Thursday Thoughts: Website Design 101
If you are planning on creating a website or refreshing your current website, make sure to consider the following questions.
1) How should I best utilize my homepage?
Your homepage is prime digital real estate. Most visitors to your site—both prospects and customers—will tend to go straight to your homepage, either from a search engine result or by typing in your direct URL. As such, your homepage has a huge impact on your digital reputation and overall sales funnel. The top portion of your homepage that displays within the visible screen size when you first land on the page is even more important!
This area of the your homepage is referred to as ‘above the fold’. Fill this with engaging hero images (also known as header images) with specific messages explaining who your company is. It is also ideal for the hero to help guide the user to where they should go to next on your website. A great example of this would be to incorporate a call to action (CTA) in text format or as a button.
As for images, try to choose enticing images that represent your company, but also catch the user’s attention. Easier said than done, but it is definitely doable!
2) How important is a navigation menu?
At Markitects, we begin all website projects by deciding on the navigation menu. This helps us build a map for the entire website and create an outline of what we want to cover in each section and what is needed.
Navigation plays a huge role in user experience. It is one of the first things that the user sees and the user relies on it to find the information that they are looking for. If a user cannot figure out where they should go, their buying journey stops there; they do not make a purchase or call your company. The user may leave your page unsatisfied which could even lead to them disliking your company in general. This is why it is critical to have an easy-to-use navigation, utilizing dropdowns, to help guide the user through your website.
Your navigation must be visually appealing. It should not include too many options, or the user may not be able to use it successfully. If you have too many items, try to restructure it or consider adding a super navigation above the main navigation. When naming the navigation items, think like the customer and name them appropriately.
3) What type of design direction do I want to follow?
Your designs should be unique to your company’s product/service and company culture, but it also needs to be relevant to your audience. Whether you decide to go with a sleek and modern look, or a rustic feel, make sure that you stay consistent throughout your entire site. There are ways to make different pages stand out, but still feel consistent.
Design direction is not always easy to figure out. You likely will need to address different font types, color palettes, and imagery when deciding which direction to move forward with.
4) What is the best font to use on my website?
It depends. When working on a website, you should always try to use a web safe font. Certain fonts only work on printed pieces, while others can be used universally. Web safe fonts are pre-installed by many operating systems. While not all systems have the same fonts installed, the idea is that you can use a web safe font stack to choose several fonts that look similar. This way, if one font is not installed, the operating system can try another font in the stack. While you may have a unique font for your brand already, if it is not a web safe font, you will run the risk of a potential customer or client not being able to see any of your messaging when they visit your site.
Fonts can impact the overall feel of a website completely, so make sure you choose wisely. If you want to explore and test web safe fonts, a great resource is Google Fonts.
5) Where should I begin with SEO?
As you create content, keep SEO in the back of your mind. At Markitects, we tend to draft our content first, and then determine what the keywords are that we should be targeting. When doing keyword research, we tend to start our research with Google’s Keyword Planner.
When first starting out, think about what content you want to put on your website and how to approach it from a customer’s perspective. What does the customer want to know? Once you have some content, research and choose keywords/key phrases that are appropriate to each webpage. Optimize your content with these specific words or phrases and use heading, meta, and other tags to help your content rank in search engine results.
While SEO is imperative to obtaining website traffic, it takes a lot of time and effort to rank on the first page of a search engine results page. Start small and continuously revisit your SEO strategy to improve upon it.