5 Important Guidelines for Website Design
Your website is a key asset in your marketing arsenal. Its design, UI/UX, navigation, speed, content are important parameters that need experience, expertise, and skills.
Very often, website designers focus on aesthetics which is very important. However, it is equally important to have a clear strategy for your website to align with your business strategy, brand guidelines, new products/services to be added, online marketing campaigns, and many more aspects. Sometimes, there are factors that are unforeseen at the time of website design but will have to be integrated into the website in the future.
Here are our five guidelines for making your website design awesome:
Design Your Website For Your customers
This is such a simple guideline, and like any good business philosophy, that is core to your website design. Design your website for your customers.
If your customers love your website then your sales will increase, your traffic will increase, Google will love your website, users will return again and again to your website and you will achieve your business objectives.
It's actually very easy to build a website that your customers will love. For instance, if a website loads fast, not only your customers but Google will love it too. If your website is easily navigable and customers can quickly find what they are looking for, then your website design is successful.
Don't you love those websites which remember what you were looking for and suggest similar products? There could many such features depending on the nature of your business that enhances your customer experience on your website. Try to get your marketing team, business heads together, and identify any such characteristics or features that should be integral to your website design.
Make sure that you build a list of features that will enhance your customers' website experience. Also, make it a point to ask your vendors for his suggestion.
your website design should be scalable, flexible & easy to manage
Most business leaders want the perfect website for their business right from the start. This is a natural instinct and you must try to get it as perfect as possible before taking it online.
But, do remember that just like your business, your website will evolve over the years. In my experience, sometimes business leaders want the website to immaculately perfect before it is launched. Unfortunately, this is often unrealistic and leads to huge delays in taking the website live. Add to that cost overruns and opportunity losses, it is generally advisable to design a website which can be scaled easily, where content can be updated easily and quickly, where the layout can be changed as the requirement arises and features can be added easily, quickly and inexpensively.
Your website should be scalable and flexible as your business needs will change continuously. Image a website for a very small restaurant that plans to attract more customers with a special offer - the business owner should be able to include that offer without having to wait for days and spend lots of money. The need for a scalable and flexible website increases for businesses with more such requirements.
There are multiple reasons including demographics, a shift in corporate messaging, product variations, data-driven recommendations, the launch of time-bound/geo-specific landing pages which require a flexible, scalable website.
your website designer should understand your business
This is probably one of the biggest gaps in website design. Business owners believe that website designers know their business. Most website designers are technology companies and it is likely that the lead from the website design company is a tech wizard who interacts with your marketing lead.
This is one of the biggest issues which becomes a bottleneck. Make sure your website design company has a deep understanding of businesses - even better if it is specific to your industry. If possible, request that the lead from the vendor company should be one with a strong understanding of business imperatives.
Follow Google guidelines meticulously
If you get tons of traffic from Google then you're truly blessed. Competition for appearing on the first page of search results is fierce. It takes time and really hard work to get there. And, to get there, one needs to follow Google's guidelines diligently.
Google is fastidious about providing the best user experiences for its customers. For example, If the page is slow to load, Google's algorithms may push down the rankings even if the content is excellent. Google's guidelines also cover the use of Page Titles, Meta Description, Header Titles, Keyword Density, SEF URLs, Alt Text (for images) to improve ranking.
Google also frowns upon certain practices which are called "Blackhat SEO" which sometimes inexperienced website designers inadvertently follow. It is not uncommon for websites to get penalized for BlackHat practices.
It's a good idea to make it clear to your website designer the importance of following these guidelines.
prompt response, quick turnaround is essential for your website
Imagine that your marketing team has suddenly realized that the special weekend offer is no longer valid - it's Friday night! Just calculate the damage if the website design team tells you that the offer cannot be removed until Monday morning.
In reality, this happens more often than we think it can. Also, your business may require a feature or offer to be added immediately as this could increase your sales or compete with another offer. You would need your website designer to have the proven capability to respond quickly and effectively. If possible, this should be included in your contract and scope of work (SOW).