If you are creating a website for a new or existing business, the more effective your planning of it is, the better the website design is going to be.
With your website often being the first impression that any potential customer or client has of your business, it needs to look welcoming and as professional as it can.
That being said, excellent website design involves more than just having an awesome home page that looks great. Assuming you want your website to have a positive impact on your business, then effective planning of both its design AND how it functions need to be undertaken.
There are three core aspects of your website that need careful consideration and planning:
#1: What Is Your Website’s Core Purpose?
One of the most common aspects of websites that are poorly designed is that they seek to be all things to all people. As a result, they fail to communicate to anyone landing on them, what their primary purpose is.
By deciding what the main goal of your website is in advance, you can then structure, and design it to function accordingly.
In doing so it will give your business a competitive advantage over other businesses in your niche whose website’s lack any real objectives.
Here are some questions you should ponder prior to the planning the design of your website, and what they may require depending on its purpose
Is it an e-commerce site? It will need product pages, easy navigation, fast load times and a shopping cart.
Will it be a content site such as a blog? Needs a content delivery system such as WordPress, and the content must be easy to read.
Single page website selling a product? Must be easy to skim with attention paid to the types of fonts, colors, and graphics.
Building a corporate site? Will need to portray the company with instantly recognizable branding, color schemes, and imagery.
#2: What Is The Website’s Target Audience?
If you take a look at a magazine rack and scan the covers, it soon becomes clear that the publishers of those magazines know exactly which types of customers they are trying to attract.
They do so by use of the fonts, graphics, photos, and colors. For example, on the front of a gaming magazine, you might expect to see very bold colors and imagery of characters.
Alternatively, a female fashion magazine will likely have an atmospheric photo of a beautiful model wearing that season’s must-have dress design
The point is that as soon as you look at the front of any magazine, even without the title and the sub-headings on the cover, you should be able to tell what market the magazine is targeting.
It will, therefore, be able to attract those who interested in that subject. That principle should also be applied to the design of your website.
To achieve this you first need to determine who your target audience is. Consider their gender, age, social grouping, income bracket, employment type, educational attainment, and any other demographics which may be relevant.
You basically want to create a profile of who your ideal customers are likely to be.
Now that you have your target audience in mind, you now research what websites they are visiting, and what aspect of those websites you might apply to your design. For example, are they full of text, or more graphical in nature? Do they have lots of colors, or just use one or two? How much do they rely on media such as video? Essentially, you want to emulate those websites, but it goes without saying, you do not just create a carbon copy of them.
#3: Be Mindful of the User Experience
There are countless websites where the designer or business owner has focused purely on making it look great, and while that may make them feel good, it completely ignores the most important people, and that is website visitors.
What gets created here, is a website that that may be visually stunning, but its functionality is dire. It’s a bit like creating a sleek sports car with stunning paintwork and gleaming alloy wheels but designing it with a 1.4-liter engine, no power steering, and wind-up windows.
From the instant, a visitor lands on your website you want them to feel at ease, and one of the primary ways to do that is to have clear and easy navigation. This can start with a menu at the top or in the sidebar, and as they navigate through the site, they should always be able to get back to the home page.
On large corporate sites, there should be sub-sections so that visitors can go through them logically. On e-commerce sites, the sales process for putting items in a shopping cart and checking out should be straightforward. Even on single page sale letter, how the customer clicks to buy should be abundantly clear.
In summary, to make your website’s design the best it can be, you want first to determine what its core purpose is, then research what elements of a website your target audience are more likely to respond to.
Finally, you want to make sure that using your website is as easy as possible to navigate for anyone who visits.
PS: If you need someone to plan and design your website, then I highly recommend Inclines Media, who can take you from initial ideas to a fully designed and functioning website.