- Debbie Lucas
3 Tips On How to Design a Website
How to design a website
When starting your own business, having a website is one of your first considerations. I can almost hear the collective groan… if you’re anything like I used to be, working on your website will feel like a bit of a chore, but I’ve learned a lot along the way and today I’ll share my insights with you.
When designing a website, you need to understand that it is more than just words on a page. Below, I share my top three tips for designing a website that speaks to your audience, but more importantly convert to those all important sales.
Before you design a website, decide if you actually need or want one
Firstly, let’s talk about whether we actually need them or not. As with most things in life, there is never a straight forward answer. Whether or not you need a website, very much depends on your business and your goals for your business. If you are wanting your business to be found through Google searches then a website is pretty important, but if you’re happy with running your business from a social media platform then it is less important.
Social media platforms have made it very easy to sell your services and products from a business page. However, they have also made it a little more difficult for you to be found by your ideal client or customer as they want you to spend money on ads to land in front of your prospective clients or customers. Of course, there is also that small matter of the dreaded algorithms, meaning that you need to be constantly posting engaging content which will mean your posts are being shown to more people, but only those who already follow you or have liked your page.
Many people will tell you that they have created a successful business with no website and that may be true, but there is a lot of energy and effort that needs to go into it to keep on top of the algorithms and keep your audience engaged. How people engage with content on social media is very fast paced and they need to be ‘hooked’ over and over to stay interested.
Does social media not do the same thing as a website these days?
In my opinion, people engage with a website slightly differently. Of course, your content needs to be fresh and engaging, but it will require less updating compared to the constant posting you need to do on social media. So, for me, I would say that a website is important and worth investing in.
Now, this leads to two more questions for you to consider: Do you want to build a website that ranks on the first page of a Google search (because let’s face it very few people ever go to page two, much less three and probably never four or more). Or do you really only want or need the page to host more information about your service or product so that you can sign post your audience through your social media etc.?
Design a website with an attractive homepage
Remember that your website is about your clients - not you. The first thing that should happen when a client lands on your homepage is that they recognise themselves. They should say ‘Yes! I’m in the right place!’ and then as they read on they should say ‘She gets me!’.
An article by Hubspot and many others who are big names in the website industry, indicates that on average users will spend 8 - 15 seconds on your website, before navigating away… This is known as the ‘bounce rate’. That is, IF they aren’t hooked or can easily find the information they are looking for.
A good home page will be designed to be visually appealing and easy to navigate. Don’t make it hard for your visitor to find the information they need. Also remember that your homepage should have a balance of just enough information to answer their main question, but not so much that it overwhelms them and they leave without taking action. So it is important to include links to other pages on your website so that they can go read more information if they want to.
Another very important consideration when designing a website is to ensure that the pages are responsive to different devices. Remember that people access the internet in a variety of ways now and one of the most common problems I find with my clients’ old websites is that the pages are not displayed correctly on mobile devices.
Add a call to action button when designing a website
You want to make it easy for your prospective client to take action when they have read enough information and have made a decision. It is an essential part of a homepage and website as it tells your prospective client what they should do next. It eliminates decision and scroll fatigue.
This is why you should have a consistent call to action for each page. On your homepage, you want to include a clear call to action at the top of every web page. This will be for people who have already made up their mind to work with you and so you need to make it easy for them to ‘buy’ without having to scroll through a lot of information.
Then sprinkle your call to action throughout the rest of your homepage copy so that once your prospective client has made a decision, they can instantly take action without having to scroll to the top or bottom of the page again.
One really great tip for your call to action is to have it as a clear, distinctive button, in a bold or contrasting colour. You want it to stand out so that your prospective client can easily recognise it. They are more likely to click on a button than a bit of anchored text linking to another part of your website.
Another note regarding call to action buttons - make sure they link directly to the page or section on your website that allows them to complete the action in one step. You want to minimise the number of clicks the client needs to make when engaging or buying from you.
Include a ‘Contact Us’ form when designing a website
One of the key rules when learning how to design a website, is that the pages should have no more than 800 words on them. So, this makes it a bit difficult to capture absolutely everything that your prospective client may need to know.
Of course, an FAQ page is a great way to give clear information on the most likely questions they will have, but even then, it’s hard to foresee every question they may have. And this is where a ‘Contact Us’ form can come in really handy. It will help people find your business contact details easily, as well as more information about your business and give them a chance to ask questions that you have not already covered on your website.
As with everything on your website, make sure that the ‘Contact Us’ form is easy to find and submit. I would always recommend including your email address and/or telephone number on your ‘Contact Us’ page as well, because it makes it feel much more personal and your prospective client may feel like they will get a quicker response if they message or email you directly.
An experienced website designer can really help you to design a website that converts
Having a website is considered essential these days. In the age where people tend to engage with businesses online, a website is like the traditional business card or your virtual storefront. People will want to know more information about you before they contact you.
To summarise, the three most important elements to consider when designing a website are:
Design an attractive homepage that has enough information so that your website visitors are not overwhelmed.
Include clear call to action buttons so that clients know what they need to do to take action.
Having a ‘Contact Us’ page is essential for those prospective clients who want to know more or have a specific question.
This is why getting it absolutely right is so important. You want to design a website that evokes an emotion in your prospective client, inspiring them to take action easily. You want them to have all the information they need so that they can make an informed decision.
It can feel really overwhelming when you think of all the things that you need to cover when designing a website. This is where an experienced website designer can help you to ensure that you are covering all the key elements of how to design a website.
About the Author
My name is Debbie Lucas and I run Eyes On Digital Media. I am the brand and website strategist for female entrepreneurs who want to claim their space online. I help you build a strong, cohesive online presence without the overwhelm.
I also have a free resource ‘How to Get Found on Google’ that will help you with your SEO and search engine rankings.
You can contact me via my website or by email: email@example.com