No business and no person are the same, it follows logically, that no website should be the same either. If you are considering building a website for either yourself or your business, there are many things you need to keep in mind. A website is the digital representation of your brand and, because of this, it can have a drastic impact on how people interact with your company, your content, and you as a person.
Have A Plan
Before you begin the design process, you should first get clear on why you are building a website. Is your goal to build authority? So that people who look up your company can rest assured that you run a real business that knows what it is doing. Is your aim to build your audience? Drawing people who have not encountered your work for your business? Is your purpose to educate people on a certain idea or topic, regardless of whether they become customers or not?
The ideal site for you is going to be drastically different depending on what you hope to accomplish by having it. You’re also going to want to make sure that your aims are measurable, that is, that you quantify them. You need to be able to track your aims and determine how successful you are and what needs to change if you are not hitting your targets. If your goal is to build an audience, for example, you might want to include analytic options on your site to ensure that you can track how many new organic views your page gets and whether those views are converting to sales or sign-ups.
You will also want to spend a lot of time and energy on improving the search engine optimization of your site so that more people can stumble across your content. According to an article about “Washington DC’s Best Web Design Company”, it recommends using a search engine optimization tool to keep yourself ahead of the constantly changing search engine algorithms. There are countless tools available that work along with your particular search engine strategies while simultaneously saving you time.
Design And Build
There should be three focuses here in the design process. Foremost, you want to make sure that you are making something aesthetically pleasing, as in, something that is visually well designed. This is not something that most people can do instinctively. You may wish to spend some time before this stage surfing the web and finding beautiful sites and finding inspiration. Bad design in today’s quick-to-judge world is a big no-no.
Secondly, you want your web pages to be functional. You need people to be able to navigate the site using only their intuition, even if they have never visited your site before. Understanding browsing psychology can be a big boost when it comes to this part of the process. Understanding how the human eye moves across a webpage will also guide you towards making excellent function-based choices in the building stage.
Thirdly, you are going to want the web pages to be conducive to your aims. Depending on what the goals are that you decided above, this is going to look different for different people. You will want to design content that supports your goals and solves a pain point among your ideal audience.
Once you have the website built and designed, it’s not the time for launching. It’s time for beta testing. This is when you have several people try out the webpage. You will have a questionnaire for them upon completion, plus some basic tasks for them to work on while they are testing out the site. For example, you might ask them to find the contact information on the site and time how long it takes them to find it. You will ask them whether it was easy to find everything they were looking for, whether they thought the page was visually pleasing, whether they felt like the page was helpful in any way.
Make Any Adjustments Necessary
Once you get the feedback from your beta testers, you’re going to go back to the design and build stage and make sure that all of the consistent concerns are addressed. It is okay to ignore the occasional beta tester note. For example, maybe one out of your twenty beta testers didn’t like the color scheme. It is alright to go with the majority in this case. If several people commented negatively on the color scheme, it might be worth considering another attempt at the visual design.
Ensure Good Page Speed
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This one might be a little confusing to people who are new to website management, but the speed at which your web pages load when someone clicks on them can have a massive effect on how much your audience likes your site, but also your ranking within search engines. If your page loads too slowly, people will get bored and leave your site. Likewise, if your page loads too slowly, search engines decide that recommending the site to searchers is not a good idea. Search engines are always trying to give searchers the most useful results based on the data the searchers provided. If a site load slowly, search engines deem your pages not useful.
Maintain And Update Regularly
Even if your site is perfect for your aims right now, that doesn’t mean it always will be. The internet is always rapidly changing and things that appealed to your audience one month, might not appeal the next month. You should be regularly reviewing your analytics and looking into ways that you can consistently improve your site as time passes. And for goodness sake, make sure you or your website provider is conducting regular backups of your site. You do not want to lose all your content if a server crashes.
With these above tips, you are well on your way to ensuring that the website you use to represent yourself or your business is of high quality. Nowadays it is not enough to have a simple page online, your website needs to be suited to your audience and their needs, while also being visually pleasing, functional, effective, and quick loading. The journey towards having a quality website up and running can sometimes be a longer one than is expected. If you are measuring even an incremental improvement each day or week, this should be seen as a victory. Many of the websites you love has taken years to get to their current design and layout and ranking within search engines.