Website design is usually one of the first steps to start when thinking about building a new website or updating existing pages.
Most typically, website design focuses mainly on the visual aspects of what a website should look like and how it should be conveyed.
Often, visuality becomes such a key factor that the actual purpose of the website is overlooked.
Next, we present a clear 5-step process for website design. It helps you avoid the most common stumbling block and makes sure you focus on essentials.
1. First phase of website design – define websites purpose
The first step is the most important of all. If you do not think carefully about the purpose of your website, you will be almost 100% likely to fail.
The idea of why a site exists also needs to be kept in mind throughout the process to ensure the best possible outcome.
For most companies, the primary goal of a website should be to either generate direct sales or promote sales, for example by generating leads for sales.
So everything on your website should be aiming at getting more sales directly or indirectly.
Of course, this is not always the case, as in some cases the function of websites may be to communicate or news coverage on the topic. This is the case, for example, with media companies and sports clubs and with various nonprofit organizations.
2. Second phase of website design – Keyword research and planning different conversions
Use keyword research to find out what search terms people use to find the services you offer on Google. This usually gives you a good idea of what kind of information the site should contain and what search terms the site should be optimized for.
For keyword research, it is a good idea to choose the pillar keywords for your site that are most relevant to your business. In our case, the pillar keyword could be “customer experience”. After that prioritize content production for other search terms, which are not super important but still relevant for your business.
In addition to regular blog posts and content found on different subpages, it is a good idea to plan at the same time what types of conversions you want to drive the customers to in different places on site. For example, if a person reads from a customer experience, you may not want to try to get them to download a guide about Facebook marketing. Or, if he or she reads about SEO, he or she may not be most interested in the online employee experience development course.
The blog reader may not be ready to ask for a quote, either, but the reader of the references may be much closer. This is a good time to think about the different types of conversions your site should have.
3. Third phase of website design– design your website structure
It is usually a good idea to create a clear layout of the site structure in Excel or some other software. The plan should indicate what all pages are on the site and what sort of hierarchy they form.
Generally, you should try to build a relatively low hierarchy site. In other words, it is a good idea to try to make the structure so that every relevant site is within a relatively short distance of the front page. By the distance I mean clicks.
Also, when it comes to site design, you should keep in mind the conversions you defined in step two and what page leads to which conversion.
Typically, a site should have at least a Home page, a Service page, a reference page, a Blog, a Contact page, and some sort of about us page.
4. Fourth phase of website design – Visual design
What should the site look like and how is the visual layout implemented? Of course, when it comes to the visuality of your site, it’s important to make sure that your site is brand-friendly, but also that your design is clearly driving customers towards purchase.
The layout of the site must be in line with the purpose of the site, and it is advisable, for example, to highlight call-to-action prominently on the site, for example by using counter-colors.
5. Fifth phase of website design – technical implementation
Depending on the budget, the technical implementation may advance a few steps in order of priority, but if you are not talking about budgets of less than a couple of thousand euros, the technical implementation may be left to last.
If all the above specifications are clear, the actual technical stuff, should not cost that much.
Personally, I mainly recommend WordPress due to the fact that it is open source and really commonly used, but it is not maybe the most beginner friendly to build on your own. The upside is though that there are many WordPress developers in all around the world, so if you have a lot of budget it is probably a great option.
Of course for different cases there is a lot of different platforms to build website on, for example, in the case of online shops, Shopify is often recommended. I am not really an expert on different website builders, but there is alot of good resources on the subject online, for example: WpBeginner and WebsiteBuilderExpert.
I would personally recommend WordPress, but if you like to build the website 100% yourself some other builder might be good fit.
Summary from website design
It takes a lot of time to design a website, and website projects are often made bigger than they need to be. Many times you even run into situations where a website project freezes all other marketing efforts for the entire year.
However, the most important thing about a website is that they serve customers and help your business do more business, directly or indirectly.