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Choosing a website design professional … or leave it all to chance on a free service.
From a local plumber to a multimillion dollar international company, the one thing that most businesses have in common is the need for a website or a website design professional. to have an online presence to either attract new customers or enhance the brand and experience for the existing ones. Having an online visibility is critical now, with more and more consumers heading onto Google and searching for what they want, rather than spending hours hunting around the high street or speaking to other people for recommendations. Basically, to be online is no longer something that is just a nice addition to your overall marketing, it is now one of the first things you need to consider when launching a new company or pushing forward with an existing one.
From Pensacola to Mobile and Gulf Breeze to Jacksonville website design, SEO, and graphic design matters.
More and more people head online to get what they want in the age of smart phones and tablets, so if your company does not have a website or has been reluctant to employ someone to build one, just imagine how many potential customers you are missing out on. So, why are people sometimes reluctant to go to a website design professional in the first place? I am sure the answer will vary from person to person when you ask this question, the most common answers will often revolve around price or simply not knowing who to go to when they are so many website design companies in the surrounding area. Quite often, not knowing how much something is going to cost or who to get to do it for you are the key elements that either stop people moving forward with a website, or lead them to believe that it might be better to do it themselves.
Although many people and businesses around the country do indeed make their own website and in fact are probably very proud of it, I think it is important to ask how many would also mend their own car if it was broken or would fix a boiler should it go bang on a winters evening. The point I am making here is that, yes, you can probably do something that works, but by employing an experienced and website design professional, you would be getting something that really works and works going forward. When it comes to using professional people to do certain jobs, the reason we use them is because they know their own industry and they know what to deliver to get the best results for consumers, and whilst many of us probably think we can knock up a quick website and business will start flowing through it, the reality is we normally end up with something that looks poor and not only does not get any traffic, but we are also too embarrassed to show any potential customers because it really does not match the standards of our firm.
A website design professional has many benefits.
Paying someone that offers value is always something to think about, because not only would using a website designer mean you are going to get a look, feel and operating system that you love, but they also bring with them a wealth of experience that can mean your website is not just a pretty thing to look at, but that it also gets you business. These days, just having a website is not enough, you need to know how to get it ranking in the search engines (SEO), how to use it with Social Media, how to promote it via Pay Per Click and also some general help with your online marketing, and whilst a website company might not know everything, they can help you where they can and often put you in touch with others that might know more. An experienced website design company will have been there and got the t-shirt, hat and coat, because they will know far more about what makes a good website than most others. Just having something that looks good is not enough, you need to have something that is optimized, offers the user an easy navigational experience, is responsive and generally covers a lot of bases that all lead towards websites that work. Design, coding and delivering are three elements that come together and push towards a good end result, which is why they will often sit down with you and plan your approach before starting any work, as they want to get it just right just as much as you do. So, if you are thinking of getting a website but still have doubts about just what a website design professional company can do for you, draw up a list of what you want from your new site or a specification document and go and speak to a few, because they least you will get is advice, but the most you will get is an online presence that could literally transform your business.
Almost every business or individual working in today’s market has a website. Sadly, a large number of these websites are poorly designed or come straight from a WordPress template; this is not going to help you stand out or get ahead.
Good website design is a must in today’s highly visual market. The way your site looks tells users whether they want to interact or do business with you in just a fraction of a second. One glance can turn someone into a customer, or force that person to click away. (As a bonus, today’s post is filled with website design inspiration from the Design Shack gallery. Enjoy!)
First Impressions Matter
The design and placement of elements on your website will take hours, weeks or even months, but whether it works or not will be decided in an instant. That first impression from a new user will determine if and how he or she continues to interact with your site, brand or business. A visually pleasing design scheme will help that first glance last longer and retain users.
The visuals that will grab the most attention the quickest include a strong image or illustration, sharp contrast or something unusual on the screen, and a phrase or wording that is memorable.
You can use eyetracking studies and information to help you plan a wireframe that users will be drawn to. Here are the elements that people often look at first:
Main image or graphic, particularly if it is large or oversized
Branding or logo
Main navigation to get an idea of what the site contains
Text or a written message in large lettering
The website footer or contact information
You Are the Image You Portray
Look at each of the websites above. Do you know what the sites or brands are about? Whether you do (or only think you do), every website is about the images it portrays.
Strong visuals and a clean, organized design lend legitimacy to a website. These elements can also help establish trust in your brand, which is especially important if your website is trying to convert a sale. A user will equate the experience he or she has on your website with the experience they are likely to have with you in person. (Think of it this way: if images of food aren’t appealing on your website, they will assume the taste is poor; or if you promote a concert venue and tickets are difficult to find or buy, the user might think the live event will be poorly organized.)
A more chaotic design or haphazard look to your website can tell visitors that you don’t care about or believe in your business. It can cause a user to pause before making an interaction or force them to shy away from your company altogether.
Users will make a million different assumptions about your company or brand based solely on the website design. It’s your job to make sure the site sends out the message you want people to receive about your business.
If you are unsure about how to proceed with a website design, the best advice is to stick to the basics. Hire a professional who has a good understanding of you and your business.
Tell Users What is Important
Good website design starts with hierarchy. A defined hierarchy is important from a business perspective because it prioritizes information for the busy user. If someone has a limited amount of time to interact with your site, you should aesthetically define what’s important so your message can be communicated at a glance.
When thinking about the overall hierarchy of a website design, group each new thought or page with structure.
The most important thing you have to showcase. It helps to have a strong or unusual visual with a simple text block. Use an image or video, scale and color to make this element stand out more than anything else.
A supporting detail. What does the user need to completely understand the most important element? Construct an element that is smaller and more subtle than the main element (often a secondary line or text, invitation to click or scroll, or even navigation). These elements often have a simple design that does not compete with the main design feature.
Call to action. Every website should have some sort of user goal in mind. Make it obvious. This element can contain a special color or button or fun element such as a simple animation.
Branding, Branding, Branding
A website is your public branding portal. Anyone in the world can learn about a company, individual or project with a simple online search. Your website creates an image of who you are and what you want the international community to know about you, your product or service. On your website, you control the message.
A good website conveys this information in an obvious way. It is also how you tell your brand story. While you can’t control all of the information out there, your website should contain information that shows users the type of brand you are. Images and text should come together in a way that reflects the mood and tone of your company.
Are you fun or serious? Do you work with adults or children? What products or services do you offer? Why are you the best at what you do? The content of your website should answer these questions in text or with visuals.
What About Mobile or Apps?
The technological needs of every business are different. But is it important to understand the mobile market that is growing daily.
I have a simple recommendation: every website you build or have should be responsive. If you don’t have the time or budget to think about an app, this is the solution. It also resolves branding issues with having two websites – one desktop and one mobile – that may not be completely in sync.
Today’s websites must be responsive.
10 Elements of Good Website Design
So what makes a great website that will keep users coming back? It starts with the basics of design, adds in modern technology, and is a site that is highly usable and functional. We talk about good design, and design practices and techniques, all the time here at Design Shack, so you should be able to learn a lot from the articles on this site.
Here are 10 elements to consider:
Logo and branding
Simple typography that is easy to read
Defined color palette
Easy user interface tools and elements that work in intuitive ways
Navigation that moves users through the site
Strong images that showcase your brand
Concise and targeted copy
Easy to understand calls-to-action
Your brand story told in a way that connects with users
Modern design techniques and interface
Every user may have a different idea of what makes a “good” website design because it is partially in the eye of the beholder, but by using basic design principles and thinking about usability and website goals, you can create a site that looks good and works well for users.
In the planning phases, think about first impressions, your overall image, importance of information, branding, and how the user will interact with a site to help ensure you create the best website design possible.