Did you know that there are almost 1.8 billion active websites on the internet today? With the internet comes endless opportunity, but stiff competition. And if you want to create a website yourself, you need to have a strong plan in order to get positive results.
The good news? We can help you do just that!
In this article, we’ll break down the most important steps of the website design process. We’ll tell you how to get started designing a website, as well as few mistakes to avoid along the way.
Understand the Goal of the Website
While there are over a billion websites online at the moment, it’s important to note that not all of those websites are the same. More specifically, the main goal of those websites differs per site.
Before you can create an awesome-looking website that users will love, you first need to understand what the overall goal of the website is.
Are you trying to promote a business? Is selling goods on an online store the desired outcome? Are you creating a blog that users will come back to over and over again to browse for new content?
Regardless of what type of site you’re creating, having the main goal in mind is key, especially during the early parts of the design process. That way you can make sure everything, from the way the site looks to the way it functions, is created with that goal in mind.
Know the Website’s Target Audience
Once you have the main goal of the website in mind, it’s time to decide who the website’s main target audience is going to be. This will help you make a ton of choices later on, including how the site should read and what it should look like aesthetically.
So, if you’re creating a blog, dig a bit deeper and look at what type of content is going to be on that blog. If it’s content about hiking and various outdoor activities, you know that people who enjoy those two things are your target audience.
Now that you have that information, you can build everything, from the way the site looks to how you separate your blog posts into different categories, with that target audience in mind.
Lay Out the Overall Design of the Site
Now that you have your website’s identity all figured out, it’s time to get the fun part: designing your website. Now, before you start creating pages and posting content to your site, we recommend that you draw out a blueprint that you can follow on paper.
If traditional pencil and paper isn’t your style, use a digital graphics editor to draw out what you want your site to look like. Focus on the layout of your pages, as well as where you want to put things like graphics and other branding materials on your site.
A pro tip? Take a look at other websites in your niche and jot down a few things that you like about their designs. Also, find some things that other sites in your niche don’t do well, so you can offer users something that new and original that is exclusive to your site.
Figure Out the Site’s Navigation System
There aren’t too many design elements that are more important than navigation. After all, if users can’t find whatever it is they’re looking for on your website, they’re not going to stick around for long.
The good news? Mastering website navigation is simple if you know one basic rule. If it takes more than three clicks to find something on your website, your navigation is too complicated.
With that rule in mind, it’s a good idea to make sure your most important content can be found in one or two clicks. Doing so will help ensure that your users find what they’re looking for and come back to your site for more once they have.
Start Creating Content for the Website
Now that you’ve created a plan for your website, and then executed the layout and navigation portion of that plan, it’s time to start creating content. By now, you know what type of content you need to make for your website.
Things like bio pages, contact us pages, and whatever you plan on having on your landing page is a great place to start. If you do have a blog for your site, we recommend that you create at least 3 blog posts before going live, that way there’s plenty there for your first few users to read.
And as always, it’s not a bad idea to look at other successful websites, including some that aren’t even in your niche, to see how they do content. That way you can use their content as a blueprint, allowing you to focus more on what your content says and less about how it’s formatted.
Create and Implement Visual Elements
One of the last things you’ll do for your website design-wise is to implement various visual elements. From your website’s header to any other graphics or media you want to use, now is the time to get those files loaded up on your website.
With this in mind, it’s important to note that too many visual elements can be distracting to a user and can take away from the experience. It can also pull away from the user’s attention from your content, which isn’t what you want.
So, limit yourself on graphics and let the heart of your website, your content, do most of the heavy lifting. That way you can make sure that your website is effective and that you reach your goals with your site.
Test the Website and Fix Any Errors
At this point in the process, it’s time to do some thorough testing of your site before going live with it. This means that you need to browse every page and post on your site to ensure it looks and functions the way that you want it to.
If you can, try to test out your site on multiple devices, including things like smartphones and tablets. After all, over half of all web traffic comes from mobile devices, so you want to make sure you offer those users a good experience.
Keep a notepad with you when you test your site and make notes of all changes you want or need to make. Then, make those changes, and do another test run, to confirm your site is ready to launch.
Launch the Website and Listen to User Feedback
You did it! You’ve created an awesome and effective website! All that is left to do now is launch it for the entire world to use and browse.
As your site starts to get traffic, you’ll be getting user feedback almost immediately. Listening to your website’s analytics, in particular, is key to determining whether or not users like your site.
Also, those analytics will tell you what areas on your site are most popular, as well as what users don’t care for on your site. Using this information, you can create a content plan for the future, allowing you to give your users more of what they like and less of what they don’t.
Perform Maintenance on Website Regularly
Once your website is live, that doesn’t mean that process is over. Sure, you need to continue to create new content that users will want to read and share. But you’re also going to have to perform routine maintenance to ensure your site stays running smoothly.
Regardless of what type of content management system you’re using, you’re going to be prompted to do frequent updates. Making sure these updates get done on time will not only keep your sign functioning at a high level but will also protect you from cyberattacks.
You may find over time that your design and layout isn’t as efficient as you’d like it to be. Using your analytics, you can redesign your layout in a way that promotes your most popular type of content better, if you so desire.
Still not sure what makes a great website? You can read more here about the topic, so you can make sure you set up your site for success from the beginning.
Use This Website Design Process to Create a Stellar Site
Building a website from scratch can feel overwhelming, but by using a strong website design process, you can create an awesome website that users will love!
Remember, take your time with the planning process. Do tons of research on other websites that are successful and draw your website out beforehand using that information.
If you do that, and then listen to your audience, you’ll be able to create and maintain a website that gets the results you’re looking for!
Looking for more web design tips and tricks? Check out our blog!