Web Design Central Coast
9 Essential Elements for a Successful Website
What is Web Design
Web Design is the skill of planning, building and implementing a Website. But to US it is the skill of planning and building your business online. It is real estate, it is your business online, the look, the feel, the experience your perfect customers get as they enter your business.
The key to Great Web Design is to produce an amazing experience (UX) for your visitors, customers and clients. The whole experience of visiting a website for the first time should feel natural, logical and effortless. The mark of a great designer is the understanding of how a visitor will interact with your site. There are literally countless hours of research and study that go into understanding UX. Heat Maps, Analytics, A/B Split testing, Accessibility Testing, Information Architecture, Mouse Tracking, Synthetic Eye Tracking, Research, Visual Thinking and User Testing are some of the tools and methods we use everyday to keep on top of this ever evolving science. Great Web Design is so much more than making a page look pretty. It is the planning, building and successful implementation of a business model in a virtual space. Great Web Design is bringing your bricks and mortar business online whilst giving it all the personality and respect it deserves.
1. Know Your Target Market, define your perfect customer
Knowing who your Target market is, has to be the most important place to start when designing a website. In business trying to be everything to everyone is the biggest mistake we see businesses make. Spend a lot of time thinking about who your perfect customer is. Make the effort to define as much as you can about them. Where they live, what they like, what they don’t like etc. The more clarity you can bring to this the better you can get your message in front of them. Your website is a huge part of your online presence so starting from this point is the best way to make sure each step that comes after it, is in the right direction and on point.
2. Crystal Clear Call to Action
Websites are places we all visit every day, and we all do it for different reasons. Sometimes we are looking for knowledge, sometimes we are looking for entertainment and sometimes we are just looking for a way to contact a business.
Once you have you target audience sorted you need to let them know what to do. Buy your product, Sign up for the course, Call your number, Send you an email, Read your Blog. We are all busy and there is nothing worse than ending up on a site that has no clear Call To Action (CTA). What happens is your customers and clients end up frustrated after scrolling everywhere just trying to find your phone number to give you a quick call. Or for the life of them can’t find that page they saw the last time they visited.
Let your customers and clients know exactly what to do and where to go. It is imperative that someone visiting your website can quickly and easily find all valuable information with little or no effort.
3. Amazing Images
The most important thing to remember about the pictures on your site is context. Every picture should perfectly support the point its making. Whilst a beautifully setup professional shot may look incredible, it is more important the have the context perfect. You should be able to understand the message just by looking at the picture, otherwise don’t use it. Make sure everything that is added to a site must add value. If it doesn’t don’t use it. Often making a site great is about what you leave off.
Research shows that visitors stay longer on websites that have a beautiful aesthetic with great images. But in contrast research shows also that visitors leave quickly when there is no clear and supportive theme. A great designer will understand this balance and always guide their client to achieve this. What we aim for is a beautifully context shot that perfectly displays the message and meaning in the copy it supports.
4. Professional Copy
The words we say share the message we feel. A great copywriter is a powerful tool in your arsenal. Great copy is not about having your websites grammar correct. Its more about perfectly capturing the brands identity and delivering those messages perfectly. There are occasions and situations where bad grammar is better. For instance a campaign for an online app with a target market of 13 – 15yo boys would rather copy that spoke directly to them rather than their parents. This is why where ever possible we start with the creative briefs “About Us” section, to better understand who the business owners are, what their target market is and how the messages need to be conveyed. This is why we work exactly on this. We focus on nailing the pitch and making sure the copy our copywriters write, perfectly align with the websites target market.
5. Track your results
Success with a website is just the same as success in business, in fact in many cases it is the success of your business. The economic market place is a fluid and dynamic entity. A business that has the ability to change and adapt will always have a better chance of success. Never implement on opinions, only ever implement on results. Tracking your results is essential in knowing where to move your focus and energies. As business owners we are time poor so having a concise, traceable and filterable history of every movement that happens in your market and on your website saves an enormous amount of time.
Our research shows 80% of website visitors frequent around 20% of a medium sized website (rather Pareot’ish). Knowing exactly which 20% of your site to apply 80% of your time on creates amazing conversions and results and is a much better use of time. Tracking your results allows you the freedom to trial new products, programs or services with the best chance of accurate results.
6. Tell Your Story
Every business has a unique story to tell, so make sure you tell yours. Web Design is about communicating your business to your town, city or the world. Take the time to get your story straight. Understand what it is that makes you, YOU. And then tell everyone about it.
There are a few ways to tell your story.
- Through helpful content. This is by far the best medium to convey your message. Walk the walk, so to speak. If you are like us you have spent years upon years tailoring your craft, studying, practicing and immersing yourself fully into becoming the best you can possibly be and the top of your game at what you do. So show it. Use your website as a platform to educate others looking for your services and/or products and teach them everything they need to know about it. At Makii we call it helpful marketing. this is the reason we write page after page of helpful marketing and sharing our knowledge as far and wise as we can. We all have expertise in our chosen area, so take the mindset to teach and spread the knowledge. We find by educating our visitors, clients and customers, that we set a standard in our industry. We our customers demand more because they know more, it pushes us to perform.
- Point out your differences. This is a technique that does work as some of our customers expect to be able to find what they want quickly and easily. Engage your audience with your “About Us” section and use services and product pages to deliver your content.
- Story Board Web Design. Story board design is a trend that, if done correctly, can look beautiful. You can start at the top of a page and slowly scroll down section by section unveiling the next chapter in the story. These look beautiful and have their place, though we find they don’t convert as well as other pages you can use them with in your website. Homepages are a great place for these. Used with engaging headlines and beautiful imagery we have received excellent results and feed back.
7. Logical Layout
Amazingly this is one place we find many designers still fall down. The skill here is to be able to create a rich, fresh and new look environment whilst still showing visitors, customers and clients exactly where everything is. There is nothing more frustrating for a visitor using a web page than to not be able to find a contact detail. If you are a business and you want to be contacted for business you need to have your primary choice of contact on the front page, preferably at the top and the bottom. It is especially essential for mobile users as they are often finding you in Google and simply want to make a call to ask a question. If they cant find your number they will simply move on to the next business, normally your competition.
If your web designer starts talking about breaking molds or creating something never seen and brand new, get a new designer. There is a place for being creative and we find being creative within the box challenging enough.
Here is what you need and in this order.
- Function. This is the driving force in the layout of a web site. If people can’t use your site, they will leave your site. Research shows clearly every time, people would rather use a boring site over a site they can not use at all.
- Form. In web design this is the way it looks and the layout of a site. It is vitally important to get right, but not at the expense of function.
- Design. This is the way things feel on the page. Pictures, graphics and how things move, what catches your eye and how you engage with the sections on the web site.
Ultimately a Web designers objective should be to get these three things right and in this order.
8. Mobile friendly and responsive Web Design
Last century when I first started designing website every one had a 15″ CRT monitor and you could pretty much draw the page exactly how you wanted it to look, code it up and load it to a server. Jump forward to today and it is a completely different story. Different size screens from palm size to theater, android, iPhone, iPad, laptops, tablets, different resolutions, high definition, Internet Explore, Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and the list goes on. There are so many variables that it is absolutely essential that your website is Fully Responsive. This means that regardless which device, screen or application it is being viewed on, it looks clear, readable and holds to the brand qualities of your business. We design all our sites for a tablet screen and then scale up to a desktop/large screen and down scale to a phone/hand held device. Starting here in the middle always gives us fantastic results over all devices. Again keeping functionality in the forefront of our minds means regardless how it is being viewed your web site will always be putting its best foot forward for your business.
9. Your Web Design Company of choice
A great Web Design Company will be like a business partner. They should work seamlessly with you offering you guidance and advise. They should keep you up to date with the things you need to know and educate you along your journey.
Regardless if you are after a Full Service, a one off design or a simple tweak, the company you work with should always have your best interest at heart. In business as often in life we end up being the sum of those we partner with. So make sure you choose someone who is a great fit for your business.
When choosing your web design company look at their website. Take note of these essential points above are being adhered to on their own site. Is it all about flash and showing off or can you functionally use it, quickly and easily, without frustration.
Look to see if they have the support in place to look after you not only now but also in the future. These partnerships should last many years and positioning yourself in good company will always be a be step up.
Hiring the right Web Design Company in the first place will save a lot of time now and money in the future. As with staff the right choice now can bring many times returns in the long run.