Much like the values we apply to our daily lives, Website Design comes with a set of principals that clients and developers can use to ensure they end up with a website that pleases. ‘Pleases’ is used here to mean it meets your site’s goals. Specific website goals are an important topic best defined and discussed at length before even considering development.
1. Content is King
Content is the ‘value’ of a website. Sites that provide a lot of great information perform better than those that do not, so make sure you offer content that your users find valuable and update it as often as possible. Having a really visually pleasing website is great, but don’t spare great content.
2. Be an Advocate for Your Users
When making decisions, it’s always best to let the users dictate your choices. When you put them first, usually the choice becomes obvious. For example: if users aren’t following the flow from your homepage to your sign-up form, examine your current design, remove any obstacles or distractions and make it clearer and easier for them to choose. High quality content paired with a well-designed user experience can make visitors feel that making a choice isn’t even necessary.
3. Let your Content Flow Naturally
The days of designing pixel-perfect designs are over, and you can thank Responsive Design for that. Modern web sites are viewed across a multitude of devices from handheld smart phones to indie-movie theater-sized HD home displays. It’s simply impossible to build a unique experience for each device. Instead designers and developers use a small set of principals to ensure our sites look their best on any device. The most important principal being not to insist on an exact placement of elements in your pages, but instead building elements in such a way as to allow them to grow and adjust as necessary. This has a nice side effect in that your content can then grow or shrink naturally without the need for adjustments or re-designs. If elements are boxed in on all flanks, it becomes more laborious to make changes or add content down the road.
4. Upgrades are Cool
Re-designs are necessary, but if you’re committing to a re-build, make sure you’ll be on a solid foundation that will allow you to make adjustments or add new features in the future. Re-designs can take several months or even a year or more and they’re an exhausting process. Everything under the sun has to be considered and by the time it launches you can already see the paint losing its sheen along the edges. Everything from code dependencies and framework support to content flow will affect your ability to upgrade post-build. It doesn’t have to look generic to be upgradable either, but it’s important to keep your brand clear and simple. Avoiding unnecessary complexities and practicing good visual communication standards will go a long way.
5. Continue the Conversation after Conversion
There are so many ways to engage your customers after the sale. Using your website as a catalyst for this conversation can increase your exposure and improve your online reputation. Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Yelp , Google+… successful marketing campaigns accommodate and work in tandem with all of these sites.
Creating a successful web product isn’t easy, but these are 5 great tips to help you start the process. If you would like to learn more about creating a successful website or what Go Local can do to help, check out our Web Development page or contact us today. Also, If you link to this article, make sure to use ‘Tips’ in the headline, from what I hear that means it is 100% guaranteed SEO friendly optimized 200% supercharged hotness.