Anyone can design a website. There are plenty of templates, freeware and online instructions that allow anyone with access to a PC and a bit of free time to try their hand at web design. But once you start putting a website together you begin to realise that there is far more to good web design than first meets the eye. Simply putting a couple of pictures up with some text that may contain a few random keywords is not going to see your site powering its way up the Google rankings. So what are the vital ingredients for good web design?
Content, content, content
For many years, the established web design practice was to put together a site first and then create the content to fit the ‘gaps’ left over. Now, because of the emphasis placed on original content by the search engines, good web design incorporates killer content right from the start. There’s no point having a website that looks pretty if the information contained is totally irrelevant, poorly written or just plain wrong. So good web design has to take into account both the visual elements and how the content works with that to create a website that’s pleasing to the eye and delivers on its promise of being interesting, informative and engaging.
Pointing the way
Good web design has to have a ‘plan’ – a roadmap that guides the visitor around the site and works towards an end goal. That end goal could be heading towards the checkout on an ecommerce site or signing up for a newsletter, subscribing to a blog or other interactive processes. Clear, concise signposts that encourage a visitor to explore the site in more depth can prevent them from ‘bouncing’ to a competitor’s site before they have completed their ‘mission’ – namely to buy your product or answering your call to action.
Speaking of which
What is a ‘call to action’? Is it an important part of good web design? The simple answer is yes, it’s a vital component of good site design, particularly for a business site. A call to action can be something as simple as ‘click here for more details on our latest special offer’ (always include a ‘tempter’ to encourage them to click the link) or it can be more subtle, gently leading the visitor through the site towards the end goal. A strong call to action encourages visitors to interact with the site more pro-actively than just reading a block of text or looking at a picture.
Is a website ever ‘finished’?
Web design is an ongoing process. It’s never ‘finished’ but is always a ‘work in progress’. Sitting back and hoping that your ‘completed’ website is going to continually climb up the Google rankings and keep pulling in new customers is a misnomer. Unlike traditional printed marketing materials, a website is an organic thing that continues to grow and develop with your business. As your business expands, so should your website. Good web page design continually tweaks, updates, refreshes and renews, encouraging visitors to return regularly and to build up a relationship with your site. Interesting sites get linked to, and those juicy inbound links in turn encourage the search engine ‘bots to sniff you out and push you up the rankings. And all of this happens organically on the foundation of good web design.
If you’re determined to grow your business online and want to know more about what makes up good web design, talk to an agency with a proven track record in producing effective web page design concepts for businesses online.