If you’re a website designer, then clearly your design skills are important, and a lot of emphases is put on how user-friendly or visually appealing a website is. However, there are several other things that you should take into consideration, not only during your planning stage but during the actual execution of a new website.
Here’s a list of a few key factors you should keep in mind during the design process.
Picking a Domain Name
It's significantly more challenging now to find an available domain name, especially if you want to use the.com TLD. Try to come up with a domain name that’s memorable as well as simple to type in. And obviously, if you’re creating a website for a company brand, you want to incorporate that brand name into the domain.
Your website is quite the face of your company. Your homepage is what greets new visitors. So who you are and what you are about, needs to be clearly stated. Your brand should be front and center. What message does your brand convey? What are your brand’s values? Make sure your website answers these questions and clearly defines who you are.
Does Your Website Have a Purpose?
Depending on what you want to achieve with your website, you need to keep that in mind as you design and implement a new site. If you are simply serving up information to readers, the layout would be different from a website whose purpose is to drive sales or generate leads. In those last two cases, a design that focuses on a clear call to action is necessary.
Consider Privacy and Security
Is this new website an eCommerce website, or any type of site that collects sensitive information? Even if it isn’t, all sites today should be protected with an SSL certificate. There are also security plug-ins that should be installed as soon as the site goes live, even if it’s still in the testing stage, in order to protect it from any sort of malicious code being injected into the website.
At the very least, consider installing a good firewall, or do some research on the top softwares for privacy. A better idea is to use a VPN also. Even though you could be doing the designing and developing in your own office, connected to your own secure network, it’s a good idea to provide that extra layer of protection for yourself and for your client. Their privacy needs should come before anything else.
Ultimately, do whatever you can to ensure your customers or visitors understand that they're safe on your website.
SEO isn’t just about links in your content. The structure of your site in the backend can have an impact on how well your site is optimized for search engines. It may mean doing some research to understand current SEO needs, but your clients will thank you for in the long run.
Make Sure Your Site Is Mobile Friendly
In the last year or so, Google’s algorithm has begun to put significantly more emphasis on whether a website is mobile friendly. If it’s not, Google is burying sites in the search engine results. They’ve done this because as of 2018 more searches take place on mobile than they do on desktop browsers.
Clearly, Google needs to address these searches and make sure the results provided a lead to a website that’s mobile friendly. You have a couple of options here in the design process. You can either create two independent sites, one for desktop applications, and another unique mobile site, or you can just create one site that will render properly on any type of device.
What’s above the Fold?
In the old days of full-size newspapers, leading headlines were above the fold. It was front and center, and the first thing a reader saw. Today, above the fold applies to whatever appears on the monitor before someone has to scroll down.
When someone lands on your website, whether they are using a desktop browser or a mobile browser, the first thing they see, the first impression you make, is with what’s above the fold.
Make sure you make a good first impression.
Don’t Be Too Busy
No, I’m not suggesting you should be lazy. But along with making a good first impression, you don’t want to throw too much at a visitor when they arrive on your site. If there’s too much going on it can be more annoying than anything, and often times it will distract visitors from what your message is all about. A simple, clean design is far more appealing and more likely to make visitors stay instead of running away.
Sam Makad is a business consultant. He helps small & medium enterprises to grow their businesses and overall ROI. You can follow Sam on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.