Your website doesn’t have to be all things to all people. It only needs the right mix of components to serve its purpose for your target market.
Sounds a bit complex, doesn’t it? But thanks to modern advancements, designing a website has never been easier. It’s the planning stage that’s hard.
If you’re having a bit of a dilemma on how you can start working on your website, then keep reading. I’ve put together several items you should think about before getting started on your web design:
Know your competitors.
What web designs have the leaders in your industry been using? How have your rivals managed to keep up with their own designs? By doing a bit of research on how your competitors shape and structure their website, you will be able to:
- Identify which tools, techniques, and strategies work best.
- Determine what mistakes may be encountered and how they can be avoided.
- Stay on par with your rivals (or even stay ahead of the curve).
The more you know, the better you can plan. Make it a habit to check on your competitors regularly. Doing so will help you stay updated with the latest trends in web design so that you can pull in new clients steadily.
Research your options for monetization.
Now that you’re aware of what your competitors do, it’s time for you to monetize your website. There are three common strategies in which you can implement this. You can either:
- Give memberships and provide the audience with more convenient services.
- Offer subscriptions and give end users access to limited content.
- Sell content which is of value and relevant to the nature of your business.
If you don’t have content of your own, you can also start an affiliation with another brand. Through this, you will be able to earn a commission for every sale made through your website. Take note that there are several ways to monetize your website. You just have to find one that clicks with your business.
Determine your budget.
Your budget will control the overall look and features of your website. It’s okay to have goals and aspirations for your design. However, you have to be realistic with them too. Once you’ve finally decided on a working budget, you should designate it three main aspects:
- Web design
- Web content
- Web functionality
Ask yourself what you really need for your website right now. This should guide you in allocating your budget.
Choose your web hosting wisely.
What web hosting does is broadcast your website to the world wide web; and because of that, you should select a service provider that is:
- Able to function reliably most of the time
- Able to offer accessibility 24/7
- Able to accommodate traffic growth in the future
To narrow down your list of probable web hosting service providers, you can do background checks and read client reviews. You can also ask questions on online forums or contact the provider themselves if you’re unsure about something.
Learn your options for web design.
You can either opt for a custom web design, or you can settle with a pre-made web template. Here, I’ve explained the difference between the two:
- A custom web design allows you added functions, more personalization options, and back-end administrative control. However, it takes longer to launch and it can be a lot costlier too. Considering all these factors, it is well suited to a business or brand that is already well established.
- On the other hand, a pre-made template is readily available and free. However, it only has limited functions and it doesn’t always come with support. Still, it makes a great option for a startup business which is yet to kick off.
If you already have an old website set up, you can also consider redesigning it (into a more modern and updated build).
Identify your needed features and functionality.
Different brands and businesses go for different options. However, you will find that they have some things in common:
- A responsive web design which allows your site to be easily viewed whether your audience is using their mobile phone or laptop.
- An easy-to-use interface which helps your audience avoid being lost or confused when navigating your website.
- A regularly updated blog which raises your website’s ranking through the help of relevant and optimized content.
Again, use your competitors as a reference for selecting the features of your website. Once you have a working base design, you can then add your brand’s aesthetic to keep it unique.
Review your site structure.
Your site structure is very much like a map. If it’s made well, it will guide your users where they need to be. If not, it will only get them lost and frustrated. To prevent the latter, you should:
- Avoid overlapping content.
- Start with general topics on the home page before branching out.
- Review the analytics of your site to determine what clients are usually looking for (and give that item easier access).
Keep in mind that your design-build must make sense even for people who aren’t very tech savvy. If it does, then you’re good to go!
Enhance your site navigation.
Aside from settling with a simple, clean and bold design, you can also improve the accessibility of your website when you:
- Stick to the standard horizontal or vertical navigation.
- Optimize images and other media to hasten loading speeds.
- Designate call-to-action prompts at a logical area.
- Prefer to use text links over buttons as it makes the page look less cluttered.
The key to navigation is to make it visually appealing and unidirectional. With this, your site navigation should flow naturally.
Implement your site security.
Just as you make an effort to protect your physical shop from burglars, you should also make a stand against hackers and scammers online. To avoid breaches in the security of your site, you should:
- Regularly update your website to avoid vulnerability.
- Limit access control to prevent malicious online activity.
- Make use of data encryption to protect client data.
- Install a web firewall to shield from attacks.
Your website shouldn’t be lacking in security. Remember, clients trust you with their personal details when they book an appointment or make a purchase on your site. Your ability to keep their information secure will help you earn their trust.
Integrate your social media.
What people want is convenience. The more hassle-free your website is for your clients, the better they will prefer it over other service providers. A great way to make that possible is by connecting your website with different social media platforms. Through it, your web visitors can:
- Easily log into their accounts.
- Readily share your content through their social media.
- Invite their friends to check out what your website has to offer.
As a result, you can enjoy higher conversion rates and a continually expanding market! Don’t forget to place share buttons on your web pages either at the top, button, or side for added accessibility.
Are you finally ready to design your very own website?
Designing a website on your own takes a lot of work. It requires in-depth research and careful planning before the actual execution of the project. Hopefully, the suggestions I have listed can help.
If you have other ideas that belong in the list above, share your thoughts with me in the comments section below. I’m very much interested to learn what you think! Don’t forget to share this post with your friends.
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