Choosing a Web Design- 7 Reasons To Engage a Web Designer
Jacky recently shows me his DIY web design and asks why it is not drawing any traffic. A quick look and I uncover a few things. His website content is all text, the contact forms do not work, the fonts default set-up were small and hard to read. It included a flash intro that takes ages to load, which is unnecessary. Putting search engine optimization aside,
What things do you look for when doing your web design?
Let me share with you 7 points that you should consider:
1. Website Usability:
To ensure the best user experience, you must consider website usability. Check that there’s no broken links, missing web pages, unnecessary animation, images that take ages to load because of the file size, fonts that are hard to read. You would want to have a professional looking website – one that is clean, easy to navigate, and clearly presented.
The advantage of engaging a web designer is the consideration of such factors in the build and design phase. You want a website that is optimize and attract. User attention-spans are short and creating the first impression within the first minute of their website visit is crucial.
2. Web Design Features:
To ensure that all your needs are covered, you need to tell your web designers what features you need. Do you need opt-in forms, photo gallery, payment processing, membership subscription, or customized contact forms? All these will add value to your site and these may not be covered in the standard design. Check with your web designer and you may have to pay for add-ons. If you are planning on doing your own website updating, request for an admin interface that allows you to do simple updating.
3. Website Content:
You may have heard that content is king in the Internet world. Content may be in the form of articles, videos, pod cast, or slide presentations. Are you doing your website content? Else you may outsource that to a web design or SEO company. You want content that is relevant to your users and rate well in terms of search engine optimization. What keyword phrases would your customers type into Google-search if they were to find your business offering? Write your articles and include such keyword phrases in your content. Many people find writing articles a challenge so the best option is to outsource or engage a content writer.
4. Company Information:
It is important that you have one available, else register your company. Give full info to your web designer – company address, email addresses, telephone/fax numbers, and operating hours. Such info will be used when submitting your site to web/business directories and Google map listing. This will help to build up the credibility of your business with searchers as well as the major search engines.
5. Web Design Theme and Templates:
I love open-source web design theme like WordPress,Joomla, Magento. WordPress has a big user-based, with great development support. There are thousands of plug-ins that can be employed to optimized the website. The learning curve is shorter and it’s a great recommendation for business owners who want to do self-update of website after launch. But take the time to source for the right theme that will support the design requirement. There are thousands of themes available to cater to all needs. The last thing a web designer want is to complete a web design with all content and later realize that it does not meet the client’s taste.
6. Cross browsers compatibility:
It is important that your web design theme works in the more recent version of all the major browsers – Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Opera. This is to ensure you provide a good user experience for those who viewed your sites. Your web designer should cover that during the test phase. Some open source themes do not support the older browsers in terms of the flash or photo gallery features. That is to be expected, as there is development cost consideration to scope that in, and may not be viable just to cover the smaller group of users.
7. Mock-Up design:
Most web designers will start off the project by doing a mock up design. Else request for one – It will save you and the web designer much time. This allows you to approve the web design without the designer going into too many details like coding or add-ons. Typical Mock up should cover the home page layout, navigation presentation, and other features you requested like opt-in page, member sign-up, and testimonial snippets. For eCommerce, it may include a page to show the product page layout and gallery feature.
Do not make the same mistakes Jacky made when creating your next website. Cover the 7 points above, and you would have a web design that is usable and optimized.
If you don’t have the time to learn and do it yourself, engage someone who knows, else invest in a web design via a web design company.