OK. Let me start by putting my cards on the table. I come across many heartbroken people who have spent literally thousands on website design only to be disappointed. They feel crushed by web designers holding their site hostage not allowing them to update anything or insisting they pay for the privilege. The other cause for concern is that some business people pay for a website structurally designed incorrectly. This means you’re stuck.
I don’t want to scare you into thinking this will happen to you. But I feel I must clarify what good web design is. After all, your website is important for your business. Therefore it follows that good website design is important for your business and its future.
Inclusive Web Design
This term captures one of the basic principles of sound web design. You need to make sure everything is covered at the planning stage. If you’re a small business planning may sound dull. You just want a website. Don’t rush. The plain truth is that time spent now considering everything from the domain to how and if the site will be updated is critical to the success of your project. Simple things count. You must register your own domain. Too many businesses lose control at the get go because they don’t even own their own domain! You need consider who your customers or visitors are. Your site should be designed around them. Are you primarily intending to present information or does your business require an online shop? And if you think you need a blog do you have the time to update it or the budget to get someone else to do it for you? I could go on. But the point is the amount of effort put into planning will be reflected in the end results: your website.
Appropriate Content Layout
Online visitors are a fickle bunch. If they can’t find what they are looking for they are likely to leave within 10 seconds. You need to provide what they are looking for. Obvious really. Online shops are the most likely to come a cropper here because they give greater priority to displaying goods than to visitor navigation.
Don’t lose sales and enquiries by confusing visitors on how to contact you. You should provide a physical address as well as a telephone number and email address or contact form. It goes without saying, but I’ll mention it anyway, that the contact button has to be clearly displayed the home page, usually in the main navigation bar.
The Search Engines
Good web site design for business focuses on site visitors. But it would be disingenuous to suggest the search engines don’t matter. A good web site designer will be up to speed on the latest developments and how these can impact design. For example, everyone now realises slow site loading times can be penalised by the search engines. Often sites fail to load quickly because of poor design (old fashioned code).