Your website design does not magically come together by itself. You must carefully think through the design of your website and how your website ideas can be configured in such a way to meet your goals.
We are stripping down website design and exposing you to the basic components which will help you think through your website ideas. Just like arms and legs are to a person, these parts or components are important to a website. These components make the website attractive, easy to navigate, searchable, establish viability, promote interaction, enhance your marketing efforts, and provide information to prospects.
This article was written specifically for you the business owner or the person in your company who will be working with an outside website design company. This article may also be helpful for professionals who own or work at professional website design companies.
Domain Name – Your Domain name is the address used to locate your website. Think carefully about your domain name; it identifies you and your site. It can be difficult to nearly impossible to change later without having major implications.
A good domain name is memorable and establishes credibility or viability. When you are thinking about a domain name, think about its length and ease of typing for customers. You do not want your user community to get frustrated typing your domain name or forgetting it completely.
- If your domain name contains your main keyword you may have an advantage in the search engine rankings.
- Is the domain name descriptive of what you are trying to sell?
- Is the domain name too short and not really convey what you do?
Web Hosting – The web hosting company provides access to your website via the Internet. If the hosting company is down, your site is down!
Think about the technical specifics of your proposed website. Do you want to sell products from your site (eCommerce)? Do you expect high traffic?
We strongly recommend a large national hosting company. They usually have low prices, better up-time guarantees, and more upgrade options than mom and pop hosting companies. Your best website design deserves the best web hosting available!
- Write requirements down on a piece of paper
- Include both technical (database needs, traffic projections) and non-technical (cost) requirements
- Use this list to compare web hosting companies
Branding – A professional website design is not complete until you include your logo and overall branding strategy. Branding may include your logo, fonts, and other elements. The logo and branding are critical to your website design.
Adding your logo and matching your company’s brand allows you to portray the personality of your company. The logo and other branding efforts are what makes your website design unique to you and your company. When a prospect or customer visits your site there should be no doubt in their mind that this is your website and not a competitors.
- Home – When someone visits your domain name they usually land on your home page. Your home page only has a few seconds to capture the visitors attention and direct them to the specific content they came looking for. So, think through your website design ideas to ensure you maximize your home page’s effectiveness.
- About – The about page is usually one of the most often clicked pages on a website’s navigation bar. Since the about page is visited so often it makes sense to include information about your specific niche. After this niche specific information an opt-in box allowing visitors to sign-up to receive more of your great content is often a wise website design idea. After the opt-in box you can place general company information or information about yourself followed by another opt-in box.
- Contact Us – The contact page is the perfect place to put all of your companies contact details. This may include information such as your phone number, physical address, email address, and a map with directions to your business. Providing a simple contact form can also be a smart idea. The most basic forms include name, email, and message but can extended to capture an array of additional information.
Captivating Content – Creating content is the most challenging part of the website ideas strategy and website design. Content can be defined as the the pages or posts that are specific to what your business does. Content can be made up of combination of text, images, video, and audio. The content might be your product pages, sales pages, or various other pages or posts. This is the “meat” of your site that makes it different than any other website on the Internet. Give away as much content as possible.
Website Layout – The website layout is the overall look and feel of your website design. This can include items such as a header, logo, other branding elements, navigation bar, and the specific placement of your content. A professional website design can help to organize your content and maximize your call to action.
Call To Action – The call to action is simply the process you want your users to take. A call to action could be to fill in an opt-in form, make a purchase, comment on a post, call your business, etc. The call to actions are limitless but you site should only have one or small few specific actions or goals you want the user to take. Too many call to actions can be confusing and distracting resulting in the user exiting your webpage without doing anything.
Website Feedback – No website design nor will your website design ideas be perfect on the first attempt. A website requires a starting point (your first website design) but then requires testing or split testing and tweaking to improve the rate of successful call to actions. Testing can be done with simple analytics such as Google Analytics. In addition you may need more complicated testing methods including user surveys, heat tracking tools, etc. With a bit of testing and tweaking you will be able to dramatically improve the effectiveness of your call to action.
Meta Data – Meta data is text added to specific areas of your website that provides additional information about an element or page on your site. Meta data is commonly seen on pages in the form of custom title tags, meta descriptions, and meta keywords. This meta data exists to help your search engine optimization efforts. In addition, this text serves to make your page more user friendly.
Meta data can also be present with images in the form of alt text. Everyone loves pictures or other graphics on a webpage. The problem is that, in and of themselves, pictures or graphics are not searchable. Adding alt text can improve the search engines ability to index your content. Meta data is extremely important and any professional website design company will be sure to incorporate meta tags into your website design.
Site Map – A Site Map visually displays the framework or organization of the content on your site. In addition to a visual site map search engines rely on a search engine friendly site map format such as XML to fully index every page of your site.
Content Management System (CMS) – A CMS provides an easy way to add and manage content on your website. We highly recommend a CMS of some kind in every website design. Without a CMS, adding or making changes to pages can be a real pain. Ensure your next website design has a CMS and you will be much happier the next time you need a change made. In addition, a CMS usually provides a stable platform for which you can build upon in the future. The only CMS we use and recommend is WordPress.
Website Promotion – Promoting your website does not traditionally fit into the components of a website or website design. However, several tactics can be implemented into your site to make the promotion of your content easier for your users. Below is a list of a few website promotion strategies that can help to get the word out for your website and also make the most of the traffic you may already be receiving.
- Blogging – Blogging stated simply is posting quality content articles to your website. Most CMS systems include blogs when setting up a website or one can easily be added through the use of plugins.
- Social Media – Social media includes using all of the viral sharing tools available to create relationships with your prospects and customers. Some of the larger social media sites include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Many of these social networks can easily be integrated into your webpages to allow customers to share your content with others. Voila, free traffic!
- Email Capture – Capturing email address through an opt-in form does not actually increase the new user traffic to your site per say but it can get your prospects or customers to return regularly to your site. Using email marketing can be a simple way to boost your bottom line or revenue per customer. If you don’t use email marketing you should implement it now. We use AWeber to handle all of our email marketing needs.
- Paid Advertising – The fastest way to get traffic to your webpage is to buy it. You can get all the traffic you could possibly want and more if you just pay for it. Some options for paid traffic include pay per click search engine advertising, newspaper ads, magazine ads, social networking site ads, mobile ads, etc.
- Guest Posting – Guest posting is creating posts or articles for use on other’s blogs. This is a simple tactic in which you find a related blog and provide a high quality article for use on their blog, usually with no financial payment to you. Most blogs will allow one or two links back to your own website in the author resource box which is generally at the bottom of an article. This method can catapult traffic to your website if done right.
For example, since we do website design we may reach out to a website hosting company with a larger audience than ourselves. If their customers liked the article they are likely to click the link in the resource box to come back to our website. Hence, generating lots of targeted traffic we never otherwise would have been able to get on our own.
You were just exposed to the components of website design. You now have the knowledge to site down and make a plan for your next website design. With these components in mind you will know exactly what website ideas your website developer needs to accomplish your project.