Your website is so much more than just a URL – it’s your shop window and as such, it should be a reflection of your marketing and business strategy and be a natural extension of your brand’s story.
And, because there are thousands of websites with more appearing daily that are all fighting to interact with your potential customers, your website must stand out from the crowd in terms of design, structure and functionality.
You need to remember your website is a piece of media real estate, and like any piece of traditional media such as – magazines, newspapers etcetera, you have 8 seconds to grab the visitors attention and to convince them to keep reading or viewing what you have to offer.
So to help you create a website that stands out from the crowd and delivers your brand story clearly and concisely we have created this easy to follow 6 point website design checklist, that will have you designing like a professional in no time.
Before you commit to the expense of creating your website, take time to plan out what it is you want your website to do and what it might look like, the messages you want to convey and what the call to action should be. Put yourself in the shoes of the visitor and go through the journey, so you can fully understand what the visitor experience would be like and where you may need to make changes or add content or extra images to tell a compelling story.
Remember the home page is the first thing any visitor will see when they come to your site, so it’s incredibly important that it’s clean and clutter-free, that they can see instantly your key messages, products and services along with any call to action and contact details – they have already made the conscious effort to visit your site, so don’t make them search for key information, embrace their visit by making life easy for them. Use white space and stylish images to draw them in and to focus their attention on key sections and points.
Far too often websites get designed for the designer and not the audience. Take the time to consider the makeup of your audience and what it is they expect to see when then visit your site and make sure that’s what they see – if you’re selling ‘Heavy Metal‘ rock band T-shirts, let them see the T-shirts in a stylish way that they can engage with, not some fluffy selfie pictures that would be more at home on Instagram.
Don’t be afraid to experiment until you get the look and feel of the site right and of course, remember it’s okay to change your mind.
As we said earlier you must design your website with the audience in mind, and no more is that true than when it comes to the written content.
Unless your website is highly specialised and needs to use very specific words and phrases, create your content in plain easy to read and digestible English.
Choose your word with care and craft them so they engage and interact with your audience as an equal, don’t feel the urge to patronise or talk down to the audience. Select an easy to read clear modern typeface that reflects your brand and use subheadings, bullet points and white space to help guide the reader through the pages.
Think of your website as nothing more than a very ‘sexy’ PowerPoint presentation where the golden rule is; tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them and then tell what you told them – it’s that simple.
If your audience has taken the time to visit your site at least show them the courtesy of making the navigation as easy as possible.
Ensure any call to action buttons are clearly indicated, the ability to move from one section to another is smooth and effortless, your contact details are correct and easy to find. Remember, no action on your site should take more than three clicks of the mouse.
Nine out of ten searches are carried out on mobile devices, so the contents along with the navigation processes must be designed in such a way that they can be scaled to suit a smaller screen. However, you should also remember that the actual structure of the page will need to be fairly different: the screen should only display one or two elements at a time, rather than the multitude of options you show desktop visitors.
Modern websites design comes in all manner of styles and can be works of art featuring some of the very latest design technology that is currently available, and while everyone wants their website to be the best, you do need to remember what it’s there for, and what it is you want it to do for your company, service or brand, and that is to communicate with your target audience in such a way that it encourages either a call to action or return visits.