The days of websites acting as a shiny online advertisement for your business, built simply to look professional and offer information, are gone. As internet use becomes more prevalent, and internet users become more savvy, it is important for your website to function as a dedicated part of your business, allowing people to find out more about you, read informative and relative content that engages and inspires them and, of course, allows them to conveniently and easily make a purchase directly from the site.
All of this means that the web design part of creating a website has also had to evolve and is now far more in-depth than ever before. A website needs to look good, have a solid structure and layout, be search engine optimised and full of valuable content for users to browse and consume.
Here are some of the essential elements you will need to get to grips with in order to create a website that truly sells your business to potential customers.
Essential Website Terms
Before you can even think about the practicalities of designing your website, you first need to understand the terms that you will come across during a web design project. These include:
A call to action is a signpost for what you actually want your users to do on the site. You may have more than one, as these usually include signing up for a mailing list, making a purchase, downloading a guide or calling into the business. They offer a sort of pathway through the site, letting users know what you want them to do next after viewing a page.
This is a HTML term that refers to layout in the context of search engine optimisation (SEO). A H1 tag (Heading 1) will be added to something that you want to form the main title or heading of the page. Subheadings are then labelled H2, H3, H4 and so on. Search engines look at these tags in order to figure out what the content on the page is related to.
This is a type of image file that most websites will use in order to enjoy high quality images on their site without taking up too much space. A JPEG uses compression to keep images small and neat.
This is the main menu of a B2B website and can also be referred to as the website navigation or site navigation
A sitemap is exactly what it sounds like – a map of the site that acts as a blueprint for the website’s entire structure and navigation. Search engines use sitemaps in order to understand all the content on your website.
How To Prepare For Your Web Design Project
Before you can even think about contacting a web design agency to get started on your web design project, there needs to be extensive research and planning so that you know what you are asking them to do. This can be done by you and your directors well in advance of the design, so you don’t need to be versed in website design yourself.
- Decide what your website is for. What is the overall objective of your website? Are you planning an ecommerce site that will sell products? Or do you just want users to be able to find more information about your business? Create a short list of what you want your website to offer and use this to vet potential web designers, clarifying that they can help you to achieve these goals.
- Decide your essentials. You are probably not going to be able to include every feature that is suggested by your team as a whole, so make a note of everything that is suggested and then split these into two lists – your ‘must-haves’ and the things you would like to include if possible. Share this with your web designer and this will give them a better idea of which direction they should steer the website design in.
- Build content into the design. If you already have a website, look at the content that you currently have and see how it is performing. Are there areas that are doing better than others? Is there something about your content that is falling flat? You can use these elements to decide what content you want on your site and this will help you to build this right into the site from the first instance. Content is king in the SEO industry, so you should be building your entire site around it.
Build Your Wireframe
Before you can start designing and writing individual pages, you first want to set out a full wireframe of your website plan. This will help you to identify any problems and pressure points early on, ensuring that you can fix these issues early.
Design and work through your wireframe with the customer journey in mind, mapping their route through the site and identifying any issues that crop up as you go. This is an important stage in web design as it is much easier to redevelop a wireframe site than it is to go into one which is already fully designed and make changes then. It will also work out cheaper if you identify any major issues that need to be fixed.
If you have a basic knowledge of programs such as Photoshop or Illustrator, you may also be able to do this in-house, before you get in touch with your B2B web design agency to commence the full web design.
Once you have started to design your website professionally, the homepage is the most important page to focus on from the very start.
Your homepage needs to be the most impressive page on your site because:
- It is the first page your visitors look at
- It is the page that affects visitors to stay or bounce within seconds
- Your visitors can be at any stage of the buying process so it needs to appeal to everyone
Your homepage should be professional and look great, have a slick and easy to navigate design and offer value to the reader outside of just information about your business. Your homepage should also include:
- A solid infrastructure. Internet users take just 3-5 seconds to decide whether or not they want to stay on a page or go back to their search results. If your homepage takes 6 seconds to load then you will most likely lose much of your audience.
- Calls-to-action. Place CTAs throughout the homepage to navigate the user to the actions that you want them to perform.
- Explaining why this website, and your business, is the right one for the user to choose.
- This would include customer testimonials and reviews, case studies referring to previous work you have done, and so on.
Want To Know More
MaxWeb are one of the leading web design and marketing agencies in the UK and our team are here and ready to field any questions you have on the design of your new (or existing) website.
Give us a call on 0151 652 4777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how we can help.
Posted on Tuesday, December 31st, 2019 in Web Design.