Web Design Fundamentals :
Tips for Successful Web Design
1. Allocate ample resources
Establishing an online presence requires both a commitment of time and money. Websites are now a critical part of business, or should be. The number one mistake companies make online is not spending the time and money necessary to make their website a success. Websites done right increase sales, reduce costs, and improve client satisfaction. A website is merely an extension of your sales, customer service, and operations initiatives and is an investment, not an expense.
2. Define your objective(s)
What do you wish to accomplish with this website? A clearly defined goal must be laid out before a successful plan can be constructed. A well-defined plan will allow you to start small and grow the site with relative ease and success since the growth is planned in the beginning.
Some questions you'll want to address in defining your objectives are: Will you be selling primarily from the website or will the site support your street business? Do you want to collect information and build profiles of your users? And, what are your expectations for the site in relation to your company's bottom line? Read our article on "How to write a Request For Proposal for your design project"
3. Identify your audience
Who will be visiting your website and buying your products and services? What is their gender, age range, income, what sites do they visit most, how comfortable are they online, what are their online spending habits, what do they like and dislike in a website? These are questions that should be addressed up front as the answers to these questions and others will help you design a site that produces the results you're after. Proper web design isn't about pretty images and gadgets, it's about giving your audience what it wants and needs, and facilitating lead generation.
Keep in mind; if you are an existing business moving onto the web, your audience profile may not be exactly the same online as it is on the street. If you're not sure how to position your web content and strategy, seek help from a web design consultant experienced in that area.
4. Define site structure
Here you will define what major content areas will be in your website.
When designing the structure, you'll want to plan for adequate navigation, ease of use, a clean and professional layout, open communication, a short path to sales transactions, and provide a reason for the visitor to return.
While it is content that people most want, nobody puts much credibility into a business website that lacks on the visual appeal. Proper web design is a balance of visual appeal, content, and usability. The proper mix of graphics, color, and content in your web design is critical to the website's success. It doesn't matter how great your content is, or your offer, if the site is not pleasing to navigate, it won't be effective. And, if your site has too many graphics or gadgets, users will get frustrated and leave, too.
5. Create your content
Once you've defined your content areas, begin creating the content that will provide value to your users. On the web, content is king and is the driving force for all success online. Good, regularly updated content will not only bring customers to your site, but it will bring them back again and again.
And, if search engine optimization and website promotion is important to you, how you write your content becomes even more critical. To get listed high in the major search engines, your site needs to focus on its high value keywords, and the content written throughout the site needs to be written with those keywords in mind. It's a very tough task to write useful content while making the search engines happy.