Updated: Aug 1
Pick the Right Design for your Website
Websites are crucial tools for maintaining an online presence, but they aren’t designed overnight. There are several important steps to take before you even begin building your site to ensure it will accurately reflect your brand, attract new clients, and function properly each day. Here are some preliminary steps you can take as you look to choose a website design that best suits your business.
Step 1: Define your goals
As strange as it may sound, it is always helpful to write down your goals before you design a website. A website can be a lengthy project, and like you would plan out your education or career path, it is important to know your site’s goals and purpose. In other words, ask yourself what you would like to achieve with your site and let that inform your choice of design. For example, a website designed to sell products will appear differently than a website that advertises services: you would need to consider how your customers can purchase your products, what to do if a product is out of stock, and how to promote new products. Even defining simple goals like these will help you choose the appropriate elements, accessibility features, and future updates to implement in your design.
Step 2: Explore personal vs professional website builder options
While there are a number of web design platforms available on the market, before you subscribe to any of them, ask yourself if you would like to embark on your website journey on your own or with the help of a professional. Website builders (or content management systems) today are fairly easy to use for basic design customization with drag-and-drop technology, but more sophisticated coding and full-stack development for personalized web apps is best done by an expert.
A platform like Wix.com offers the best of both personal and professional web design. The Wix Editor features diverse pricing packages for different creative routes, including templates, basic artificial intelligence (Wix ADI), and a custom domain name. For businesses looking for more complex design and personalization, Velo by Wix provides the added benefits of development and coding that will allow your website to truly be one-of-a-kind and suit your business perfectly. Since coding is not necessarily a skill everyone has, it can be helpful to use the services of a web design company to ensure your website turns out exactly as you envisioned. If you are just getting started with your website design process, an expert, like CodeMasters Inc., can also help you establish your framework, plan your developments, and make recommendations for your business’ soon-to-be online presence.
Step 3: Choose your website elements and tools
Now that you have definite goals and you have settled on how you would like to build your website, it’s time to choose what elements and tools you would like incorporated into your website design. If you are working from a template, take the time to explore it and investigate what features are built in and which ones you can add and remove. If you have decided to work with a web design agency, you can start brainstorming what kind of tools and elements you want created specifically for your site. Don’t be afraid to browse some of your favourite websites to see design examples and find inspiration for yours. If you find something you would like recreated for your site, let your expert know.
Some of the website elements you will need to choose for your design are menus, colour schemes, fonts, headers and footers, motion and animations, and scroll effects. You will even need to consider white space in your design to give room to “breathe” between images ad content. Some tools you might want to include could be scheduling software, an online store, social media integration, videos, and even music. The possibilities really are endless, and it’s up to you to make sure to include the elements and tools that are most appropriate for your website. With the Velo development platform, CodeMasters Inc. has been consistently successful in creating unique web tools and ensuring complete website functionality for our clients.
Step 4: Consider sections for written content
Like the white space on your website that gives your user room to “breathe,” written content can help slow down their experience and prompt them to reflect more critically on the value and proven success of your product or service. Written content can take on various forms, like a blog, a series of testimonials, or an FAQ page, and it functions to establish your reputation as an expert, engage with your community, and increase traffic towards the rest of your site. Website tools are great for navigating your site and ensuring a smooth browsing experience, but they don’t engage clients in the same way as a compelling story.
As you continue planning your design, take some time to think about how you might be able to integrate some written content into your website. A blog may initially seem difficult to manage, but you can write about whatever you want, like the stories of your employees or tips and tricks for your industry. Some brief comments or reviews from your existing clients can also be an effective addition to your website. Start off small with your written content, and experiment with different forms until you discover what works best for your business.
Step 5: Review accessibility features
Accessibility is (finally!) becoming a priority across all the areas of our lives, and an accessible website quickly signals to new customers and clients that your business recognizes their diverse needs and is willing to accommodate them. Web accessibility, in its most basic form, means that websites, tools, and other technologies are designed and developed so that people with disabilities can effectively use them. All your users should be able to “perceive, understand, navigate, and interact” with your website, as well as “contribute” if needed (W3C Web Accessibility Initiative).
The spectrum of disability, impairment, and limitation is quite vast, ranging from permanent disability (auditory, cognitive, neurological, physical, speech, visual), to temporary injuries, to changing abilities due to ageing, to everything else in between. As you begin making decisions about your website design, take a step back and reflect on how someone with a disability might feel using your site. Maybe your headers should be changed to identify different pages or levels of information more clearly; maybe you could add an accessibility description to images and diagrams or captions to videos. All these small adjustments make a world of difference.
Step 6: Start building your website
After defining your goals, choosing your design platform, brainstorming your design elements and tools, making room for written content, and reviewing accessibility features, you are finally ready to start building your website. You will encounter many other decisions along the way to the final version of your website, but as you begin this new project for your business, keep these five basics in your back pocket. Good luck, and don’t hesitate to use the people and resources around you for help.