Building a website is no small feat. While there may not be a one size fits all success recipe, when it comes to building a professional website, there a few elements every website should have.
Here are a few basic website design tips to help you create a website that not only looks great but also helps users engage with your brand.
Website Building Basics
The first place you should start with your new website is with your URL. Your domain name should be as close to your business name as possible. Try and avoid any quirky spelling or anything that is too long and complicated.
You should also double-check that your name is available on social media platforms as well. Test your name with different handles and on all the social media sites you plan on utilizing.
Once you’ve purchased your domain, it’s time to get started building out your website.
Here are a few basics every small business web design should include.
1. A Roadmap That Makes Sense
It’s always important for your website to look sleek and beautiful. If your site isn’t functional, however, it won’t matter how pretty it is.
One of the most important things you can do is to map out how your site will function before you start building it. Mocking up a layout is often referred to as wireframing.
Take your map and mock-up design and run it by a few people. If they understand where everything goes and the logic behind your structure, so will your website users.
This is a good place to make sure your website is accessible as well.
Having a great structure will help with both your SEO as well as your user experience. The more intuitive your site is the better your content will rate when it comes to search engines.
If your friends can understand your website, so will your customers and Googlebots.
2. Stick to the Basics
You’ve probably visited a website before that completely took you down a rabbit hole of confusion. You went to it looking for business hours and you left it feeling more confused than ever.
Don’t be the website that is missing the obvious. Keep your basic business information at the forefront of your site.
You want your contact information, business hours and directions for example, in easy to find places. You should include some of these in the footers of every page as well.
When it comes to the about page or your mission statement, keep it simple here too. Less is more when it comes to text on many websites. Keep your brand content lighter and easy for people to skim.
You also need to keep your key business information somewhere in the forefront. If you’re a restaurant, for example, you’ll want your locations, your hours, and your menu right on the homepage.
People shouldn’t have to go through too many pages just to find out basic information about you.
3. Make Your Contact Information Easy to Find
There’s nothing worse than going to a website for a phone number and not being able to find it easily. When it’s 7:00 and you want to order a pizza, all you want to do is find the phone number of the restaurant.
Make sure your contact information is prominent and easy to find. You can include this information on your homepage, in your footer and in the navigation bar.
You can repeat your contact information in several spots to keep it easily accessible for people.
4. Keep Your Navigation Menu Clear
Your navigation bar is your site’s menu. You should always keep your menu clean, simple, and intuitive.
If your menu doesn’t make sense to you, it won’t make sense to your consumers either.
Aside from your basic business pages, you’ll always want to have a navigation button for pages such as the contact page, directions, and your social media for example.
5. Include Social Media Seamlessly
Social media is a staple for any business. It’s become one of the fastest, most affordable, and organic ways to market your business.
Keep your social media buttons prominent and easy to find on your website. You don’t want people to have to go too far to find these pages.
On your content pages, product pages, and blog content, you want to seamless add sharing tools.
If people can easily share a product or service of yours to social media, they will. On social media, you can include links back to your site as well.
6. Responsiveness is Crucial
More often than not, someone is looking at your website on a smartphone or tablet. This means you want to design your website so that it can be easily used on these devices.
Having a responsive website means it can easily translate from a computer to a smartphone in terms of width. When your website is responsive it means it is scalable depending on the screen it’s viewed on.
Responsiveness should be a part of your initial design and layout. The same goes for a mobile website. In some cases, it may be best to have a separate version of your website that’s only intended for mobile devices.
7. Invest in Hosting
Having good hosting is crucial for the success of your website and your business. If you cheap out on your hosting, your website will be slow and unresponsive.
Nothing turns people off of a website more than slowness or getting kicked off from a lack of response. If your consumers can’t find what they need quickly, you’ll lose them.
Professional Website Do’s and Don’ts
While there are plenty of items your website needs, there are also some it doesn’t. The key to building a professional website is keeping it simple.
Keep your website easy to use and as streamlined as possible.
You don’t need any flash, music, or extraneous information or media. These just clog up your website making them slower and making your vital business information harder to find.
Finally, enlisting the help of a professional is always a good investment. They specialize in web design and they’ll be able to save you from costly mistakes. If you’re ready to build your own website with a professional designer, get started here.