So you have decided to start a new business, you have done your market research and now you are ready to build your new website.
Before you start these are the things you need to consider
You have identified your target audience and so will you use the website to:
Remember, what you want your website to accomplish and what will your visitors require from your new website may differ. You may be concerned about the visual aspect of your site and your visitors may just want to find information quickly.
Consider the content you will need to support the objectives of your site and how you feel it should be best presented. Look at your competitors sites and get a feel for what looks and works best.
Put yourself in your customers shoes! Try to understand what will make them want to visit your website and what will encourage them to return. You need to make your customer’s journey effective and efficient.
There is some information you must display on your website as a minimum. All companies in the UK must clearly state the company registration number, place of registration, registered office address. A common place to put this information is in the 'About us' or 'Legal info' page of the site - it does not have to appear on every page.
Planning Your Website
Before you decide on which platform to build your website, start with a blank piece of paper and create a diagram or wireframe to show the structure of your website. This diagram should include the content, navigation and layout of the web pages. You can use drawing packages such as Word, Powerpoint or Illustrator to create your wireframe which will allow you to amend them as your vision develops.
Once you have created your wireframe show it to friends or customers who are a representative of your intended audience and get their feedback. Their comments can then be quickly added into your wireframe which will then form the template for your new website.
Technical website design considerations
There are several technical issues to consider when designing your website.
You will have to design webpages that can be displayed by many different browsers. Common browsers include Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari and Google Chrome. If you use a pre-designed website template you may find that they have already been tested on these web browsers.
Not all internet users have high speed access, so connection speed should also influence your webpage design.
Too many images or rich media (such as video or audio) will slow down the speed at which your webpage loads. Generally, pages should load within eight seconds or less to keep the attention of your visitor. If your pages download slowly, your users will probably move on to another site. Slow download speeds may also impact negatively on your search engine ranking.
The Equality Act 2010 makes it illegal for a website provider to discriminate against a disabled person by refusing to provide a service that is generally available, providing a service of a lower standard, or failing to comply with a duty to make reasonable adjustments.
Making websites accessible
There are many adjustments you can make to your website to make it easier for disabled people to use. For example, your web designer should attach a text description to every image and link on the site. This means that blind users, who rely on a browser that reads out the contents of the webpage, can hear a description of what an image is and where a link will take them.
Designing your website
When designing your website, plan a theme and structure that will hold all the pages together. Many of the FREE website builders provide templates to allow you to continue your chosen brand throughout your website.
Create a common theme of colours, fonts, graphics and page layouts. Simplicity and consistency in your visual design can be the most effective way of presenting your online brand.
Plan to create a unified look for the various sections and pages of your site, so that the users are aware that they are moving around within a single site as they move from page to page. Use templates to create a common page layout across your site.
Don't be afraid to use white space or blank areas in your webpage design. Good use of white space can help define areas of your page and can be used to structure and separate content. A lack of white space can give the impression that the page has too much content and this may encourage your website visitors to log off your website.
You will have already developed your brand or image and so ensure this is incorporated into your website design.
Hierarchy of information
Don't make users navigate through too many layers of the site to find the information they want. A standard navigation bar that is in the same place on every page enables the user to move quickly through the site. Again, many website templates allow for a menu bar to be shown across the top of each page.
Optimise Your Website
Once your website is live, you should continue to optimise it and it make it more accessible to search engines such as Google. This SEO Best Practice document from Weebly provides top tips on how to improve your SEO.
Finally, if you are in the process of setting up your own business and you need help in building a Weebly Website please get in touch with Sunflower VA today.