10 Things to consider when designing and building your website
So, you’re sat at your computer and you’re about to start designing and building yourself a brand-new site – how exciting!
Where do you start? What do you tackle first? From deciding your look and feel, to thinking about functionality, to creating your customer journey and sketching up your navigation – there’s a hell of a lot to think about.
In fact, building a website that converts and inspires your customers to become loyal brand advocates, requires a multitude of skills and a harmonious blend of designers, developers and business people. Luckily, we’ve come up with the following 10 tips to help guide you. Phew!
- Simple is effective
Let’s assume you’ve chosen your domain, hosting services and backend solution. The next thing you need to nail is design. Keep it simple! These days, users are not looking for tons of information and if they can’t find what they’re looking for within 10 seconds, they’ll bounce. Set yourself a user goal – what is the main thing you want your customers to do? Get them there quickly and with little distraction. Place help content where you’d expect it to be, under help! Don’t crowd your pages with too much information – if they need something specific, they’ll find it.
- Smart colours
Colours are powerful and can trigger many different emotional responses in users, such as calm, warmth, happiness or even anger. Do your research on this and be thoughtful about where you use them. Sticking to a limited palette that doesn’t venture far from your branding can be overwhelming to users, you need to ensure that people respond to your website and don’t just get bombarded with your logo and its associated colour – we know your brand is your baby, but trust us!
- Speaking of which… branding!
It’s your identity, how people remember you, the thing that makes or breaks your business! Consider getting your logo designed professionally, they will be experts at catching the customers eye and creating a clear representation of the brand. Once you have it, pop it in a clear and visible position on your site. Users tend to scan a site from the upper left hand side, so it’s a great place to have your logo. Carry the logo across everything else, documentation, packaging, business cards, social media… A business that is consistent with branding is a business that knows what it’s doing.
- Functionality & features
Above all else, your website needs to be practical in order to fulfil the true user goal. Make a list of features you think your users need in order to convert, for example, contact forms, ecommerce, downloads, login… Then make a list of features that will aid your users, such as comparison tools, help me choose, quizzes, calculators. Whatever you do, don’t over engineer anything that will add time to the user journey – what do I mean by this? A contact form needs to be just that, a form! Trying to make it fancy by adding cool functionality will turn users off.
- Keep it quick!
Page speed is paramount! Users find nothing more irritating than slow loading web pages. Test your site ahead of time to pinpoint any issues you might have and work on fixing them so you can provide a positive user experience. Read more about page speed in our blog post here.
- Clean up your
Messy code that isn’t SEO friendly will result in your site being penalised by search engines. Take the time to keep the codebase clean and you will increase your overall return on investment. Some CMS services will provide plug-ins that assist you in code clean-ups as you develop so if you’re starting out for the first time, this would be a safer approach.
- Are we compatible?
These days there are literally tons of ways that users want and need to be able to access your site. Not only do you have to ensure that your website is responsive to different devices, but it must be compatible with all the different browsers those devices use! Furthermore, it should be compatible not just on the latest version of a browser, but also the older versions. If you overlook this point, you may just be isolating a large portion of your customer base!
- I spy with my analytics eye
You will want to ensure that you can iterate and improve on your website and make data driven decisions, right? Tracking is super easy to implement, and the benefits are literally huge! From demographics, to technology, to behavioural patterns – analytics will act as a peep hole into your users lives and allow you to tailor your website to suit their needs. In theory, when you work this way, your conversions will only increase! Download our CRO infographic here.
If you’re site isn’t hooked up to your social accounts, then you’re massively missing out. These days everyone wants to be able to share via social media, rather than the old school method of word of mouth… Make sure your chosen social pages are visible on your homepage (the footer is usually best practice) and that you include social share icons on any content you want your audience to see i.e. blog posts, videos, downloads, latest offers and so on. So, social media can drive traffic to your site, and your site can drive traffic to your social media to increase following! Win win.
- You’re safe with me!
That’s what you want your users to feel when they’re browsing your site, especially if they’re providing you with personal information. To reduce the potential of threats to your users, SSL certificates must be added your websites and be renewed regularly. You can also work with a supplier to conduct regular security checks and provide you with recommendations.