What is website design?
Website design basically refers to how your website looks or how it appears to your visitors – whether they access it from their computer, tablet, or smartphone. This could include the layout, the colors, the fonts, images and in some cases even content. You want to ensure that the look and feel of your website and the experience it provides your visitors represents your brand and leaves the right impression.
When visitors land on your site, you want them to be able to easily find the information they’re looking for. So the design of your site should make it easy to navigate and search for the desired information. The main page is great for showing who you are, what you do, and how you do it. If you are a service provider, you’ll want to include on the home page what your company does, what services you offer and a little about your company.
You also want to ensure that the colors, images, fonts, and textures you use on your website create the right first impression. There are colors that are associated with building trust, building a brand, attracting attention, etc. Using the right images and colors, you can create a feeling of trust, professionalism, calm, or whimsy. For example, think of sites like Norton’s LifeLock, the Red Cross, Universal Studios, or Disney Cruise Line. You’re creating a visual impression of your brand.
A large part of the design phase for a website is building a brand board. Brand boards may include your logo, fonts, colors, and images, all of which relate to the message you want to send as a brand. Once completed, the brand board sets the standards that will be used throughout your website, on social media, and any printed assets for your business such as business cards, letterhead, and other marketing materials.
Why website design is important for business
Website design is important for any business. It is often the first impression that visitors have of you and your business. Your website is also the first step in building trust with your audience. And the design of your website is a determining factor on whether a visitor stays on your site to learn more about your business and the products and services you offer.
If the design of your website is poor, regardless of how good your product or service may be, no one will stay on your site long enough to discover it. We are living in a digital age. It doesn’t matter what someone is looking to purchase – from face cream to plumbing services. Crappy, outdated website designs cost customers because visitors rapidly move on to sites that feel more relevant and reputable.
When searching for someone to perform a service, the first thing I do is search online for what I need. I may find 10-15 companies right away that fit my needs. Another five minutes of viewing their websites helps me narrow my choices to the top three. What I usually look for is what they offer, how well they do it, and what it may cost me.
We live in a busy world and people don’t want to waste a lot of time on decision-making. If you don’t make a good impression… quickly… like within 5 seconds or less… customers may click the Back button and select another company from the 1,245.873 other options from their Google search results.
I’m being generous with 5 seconds… the statistics are more like 2.5 seconds and, if they are not impressed with the look and feel, they will bounce.
When your site is attractive, easy to navigate, and you have all the information potential customers need to consider hiring you, then you have one foot in the door. They need to scan the main page in 2.5-5 seconds to see that you have some meat.
A well-designed website immediately shows visitors what you do, how you do it, and how others use it and love it (we call this a client testimonial or customer review). It gives them confidence about doing business with you and makes the decision-making process easy.
I know if I land on a website that has a ton of pop-ups, garish colors, poor grammar and tons of typos, and I can’t understand what the company offers within 5 seconds, I exit and continue my search elsewhere.
Another thing to consider when designing your website is performance. What is your goal? Are you trying to build a following? Are you a sales/service company that has a goal of ‘x’ products or ‘$x’ services sold? Is your website in place for informational purposes only? Chances are, it is all of the above. You are building a brand and leading your ideal customers toward a decision to do business with you.
That journey could begin on a landing page, your services page, or a blog post and ultimately end on another page of your website or some other location. Maybe you are building a reputation to gain followers on YouTube, where you earn money by promoting products or services on your videos. Maybe you’re offering coupons or special offers on your website to bring more visitors to your brick and mortar location.
Ultimately, your site is a magic portal that can guide visitors to the products and services you offer so you can make sales all day, every day, whether you’re working or not. Would you like to be location independent? Out of the rat race? Or focused on building an empire? With a few key principles in place, you can make this happen.
What are website design principles?
Effective web design principles make your site easy to navigate, informative, aesthetically pleasing, provide your visitors with a solution to their problems or answers to their questions, and ultimately help you achieve the final result you expect.
Here are 10 design principles you should be familiar with:
- Purpose – What is the purpose of your website? Users are looking for information, entertainment, or direction. Determine what your business offers and how you will lead them to it.
- Communication – Today’s internet users want information at their fingertips. Be sure to use headlines, bullet points, images, and graphics so visitors can quickly understand your message, even if they only skim through the content you provide.
- Typefaces – Yes I get it the script fonts are oh so pretty. But your content should be easy to read and uniform. Don’t skip around with crazy fonts for headings and/or text. Headings should stand out and text should be easy to read. Remember we’re lazy. We don’t want to have to work hard to understand what you are saying.
- Colors – Complimentary colors can create balance, but contrasting colors can make content easier to read. You can use some bright and vibrant colors, sparingly, as attention-getters for elements on your page like buttons or text that you really need to stand out.
- Images – You want to always, ALWAYS use high quality images. If you are not using your own high quality images (not a pic you snapped on your iPhone), then consider using some commercial royalty-free images from sites like Pixabay or StockUnlimited.
- Navigation – Your visitors should find it easy to follow the journey you have planned for them (remember the funnel). It should be logical and seamlessly flow from one page to the next.
- Layout – Consider using grids, sliders, and columns on your website to display your content in an organized, easy to follow format. For example, if you are sharing your services or testimonials, consider using a slider so visitors can skip to the information they need.
- Design – Most visitors quickly scan content until they find something that catches their attention. Then they slow down and read for a deeper understanding. When designing to capture the attention of visitors who use a scanning technique, the ‘F’ pattern is clearly the winner. Make sure that you are putting your most important information on the top and left side of the screen.
- Load Time – I can almost 100% guarantee that if your website takes longer than 2-3 seconds to load, that reader will hit the backspace faster than a walnut rolls off a hen house. And most will never return.
- Mobile Friendly – We call this ‘responsive’ website design. How many of your potential visitors use their desktop computer to surf the web? How many use a laptop? How many use a tablet or smartphone? (If you didn’t know, the smartphone is the winner here with over 60% of views). Gone are the days when everyone was on their computer. You need to consider how often people are accessing your site in the school drop off lane from their smartphone, and ensure that your site will look as awesome on their smartphone as it does on your desktop.
What are website design elements?
The five basic elements of a great website design include:
- Content – It takes high-quality content to rank on the first page of Google. The content you create is your cash cow. Unlike other forms of marketing that lose their effectiveness after the initial push, great content will continue to attract visitors and sales long after being published. Share all of your relevant, value packed stuff here. Your content can include blog posts, videos, resources, tools, quizzes, self-assessments, and more.
- Usability – Usability refers to how easy it is for visitors to use your website and find the information they want. Great usability is seamless and rarely noticed – however, bad usability is spotted immediately. If your user doesn’t know where to go next, or has problems accessing your content from various devices and browsers, they are going to move on to the next option.
- Aesthetics – Make sure to represent your brand consistently throughout your website. A brand-friendly experience helps users understand the actions you want them to take by using a consistent color to make things happen. For example, using green for a “call to action” (CTA) like your buttons or links lets visitors know an action will happen whenever they see green on your pages. This makes it more likely that they’ll click on your links and buttons.
- Visibility – The ultimate goal of creating a website is to make more people aware of your business and the products and services you offer. This is visibility. But the online space is crowded and you can’t just create a website and expect people to find you. You have to be proactive and use a combination of strategies including SEO, social sharing, and email marketing, to get the word out. Otherwise no one will ever see your carefully crafted pages. So after you publish your website content, be sure to share it and encourage others to share it too.
- Interaction – Make sure your visitors know how to keep in touch. A contact page is a great way to accomplish this and most people know how to go there to get in touch with you. It’s a good idea to include a link to your contact page on each page of your website to make it easy for visitors who want to connect.
How much does website design cost?
A basic 5-page website design can cost anywhere from $1,000 to more than $100,000 – just for the design (the layout, brand board, logo, and graphic elements that make a site successful). This price usually does not include development – all the programming or code that makes your website functional.
To a small business owner, this may come as quite a shock. But working with an experienced designer will save you money in the long run and help you achieve your desired result without frustration, additional costs, or unnecessary delays.
What you should know before designing your website
There are a number of things to consider before designing a website. One of the most important is defining your mission, your purpose, and your goals. Understanding these before you begin designing helps to ensure your website supports the most important aspects of your business.
Next, you need to know what steps you want to take to achieve your mission, purpose, and goals. These factors can vary greatly depending on the type of business you are creating or rebranding, but are critical to understand so you can create a website that subtly entices visitors to become paying customers.
How I help my clients design a website they’ll love
I work one-on-one with each of my clients to determine what will work best for their business. Your business is unique. Your website should be too!
eCommerce Website Design
Clients who sell physical products need a website that loads quickly in spite of having lots of images of the products and an online shop. Shopping online is quick and convenient and consumers want to get a look at the goods before they buy. I make sure that we have high quality product images, detailed descriptions, great security to protect customers’ personally identifiable information, and make ordering a breeze.
Service-Based Website Design
Clients who provide services need a website that clearly explains how their services stand out from others in the industry. We do this with a personal About page, detailed services page(s), client testimonials, and integrations with scheduling software to make it super simple for customers to schedule an appointment or jump on a call.
Local Business Website Design
Clients who have a local business need a website that showcases their products and services, provides interactive maps and driving directions, business hours, and other important contact information so consumers who find them online can visit them at their local facility or know what areas they serve.
There are so many factors to consider, it can become a little overwhelming. That’s why I use a proven process to ensure we cover all the bases as I walk you through the process of identifying what works best for your business so we can design a website you love. Let’s work together to bring the website you’re dreaming of to life!