Guide to Website Design & Build

Guide to Website Design & Build

Unlocking your Business Potential

In today’s digital era, a well-designed and professional website is a crucial tool for businesses to establish their online presence, attract customers and drive growth. Whether your website is the main source of your lead generation or simply a brochure to backup your sales process, a well built, on brand website is paramount to the success of your business.

Take a look at our Case Study of a recent website design and build we completed.

Fundamentals of Effective Website Design

A visually appealing and user-friendly website is essential for capturing the attention of your audience. Take a look at the fundamental principles of effective website design.

User Friendly Design

By adopting a user-friendly approach to your website design, you can create a website that delivers great user experience (UX) and drive engagement. User-centric design creates a simple, intuitive website with clear communication that ensures users can navigate the website effortlessly and find information easily.

Intuitive Navigation

An intuitive and easy to use navigation will help users explore your website with minimal effort. Clear menus and a good page structure with prominent search functionality will enhance user experience and engagement.

Mobile-Friendly Design

A mobile friendly design is crucial for the modern, multi device world. A recent survey on techjury.net showed that over 80% of internet users use mobile devices to surf the web. It is more important than ever to prioritise mobile and tablets. Mobile-friendly design encompasses responsive layouts, where websites dynamically adjust and adapt to different screen sizes, resolutions, and orientations. This ensures that content is easily accessible and legible, without requiring excessive zooming or scrolling. Mobile friendly designs also focus on optimising page load time, as mobile users often have limited bandwidth and slower internet connection.

Branding

A strong and consistent brand presence on your website builds trust and familiarity. Incorporating brand elements, like colour schemes, fonts and brand voice throughout your website will reinforce your brand identity.

Planning Your Website Build

It is crucial that you plan your website before diving into the design and development process. Correct planning lays the foundation for a well-structured, user-friendly website that aligns with your goals. The planning phase involves several key considerations.

First, clearly define your website’s purpose, objectives, and target audience. Understanding your goals and the needs of your audience will guide the design and content decisions throughout the process. Then, conduct research about your industry. Look at valuable insights like industry trends and audience preferences.

Also, look at what the best performing websites in your industry are doing. Analyse these websites to find out what are they doing well and what could they improve on.

Map out your website’s structure and create a content plan, outlining the pages, sections, and navigation hierarchy. A well planned and organised website will ensure an easy to use website with great user experience.

Define your Goals and Objectives

It is important to understand what you want to achieve with your website. Whether it’s generating leads, increasing online sales, or providing information, defining your goals allows you to align your design and build efforts accordingly.

Identify Target Audience

Understanding your target audience’s demographics, preferences, and pain points helps tailor your website to their needs. Conduct thorough research and create user personas to guide your design process.

Competitor Research

Analyse your competitors’ websites to gain insights into their design and functionality. Identify areas where they are doing well and areas where you can differentiate yourself and highlight your services or products.

Site Structure & Plan Content

Map out the structure of your website and plan how your content will be organised. An intuitive and logical structure improves user experience and makes it easier for visitors to find relevant information.

SymClean Website Design

User Experience (UX)

User experience is one of the most important aspects of website design. It encompasses the overall interaction and satisfaction a user has when engaging with your website. A positive user experience is achieved by understanding needs, goals and behaviours of users.

Usability

The usability of a website looks at real life user experience. Are buttons just as easy to use on mobile as desktop? Are fonts readable on mobile?

Website Speed

Website speed is a critical factor that directly impacts user experience and overall website performance. Optimising website speed involves various techniques such as minimising file sizes, compressing images, and leveraging caching tools. A fast-loading website not only enhances user satisfaction but also positively affects search engine rankings, as search engines prioritise websites that provide a better user experience.

Another key factor in your website speed is the hosting provider. check out our blog about how to choose the best Hosting for your Website

Accessibility and Inclusive Design

Ensure your website is accessible to all users, including those with disabilities. Consider factors such as colour contrast, text alternatives for images and keyboard navigation.

Web Development Best Practice

The development phase is where your website comes to life. Following best practices ensures a high quality, secure, efficient website that is easy to navigate. As well as a secure when website, best practices also show the importance of optimising website performance by minimising HTTP requests, leveraging caching techniques, and optimizing images and other media files.

Understanding Web Development Technologies

Familiarise yourself with the technologies involved in web development, such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Understanding their capabilities and limitations helps you make informed decisions during the development process.

Clean Code and Optimisation

Develop clean, well-structured code to ensure your website performs optimally with no hidden JavaScript or CSS code slowing down the site. Optimise images and other media files to reduce page load times and enhance user experience.

Cross-Browser Compatibility

Test your website across multiple browsers and devices to ensure consistent functionality and appearance. Consider the varying rendering engines and browser versions to create a seamless experience for all users.

Content Management Systems (CMS)

Consider using a CMS like WordPress or Shopify to simplify the website management and design process. You will need to evaluate aspects like features, scalability, cost, and ease of use when choosing which CMS to use.

SEO and Website Optimisation

Building a visually appealing website is only half the battle. Optimising your webpages for search engines is crucial for driving organic traffic and improving your website’s visibility. SEO involves optimising various on-page and off-page factors to enhance a website’s organic search visibility.

There is a lot of software out there to help you in your SEO journey. Here is a guide to help you understand the different tools out there and how best to utilise them.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Learn the basics of SEO and how search engines rank websites. Develop a solid understanding of keywords, metadata and on-page optimisation techniques. SEO involves a series of techniques and strategies that help websites rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) when users search for relevant keywords or phrases. Search engine algorithms evaluate a number of aspects including content quality, keyword usage, meta tags, and page structure, along with off-page factors like backlinks, social signals, etc.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is crucial in any SEO strategy. Identify relevant keywords and phrases that your target audience uses to search for businesses like yours. Incorporate these keywords strategically throughout your website’s content, headings, and meta tags. By conducting keyword research, you will gain valuable insights into searcher behaviour, searcher intent and search trends. This will allow you to optimise your content for better visibility in search engine results pages (SERPS).

Optimise Your Content

Write high-quality, informative content that aligns with your brand to effectively target your audience and their search intent. Optimise your content to include relevant keywords, internal and external links and engaging multi-media elements. Remember when writing your content, you are writing for your audience who may not be experts and understand industry terminology. So don’t fill your content with necessary jargon that will baffle your audience.

Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO refers to the strategies carried out outside the website to improve your search engine rankings, such as backlinks, social media engagement and influencer outreach. This helps build website authority, especially for new websites.

Build a strong online presence by earning backlinks from reputable websites in your industry. Engage in content marketing, social media promotion, and influencer collaborations to boost your website’s authority.

Website Analytics

Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)

Your website’s success is measured not only by traffic but also by conversions. Enhance your website’s ability to convert visitors into leads and customers. Analyse user behaviour and make data-driven changes to the design of the webpage to help maximise your chosen conversion.

Optimising Website Elements

When designing your website use best practices for optimising website elements such as call-to-action buttons, forms, and landing pages. When the website is live you can then test different variations, use compelling copy, and create a sense of urgency to drive conversion.

Analytics

Use the various analytics tools (google analytics and search console) to track and analyse user behaviour on your website. Gain insights into user interactions, bounce rates, and conversion funnels. Use this data to identify areas for improvement and refine your conversion strategies.

Website Maintenance and Updates

Website maintenance and updates are essential for ensuring the optimal performance, security, and user experience of a website. Regular maintenance includes tasks like monitoring the website’s functionality, checking for broken links or errors, updating software and plugins, and optimising site speed.

Regular software & plugin updates

Stay up to date with the latest software updates, security patches, and bug fixes. Regularly update your website’s CMS, plugins, and themes to safeguard against vulnerabilities.

Regular Content Updates

Refresh your website’s content regularly to provide new and valuable information to your visitors. Keep your product and service offerings up to date and share relevant industry insights through blog posts or articles. Consistency is also key here. Can you commit to publishing a set amount of blogs each month? 

Website Monitoring & Security

Website monitoring and security are vital aspects of maintaining a secure and reliable online presence. Use website monitoring tools to track performance and security threats. Set up daily backups to protect your data. Implementing robust security measures, such as regular security audits, SSL certificates, firewalls, and strong user authentication protocols, helps to mitigate risks and prevent unauthorised access or data breaches.

Creating a well-structured, engaging website design with optimised call-to-actions involves a strategic combination of planning, design, development, and optimisation. By following the principles and best practices outlined in this definitive guide, you can unlock the full potential of your website to generate leads, enhance user experience, and drive business growth.

Check out my A-Z of SEO Terms for a jargon free approach to understanding websites & SEO.

Remember, a well-designed and professionally built website is an invaluable asset in today’s digital landscape and should not be overlooked as a major part of your marketing and lead generation efforts.

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