There are currently around 1.58 billion active websites globally so to stand out you must adopt a good web design process from the very beginning.
Each of these websites has a wide range of purposes and serves all kinds of audiences. If you need to develop a website for your business, you’ll want it to stand out from the competition. To achieve this, your website must be well designed.
So, let’s break this down. I’m going to quickly outline what makes a good web design process. Ready? Let’s dive in!
The Importance of Great Web Design
In the modern age, essentially all businesses need an online presence to succeed. The internet has made communications and interactions incredibly easy, so if people aren’t able to engage with your business in this way, they’ll simply go with a competitor.
And even if you do have a presence, if it’s slow, poorly built, slim on content, etc, the visitor is gone! Poof!
To help you avoid this, we’ve put together this simple-to-follow web design process.
Good Web Design Process
Designing a website takes more than just coming up with an idea and putting it on the web. There’s a process you should follow to ensure your website matches your ideas and meets the needs of customers.
Before you begin designing a website, you need to determine what its goal is. A clear end goal makes it easier for a designer to generate ideas and form a creative design that matches the purpose of the site.
There’s a range of things you can think about to help determine your overall goal:
- Website overall purpose
- Target audience
- Desired user actions
- The services or products you offer
- Competitors’ websites and performance
- Benefits of your current site (if one exists)
These will set the basis of your goal, making it easier for our designers to build the perfect website for your company.
Website Project Scope Definition
The scope of your project involves several factors such as the project timeline, the number of web pages, additional website features, etc. Setting these early on will help ensure the final website is fit for purpose.
Something to bear in mind is that the scope can change continuously throughout the process. It’s still good to set it initially and build from there, but you should be open to changes as they often provide improvements. We live in a fast-paced world, embrace the agile methodology!
Project planning tools such as Gantt charts help lay everything out and can be adjusted as and when needed.
This involves building the core of the website: the sitemap and wireframe. The various pages are set up and connected in a way that’s ideal for website navigation.
The wireframe determines a range of website components including:
- Space allocation
- Content prioritization
- Website behaviors
We do this to make sure the entire website is laid out correctly and that everything works as intended. Any successful website design is built from a solid site map and wireframe.
The content on your website is what all visitors will see, making this a very important step. You want your content to stand out and provide value to your audience with the goal of increasing traffic and retaining visitors.
Good content is what makes people visit your site, and content trends change with time. Because of this, the style of content you use initially may not be ideal in a year or two. Keep up with current trends to ensure your website is always the best it can be.
That said, don’t obsess over trends and try too hard to keep up with the Jones’s. Sometimes, the latest and greatest doesn’t make sense for your audience. Always run anything you do on your website through the customer experience (CX) filter.
Regarding content trends, visual content is significantly better than written/text content in many circumstances. The visual style of your website will help you stand out from the competition and give it an overall feel that appeals to your customers.
It’s likely that you already have branding for your business including colors, logos, fonts, etc. You want this to match on your website. Keeping things consistent will help people relate to your brand, and makes things look more professional.
At Wellspring Digital we place a lot of focus on creating quality content guaranteeing that your website impresses visitors both functionally and visually.
Development and Testing
Development is one of the most technical stages of web design. We have decades of experience in creating a huge range of websites. Our advice is to never assume something will be plug-and-play.
Generally, after completing the steps above, the development should be straightforward. Everything is laid out; you just need to put it all together. Page builders and themes make developing a website easier, but make sure you have a team with excellent coding skills so you don’t find yourself in a jam.
Relying on the themes and page builders for everything can be a risky venture. Once everything is done, always test it using Google’s Core Website Vitals tool. This makes sure your website is fast and user-friendly, without any errors.
You will also want to run the following tests at a minimum…
- Test all forms and other functionality on multiple devices
- Run the new site through BrowserStack so you know it works well on all the major browsers
- Map out all 301 redirects
- Add in all third-party code snippets, like Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel, Marketing Automation codes, etc.
Before any website launch, always make sure to make a complete backup of the old website just in case you need to revert back. We recommend housing the old site on a development server not visible to the public in case you need content or other elements from it. Keep it around for at least a month to be safe.
With everything set up and the testing complete, you can launch your site. Bear in mind that the development process doesn’t end here. There is a post-launch list of things you need to focus on. At a minimum, you should…
- Retest all forms
- Implement 301 redirects
- Make sure robots can index your website
There will always be changes that can be made to your website to improve it.
Sometimes this is due to certain aspects losing effectiveness, or it may be changing things to meet current trends if they help you achieve your goals. You might also change your branding, or maybe just need to update some information.
On top of that, there can often be issues that come up after launch that weren’t noticed during the testing stage. This isn’t something to panic about. Remember, you have a backup just in case.
And for the love of all things holy, please do not skimp on hosting! Choose a business-class hosting platform with excellent support, uptime, and enough space and speed to meet your needs.
Growing Your Website
You’re likely to want certain changes throughout the web design process and after your site is launched. A website is never finished. Be open to change and maintain a partnership with a firm that can help your website to grow with you.
WordPress websites, if built properly, allow you to make many of the site changes yourself. But occasionally there are changes that you cannot or are uncomfortable making yourself. Make sure you have a partner who is more than capable of making any changes or upgrades needed.