There are ten key elements to keep in mind when it comes to website design and development. In this article, I will discuss the various elements that your web designer should pay attention to when creating your website.
1. User-Friendly Website
The first and arguably most important element is user-friendliness. Your website should be easy to navigate and use, regardless of the user’s level of technological expertise. User-friendly websites are more likely to engage visitors for longer and when potential clients find what they are looking for with ease, they’re also more likely to convert into paying customers.
It’s best practice to ensure everything your ideal client needs to find on your website is less than three klicks away. This means that your key content should be easily accessible from the home page and website navigation. If you have a lot of content on your website, consider using a search bar to help visitors find what they’re looking for.
2. Responsive Website Design
In addition to being user-friendly, your website must also be responsive. This means that your website should adjust to fit any screen size, whether it’s being viewed on a desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. With more than half of web traffic coming from mobile devices, it’s essential that your website can be easily viewed and navigated on all screen sizes.
Responsive web design and development is also important for search engine optimisation. Google now penalises websites that are not mobile-friendly, so if you want to rank well on search engines, it’s important to make sure it’s responsive.
3. Your Website Navigation
Good website navigation will not only improve the user experience but also makes it easier for search engines to index. Your website navigation should be easy to understand and use, with a clear hierarchy that is easy to follow.
Some tips for good website navigation are:
- Use descriptive page titles that accurately reflect the content of the page
- Put your navigation in a standard place and make sure it’s accessible on mobile
- Consider what you want users to do on the website, but don’t forget what they might want to do as well (for example wanting to learn more about you)
- Consider using drop-down menus to streamline your menu items
- Use buttons for call to action
4. Spacing of Elements
The spacing of elements on your website is important for both aesthetic and functional purposes. If the elements are too close together, it can make your website look cluttered. On the other hand, if the elements are too far apart, it can make your website look empty and uninviting.
The spacing of elements also affects how easy it is for users to navigate your website. If its is too cluttered, users may have difficulty finding what they’re looking for. Likewise, if the website is too spread out, users may get lost and give up trying to find what they need.
The best website designs strike a balance between too much and too little space. The spacing of elements should also be consistent throughout for a cohesive look.
Some things to consider when determining the spacing of elements on your website are:
- The size of the content (text, images, etc.)
- The overall aesthetic
- The website’s purpose (e.g., eCommerce vs. informational website)
If you’re not sure how to space the elements on your website, a good rule of thumb is to start with larger spacing and then decrease the spacing until it looks right.
Your website should have clear call-to-actions (CTAs) so visitors know what you want them to do next. Your CTAs should be visible and easy to find, with a clear and concise message. The CTA should also be relevant to the page it’s on.
Some examples of call-to-actions are:
- Contact us
- Learn more
- Sign up now
- Download our free e-book
Your website’s CTAs should be designed to lead visitors further down the sales funnel. For example, if you’re selling a product, your CTA might be “Add to Cart.” If you’re promoting a webinar or other event, your CTA might be “Register Now.”
Think about what you want visitors to do on your website and make sure your CTAs are designed to encourage those actions.
6. Compelling Website Copy
Your website’s copy should be interesting, informative, and persuasive. It should be well-written and free of grammar and spelling errors. The copy should also be keyword-rich to help improve your website’s search engine optimization.
Some tips for writing compelling website copy are:
- Write in a clear and concise manner
- Use short sentences and paragraphs
- Use bullet points or numbered lists when possible
- Use active voice
- Focus on benefits, not features
- Use strong calls to action
Your website should tell visitors what they can expect to find on the website and why they should care. The website copy should be designed to convert visitors into leads or customers.
If you’re not a strong writer, consider hiring a copywriter to help you with your website’s copy. A good web design and development is worthless if the copy is poorly written.
7. SEO foundations
It is not your web designers job to get your website ranking on search engines. It is yours. But your web developer should build your website in a way it is SEO friendly to assist you in this process.
Some of the things that your website should have to be SEO friendly are:
- Use of proper title tags
- Use of proper Meta description
- Content is designed and laid out in an SEO-friendly way
- Optimised images with ALT text
- An XML sitemap
- A robots.txt file
- 301 redirects in place when needed
- Webpages load quickly
- Website is mobile friendly
If you are not sure if these items have been taken care of, ask your web developer. If they do not know what you are talking about, that is a sign they did not build your website with SEO in mind and you should consider finding someone else.
Building a website is not enough. You must also market your website to get traffic. But if your website is not built with SEO in mind, it will be much harder to rank high on search engines and get the organic traffic you want.
8. Website Speed
The speed of your website is important for two reasons:
- Users expect fast website speeds
- Search engines factor website speed into their ranking algorithms
Your website should be designed to load quickly, even on slow internet connections. Some things that can affect website speed are:
- Large images
- Too much code
- External scripts or widgets
Your website designer should be aware of website speed and how to optimise your website for fast loading times.
Website speed is important for both users and search engines, so it’s something you should keep in mind when designing or redesigning your website.
Your website should be easy to use for everyone, regardless of their ability. Website designers should be aware of accessibility and how to make sure your website meets WCAG guidelines.
Some things to consider when making your website accessible are:
- Use of proper ALT text for images
- Use of proper headings and structure
- Use of colour contrast
- Use of transcripts for audio and video content
- Ability to navigate the website using a keyboard only
People with disabilities should be able to use and access your website just as much as anyone else. By making your website accessible, you’re not only doing the right thing, but you’re also opening up your website to a larger audience.
10. Branding and pleasing aesthetics
Your website should be an extension of your brand. It should have a similar look and feel to your other marketing materials, such as your business cards, brochures, and print ads. Your website’s colours, fonts, and overall design should match your brand’s identity.
Your website should also be pleasing to the eye. The website’s colours should be complementary and not clash with each other. The website should have a clean and professional look.
The DIY look will usually result in a loss of trust and credibility.
Your website is a reflection of your brand, so it’s important to make sure it is an accurate representation.
If you’re not sure how to design your website to match your brand or make it pleasing to the eye, consider hiring a professional web designer.
Final Thoughts on Successful Website Design and Development
These are just a few of the many elements that go into designing or redesigning a successful website. Good web design is not only aesthetically pleasing, but it’s also functional and user-friendly. Keep these things in mind during the website design process to ensure you end up with a website that meets your needs and the needs of your users.
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