If you’ve decided to outsource the design of your website, chances are web design isn’t your forte, and you’ll be eager to completely delegate the task to your developer. However, if you want your website to be the perfectly tailored solution that caters to your needs, there are few important things to consider before becoming hands-off.
Working within the business, you have intimate knowledge of how your business operates and your customers’ needs that youfulfill. When considering your website design, go in-depth. Spare no detailsand think of everything your customer would want from your website. If you’re not sure where to start, here’s a run-down of what to consider when designing a site.
Start With the End in Mind
As with all projects, working towards a specific goal will provide clear objectives that will greatly increase the odds of the project becoming a success. What exactly do you want from your website? What is its purpose?Your website can have multiple uses: lead generation, branding your product or service, selling your wears, etc. However, be clear in what those intentions are from the outset, as they will define the look and feel of your site.
A website that is to be used to sell merchandise online will perform and look differently from a website whose principle function is to educate and inform. The ecommerce store will require hundreds or even thousands of images of products, shopping cart features and the copy will be sales orientated with calls to action throughout. Whereas a news website will be less image intensive and more densely populated with journalism style written content.
Consider Your Visitors
Who are you designing this website for? It’s very important to identify the group of people who you see as regular users of your site. In aiding with the design process, it helps to have a detailed image of a particular person who is your target user. What age are they? Male or female? What are their hobbies and interests? What level of education have they reached? Where do they live? Niche down your target user until you have a very specific person or customer in mind, and then design the site to cater to their needs and wants.
Research the market demographic and psychographic that regularly uses your business, then adapt the site to appeal to them. Get inside your customers head and know how they think, act and most importantly, what problem they have that your business resolves. Then use this information in every design aspect of your site. Color schemes, images, layout, navigation, copy and keywords should all be chosen with your “imagined” customer in mind.
What task Do Your Users Want to Complete?
When a user visits you site, they are most likely looking to accomplish a specific task. After studying your ideal customer, you will know what they want from your site. Don’t waste design time on fancy animations and useless content, and instead provide your audience with exactly what they want.
Create a list of all the tasks you envision users trying to accomplish. Here’s an example for an ecommerce store:
- Find out how much an item costs
- Look at pictures of that item
- Find out how long an item takes to ship
- Read up on your products
- Have their specific queries answered
- Find out about guarantees and read testimonials
- Find your contact details
Once you have your list composed, give consideration to how visitors will use your site to carry out those tasks. Run through some trial scenarios to test that navigation is quick and easy for whatever your users may be searching for.
Don’t Forget SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is extremely important if you want someone to actually find your lovely new site. In simple terms it means that the content, and even layout of your site, is crafted in such a way that you rank as close to the top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP’s) as possible. One on-page SEO technique, is to target keywords within the content of your website. These are simply words or phrases that people type into search engines, such as Google, to find what they are looking for. Long tail Keywords, which are those longer, more obscure search phrases, are much easier to rank for than single word or short keyword phrases. With the insider knowledge you have of your business, you can help the web designer with the content side of your website by preparing a list of all the long tail keyword phrases you can think of.
Don’t be in a hurry to jump into the development of your new site. Ask yourself those thought-provoking questions to come up with exactly what you want from the website. It pays to spend as much time as possible in the planning stages of the design process. You’ll be thankful later, as you have a smooth and efficient site that brings in as much new business as possible.