Blog: Website Design

The Definitive Guide to Great Web Design, part 4: Bringing it All Together

Posted by in Website Design on Thursday, July 3, 2014

Website Design

In previous posts we've discussed the separate aspects that go into creating a great experience for your website's visitors. In this final post, we'll wrap up the key points we've discussed so far, plus a few extra considerations that will truly make your site stand out.

Start With a Plan

Out of everything that customers can do on your website, which actions are most important? Why do visitors come to your website? And what brings them back? Understanding the answers to these questions can help you set realistic goals for what you want your website to accomplish.
Get specific with your goal setting early on in the process – hone in on the kinds of actions that lead to profitable results, and look for ways to increase the number of people who take those actions.

Give Your Customers What They Want

Bottom Line: Create a web experience that makes it easy for customers to do what they came to your website to accomplish.
There are many ways to approach this, but one of the most effective is to create accurate customer personas that will provide insight into the various pain points and needs that your customers face. Look for ways to highlight how your business addresses those customer pain points as you redesign your site.

Keep it Organized

Great information and appealing messaging are only valuable when customers can access them easily. Put together a sitemap that presents information logically and in a way that is likely to appeal to your target audience. In cases where there are multiple ways that information could be organized, try to get customer feedback on the best option.

Make your homepage a clear stepping stone to deeper content. Always answer these important questions:

  • Where am I? (What kind of site is this?)
  • What can I do here? (Major services/products/tools)
  • How do I take the next step? (Menu options, button choices, etc.)

Bring it Together

You've set goals for your target audience. You've taken the time to understand what your customers are looking for, and you have a logical sitemap to help them find what they need most. Now it's time to put it all together and create your site. Where do you start?

If you're working with a professional website design firm, you can expect that a lot of activity will happen concurrently. Your design choices in terms of color and the overall look and feel of the site may well happen at the same time new copy is being fleshed out for your web pages.

This is important because messaging in a text file can look very different when presented on a webpage. As your new website comes together, pay particular attention to:

Headings & Subheadings

Headings should stand out from surrounding text without taking up too much space on the page, and their messaging should communicate value in the form of addressing major pain points, providing highly relevant information, or providing context for the text that follows.

Never waste valuable screen real estate with headings like "Welcome".

Body Copy

Body copy should be clear and legible, with adequate spacing to make it easy to read. Keep lines of text relatively short, and keep the paragraphs brief. Whenever possible, break up long lists via bullet points to make them easier to read.

Images

Images naturally draw attention, and there are many good ways to use them, including:

  • Providing visual clarity for a complicated concept
  • As a visual representation of your product or service
  • As an attention-grabbing offer or promotion
  • To illustrate data to make it easier to remember

Never use images as a place holder on your site – make your images work to improve conversions rather than distract visitors.

Forms

The best forms are easy to fill out and simple to complete. Take visitors through a logical progression of information, and don't ask for too much, too soon. Remember, the goal is always to get visitors to submit the form so it may make sense to take only basic information up front and ask for more, later.

Links/Navigation

Make it easy for visitors to see where they've been on your site, as well as where they are now. The use of "breadcrumbs" (text links at the top of the page that show the pathway to the current page) is one way to make sure that users don't get lost on your site, but there are other methods as well.

Be sure that whatever option you choose fits with your site and with users' expectations.

Build a Community

People are more likely to buy from companies they trust. One of the best ways to build trust online is by creating a sense of community around your website. Give people a reason to continue to visit your site, and as they grow to trust your brand they are more likely to become a customer.

There are many ways to build a web community, including:

  • Blogs
  • Industry news and links
  • Online forums
  • Webinars
  • Freebies
  • Downloadable files
  • Technical advice

The goal is to make your site a valuable destination for your target audience. If you need ideas about what kind of content would be most useful, take a look at the customer personas you created. Design your content around the information that those personas need in order to make a purchase and you'll be well on your way.

Your Turn…

How does your company approach your website's redesign? Are there more questions we could answer for you? Let us know!

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