Web Design 101

Here are five things you need to know about launching a brand-new site

You’ve established your business, and now you’re ready to build your online presence. A great website will expand your company’s reach, increase name recognition, boost engagement and, ultimately, drive sales. We developed a crash course to help you launch a stunning new site that will make scrollers want to stay awhile. Read on for our tips:

1. Know Your Business

When it comes to web design, many people struggle with where to even begin. A clear understanding of who your business is, the purpose it serves, your key goals and vision are essential before you begin. Ask yourself, what job was my company founded to do?

Andi Summers, our digital marketing manager, says: “Your business was created to reach a specific goal, and your website should serve as a key tool in achieving your objectives.” Every single design choice should lead back to your main purpose. Think of your website as a virtual extension of your company’s core values. If you are unsure of what you stand for, your customers will be, too.

2. Know Your Audience

Once you understand who you are, it’s time to figure out your customer base. Determining who your website’s visitors are will greatly affect how you approach your site design. “Every decision you make about your website’s design should be determined by what your users find valuable,” Andi says. Buyer personas informed by demographic data will help you to determine your site’s target audience.

3. Consider the Design

Once you’ve nailed down your purpose and have an understanding of your target audience, it’s time to start building your site. Wix, WordPress, Squarespace and Weebly are popular web-building software perfect for beginners—no coding skills required! Explore your options and determine which platform fits your price point and preferences.

While it’s easy to get carried away with fonts, colors and images, it’s important to always remember your brand and what you represent. In doing so, you need to maintain a certain look and feel. Art Director Michael Fischer believes design consistency adds credibility: “Sites with inconsistent fonts and color schemes are not only visually unappealing, but it can also seem illegitimate to users.” Create brand guidelines, and stick to them. Your identity needs to symbolize your character and personality, no matter the medium.

4. Add Value

According to Time, you have less than 15 seconds to capture a user’s attention. Visitors seek out your website as a solution to their problems. If they don’t find a solution quickly, they’ll click away. Make sure your website helps fulfill their need. If your goal is for users to purchase your product, the shopping and buying processes should be extremely clear and simple.

An easy way to do that: Steer clear of large blocks of text. Add images and videos to give your web pages that “wow” factor. Your call to action and purpose should repeat throughout your site in many different forms. “No matter where a user lands on your site, it should always be perfectly clear who you are, what you do and why you matter,” Michael says.

5. Make it Functional

So you’ve made a great-looking website. Now you have to make it functional. According to data from Akamai, if your website takes longer than three seconds to load, you could be losing nearly half of your visitors. Optimizing load time leads to improvements in customer experience and, ultimately, sales revenue.

Test your website, test it again, then ask someone else to give it a look. Make sure your buttons are clickable, links direct to the correct pages, images are appropriately sized and videos work properly. A website with broken functions breaks a user’s trust.

After you test your site on your computer, try your phone. According to BrightEdge, more than half of users view digital content on phone screens rather than computer monitors. Learn more about creating mobile-friendly content for your brand on our blog.

After you have finished fine-tuning your site, go back to square one. Did you accomplish your main objectives? Analytics and tracking tools can help you gain quality feedback about your website’s success and where you have room for improvements. A website’s work is never finished. Continually use data to inform upgrades and improvements to make your website even more successful in achieving your company’s goals.

Want more tips on creating a website that tells your brand’s unique story? Let’s Yak. We’d love to help.

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