6 Things To Consider When Designing Your Website
Whether you are starting a new business or revamping your existing brand, your website is one of the first things you’ll focus on. Your company’s website is your online storefront, so it’s vital that it looks professional, represents your company well, and satisfies your customers’ expectations.
Before jumping into the web design process, there are many things to consider, from the layout to the colors and fonts you choose to the functionality and user experience. Today, we will outline the most important factors to consider.
Your Essential Business Web Design Checklist
Your Target Audience. Who is the website for?
Your website should be designed with your target audience in mind. A customer-centric approach ensures your website answers their needs more precisely and keeps them coming back.If you’re not sure who your target audience is, take some time to research your competitors to understand their customer base. Existing businesses can use their Google Analytics accounts to gain insights into site visitors and their online behaviors. If you are launching a new website, install the Google Analytics code in your header to start tracking.Once you understand your target audience well, you can start planning with them in mind.
Create a site map
Creating a sitemap is a helpful way to plan out the structure and navigation of your website. Start by brainstorming all the pages and content you want to include, then organize them into a hierarchy. Your home page should be at the top, with other pages branching off from there.Ultimately, the size of your website will depend on the content you have and the site’s objectives. A smaller website with a few pages may be enough if you’re just starting out. You can add more pages and features as your business grows.
Your website content should be reflective of your business in every way. It’s an opportunity to highlight your brand personality and show your expertise. Keep these content tips in mind:
- Prioritize quality. Content should be professionally written and maintain a consistent tone throughout. Quality content impresses your customers—and it is also good for SEO!
- Make it beautiful. High-quality images are eye-catching and will compel site visitors to click around. You can have professional photos done, use stock photography, or a combination. You may also need professional headshots for your team or a group photo. Being able to connect your brand to real people highlights authenticity.
- Create support content. Do you frequently need to provide explainers or how-tos for your customers? Start compiling a support content library of downloadable PDFs, audio, video, infographics—whatever makes sense. These are tools that drive value for your target audience and, depending on the type of content (white papers, tip sheets, etc.), can also be used as lead magnets.
Some brands only exist online, which means their website is the only visual representation of the company. As such, it is essential to consider the brand image before the website takes shape. Reconsider any pre-existing branding or build a brand identity from scratch if this doesn’t exist.
- Logos. Professional logo design is worth the investment and can be used on all your marketing materials, from your website to your business cards.
- Colors. Not sure what colors to use? Try Adobe Color CC for inspiration or a color palette generator like Coolors.
- Fonts. Choose two or three fonts to use consistently across all your marketing materials. Google Fonts is an excellent resource for finding free, high-quality web fonts. Avoid anything too stylized or fancy. Your content needs to be easily read and understood by your audience.
Use your business’s colors, logo, and fonts throughout the site (and across all your online properties) to ensure a cohesive look.
Accessibility is critical from a legal standpoint. In many countries, including the United States, it’s required by law. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in all areas of public life, including website design. Making your website ADA compliant may also broaden your audience and position your brand as inclusive.
There are a few ways to ensure your website is accessible:
- Include alt-text for all images so people who are blind or have low vision can “read” the images on your website using screen-reading software.
- Add captions and transcripts for videos. This provides access for people who are deaf or hard of hearing and those who prefer to read instead of watch videos.
- Use clear and concise language to make your website easier to understand for people with cognitive disabilities or those who are not native English speakers.
If you’re not sure if your website meets accessibility standards, use an accessibility checker like WAVE or Axe to test it.
There are three levels of ADA website accessibility conformance:
- Level A is a bare minimum level of accessibility
- AA denotes that the target level of accessibility meets legal requirements
- AAA exceeds accessibility requirements
At the minimum, your website should be AA compliant. If you would like additional information about ADA website compliance, visit https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/10900-ada-website-requirements.html and search “what is WCAG?”
It is essential that your website is mobile-friendly and looks and performs consistently on any device—that is the meaning of responsive design. Google prioritizes responsive websites, so you won’t likely appear in search results if you’re missing the boat on this feature.
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