Designing a Website
Designing a website is a central component of a digital footprint. Website design can be complicated, but an element of trust is essential in delivering a semi-final product. We always say a semi-final product, because as design and technology changes, a website should also evolve to remain top of the digital pack.
There are several constants in website design that have stood the test of time, elements like putting the core information of what the website is about “above the fold”. Above the fold is the first thing a website user sees when visiting a site, before scrolling.
Striking images and personalised photos add an element of personality to a website. These in combination with clear short content is key in building a successful website.
In website design, it is standard practice to place either a series of images or a video on the home page. This is referred to as the slider. This element contains the most important or up to date information on a website. Good examples include services on offer, products on offer and industry related news from your perspective. The slider showcases why you are the leader in your field.
Having a visually engaging slider is one thing, but without a clear call to action on each slider element, it serves no purpose. Call to actions could be ‘read more’, ‘discover your potential’, ‘Take the offer’, or similar.
Once the most relevant information is placed upfront, looking into other content-based elements are relatively flexible. You decide what you would like profiled on your home page without giving away too much information so that the user is enticed to explore the website.
A website must also be mobile compatible, this is a design element that should always be considered before the website build starts. Knowing how your website adjusts according to the end user screen size determines which elements can be visible and which should not be to make sure you achieve your engagement objectives.
The use of visuals on a website is more important than most other elements on a website. This is mostly because users are generally time poor. Users are easily distracted by notifications on phones and computers, which means your visuals need to hold their attention to get them to follow-through on the call to action.
Many website designers use stock images, but we advise caution with over-use of stock images. They may be beautiful images, but can be seen as just another website. Balance between stock images, original images and graphics is key in creating an engaging website design.
Content versus design
Many website companies spend resources and time on design, but ignore quality content. Quality content refers to well written text and relevant images. It serves no purpose to have an image of a smiling woman when selling a recycling service. Seems obvious, but it will surprise you how many mis-matched content items there are online.
Layout and design flow start the engagement process, leading to the follow-through on a call to action, but what drives the action is text that is well written and engaging use of images. Any website can look engaging, but if the content is badly written and over-complicated with technical jargon, the likelihood of digital success will be diminished.
Matching the brand
Brand identity in all marketing material must be matched on a website. This is core to the overall image of your brand. Mis-matched identity leads to audience confusion when making purchasing decisions. Website styling and layout can drive the overall brand image beyond expectations, use of colours, images and well written content must be used in sync to create a successful digital footprint.
Knowing the competition
Make the time to look through your competitors’ websites and discover what elements you like and dislike about their digital footprint. Understand what would work for you and what would not, viewing them as if you were a potential customer. Use this knowledge to innovate and improve on their strengths and weaknesses.
There is no hard and fast rule to a website and no website is ever final, it is an evolutionary product and should continually adapt to market trends while enhancing the brand image. If key elements are placed upfront, the likelihood of digital success is improved. Consider web norms while placing your best foot forward on your home or landing page.