Getting started with a new website feels like a big job, even for us! At Emphasize Design, each member of our team focuses on a different aspect of website design and marketing. We keep the process efficient by taking it step by step, and making sure all of the necessary building blocks are in place. Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the steps that Joel, Mike, and I take when designing websites, and what you can do to help prepare for a great website of your own.
Website Design 101: A Step by Step Guide to Building a Beautiful Website
Whether you’re building a website, writing a book, or getting started on a term paper 24 hours before it’s due, staring at a blank page is an intimidating prospect. So rather than trying to do everything at once, we break the process down.
Logo Design and Brand Identity
Your brand’s logo is a major part of your online identity, so designing an attractive logo is the perfect place to start. Good logos come in many forms, from simple, stylized wordmarks to handcrafted, complicated images. In addition to providing some eye candy, your logo can help set the tone for colour scheme of your website and other design choices. Logos are in Mike’s wheelhouse here at ED, and we like to think he does a pretty darn good job with them.
Content Development and Starting With “Why”
After the logo design, it’s on to content development, which is firmly in my neck of the woods. In order to create compelling content, you need to understand and articulate why you do what you do. We do website design because we like helping Calgary businesses grow, but also because we enjoy the work! So when we create content, we try our best to show both sides of that coin.
- Readers want to know what they’ll be getting in return for investing their time, which is just one of the reasons it’s so crucial to start with why. Don’t just tell your audience what to do, or how to do it. Tell them why they should care in the first place.
- I prefer to design websites around content, rather than developing the website first and forcing the content to fit. You don’t need every word to be perfect before you start designing, but it’s very helpful to have an idea of how the content will fit.
- Citing sources is good for business, and it’s simply the right thing to do. If that isn’t enough, just remind yourself that citing sources keeps you from getting sued.
Picking Your Pages and Finding Your Way with Navigation
The best websites inform without overwhelming. The number of pages you choose and the navigation options you provide to play a critical role in how visitors experience your website. This part of the process is a team effort.
- When choosing your pages, remember that more isn’t always better. Every business website should have a homepage, about us page, and contact page at the least. Depending on your business, you might also include product/service pages, FAQs, testimonials, and of course a blog for all of your great content.
- An eCommerce website will often include more pages than an informational website, and that’s okay. Just remember that navigation becomes even more important, the more pages you have.
- A logical, efficient navigation framework allows site visitors to find what they need, when they need it. There are many menu styles to choose from, and an effective search function will help visitors find hard-to-reach information.
Search Engine Optimization and Website Testing
SEO plays a role in nearly every aspect of website design, and it’s something that you’ll definitely want to track over time as the interests of your audience evolve. The goal is to land of the first page of search results for relevant keywords, and the higher, the better. In addition to tracking your SEO results, consider user testing to source feedback on your website from the people who actually use it. Testing over time allows you to make the little tweaks, and will also help you decide when it’s time for a website redesign.
Emphasize Website Design of Calgary
If all of this sounds like a lot of work… it is! But the good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. Our team at Emphasize Design is here to help you every step of the way, with attractive website design solutions and pricing packages to fit every Calgary business.