece of information that helps depict your brand. When writing your copy, remember to favor the first person when speaking from a point of view, using “I” or “We” throughout the sentences. This is just a little tip from us, because it makes the meaning of the context sound personal and intended for the reader. As you’ll be speaking from the perspective of yourself) (or your brand), this presents a nice opportunity to add a touch of humor if it suits your style. Another nice touch would be to add a photograph of yourself (and your team members) since clients like to know the person/ people behind the business. Of course, this wouldn’t be necessary for every single website, but it will be applicable for some.
The last of the fundamental pages to implement within a site would be the contact page. Now this is a super important asset if you’re hoping to design a website which will be successful. The contact information provided must include; a telephone number, a postal address, a business email address and relevant accounts which users can follow on social media. The key with contact information is to ensure that visitors can connect with you easily. Another function that would give visitors the chance to reach out and get an immediate response from you (or a team member) would be utilizing a live chat widget. Again, this will not be applicable for every kind of website, but for ideas of what your own site should include, we would recommend checking out competitor sites as a guideline for your own.
A blog/ Online Journal:
The next two points (including this one) are optional, but we feel that they should make the cut, because in the right context, they will boost your website’s reputation and SEO characteristics.
Creating a blog space on a website will enable you foster a loyal community to your brand. If successful, maintaining an online journal will be an effective way of driving traffic to your website on a regular basis, which is how search engine optimization could be aided. Don’t fret if you’re not a natural-born writer, you can create content about your clients’ success stories, case studies and interviews. Or you could even talk about yourself - the face behind the business. Such areas to explore could be events you attend (or have attended) or a list of new employees that have been welcomed to the team, but the most valuable article will contain valuable expertise and knowledge. Your readers will love to discover the tips, methods and hacks you use to solve the problems you meet. Check out our online journal for inspiration of how you can make a blog work for your business.
Did you know that 69% of consumers would recommend a company after a good customer experience? All of the best website designers know this, which is why they NEVER under estimate the power of word-of-mouth. It is without a doubt one of the most effective sales techniques there is, but you have to make a good impression first! So, follow the steps in this guide, create sale opportunities and let your clients do the selling for you with honest website testimonials. Then, upload the statements onto a web-page of their own and watch the sales come rolling in.