An impactful site is more than just good design.
There are literally billions of websites across the internet. Each one serves a different purpose and most that are well-known tend to look pretty nice. Proper design elements are utilized to create an experience that is easy to look at, and more importantly, easy to navigate.
The belief tends to be that you can simply click and drag different elements into a template and create a stunning, well-functioning, highly optimized website. While this may be true for the boutique bakeshop next door or the aspiring wedding photographer, websites often need more polish and attention when it comes to building for the corporate landscape. Here are some important factors to consider when designing and building a website.
Have a Goal in Mind
Every website has a goal in mind — or at least, it should. Unfortunately, many website building tools that provide templates assume what your website goal is! They design their templates to fit the assumed criteria of things like a bakery or a wedding photography business. That means as the owner of a company specializing in the design and manufacturing of specialty tech accessories, you’re left in the dark on what template to choose.
Professional web designers or agencies will always meet with the client to discuss their vision and goals for the website. This will obviously lead to a better end product for each specific website.
All websites are built using a combination of different computer languages. When you use a template-oriented program to build your website, you will rarely see this code and making changes to it is nearly impossible.
The code for templated websites is often messy and can lead to slow performance. That photo carousel may look nice in the preview, but once implemented it’s often slow and inefficient since it was not coded properly. In the case that you have access to making changes to the HTML or CSS, it becomes apparent that every template is different which means the code for every template is vastly different. This can lead to hours of unsuccessful troubleshooting and in the end, you may be forced to compromise for a different result.
Code is also the backbone to positive search engine performance. Google now has the capability to determine the quality of your website. If they sense that your website will serve as a bad experience for the user, you’re more likely to be placed lower in search engine results. Websites that are not coded properly serve as warning signs for search engines like Google that your website may not provide the user value.
Speed is Essential
47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less. Does yours?
Website speed can be increased through leveraging browser caching, so that when a user visits your website, the browser doesn’t have to reload the entire page. You can also improve your server load time by locating large queries that may be bottlenecking the website load times.
Finally, you can optimize your images and other visual content so that your browser doesn’t have to work too hard to load the page.
Images and Videos Are the Icing on the Cake
Adding photos and videos to a website seems pretty straightforward, right? When using a program that provides templates, it’s easy to click-and-drag your photos into a gallery. However, you’ll oftentimes notice that your photos end up looking blurry or low resolution. Or worse, they may slow your website down!
Services that allow you to build websites for free have a limited amount of space to store photo and video information. In order to compensate for this space, the program will oftentimes decrease the quality of your visual content to save room. In return, your media ends up lacking quality.
Web designers will take the time to optimize each and every image so that it appears the way you want it to on your website. This can be seen as adjusting the resolution properly, changing its size, and even ensuring that it works well on new retina displays that are common in many laptops and desktops.
Design is More than Just the Colors
When it comes to great web design, the fun part is picking out your color palette, typography, and imagery. Filling your website with the proper visual elements always helps it come to life. However, web designers are trained to think about the less exciting aspects of web design: user experience.
Understanding how a user will navigate a website and designing each page to properly support their intentions is extremely important to achieving your website goals. Hoping to sell some of those specialty tech accessories? Then your website should efficiently lead prospects to that part of your website. Consider user experience as understanding the psychology of your website users.
Designers will also consider the accessibility of your website. They will ensure that your website can be viewed by anyone, regardless of a disability that prevents them from seeing certain colors or reading content.
On the more obvious side of the spectrum, web designers make sure that your website performs just as well on mobile as it does on desktop. Many templates claim to be “mobile responsive” but a properly coded website will work just as efficiently on mobile as it does on the desktop version (and not just shrink everything down). This is extremely important as 53% of users will leave a mobile website if it takes longer than three seconds to load. Consider hiring a digital agency to design your website in a holistic viewpoint.
Good Web Design Can be Complicated
To make a truly stunning website, you need to consider every aspect. From the look of the front end with the optimized photos and videos, to the back end that keeps the website running properly. By having a clear goal in mind, you’ll be able to quickly establish the appropriate website decisions and reach your audience most effectively.