Website Design Ultimate Buyer’s Guide
Website design is the craft of planning, designing, developing, testing and launching a website. For those endowed with a thirst for knowledge, we wrote an article about the History of Website Design that you may find spellbinding. With modern website design we see a medium that has matured, moving well beyond aesthetics to create fusion between design and function. Today’s websites are free from their desktop captors and follow us everywhere we go. In this article, we focus on the utility of website design and what potential buyers need to know.
Website Design. Why You Need A Quality Website
If you run a business or nonprofit, your website is most likely the public face of the organization. In the Age of Information, we live in a world that is interconnected and mobile, making a quality website design more important than ever before. But let’s take a moment to discuss the reasons why your website is so vital to your business.
There is perhaps no other medium or platform that is more effective in converting shoppers into customers than your website. Your website is your virtual marketplace where visitors can explore and learn about the organization and proper calls to action is the point where conversion occurs.
A quality website design will give you an advantage over your competition. A superior web presence with strong aesthetics, intuitive navigation, mobility and compelling content will create a positive user experience that will make a powerful impression on customers and donors.
Keep Up To Date
Websites are the official voice of the organization and keeping it relevant with news, product/service updates, company happenings, press releases, blog articles, etc. will keep visitors informed. In addition, the evergreen content you create will be feasted by search engines, increasing your website’s quality score and search rankings.
Provide Customer Service
Your website is the ideal platform for providing customer support. Giving your customers the ability to interact with the organization will greatly increase their customer satisfaction. A website can have much more than a phone number, it can provide real time chat support, a FAQ section and an alert system for relevant issues such as Covid-19.
Website Design. Which Website Is Right For You?
A website is a ubiquitous term, much like a car or house. Websites come in many shapes and sizes and at several different price-points. Let’s discuss the basic types of websites you can choose from:
An information-based site made up of unique sections and pages.
A transaction-based site that allows customers to make purchases through an online store and shopping cart.
A portal-based site that allows users to search for content or items using filters and search systems.
Social Media Website
A site that allows users to interact with other users, share information and fight about politics.
A blog is a simple website that allows administrators to write articles and sort them into categories while site users can provide feedback.
Website Design. How Much Does A Website Cost?
Before we delve into costs, let’s identify the kinds of website available as this will play a major factor in determining website price. For the sake of this article, we are only including the WordPress CMS, although there are several other CMS platforms available that provide similar options:
The DIY Website
The DIY, or Do It Yourself, website is a valid option for organizations with minimal or non-existent marketing budgets. There are several options available that will allow you to create a website yourself and without any programming skills using their online website builder “drag and drop” tools. You may already be familiar with some of the names, including Wix, Squarespace and GoDaddy. The benefits of this option is significant cost savings; however, those savings may get overshadowed by a lower quality web presence you my experience. This option is not recommended for any organization that depends on their website for representation and visibility.
Cost: Ask your girlfriend if she can float you a $20.
WordPress Theme Design
The first WordPress category is using a WordPress theme design, which is a pre-designed and pre-developed website template you can purchase at low costs in order to avoid significant design expenses. There are literally thousands of designs to choose from, which can be a challenge onto itself when searching. The benefit besides lower cost is that there are some really attractive website themes available. A major drawback going with a WordPress theme design is that you will be sharing your website design with literally thousands or hundreds of thousands of other businesses and organizations. In addition, you do not actually own your design, you are renting it and have no say in how it is used on other websites.
Cost: $5,000 – $10,000
Custom WordPress Design
The other category when choosing to hire a WordPress developer is to go with a custom design. This has obvious benefits as it allows your web designer to work with you closely and hand-craft a unique design that truly represents your business or organization. If your budget will allow, a custom WordPress design is ALWAYS the best option. If you have ever bought a house it’s very similar. Whereas a stock floor plan allows for almost zero customization a custom design will be made to your exact specifications. Click Here to learn about our custom web design services.
Cost: $10,000 – $100K+, depending on functional requirements.
Website Design. How To Hire A Web Design Agency
Hiring a website designer is an important decision you must face if you elect not to take the DIY approach. Every town in America has multiple web design agencies, so you while the options may be abundant the quality may not be quite so clear. Here are some considerations when shopping for a website designer:
Do Your Research
Putting time into your search will pay off. Identify a small number of agencies you feel fit the criterion for a possible vendor and put in some research.
- Do they provide a customer portfolio with recent work?
- Is their website kept up to date?
- Do they have an active social media presence?
- Do they provide customer testimonials?
- What is their service level agreement?
Get Multiple Quotes
Once you’ve identified a handful of potential suitors, ask them to provide a competitive bid. Experienced teams will try to dig deeper to gain a better understanding of your project goals, requirements and scope. They may ask for a Request For Proposal (RFP) or request a needs-assessment consultation.
Don’t Make Cost Your Only Consideration
As with anything in life you get what you pay for. Expect to pay more for an experienced website design agency with a strong customer portfolio. As a rule of thumb, you might want to throw out both the cheapest and most expensive bids.
Looking To Hire A Web Designer? Here’s What You Need To Know.
Website Design. User Experience
When you first consider designing a website and handing your ideas over to a website designer, the first thing you are likely to do is think about the website’s architecture. The order of the pages, categories, and layout are a top priority because aesthetics matter when it comes to UX website design.
How you do this can be significant to the success of your online presence. Learn how to do it right be learning about website narratives.
UX Website Design. What Does Website Narrative Mean?
Website narrative refers to the aesthetics of a website but also its functionality. It is what the website visitor experiences when they land on your website and how they navigate their way through the website.
When people design their own websites, they opt for website templates and customize the template to their preferences. The problem with this is that no matter how much customization that you try, the website narrative remains rather the same.
In a nutshell, website narrative is storytelling. Here are some examples of websites that do a great of job narrative storytelling.
Website Design. What To Look For In Great Web Design
What are the principles of great web design? Great web design is the result of craftsmanship and storytelling. A great web design serves a function. It effectively conveys a story to its intended audience. It engages its audience and drives it to take action. It is accessible, simple and elegant. A great web design yields results that are both qualitative (aesthetically-pleasing) and quantitative (measurable).
Website Design. Content Management System (CMS)
A CMS is an application that allows non-developers to make updates to their website using a control panel. A CMS makes website design more accessible and affordable as the need for ongoing website maintenance is dramatically reduced. With a CMS, website administrators can add or update pages, manage images, create an online store and publish blog articles.
Choosing Your Content Management System
There are literally hundreds of CMS on the market, and for the uninitiated the challenge of choosing a CMS can be a daunting task. Most website design agencies will recommend their preferred CMS, but in general here are qualities you will want to consider:
- Intuitiveness / Ease-Of-Use
- Developer Community
Today, most website designers use WordPress for their projects. WordPress is an open-source platform, which means it’s free. WordPress is also the most popular CMS in the world, with over 60% of the planet’s websites powered by WordPress. This gives you the added assurance that there are plenty of WordPress developers available and that your website will not become outdated anytime soon.
Looking To Hire A WordPress Developer? What You Need To Know.
Website Design. Responsive Web Design
A responsive website is an approach to web design that places User Experience (UX) at the forefront of importance. A responsive website will adapt to the screen size, device and orientation of each user, creating an optimal UX for desktops, tablets and smartphones. A responsive website does not represent a new technology, rather it represents a new approach to existing technologies. A responsive website is built using a responsive framework, such as Bootstrap and Foundation.
Responsive Web Design has emerged as a best practice in professional web design. Responsive web design represents an elegant solution to a complex problem. The approach allows developers to create a website from a single-data source and adjust its layout accordingly to provide an optimal viewing experience – easy reading and navigation across a wide range of devices (from desktop monitors to tablets and mobile phones). Responsive web design satisfies the user experience demands of today’s multi-platform consumer.
Website Design. Accessibility
The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, was created by congress as a supplement the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender or national origin. ADA-compliance was created to protect individuals with disabilities from discrimination and to ensure accessibility. In the real world, this applies to the physical accommodation to businesses as building construction and alterations must comply with ADA design standards in order to meet ADA-compliance.
While most of us are familiar with these requirements, many of us might be surprised to learn that the same standards apply to the digital world, in particular websites. The standards are to ensure that people with disabilities are able to access content to a website with the same convenience as people without disabilities. As a business, government agency or non-profit organization, you are compelled by the law to remove any technical obstructions that may discriminate against people with disabilities. Failure to comply with ADA design standards may result in fines or even a lawsuit.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of optimizing a website so that it appears high on search results, which will improve your online brand visibility and better connect you to your target audience. SEO is a very simple concept to grasp, yet can be extremely tedious to execute.
Have you ever fantasized about having a friend at Google that at the click of a button could move your website to the top search ranking for all your critical keywords? I know I have. Search engine results can be make-or-break for small businesses and non-profit organizations as they depend on organic traffic to connect with their target audiences. High ranking equates to lots of traffic and opportunity. Low ranking leads to irrelevance and Chapter 7. So, how do you know if your website is performing well on your behalf? It all depends on search engine optimization.
What is the point of having a great web design if no one knows it exists? SEO requires patience and expertise to be successful and the marketplace is flooded with so called Black Hat charlatans that can actually do more harm than good. Every successful SEO campaign begins with a technical review of your website to identify problems that will need to be corrected before your SEO campaign can truly begin. All the SEO strategies in existence will not be successful until you have a website that is properly search engine-friendly. Without proper SEO you will not have a great web design.
Finally, we get to the part of the article where the rubber meets the road. All successful website designs can be improved upon, and analytics is the key to achieving this objective. Google Analytics provides critical analysis and understanding of website data that allows web marketers to make necessary changes to optimize the performance of a website. Google Analytics provides the right tool for organizations to better understand their position in the marketplace and to assess and approve the effectiveness of their web presence and marketing strategies.
Website design is a critical requirement for a successful online presence. If you are interested in working with us regarding your website design, then connect with us today and get access to testimonials from our previous clients so that you can be assured of the quality of our work. When you get in touch, we will listen closely to help develop your goals into achievable results. Everyone on our team is looking forward to bringing your website design project to life, so get in touch today to schedule our initial discussion.
To schedule a complimentary website design consultation, call us at 888.938.8289 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
D E E P B L U E Knows the Market
DEEPBLUE is a San Francisco website design company that delivers measurable results. Learn more about our website design services and contact us to schedule a complimentary needs-assessment consultation.
When it comes to hot new trends, the team here at DEEPBLUE is ready and willing to use them when designing your website. In fact, many of the new trends follow the work we have completed, making us proud website design trendsetters. If you want a website design that is innovative and intuitive then give us a call, we’d love to work with you.