Notes on website design
The hardest parts of website design are not technical at all - you don't have to do the technical things yourself, but, like building your dream house, building your website is a project that deserves your focused attention.
The obvious: your website is important
A website is very important to your business. It enables you to reach new prospects, and to project the image of the professional, knowledgeable and helpful business that you are.
A shoddy or non existent website is an injury to your public image of professionalism.
The not so obvious: is your website effective?
Your site simply showing up on the web will not grow your business. You have to have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve with your site - and your site must deliver a flawless pitch to achieve that objective.
Provide your web site visitors with the answers they are seeking and show them why it is in their interest to do business with you.
Then provide a clear, compelling call to action.
Not understanding these simple rules can make the difference between a struggling and successful web site.
Your web site exists to convert prospects into leads and ultimately into customers.
An effective web site makes you more money that it costs. If it does not, it is not.
Without a clear objective, and measurement to help you improve, you will not achive the results you want.
Then you start
After the defining the objective, selecting a technical foundation and a framework, the next step is to decide on a look and feel that is consistent with your company's voice and it's personality.
It is often difficult to truly appreciate that you are not building a website for yourself: you are building a site for your customers - and YOU must decide what will look professional, friendly and easy to use to THEM.
It is not about you.
It is about your customers.
We know from much experience that website visitors prefer to interact with a site that feels familiar. In other words, menus, actions and layouts are like most others. A crow's nest of blinking lights, shiny photos, cat-eye-buttons, etc detract from the main value of any web site: information and the easy (familiar) navigation thereof.
Flexible website design using templates
While colors, fonts, menu's, layouts and so on are all relatively easy to change using web design templates (discussed in more detail below), it much more difficult is to decide what information to publish on your site and how to structure it so your web visitor will be able to get to it effortlessly.
People do NOT want to be surprised by your site's navigation structure.
Stick to what works.
The more familiar your site looks to them, the more inclined they will be to stay.
You have less than 1 second in which to make a good impression.
We use the Joomla CMS (content management system). Like most others CMSs the look and feel of a website is applied in a "template". Essentially a template is like a skin that "folds" over the website's information - it is the look and feel, the navigation, and the personality of your site. A little more about templates:
Web designer overview showlist
website design templates
The design template, on a stable and flexible content management system, gives the designer the ability to easily update content and to bolt on extra features like shopping carts, picture galleries, newsletters and lots of other interactive elements.
A website is never really "done" in the sense that, as an entrepreneur, your work is never really "done". There is always more to do. Always ways to improve. So, from the very start of the project think in terms of "phases".
With iterative refinement you could (should) constantly improve and adjust your website to improve it's performance, stay current with your products and keep it's modern appearance.
So, with an iterative refinement project in mind, the sites we build for our clients roughly follow these steps:
- We help optimize your website content so that search engines (like Google) rank you as high as your content allows.
- Using your input as a basis we build your site to maximize the chances of turning web visitors into a prospects and later into clients.
- We help pick keywords that will bring qualified leads to your site.
- Once we have your site online, we monitor it's effectiveness with sophisticated statistics (you get a weekly report).
- We can keep daily watch over the entire web for any mention of your brand or product, or those of your competitors for you.
- We take care of all the technical details.
- You can easily update your website yourself after it is online.
Website design deliverables
Every project (even if it is a phase in a project) should have deliverables - tangible and measurable checkpoints. For our own clients we deliver the list below:
- The Joomla content management system:
Installed, configured and optimized to to streamline web design and web maintenance.
- Custom website template designed and implemented.
Defines your website's layout, look & feel and can be changed easily without re-doing all the content
- Standard web pages:
Landing (home) page, Products/Services page, About us page, Contact us page (with automatic auto email responder). Search module to search all content on your site. Your content posted for each of these pages.
- On the fly editing
You can login and update content on your site and manage any part of it.
- website optimized for search engine indexing:
Correct keyword selection so that your site can generate quality leads - typically a four word search phrase.
- Automatic integration with social media website:
Facebook (your own custom page), Twitter and Google plus
- Google Analytics integration
To measure and improve the efficiency of your website
- 16 hours web designer time to add more of your content or more pages
To implement special needs, content or requirements
- Optional shopping cart (no additional charge)
- Optional slide show:
A great sales aid to feature your product or service (no additional charge)
- Optional Google Maps integration:
If you have a specific geographical service area. (no additional charge)
Cost & timeframe
The time and money investment in your web site is an investment in the profitabilty of your business. The scope and cost of the project should reflect what you are able to invest, which in turn, will determine the likely return you will receive from your investment.
If you consider the cost of building a web site as a loss, then you should consider postponing the build until you are clear on how your site can make money for you.
Our website design projects normally take about two weeks - provided all the content that should be published is ready and we receive prompt feedback on the prototypes we present.
Money back guarantee
We deliver what we promise - or your money back.
Do it yourself?
The Joomla and Wordpress content management systems are both free. Anyone motivated to invest time into learning about website building and internet marketing can build a website. (Contact us for your web hosting requirements and free installation of a content management system if you prefer to DIY)
Please read on for more detail on each of the above, or ask us any question about your unique needs.
Lets discuss your requirements.