What is Web Design? + 7 Essential Features of Successful Websites

October 16, 2020


More and more people are looking for information online. In the case of business, having a website is nearly essential. You need to represent your brand online in a way that is easily accessible and accurate. Having a website means you can help customers find your business and discover everything you have to offer! 

But you don’t need to be an expert in web design in order to create a website. You can work with a professional to get exactly what you need. So read on to find out exactly what you need to know about web design to get started with your project.

Then if you're looking for more information on the cost of web design be sure to check out our handy Web Design Price Guide to learn more about all the factors that influence web design pricing!


What is Web Design?


What is Web Design


Quite simply, web design is the process of creating a website. Design elements and including copy about your business are all part of this process. Typically handled by a website professional, building a website will involve choices about layout, colour, navigation, graphics, fonts and content. A professional can help guide you with making decisions that make sense for your brand and then take care of building the site for your needs. 


Essential Elements of a Successful Website

Investing in a website needs to be worthwhile. By including these elements, you’ll be sure to set your website up for success.

 

1. Identify The Purpose of Your Website

Before you begin any of the discussions with a web designer, determine what you are building your website for. Are you hoping to attract and inform potential customers? Or perhaps you are hoping to sell your products through an e-commerce system. Either way, deciding on your goals will help create a plan for the perfect website.


2. Create Clear Navigation  

Your visitors need to quickly find what they need on your website. So make sure that your navigation menu highlights the top hits for visitors so that they can easily move around your website.


Build a great website tips


3. Build a Great Looking Home Page

Usually, this is the first thing people see when they come onto your website, so it's important that your homepage looks amazing. It needs to welcome visitors and encourage them to keep exploring! 


4. Add a Clear Call-To-Action

Help your visitors do what you want them to do with clear instructions! Go back to the purpose of your site and make sure you are asking your visitors to contact you to get more information or purchase now. A good web designer will be able to make a call-to-action inviting and obvious on your page.   


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5. Make it Mobile-Friendly

Today, as many people are visiting websites on their phones as they are on computers. This means it’s essential that your website looks great on mobile too. Web designers should ensure that your site will adjust its design to fit on smaller screens to make the navigation work seamlessly.


It's best to optimise for mobile-first


6. Include Great Design and Good Content 

This may seem obvious, but include it as part of your plan to make sure it gets done. An eye-catching visual design that works well for your visitors is so important. Plus, you want to be sure you are including the information potential customers need to close down the sale!

 

7. Include Tracking to Understand What’s Working — and What Isn’t. 

Monitoring your website’s performance is important too. You want to be sure that traffic to your website is increasing and that you are making sales. By adding metrics and regularly reviewing them, you can understand what content is getting the most visits to better understand your visitors and their needs! From here you can then use these insights to optimise your website's SEO to help improve its rankings in Google.


Benefits of Web Design For Sole Traders

As a sole trader, having a website is a smart decision for your business. Nearly all businesses are searched for and discovered online now! It’s an inexpensive investment that allows you to put out the right information about your business for increased awareness and sales. Here are four great benefits to having a website for your business.


How a website can help you build your brand


1. Build Your Brand

Establishing your presence online creates a place where potential customers can easily find you. Including this as one of the first items you build means you can be found by customers as you focus on your work and growing your business.

 

2. Control Your Image

On your website, you have complete control over the information that goes up. This means your information and your image are set up according to your wishes, allowing you to put out a positive first impression of your company.

 

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3. Help Customers Find You

Since your customers are already looking online, having a website means they are more likely to find out. Filling it with accurate information about your products and services means they can find out the information they need to make an informed decision.

 

4. Stand Out From The Competition

Your competitors will have websites too. It’s important to have your own space to sell your important messages. Plus, using your own branding colours helps you stand out from your competitors! This will help increase recognition from the customers you want to attract.


Tips For Hiring a Web Designer


1. Look For The Right Fit 

Since you’ll be working with your website designer quite closely, you need to have a good relationship. Make sure that their values align with yours and communication flows easily.  


2. Check Out Their Past Work

A good web designer should have a portfolio full of websites they have put together. If you like the look and how it functions, it is likely they will build you a beautiful new website that suits your tastes and needs.

 

Hiring a Web Designer


3. Look at References and Reviews 

Take the time to read both the review and evaluate the site the designer has created. Specifically, look at how communication was and if deadlines were met. You can also see if they would work with the designer again.

 

4. Ensure They Have The Right Experience

If you have an idea of the system you want on your website such as WordPress, make sure that the web designer has worked with it before for the best results.

 

Summary

With this information, hopefully, you feel more informed about what goes into the web design process and convinced you to create a website of your own. So find someone you can trust to build a beautiful website to get your business growing!


 

Featured Image Credit



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Why Do I Need A Website? Here Are The Top 7 Reasons


Why should a business have a website? More specifically, why do small businesses need a website? Surely for small business owners, there’s enough to be dealing with already! Ultimately, you need to be responding to how your customers are behaving. 

Before trying out a new business or service, many people now turn to the Internet to make an informed choice about their purchase. This makes having an online presence essential for business success in the modern economy. The benefits of having a website when you run a small business are huge.

Despite this, many small businesses are not harnessing the Internet’s full potential. The Guardian has revealed that 60% of small UK businesses do not have any presence online whatsoever. Although it is clear that business is becoming increasingly digital, small business owners are often unconvinced about why they should build a business website. If you are a local professional who only serves a small area, it may seem like a waste of time setting up a website. Surely word-of-mouth recommendations are enough?

Here is a run-down of the top reasons why your business needs a website:


1. It’s an easy way to gain credibility

Credibility and reputation are vitally important for surviving in the business world. In the past, local services only needed to ask their customers to recommend them to a friend in order to market themselves. However, times have changed. It’s no longer viable for a small business to ignore the need to have a presence online.

Nowadays, if you are a small business, you need a website. Otherwise, you risk looking like a tiny operation that isn’t going to be able to deliver great service. Having a professional-looking website is a very simple way of boosting your reputation. Potential customers are increasingly tech-savvy, and before trying out a small business, the first place most people turn is the Internet. If you don’t have your own website, but your competitors do, potential customers will start to wonder why.

There are numerous free platforms out there that will help you to build a website for your business. However, the danger with these services is that they can produce websites that aren’t very unique or dynamic. Also, you will have to create the website yourself if you use these platforms, which isn’t practical for a small business owner with little spare time. If your design and tech skills aren’t great, hiring a professional is your safest bet. You need a website that will represent your business in the best light possible. Investing some of your marketing budget in hiring a web designer to create a website for you will save you a lot of time.


2. Facebook alone doesn’t cut it

Many small businesses ask the question: ‘do we still need a website if we are active on social media?’ The short answer is you absolutely do. Of course, the sheer numbers of people who use social media sites mean they can be a great way of accessing new customers. But, for a small business, it can be very difficult to cut through the noise. Platforms like Facebook that now have over 1.59 billion users, so competition for likes and clicks is fierce among businesses. Therefore, it is dangerous to see social media profiles as a good substitute for your own website.

There are a number of drawbacks to only using social media to promote your business online. Firstly, social media sites regularly change their algorithms, and this can affect the reach of your posts. Unless you have a lot of spare time to dedicate to understanding these changes, it’s not a great idea to only rely on Facebook and Twitter to promote your business. Don’t be deceived into thinking that your business is reaching a large audience just because Facebook has a large number of users.

It takes just minutes to set up a Facebook page or a Twitter account, and anyone can make one. If your only online presence is a free-to-use social media account, potential customers may become suspicious of your trustworthiness as a business. Having a comprehensive and informative website, that goes into detail about your business, is a great way of quickly establishing trust among potential customers. After you have established your website, you can use social media to compliment your web presence rather than as a substitution for it.


Computer

Image Credit


3. Grab the chance to show off your work

It can be difficult if you are a local service provider to differentiate yourself from the competition in your area. From the perspective of a consumer, it can be very tricky to find the right professional for their job. Often the only information consumers can base their decision on is the price. It can be hard to know what the quality of the work will be.

A great solution to this problem is to build a website that showcases your work. The easiest way of doing this is to display images of jobs you have already completed. As a local business, you need a website to give you this competitive edge against other local services. By including images of the jobs you have already successfully finished, a potential customer is much more likely to have the confidence to book you for their project.

A custom-made website for your business is highly personal, and it can be easily updated and edited. Other forms of advertising, such as print, are static and cannot be changed once they’re public. A dedicated website will properly showcase your dynamic and growing business.


4. Unless you’re online, customers won’t find you

When was the last time you trudged through a phone book to find a local service? Those days are long gone. Instead, the smartphone has taken over, and now it completely dominates how people access the Internet. An enormous 70% of adults in the UK own a smartphone. That figure rises to 90% when you focus on 16-24 year-olds. Crucially, they’re not just using their phones to take selfies with. For banking, shopping, and booking appointments, young people especially now turn to their phone first. Thinking digitally is essential for small businesses to succeed in the long run. For that reason, investing in a website for your small business sooner rather than later is the smartest way of tapping into a younger audience.

You need a website in order to compete with those local services that are already targeting customers through the web. Speed, efficiency, and ease of access are all top priorities for consumers looking for a local service. If a customer can quickly fill out an online form to book the service they need, they are far more likely to book than if they need to speak to someone directly. 


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