What is WEB DESIGN?
Design is what links creativity and innovation… creativity deployed to a specific end. - Sir George Cox
Everything about your website - including the content, the way it looks, and the way it works - is determined by the website design. Web design is a process of conceptualizing, planning, and building a collection of electronic files that determine the layout, colours, text styles, structure, graphics, images, and use of interactive features that deliver pages to your site visitors. Professional Web design helps to make your business appear credible online and gives you an online presence.
If you’ve seen the GoDaddy advertisement, with spokesperson, actor Ray Meagher, statistic state, as per Telstra Small Business Intelligence Report 2018, that 60% of Australian small businesses still don’t have a website, due to the fact that these businesses don’t believe they have the time, money or technical skills to build one. However, a website, for any business, is crucial and a website doesn't need to be complex or expensive to create in order to build awareness and trust.
A business can get by with a simple lead capture or landing page, to begin with, addressing:
a proper domain name for a professional touch,
a nicely presented page or two with useful information reassuring discerning potential customers.
just a little more effort with the use of Search Engine Optimisation, can also see businesses reaping the benefits of traffic from search engines.
and throw in some social media activity to point customers to a site, and some businesses may find they never have to advertise via other mediums again.
The Facts and Why a Website is Crucial to ANY Business
The reality is that while some businesses believe they cannot afford the time, money and resources to get active online, the truth is, businesses can’t afford not to. The perceptions of potential customers that can’t see a business’s online presence, in the same Telstra Small Business Intelligence Report 2018 study, found:
62% of customers will stop considering a business if they can’t find information about them online;
60% of customers will stop considering a business if it doesn’t have a website;
Customers and consumers alike prefer to communicate with a business via email, as those customers who say they prefer face-to-face communication, is only 33%;
83% of customers believe using search engines is ‘important’ or ‘very important’ when finding a business;
47% of customers (under the age of 40) report using a search engine to find or research a business at least once a day.
The bottom line is, without a website, a business is missing crucial opportunities to meet the demands of the modern-day consumer, and in today’s world, when you're ready to build a website (or have a designer build one for you), you have several options, depending on your desired outcome and budget.
OPTION 1 - Front End Design and Development
OPTION 2 - DIY / What You See is What You Get
WYSIWYG or DIY website platforms are cloud-based web development programmes, with a plethora of choices (i.e. Wix, Squarespace, GoDaddy, Crazy Domains, Weebly etc). Generally, they are much cheaper and can get a business up online in a much quicker timeframe. The great thing about these platforms, is the fees and costs of owning a site for a business, are rolled into one, including your domain, hosting and the actual site, as well as some offering SSL certificates also. This option comes with multiple already designed templates, in various categories and industry types, which can then be customised further and in most cases, instantly responsive on different devices. Similarly, for extra fees, options to add custom made email addresses and other features or applications to add to a site are available. WYSIWYG or DIY website platforms are a great investment to start you off online and once the initial design is created can be updated by you yourself at any point.
Each website, regardless of the options outlined, needs a domain; a distinct subset of the Internet with addresses sharing a common suffix or under the control of a particular organization or individual, i.e. businessname.com.au
However, businesses need to be aware that registering a business name, Australian Business Number (ABN) or Australian Company Number (ACN) is not the same as registering a web domain. In some cases, due to the amount of businesses and websites, a specific business name may not be available and being used elsewhere, either locally, somewhere else in Australia or overseas. To counteract this, domain suffixes have expanded allowing businesses to use (dot) net, (dot) org etc rather than the generic (dot) com or (dot) com (dot) au.
With either option outlined above, the degree of customization (design) included will generally determine the speed and cost of getting your site up and running. The point to remember is, most consumers are looking online for information that will help them make smarter purchasing decisions, 88% will research product information before they make a purchase online or in the store, and such a behaviour trend emphasizes the importance of a website for today’s businesses. Furthermore, a website for your business, regardless of type, will ultimately:
Satisfy your customers and the needs of your website’s visitors – telling them quickly what they want to know.
Attract search engines searches when you invest further making your site Search Engine friendly. By reaching out to customers and search engines alike, a website serves an important dual purpose that has a great impact on your online sales and brand awareness.
With professional website design invested into your business (one off or ongoing) can also help to avoid technical glitches that may occur due to technology, particularly if you are time poor or not technologically savvy. It doesn't take much to turn a customer away, lengthy loading times, broken links and dropped images are just a few of the web design issues that can be remedied by a professional web design service, and if not fixed, can result in potential losses to your business.
As part of designing a website, we consider all necessary elements (scroll using the arrows):
LAYOUT - The way the graphics, content and text are arranged, with a key goal to help the viewer find the information they seek at a glance, including maintaining the balance, consistency, and integrity of the design.
COLOUR - The choice of colours depends on the purpose and clientele, while conveying the personality of the person or the brand or organization.
GRAPHIC ELEMENTS - Graphics can include logos, photos, clipart or icons, all of which enhance the web design, but need to be placed appropriately, working with the colour and content of the web page, while not making it too congested or slow to load.
FONTS - The use of various fonts can enhance a website design, although not generally advised to have too many, their pairings are vital to the design. Some web browsers can only read a select number of fonts, known as "web-safe fonts”, so knowing which ones to use (plus their size etc) is part of the aesthetics of the design and the site’s functionality.
CONTENT - The combination of content and design work together to enhance the message of the site through visuals and text; i.e. written text should always be relevant and useful, so as not to confuse the reader and to give them what they want so they will remain on the site, while the content should be optimized for search engines and be of a suitable length, incorporating relevant keywords.
Creating User-Friendly Web Design
The basic elements of web design will make a site beautiful and visually compelling, but its purpose is more than that and must also always consider the end user; the customer. Therefore, a website, no matter how pretty, must be user-friendly and can be achieved by:
Navigation: Site architecture, menus and other navigation tools created and applied with consideration of how users browse and search. These factors play a significant role, as they help the user to move around the site with ease, efficiently finding the information they require.
Multimedia:Relevant video and audio stimuli incorporate as part of the design can help users to grasp information, develop a better understanding, encouraging visitors to spend more time on the webpage, all in an easy and quick manner.
Compatibility and responsiveness: The overall design of a webpage, should look good and perform equally on different browsers, operating systems, and devices, not just a laptop or desktop computer.
Interactivity:increase active user participation and involvement, by adding comment boxes and call to action features, where customers can accomplish real time connectivity. This can convert users from visitors to clients, via various options, more traditionally by way of email forms and newsletter sign-ups.
Technology: advancements in technology can turn a static site into something more powerful when the design has movement and a fresh and dynamic look and feel.