How to Design a Website: Critical Considerations for Business Owners and Decision Makers
The web is becoming more and more focused on delivering an ideal customer experience, and that often means breaking up larger parent websites into smaller ones that focus on solving a particular problem or challenge on the part of a company’s customer base. If you’re planning such a move, you could well be wondering how to design a website that accomplishes that while still tying into your overall brand.
The first step in how to design a website has nothing to do with coding, or even creating mood boards. Instead, it comes down to accurate planning. There’s a lot that must be addressed before you take the first step toward creating the site, and you’ll need to answer some key questions here.
Before doing anything else, gather the information you’ll need, as well as the stakeholders who should be involved in the planning process. Often, you’ll need more people than just your web team, and this may include product specialists, customer service experts, and even some your firm’s C-suite. Essentially, everyone must sit down together to hammer out the answers to questions like the following:
- What is the goal of this website? What problem are we solving for our audience?
- How will this website be built?
- Who is the intended audience of this website and what are their pain points or challenges?
- What does our audience need in order to create a positive user experience?
- What is your audience thinking and feeling before visiting your website?
How You’ll Build It
Once you have the planning out of the way, and you’ve done your due diligence in investigating what your audience wants, needs, and expects, it’s time to venture into the building aspect. How will you build your site? There are quite a few options.
DIY – Perhaps the most time-consuming option is to build the site in-house. If you have a team of developers with coding skills, this can be an excellent way to maintain complete control over all aspects of your website design and functionality. However, if your team is not up to date on their design skills, or your business doesn’t employ a web design team, then this option may not be right for you.
CMS – You could go with a content management system (CMS), such as WordPress. With a simple theme and some time spent tweaking and adjusting things, you could have a decent website up and running in short order. However, the problem here is that those themes are frequently re-used from company to company, so you’re really not building something unique to your business. There are also vulnerabilities to worry about, as well as other issues like licensing fees.
Professional – The simplest and most direct option for how to design a website is to hire a professional team to do it on your behalf. This ensures full control, but also saves you time, money, and hassle while ensuring you are able to build a website that addresses all of your goals and your visitors’ pain points.
It might sound odd to talk about search engine optimisation before anything else, but keywords and phrases must be defined before you start creating pages or page content. Google makes it simple to research the terms you’ll need to rank for with their free keyword tool. You also need to go deeper than just optimising your text content. Technical SEO elements like page load speed, meta descriptions and titles, and image optimisation also matter.
You’ve laid the groundwork, and now it’s time to start with the foundation to your website – a site map. Really, a site map is nothing more than a way for you to preview the pages that will make up your site and how they are all interlinked together.
With your site map out of the way, you need to create the content for each page. All of your pages should be unique and deliver valuable content to your audience. When it comes to how to design a website, accurate content creation, design, and placement are of paramount importance. It’s not just about SEO, either. Your content should inform, educate, and deliver value to your audience, helping to solve their problem. Use empathy maps to help ensure that your content is able to do the job.
We’ve outlined key steps in the process of how to design a website. You still have more work, though. You’ll need to use mood boards to communicate aesthetic considerations and layout to your designer, as well as ensuring that you have the right backup and security solution planned out. Finally, you’ll need to find a way to announce your website to the world and drive traffic where you want it, while optimising the user experience.