A well-designed website is an incredibly important aspect of any business. Think of your website as your home base. It’s where most of your customers go to get information about your brand and what you offer. So if you don’t have a good website, it can deter customers and result in fewer conversions and sales.
As the website is so critical, however, it can often become a point of frustration for many businesses. Getting your website just right can take time, and it can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start or aren’t having any success.
There are many aspects of web design, and knowing which areas to focus on throughout the process can be challenging, as there is no one right way to go about it. Is functionality more important? Aesthetics? User experience? Security?
These are all reasonable things to worry about when you are trying to design a new website. But the answer can vary depending on your brand and your company’s specific needs or goals.
Below, we’ll explore the different elements of web design to help you understand what they are and which ones might be a priority over others, depending on your brand.
The first step in deciding your web design priorities is to go through all the different elements and think about them in terms of your company’s specific needs and goals. The web design process can be different for every brand, so just because one company does it one way does not mean you should do the same.
For some, the user experience might be the most important element of web design, for others, it might be cybersecurity. In the end, all of the below elements are important and should be included, but when you are just starting out, and perhaps don’t have the time or money to focus on them all, it’s helpful to identify each one to determine what is most important for your business’s specific needs.
If you are a new business, brand awareness should be one of your top priorities. You need people to know about your brand in the first place before they will even go looking for your website. Once they do get to your website, your brand identity should be clear and easy to recognize.
Focusing on establishing your brand identity through brand awareness will help you connect with people so they will remember you. In doing this, you will start to establish a new customer base, and those customers will become more loyal to your brand and recommend you to others.
Think of brand identity as your first impression. If you leave a bad first impression, you aren’t going to attract any customers to your new business, but if you leave a good first impression, you will more quickly establish yourself as a brand to keep an eye on, which means you will grow your customer base and start making sales.
So good branding is key when designing your website as a new business. This means having an appealing logo, a good brand story that tells customers who you are and what you value, and other memorable brand elements and aesthetics, such as appealing and recognizable color schemes and imagery.
If your company heavily relies on pleasing your customers, as most should, user experience should be one of your top priorities. Customer-focused businesses tend to have more success because they put the effort into prioritizing their customer’s wants and needs. The more you show your customers that you care about them and their experience, rather than seeing them as dollar signs, the more likely you are to have success growing your business.
So, if you are a B2C business, user experience (UX) design is essential. B2B businesses should also have good UX design, but it is even more crucial when you are B2C and trying to appeal to large customer bases, as 50% of consumers believe that UX affects their opinion of a business.
You can create a better user experience by following these steps:
- Understand who your target customer is — You can do this by creating a customer persona — essentially a description summary of most of your customer’s demographics. This can include their age, identity, experiences, and even their location.
- Identify the problem — Listen to your customers. They may typically encounter a common problem among your site or other sites during their purchasing process. You can gain this data through surveys or other customer service queries.
- Solve the problem — Once you find out what common issues your target customers experience, brainstorm ideas on how your business or your site’s features can solve that problem.
All of this indicates that UX design is often primarily about function. It’s about designing a website that is providing the best experience possible for your customers by solving their problems and giving them what they need.
So, if you are an e-commerce business, for example, how easy and satisfactory your website’s shopping and checkout process plays a significant role in the overall customer experience. In this case, your UX design should focus on making it easy for your customers to find the products they are looking for and checkout without running into any major issues.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is technically important for all businesses. Optimizing your content will ensure you rank higher in Google search results, which means you will drive more traffic to your website and, thus, be more likely to increase conversions and sales.
If you are a unique business that is offering something that most others are not, then you can likely get away with putting SEO on the back burner. However, if you have a lot of competitors that offer similar products or services, SEO should be a priority.
If a customer is looking for lawnmowers, for example, and they do a simple Google search for lawnmowers, there are likely a ton of websites that will pop up in the search results. So if you sell lawnmowers, you want to prioritize SEO to make sure your website ranks higher in search results; otherwise, competitors might constantly beat you to the punch.
If you sell something more unique, however, like knitted hats for dogs, there are potentially not as many other businesses that sell the same thing. So if someone is searching for dog hats or knitted dog hats, your website might automatically show up higher in search results without SEO because there aren’t many other options out there.
Ensuring the data on your website is secure is always a wise decision if you want to avoid cyber attacks — but some businesses should worry about this more than others. FinTech companies, for example, that deal with a lot of sensitive data should make cybersecurity a priority.
B2B companies, as well, that deal with major clients that expect them to keep their information private and secure should also focus on quality website security. Essentially any company that keeps a lot of sensitive data on their website, or asks for client information through online forms, should be prioritizing the safety and security of their clients and their company.
There are numerous other things that your business might want to consider when building a new website, but brand awareness and design, UX design, SEO, and cybersecurity are four of the primary elements of web design that tend to matter most. So it’s important to take a close look at these four things to determine which ones should be a priority. Once you get the most important elements out of the way, you can start to work on the rest of your web design as time and budget allows.