Website Design from the Pro – What Really Goes Into It
Every website I build is its own thing. I want to help my clients build their brand identity and help convey brand trust. This means creating something that’s built only for them that reflects their business values and message. Not only will their website be functional and mobile responsive, but it will be built around their business and their target market.
To understand and then visually represent the message my client is trying to convey, I have an approach or process that produces the best results, every time.
First, I discuss the website plan in detail with my client. I find out who their target audience is, because a teenager will use a website very differently from a 45-year-old, stay-at-home-mom, and different things will appeal to different audiences visually.
I ask a lot of questions to pull information out of my clients so I can determine what they need their site to do. For clients who are unsure of their needs, that’s OK. I can help with that, too. I have questions that will help the unsure client wade through all the noise and get to the heart of what it is they need from their website.
Sometimes, the whole process starts with a professional logo design, because I’m a firm believer in brand consistency. The entire website is built around what their logo, and ultimately their brand, looks like. For those who have a logo currently, sometimes a refresh on their logo and branding is necessary to bring it up to date or to make a stronger statement that fits their business.
Ultimately, everything that visually represents a business should be unique to that business and should fully convey the individuality of that business. So, I help my customers make sure their visual message matches their business, and then we carry that visual representation throughout the entire website.
Building the Website
There’s a lot to consider in the design of a website. Let’s talk about a few of the things I consider when building a website.
The layout and format of the written text content is so important, not only for viewer purposes, but also because it impacts SEO and the ability of potential customers to find the website. The content tells the story in words that I will be visually representing. It’s important to start with solid content that tells the right story so I can build a cohesive site that tells the same story.
Purposeful SEO actions like sitemaps, Google analytics tracking codes, page titles, page descriptions, alt text, slugs, etc. – they all go into it.
Another key part of a website is purposeful and functional design. White space is important! Bold actions are important, even if they do cause below-the-fold content!
What am I talking about?
You’ll see how they have one big, bold statement on their site. And you have to scroll down to see the next statement. It’s a newer phenomenon that a lot of business owners are struggling with. If you MAKE someone look at only ONE thing on your website at a time, they HAVE to digest it, read it, take it in. There’s no other choice. It’s very impactful.
Things like button placement, calls to action, newsletter sign-ups, social media buttons—they’re all placed in very specific spots so that site visitors will see them based on user trends.
Banner blindness is a real thing and is quite frankly another blog post in itself. To sum it up, though, it’s where you don’t see different parts of websites, because you assume it’s an ad whether it’s actually an ad or not. It’s REAL. The site needs to be designed with this in mind and avoided to prevent people from navigating away from the site before they scroll.
Before the building truly begins, I purchase domain names, set up hosting servers, purchase SSL certificates, set up corresponding email accounts (firstname.lastname@example.org), and do all that crazy fun back-end stuff.
Create a back-up for your site in case of a catastrophic failure? Yep, also important. You never know when a new plugin or an update will break a site. Having a back-up ready to go means a much shorter down time.
That’s pretty much just a bare bones website. It’s rare that I have a website like this, because most of the time additional functionality is needed to make the website the best it can be for the client’s needs. For example, if a client wants a calendar where their 300 site users can login to set up their own appointments, or if a client would like a slideshow of their products on the site—additional functionality is required to make this happen. Other times, a client needs additional graphics illustrated or designed, or it’s about cleaning up the visual brand such as editing a headshot.
Quality is as important to me as it is to each client I work with. I stick to this basic process no matter what because I know through experience that my clients will get the best possible website as a result.
If you’d like to talk to me about creating a unique, one-of-a-kind website for your business, let’s set up an appointment.