Ultimate Guide to Designing Your First Website
Creating and designing your first website is an exciting feat for any business. However, getting your website design right can be a daunting deed to achieve. You might be unaware of some of the most essential aspects to creating your website’s design and with that in mind, this is our ultimate guide on website design so you have all the information you need to conjure up a stunning website for your business.
Decide On Your Website Platform
The very first step you need to take when creating your website is to choose the platform you are going to host it on. This choice could potentially make or break the success of your website so it’s a decision you will need to think about thoroughly. There are many platform options that you could choose to use for your website so do your research and find the one that works best for you and your business.
Best Website Platform for eCommerce
The best platform for an eCommerce website, and one Xune would highly recommend, is Shopify. Shopify is a platform that can handle everything from marketing to payments and shipping. It’s one of the most simple and easy to use platforms, especially for start-ups. Navigating through the platform is straightforward and it’s easy to set up pages, products, themes, posts and more. You also get access to some vital analytics that give you an insight into how well your website and sales are doing.
Single Product Website Platform
A good suggestion for a single product website platform choice is PrestaShop. PrestaShop is really easy to install, use and maintain your website. You don’t need much technical knowledge to navigate or use this platform, so it’s perfect for any start-up or small family business. The website is particularly known for its demographic assistance, supporting multiple languages and currencies.
Choosing Website Platform For Local Services
The best platform for setting up a local services website is Wix. Wix is straightforward to use and comes with a large collection of templates to choose from. Like most website platforms, it uses a drag and drop interface making it simple and easy to put elements where you want them in your website. Wix is especially good for site speed and includes a lot of extra help and support, perfect for small or start-up businesses. WIth the added features and marketing tools included in the paid plan, it’s also great for extending the reach of your site without having to have much technical knowledge.
Platform For Personal Blog / Portfolio Website
A popular platform for those wanting a website for a personal blog or portfolio is WordPress. WordPress is an easy to use platform that is perfect for personal or professional use (such as an online portfolio). You can use it for free or pay and get WordPress premium. However for personal use, the free WordPress is perfect to use. It’s easy to use on a desktop or your phone so you can blog on the go and it’s easy to create excellent looking pages, blog posts and more.
How To Create The Best Website Design
Inspiring Website Ideas
DBrand is a company that creates phone cases, or ‘skins’ as they call them. They have an excellent example of a fun, modern, sleek and functional website design. Their clear navigation bar makes it straightforward to navigate through their website and find what you need. They use high quality product images and include clear, large calls to actions.
George Nakashima Woodworkers are another example of a brand with a stunning website design. Their website displays excellent use of white space, making it sleek and easy on the eyes. The navigation bar moves with you down the page so you can easily navigate and change the page as you wish. Along with gorgeous visuals and a simple but elegant logo, this website does design right.
Things To Include In Your Web Design Planning Strategy
Your logo is how people will recognise your brand. It’s one of the first thing’s they will see as they get to know you as a business, if you haven’t already got one, create it wisely. You want it to be simple and easy to place anywhere. This means your logo needs to look good when it’s a tiny icon on Twitter and when it’s living large on a billboard. Simple but elegant is the key to a great logo.
Apple’s logo is an excellent example of a simple but completely effective logo. It’s incredibly simple but it can be easily customised, printed and seen from a far and close up. As well as this, everybody can picture this logo in their head due to it’s restraint, this is an excellent way to get people to remember your brand.
The colours of your logo are also something to be thought through thoroughly. In order to keep consistent branding, it’s best to use the colours of your logo as the colour theme for your website’s design.
Branding and Colours
Colours are essential to your brand’s identity. Keeping this consistent throughout your website is imperative to get people to recognise you instantly. Most businesses keep the same colour theme throughout their website as they do on their logo as this is the biggest and easiest brand identifier.
Navigation should be one of the first things you plan when creating your website design. Creating conversion funnels on your website as well as knowing how you want users to navigate through your website allows you to create the pages you need and put them in the right place. As important and fun as the design aspect is, practicality should still be heavily considered. A website that is difficult for people to find the information and answers they are looking for is a bad one, as users will likely just click off.
Whilst bold looks and extravagant detail can look stunning, sometimes simplicity is your best friend when it comes to designing your website. Of course you can go for the over-the-top style website as this can work depending on your business, however if you do this it still needs to be straightforward to operate.
Contact information is essential on your website. New leads often want to get in touch but if they don’t have that option or the relevant information to do so, you risk losing out on those essential leads. Contact information is best displayed clearly in the footer of your website, it’s also a wise idea to have a ‘contact us’ page on your website so users can easily find your information and get in touch. Having a form on a ‘contact us’ page that requires the user to input their email is a great way to get people to sign up to your mailing list too!
Nowadays, people visit web pages on all kinds of devices, from desktops to tablets to mobile phones. All these different devices have different screen sizes and therefore your website needs a responsive design.
A secure website has an SSL certificate, this is a small data file that provides security online. A secure website with an SSL certificate will show a padlock and ‘https’ before the website address. Without this secure connection, you can risk a data breach on information (such as people’s credit card numbers) and risk releasing your customers personal information. Before your website goes live, you need this SSL certificate.
What Makes A Good Website Design
There are many components that come together to create a good website design.
As we briefly mentioned before, simplicity is key when it comes to designing a good website. Making your website easy to navigate and straightforward to use will create a much better experience for your user.
Making your website design compatible with mobile devices is imperative. If it’s not mobile compatible people viewing your website will have a bad user experience, which could harm your brand.
One of the main aspects of a website is it’s content. Even if your website looks out of this world, if the content is poor, unorganised or unreadable, your website is ultimately going to be a bad one. Taking the time to write high quality content and putting it in the right places on your website is vital.
This page from Hubspot is a great example of well written and clearly laid out website copy. The content itself is high quality; It’s easy to read, understand and digest the information that is given. The organisation of the article, including the use of headings, bold words and interactive chapters, means you can skim read the piece and find the exact information you need with ease.
The keywords for this article (‘inbound marketing’ and ‘inbound methodology’) are consistent throughout the blog, which is essential for good search engine optimisation, without impairing the flow of the read or seeming forced into the sentences. Balancing keyword SEO with readability in written copy can be tricky to achieve but Hubspot are able to do this effectively.
Good visuals are essential to a successful website nowadays, with poor quality visuals, it can give your visitors a bad user experience. If you have an eCommerce website, having poor quality product images can stop people from buying your products so you need to optimise your product images.
With an eCommerce business, your customers can’t see or touch the physical product that they are going to purchase, to combat this issue, having high quality product images showing the product at all different angles is the only way to provide the customer with clarity that this is the product they really want.
360 degree images are the optimum way to achieve customer clarity with a product. With a 360 degree image, you don’t have to upload multiple product images (which could slow your site speed) as the user can simply view it from angles themselves by dragging their cursor. This is a great and highly effective way to display your product images and reduce the ‘clutter’ of having multiple product images on your page.
White space is the blank areas around text, images, videos, basically any of the content on your website. Including white space on your website design creates distance and allows your content to breathe, without this your website could look overcrowded or messy. Of course, you can run the risk of using too much white space, where everything is so spaced out it looks empty, unprofessional and quite frankly, boring. It’s important to find a balance between just enough and too much whitespace for your website.
When you click on a website and it takes a while to load, what do you do? Most people click off as soon as it takes more than a couple of seconds to load. In fact, 47% of consumers expect a page to load in less than 2 seconds, so Google recommends that your page loading time be under two seconds. Slow loading websites can kill your business, it’s not common that people will wait around for one website to load when there are several others that they could look at instead. You need your pages to load quickly and there are many ways to optimise the speed of your website.
Search Engine Optimisation
Search Engine Optimisation (or SEO as it’s known for short) is optimising your website for a search engine. Having a website with excellent search engine optimisation is the best way to get your business to rank higher on a search engine’s results page and therefore make your business more visible to others. Search engines decide where you rank on a results page by evaluating how relevant and helpful your page would be to answer the user’s query. High quality, relevant pages rank highest on the results page as the search engine is designed to answer people’s questions.
The way to get your website to rank higher on the page is by being optimised. There are thousands of ways to optimise your website but the main ones are targeted keywords,high-quality content, internal and external links and site speed.
Keywords are the main words in a search query that the search engine will look for in your content to ensure they are providing relevant search results to the user. You can include keywords in titles, meta descriptions content and alt text to ensure you are recognised by the search engine. Internal and external linking shows the search engine that you are a trustworthy website and give you a natural link profile.
Avoid Bad Website Design Features - Don't Make These Mistakes!
Having a bad website can harm your brand credibility, so it’s definitely something to avoid. There are several bad website design features that a lot of companies make the mistake of having. These are a few examples and explanations of the most common mistakes companies make with their website so you know what to avoid when designing your website.
Many Different Fonts And Text Sizes
Brand identity is vital when it comes to an online business and fonts are an often overlooked aspect of brand identity. Nothing looks worse on a website than inconsistent typography,mismatched text sizes or varied font colours. Keep your font, it’s sizes and its colours consistent throughout your website to make your website design look neat, tidy and professional.
Connection Is Not Secure
Unsecure websites can make people feel like they are taking a risk by using it. Generally, people are pretty aware of the online scams that are becoming more common so a visitor unlikely to use, or stay, on a website that looks ‘dodgy’ especially if it involves inputting credit card or personal information. This can easily lead to a high bounce rate and a loss of sales.
If you’ve ever been on a website and seen awful looking images or graphics you know it looks bad. Having low quality images, infographics, or any other form of visuals can make your website look unprofessional and lackluster to its users.
Contact Information Is Hardly Accessible
Quite often people who are interested in your brand or what you sell/provide will want to get in touch. Generating leads is essential to your business but if they have no way of easily getting in touch you can easily lose out on that lead. Ensure you have contact information on your website that is easily accessible and clear to read.
The Absence Of 'White Space'
White space stops your website looking too crowded or overwhelming. Without white space, a website will look far too busy and could easily put people off due its overwhelming appearance. Especially if your website includes a lot of images, videos, text or graphics.
What Does Your Website Score?
Attracting Visitors To Your Website
Having an outstanding website design is great but if no one is looking at it, your business is going nowhere. You need to get people to visit your website once you have it ready. How do you do this? There are several effective ways to make your website visible and attract visitors to it.
Organic search can be optimised in multiple different ways. One of the best ways is through keywords. Defining a list of keywords that you either wish to or can rank for in order to rank high on a search page is an excellent way of tailoring your content in order to do so. Including the keywords, you are wanting to rank for in meta descriptions, titles and throughout your content is one of the best ways to show up on a results page.
Social Media Linking
Social media has endless possibilities. The potential to reach millions of people and use social media to kickstart your business is completely possible. Most social media platforms are free to use, so it makes for an extremely cost-effective way to market your website. In order to target people in the right places, it’s important to refer to your ideal buyer personas before you choose which social media platforms to use.
Paid advertising comes in many forms. As the name suggests, it does cost so it can be less cost-effective than advertising on social media. However, it can return with excellent results making it overall more effective. You can effectively drive traffic to your website with pay-per-click ads, these ads show at the top of the search engine results page when they are relevant to a user’s query. While it does cost you money when people click on your ad, you are at the top of the results page giving you more visibility and a higher chance of getting a click.
Content marketing is an excellent way to increase traffic to your website. Using content you can incorporate vital keywords, utilise internal and external linking and administer high quality, unique content that provides users with helpful insights. All of this looks good to a search engine, and to your users, increasing your chances of ranking higher on a results page. The high you rank, the more traffic you are likely to receive.
Full-Service Web Design
What Does Full Service Website Design Mean?
Get Some More Info
At Xune, we offer a full website design service. This includes everything you need to create your dream website. We start with a call to discuss your brand, then move to a design workshop where we run you through our design process. We then move on to the more technical side, with a sitemap that maps out how your pages will work together. Once we have that, we will create mockups of your website for you to look at and review until you are happy with the design. Once all that is done and you’re satisfied with the design, our excellent team of web designers and developers get building and our talented team of content writers get typing! You have the control over what your website design will look like and we get stuck in making it a reality.
Talk To Xune About Your Fantastic Website Design
Whether your business is small or large, you need a website and one that looks stunning. Why not talk to Xune about your website design and create a website to succeed!