Web Design Essentials For Web Designers & Business Owners
For many designers and business owners, web design may sound like a quick and simple process.
However much like building a property web design requires the essentials and right foundations to ensure that it serves its purpose for many years.
Throughout my experience as a professional web designer in Dubai, I have seen my fair share of not just badly designed websites in regards to their appearance but I also noticed that they are missing vital information that will affect their website conversions.
And this is why I have created time to prepare and write up this web design essentials guide.
This guide is designed with 2 people in mind:
- The Business Owner
- The Web Designer
This guide can be used as a checklist for an existing web design, or a guide for a new web design.
Now, I’m going to be brutally honest here…
There is a long list of essential items that your website requires.
However, by actioning and making sure that you have included all the following then you my friend will have a finely tuned website which will offer you peak performance.
The bottom line is that by missing just one of these pieces of the puzzle, could hurt you in the long term.
I highly recommend that you bookmark or print out this guide so that you can keep referring to it or share it with other business owners, designers or friends to help guide them in the web design process too.
Luckily enough, I have created a free downloadable version of the checklist and some bonuses, which you can download immediately by clicking here.
Above the fold
The most important area on your website is what many web designers and online marketing experts refer to as ‘above the fold’.
This is the first thing that a visitor see’s when they land on your page (most likely your home page.
It is therefore a prime piece of online real estate and should bring confidence and entice your visitor to take action immediately or continue reading before making a decision whether to take action.
Based on research conducted by various online businesses, the logo placement works best when placed on the top left of the page.
Your logo should be easy and clear to read without it being lost due to the background textures or colour.
A professional logo designer will usually provide you with several variations of logo, which you can test during the web design process.
Placing your phone number at the top right hand side of the website page above the menu is highly recommended.
Believe it or not, many people still prefer to pick up the phone rather than send you an email or fill out a contact form.
Main Menu / Navigation
A good web design will ensure that your website’s visitors can easily navigate and find the information that they are searching for in under a few clicks.
Ideally having your menu underneath your logo and phone number is one of the first places on your website that your visitor sees so this is ideal.
You can have the menu placed on the left, centre or right of the page this really is entirely your choice.
Having great written, useful content is not enough if your readers can’t read it!
Take a look at any successful blog and you will easily be able to read the text due to the font usage and line height.
You should also make sure to use Google safe fonts which will be readable on your website.
A professional web design company or web designer will know this and ensure that the websites font is readable.
Simplicity is best. Use a clear, crisp font such as Lato, Helvetica or Verdana.
Having good, strong headlines is a great way of delivering your message or creating a call to action (we will cover this a bit more later on).
Headlines, like the rest of your content should use a font that is readable if not the same font used throughout your web design.
Your headlines and sub headlines should not be too long and be primarily focused on making the reader should continue reading..
By including your USP (unique selling point(s) mentioned in the headings and subheadings, that appear at the top of your home page is a good strategy to help your visitors and potential customers understand what you are offering.
Now, sliders have not been proven so far to increase website page conversions, however used well, they can help draw attention as well as making your web design look professional.
When choosing a slider image for your web design then I recommend that you use the following points as a guide for picking the perfect image.
- Should be at least 1,700 pixels wide if it is to be used as a full width slider
- Should not distract or hide the heading, subheading, call to action button
- Follow the theme and colour pallet that the rest of the website design
- Should not be larger than 300kb as to avoid slowing down your page loading time
- Try and use an image that no one else is using which complements the product or service being used
Avoid using more than 3 slider images as there is an exceptionally small percentage of visitors that even look past the first slider on a web page.
The height of your slider is entirely your choice and providing that it portrays the message then you need not worry about the height at all. Full screen Hero image are being used more and more over the last couple of years and has become quite a trend.
Including sales video or promotion video in the slider can also add incredible value and sell your product or service without the visitor having to read the information on your web page. So seriously consider adding a video.
If you have having difficulty with reading overlaying text on your image then try adding a colour overlay.
Example: If your text is white then use a darker overlay and your text will pop out. Play with opacity until you reach the sweet spot.
Product & Services List
Below your slider then listing your products benefits or services in an icon format can assist your visitor in understanding what you offer and whether it is something that they require.
The list can be in horizontal or vertical format and can use arrows or tick boxes rather than individual icons for each if you’re challenged in finding the right icons to use.
Quality Written Content
This is possibly one of THE MOST IMPORTANT thing to have on your website. It pains me to see websites that look great in design but are only to be let down with poorly written content with spelling and grammar errors.
The most popular excuses that I hear on a weekly basis for bad web content are:
- I don’t have time to write
- It has to look good, the design is the most important aspect
- Visitors don’t want to read paragraphs of text
- I’m not a writer
I’m sorry to tell you that the above excuses are BS and not valid when it comes to online business success.
By hiring a good web content creator, content creation company or copywriter will help remove any challenges in your way of having excellent written content.
In fact I always recommend putting written text content in front of design process. Without content then a web designer will not be clear on spacing allowance and any images or graphics may not be coherent with the text content you add later on.
Contact Form / Quote Form
Place your contact form or quote form on the home page of your website will instantly help improve your websites conversion rates.
Having the contact form on your home page will help the customer reach you faster without the need for other pages to load.
Be sure that you request all the relevant information that you require to assist your customer with their enquiry and avoid the need for additional questions.
As a general rule of thumb then request the following:
- Contact Number
- Best time to contact
Having social proof of your services or products working is a fine way of converting website visitors into buying customers.
Use at least 3 – 5 of your best testimonials. Any more will most likely not be read.
The testimonials should highlight the key areas of feedback that your customers are thrilled about. Stick to 1 – 2 sentences at most.
If you are a new business who does not currently have any customer feedback or testimonials then make sure that you make a note to revisit this and add to the web design at a future date.
Newsletter sign up form
Building a database using a Newsletter is a valuable key asset for any business.
Being able to reach out and update customers or prospective customers about your services, new customers and company news is crucial and at almost no cost to you. It will help build a connection and trust between both you and your customers.
Add a simple newsletter opt-in within the right sidebar of your design if you have one or in the footer of the website.
Offering some form of give away such as a report or guide as a thank you for them registering to your newsletter is a good strategy for increasing your newsletter subscribers.
Place your contact information clearly in the footer area of your web design so that your visitors can reach you without having to be directed to your contact page should they have already decided to reach out to you for help after visiting your awesome home page.
Things to include:
- Contact Number
- Email Address
Social Media Links
Social media links on your website are good to have as many visitors may want to reach out to you on these channels rather than directly through your website.
They may also wish to read other peoples comments on your social media pages and ask direct questions such as “how was your experience with this company?” and hear it directly from someone who has used your service or bought your product.
Adding your social media links will also be more favourable in the eyes of the search engines and earn you a brownie point.
Displaying a menu in your web design footer will help allow your visitors to navigate through other pages of the website after they reach the bottom of each page.
If you have a rather large website with many inner pages then be sure to only include the most important pages in this navigation that will help guide your visitors to information that will be relevant to them.
Link to Sitemap
Similar to the footer menu navigation, a website sitemap link will direct your visitor to a page which displays links to all of your websites pages.
From here they can easily find other pages that are relevant to their needs and queries fast.
A well-designed sitemap will also help the search engines in the indexing of your websites pages.
It is important to be transparent and clear with your customers at all times.
Your ultimate goal with web design should always be to serve your website visitors (your potential customers).
The information provided in your web design should be easy to understand, easy to locate and digest with clear directions on where the visitor should go or do next.
Reaching a balance of design and value for the visitor is the key to your businesses websites success.
Always aim to provide some type of value to your visitors, however small when you use the above web design factors.
If you have any questions for me about the above guide then please leave a comment below.
Or if you would like us to take care of your web design and content creation then get in touch with us by clicking here.
To your online success!