Everyday you search around the internet. Whether you’re looking for a job, a new car, a house, or a place to grab tacos–you are constantly looking at websites and absorbing their information. As an internet user, it can be frustrating to come across a site that doesn’t offer a great user experience. It can also be exciting to come across a website where everything is perfectly laid out in a intuitive way.

So, why are some websites great and others make you want to click elsewhere?

A big factor is the web design process. When you visit a website and are blown away by the experience, it’s likely that the web design process was thoughtful and required a high level of expertise. Whether you’re looking to design a site of your own, or just want to be informed of the web design process, you can get started with some basics.

  1. Get to Know Your Company

All websites are not created equal, and neither are all companies. Each company has their own culture, brand image, and service or product offering.

When designing your website keep in mind, a website is the face of your company.

Not only does the website need to speak to your current and prospective clients, it also needs to represent who you are as a brand. If you haven’t already, now would be a good time to define:

  • Your ideal customer,
  • Your mission, vision, and values.
  • Your key differentiators.

Keep in mind:

  • The competition: Industry demands are important to be aware of when designing a website. Looking at your competitors’ websites can provide valuable insight into features you may want to include on your finished product.
  • The target market: Your website will need to be positioned differently depending on whether you offer business on a local or national scale.
  1. Create Engaging Copy

Even if your website is modern, clean, and intuitive; if your copy doesn’t properly explain who you are, and why a customer should care, you’re dead in the water. In addition to painting a picture of who your brand is and how you provide value, when positioned correctly and strategically, copy can help a brand climb search results.

Keep in mind:

  • Consistent copy: Outside of just website content, Google also likes to see new blog content posted consistently. The posting of new relevant content helps Google to notice your site is active and constantly being refreshed.
  • Quality copy: If your content is great and customers share, like, and spend time on your site reading it, that’s even better! A lower bounce rate, and higher time on page is something google loves to see.
  1. Tell a Visual Story

The saying is cliche but true: a picture is worth a thousand words. Graphics, images, GIFs and videos, can truly help your website pop when they are used effectively. Graphic designers and UI/UX designers, study design and the elements needed for graphics to be properly interpreted.

Having your website reviewed with a designer is highly recommended for properly positioning images and ensuring brand consistency.

When designing a site, it’s important to either have or create a brand style guide. This will include fonts, colors, and language to serve a guideline for the site and all of your collateral.

Keep in mind:

  • Get Graphic: Focus on the use of graphics and images to draw in visitors and make them potential clients.
  • Brand consistency: Keep your website branding cohesive and consistent.

Make Your Business Accessible

There are endless options when it comes to website design but, what matters most is how easily people can navigate your site. Choose simplicity and ease of use over something you think looks extra hip and cool. Make sure it’s very clear what you do and how you do it. Most importantly, make sure prospective clients know exactly how to reach you and get in touch.

Keep in mind:

  • Don’t give it all away. Keep relevant information available, but leave something to be desired. You want clients to reach out and get more information.
  • Change it up: Include Call to Action (CTA) buttons with clickable, personal phrases, like: “Get Your 10% Discount”, “Schedule Your Demo” and more.

Optimize the Website

Once you have successfully followed steps 1-4, it’s time to optimize. You have to make sure your website is optimized for Search Engines, mobile devices, conversions, and downloads. This means you have to consider:

  • Content and SEO best practices for Search Engines.
  • Call to Action buttons and opt-in email captures for lead conversions.
  • Image sizes and video sizes,  as well as active and inactive pages for download speeds.
  • A responsive design for mobile devices.

It may sound like a lot, but if your site is not catered to all the above, you will be missing out on a significant chunk of your potential market.

If you’re building a website for the first time, or trying to improve your current design process, remember that simple yet effective is the way to go. If you’re looking to convert leads, drive traffic, and create new lasting customer relationships, your website is a great place to start.