Expert Tips For How to Design a Website
A web presence is essential in a digital world, especially if you’re a business or brand. Did you know that the very first website was launched on August 6, 1991? Now there are nearly 1.9 billion of them! But how do you even design a website in the first place?
A website uses 3 main languages to set its framework, design, and performance
- HTML defines the basic structure and accessibility of websites
- CSS sets the presentation, style characteristics, and layout of its pages.
So how about in plain English this time…
Let’s break that down step by step, shall we?
Set your intent
What’s your purpose in creating the site? Got a product to sell or a service to promote? Maybe you want to start a blog or portfolio or new social hub, and the term “Community Standards” makes your head want to explode. Set your own! Having a clear picture of why you’re creating will make the flow of this process so much easier from start to finish.
Choose a host or website builder
A site host like Vultr or SiteGround may be all you need if you truly want to create your site from scratch. But if that’s a little more in-depth than you’re interested in, check out a website builder such as WordPress and Zyro. Wanna simplify the process even more? Agency Partner can take care of web development for you!
Register your domain name
There are three primary, customizable parts to a domain name:
- Subdomain: typically ‘www’ (#funfact it can technically be any combo of letters!)
- Root domain: your unique site address
- Top-Level Domain: .com, .net, and .org are most common
Depending on availability, you can purchase a domain name for as little as $2.99 annually. Think about what your full URL might look like when choosing each part. Consider the relevance of TLDs in your niche and industry; for example, .org typically doesn’t make much sense for an eCommerce site.
Define the layout
The structure can be critical to the success of a website. If navigation is not clear or intuitive to the user, they won’t stick around, and your bounce rate metric will skyrocket. No Bueno!
Consider your brand
Make sure the site reflects the brand and its messaging. Even an artist building that online portfolio or a non-profit seeking online donations need a clear brand identity. From the micro and UX copy of your hamburger menu to any site error messages, the tone of voice must be consistent across the entire site. How about the color palette? If you have a brand logo, is it being thoughtfully placed in your design?
Prep your content
Think about what relevant types of content can help you build authority and trustworthiness in your industry to drive traffic and engage your ideal customer avatar. Batch create your content as far in advance as possible, try using content calendars to stay organized, and always hit that ‘Preview’ button before you publish anything!
Strategize your SEO
How do your customers find you in an ocean of competition these days? Through search engine optimization, or SEO! This affects almost everything about your site, right down to that domain name you picked. Consider your keyword strategies when creating content, defining your user interface (UI), and even crafting back-end content like metadata! Ensure these keywords are terms your customers would naturally use when looking for what you offer, and always follow SEO best practices.
Include useful pages
Could your site’s users benefit from an FAQ? Need a ‘Contact Us’ or booking page? Always keep first in mind your users’ needs and experience while they’re visiting. Anything that you can make native to your site to minimize site redirection is ideal! If you’re a restaurant, make sure to have your current menu, contact info, business hours, etc., directly available within your own site so that the user doesn’t need to go anywhere else for it!
Design your website elements
Popular user-friendly platform Canva is an excellent resource, both its free and Pro versions, especially if you’re more of a beginner with graphic design, though Photoshop and Adobe XD remain the industry standard. Both YouTube and Skillshare host tons of design tutorials for all skill levels. Remember that a very elements-heavy site will likely run slower for your users than a more streamlined, minimalist approach. Good news for you beginners! For website design ideas, we love perusing Pinterest and Elementor. Also, hiring a pro graphic designer might be a wise investment, time- and money-wise. A site that doesn’t truly look polished and professional is much less likely to be trusted as a legitimate page.
Make it accessible for everyone.
ADA compliance across the digital space has seen a massive push in recent years, and we at API are here for it. In fact, complying makes you eligible for a tax deduction of up to $5,000! Not sure if yours is up to compliance standards? Check out these tips, or have API do a full site audit for you!
Optimize for device compatibility
Approximately half of all website traffic comes from mobile devices as of 2017, so it’s essential to consider how your site will look and function outside of just a standard computer.
Set up back-end analytics
If your web builder doesn’t have site analytics built-in, or you need a deeper view, consider signing up for Google Analytics for insight into your site’s performance.
Now for the scariest part of all – Hit ‘Publish’!
Yep, it’s definitely a lot, but take it one step at a time. You got this! You no longer have to know the ins and outs of coding to build a beautiful, user-friendly website. Of course, that’s not to say using a site builder is easy enough for absolutely everyone or that everyone has the time to build a site themselves. So, if you don’t get this, remember Agency Partner is one Contact Us page away!