Choose a domain name that people can remember well. Choose wisely (and appropriately) whether you will use .com, .net, or something else.
Educational sites use .edu – examples include universities and post-secondary educational institutions. Institutional accreditation is required.
Government sites, like the Department of Justice and the White House – use .gov domain names.
The three domains that can be used for pretty much any purpose are as follows:
- Choose a reliable one.
- Look at how much capacity you need.
Hosting is a lot like renting an office space – you can DIY in a garage or basement, or you can rent out an office in a nicer building with all the bells and whistles.
Just like your office, you need to rent space for your website!
This means paying for space on a highly specialized computer server within a dedicated hosting facility.
Just like an office directory listing, your website has a physical address that maps the exact location of the website within a hosted server. These physical addresses have their own 411 or yellow pages directory, which is called Domain Name System (DNS).
The DNS directory is like a GPS (Global Positioning System) for your website, and shows the route between your site’s URL (www address) and the hosted servers location shown by their Internet Protocol (IP) address. The IP address is a unique number that identifies the physical location of a computer in a similar way that a postal code tracks a physical office location.
The computers that host your website are called “web servers.” They are designed to work much more efficiently than a home computer (which is why hosting from home often results in lower connection quality).
There are several different kinds of hosting, including:
- Free Web Hosting
- Shared Web Hosting
- Managed Web Hosting
- VPS Web Hosting
- Dedicated Web Hosting
- Cloud Web Hosting
Web design is composed of various skills and disciplines during the production and maintenance of websites. The different areas of web design include web graphics, multi media, user interface, and web content, among others. These elements can be dynamically displayed to fulfill a visitor’s needs for a better experience.
Essentially, HTML and CSS are some of the most used tools in web design. Learn these languages as much as you can, as they are extremely useful and are directly tied to your website’s look and performance.
Take a moment to sit down and think about the purpose of your website. Whether it’s an online face for your business, a place for customers to learn more, or mainly for e-commerce, it’s important to make choices based on the overall purpose.
If it’s mostly an online store, you should build out the rest of your website with that in mind.
How can you encourage more purchases?
What design elements would help make customers’ purchasing decisions easier?
If you’re more using your website as an online presence, what is it that customers come to your website to find out?
What questions are you answering for them?
How are you helping them get what they want and need more easily?
Just keep your website’s purpose as the main framework for the overall project as you move forward.
Common-Sense Navigation, Layout, & Color
Color affects the feel of your site. It’s not a good idea to use super dark backgrounds with neon text. This can really hurt the eyes of your website visitors and make it harder to read, not to mention unpleasant. Stick with classic colors that are easy to read and don’t overwhelm the eyes.
As far as layout goes, a neat layout is always preferred. Make sure your layout is easy to navigate and understand. Customers should come to your website and not have to search forever to find where they want to go next. Your site navigation should be natural, common sense, and easy to understand. Visitors should be able to easily find what they’re looking for. Think about adding a search bar for even better user experience.
Also, don’t forget about your footer! It may not seem very important, but a well-designed footer can be quite impressive. It’s the hub for basic information, like phone number, address, etc.
Above all else, your website should be simple but professional.
You have to know who your audience is before you can market to them effectively.
Have you ever heard of the term “Buyer Persona“? It’s an industry term, and it’s basically a representation of who your ideal customer is based on data and research.
Think about who typically buys your products/services. Who are they? What are their demographics? What do they enjoy doing? What do they hate?
Include behavior patterns, goals, inner motivations, and any other details you can think of. The more details, the better.
When you’re done, your buyer persona is created! This gives you an easy-to-reference guide on what exactly your target audience wants, is looking for, and will best respond to.
Then build content that will attract them based on those characteristics.
Your website absolutely has to provide good and informative content to the users. How do you do that, though?
Make sure your content is:
- tailored to buyer persona wants and needs
- easy to read and understand
Target certain keywords related to your business to increase your blog’s ranking in search engines. For example, if you were a pool company, you might want to target keywords like:
- pool cleaning
- pool maintenance
- pool cleaning service near me
Use a WordPress plug-in like Yoast to help you optimize blogs for keywords and rank better in search results. This will bring readers to you more easily!
In addition, keep in mind the type of content like language, picture, video, etc. have influence of how fast or how slow that website will load.
Don’t Use Too Much Advertisement
Don’t put too much advertisement in your website. If it is not necessary, don’t put it there.
People don’t like being constantly inundated with hard pitches and sales messages. It annoys your potential customers and drives them away. You want to come at your website from a customer-centric perspective, rather than a “sell, sell, sell” perspective.
Of course, you want to sell your products or services, but understand that being too “salesy” can easily turn customers away.
Give them VALUE. Help them through the sales journey. Give them the information they’re looking for to help them make buying decisions.
Make research easy for them by offering the information they need.
Build trust with them! A drip campaign is a great way to further build trust, by the way, no matter where someone is at in the sales journey.
Offering customers value through downloadable content, blogs, etc. builds trust with them, helps them to see you as an expert authority, and pushes them further through the sales journey.
While many websites use pop-ups, they can be a bad idea.
Pop-ups are considered to be the most annoying type of advertising and can cause slower loading times. Even worse, sometimes visitors can’t close the pop-up, especially on mobile. This leads to frustrated customers and bad bounce rates (people leave more quickly because they are annoyed or frustrated).
If you have to use pop-ups, make sure they:
- are easy to close (even on mobile)
- contain valuable information for the visitor
- don’t scare the visitor with sudden loud noises
- are mobile responsive
Making eye-catching buttons for your customers to click on.
They are way more visually pleasing and draw much more customers to click than simple links embedded in text.
Make sure the text on these buttons says a call-to-action phrase.
Examples would be “Buy Now” or “Download Yours Now” or “Start Your Journey” or “Get a Free Quote!” In addition, try using bright colors to attract the eye, like green, yellow, or blue. Blue, especially, tends to be a color that inspires more trust from visitors. Think about Facebook, Ford, General Electric, or AT&T.
- They should look good
- They should load quickly
- They should fit with your brand
Choose images carefully, as they will create a lasting impression of your brand.
Have you ever heard the saying, “A picture is worth one thousand words?” With web design, that’s absolutely true.
People tend to respond better to real images rather than stock photos. Invest in a photographer to come and take pictures of your team and your office.
In addition, make sure screen resolution is optimized during your web design to ensure excellent image quality on any screen.
Keep it Fresh and Unique
There are a bunch of good websites out there, but you don’t want your website to just be “good.” You want it to be excellent.
In order to earn that status, your web design must make your website stand out from others in your industry.
Consider the following website design ideas to make your website unique:
- Creative, fun biographies of your team
- Take a unique stand on an issue that’s important to your audience
- Feature relatable video content
- Provide inspiration and motivation
Finally, make sure to consistently update your website with new, relevant information to keep visitors coming back for more!
A good website must be search-engine friendly. In other words, someone looking for the services/products you offer should be able to easily find you in search engine results.
Bob owns a kitchen remodeling company in Cleveland, Ohio. He knows that people looking for kitchen remodeling will be searching for the following terms:
- kitchen remodeling
- kitchen remodeling contractor
- kitchen remodeling near me
- kitchen remodel Cleveland
Using proper search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, Bob is able to better reach prospective customers. He does this by crafting content that is relevant to his audience and utilizes the keywords listed above.
It’s important to remember that Google’s rankings are based on much more than keyword utilization, though. Your content must be relevant, easy to understand, approachable… In other words, it has to be high quality content that your readers will find valuable. So think about how you can give them value while still ranking for keywords.
Cross-Browser Compatibility and Optimization
- Easily viewed on all browsers
- Mobile-optimize for all devices
A good website MUST be able to be viewed properly on all types of modern browsers, on all types of devices.
You Have to Optimize for Mobile
Did you know that 80% of people who use the internet own a smartphone? And 33% of internet users start mobile research on a branded website. Most people actually use their phone more for reading emails than making calls nowadays.
A whopping 57% of users say they would not recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site.
Even more importantly, 61% of Google users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing and 40% visit a competitor’s site instead!
It’s important to make sure your website is optimized for all mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets.
But don’t forget browsers! Your website should also work on Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari.
It’s easy to check cross-browser compatibility and there are a ton of tools, like Browserling, that can help.
Everybody is online nowadays. If you don’t already have a presence on social media websites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, it’s time to create them.
Facebook: 2 billion users
Instagram: 700 million users monthly
Twitter: 328 million users
These social profiles expand your presence to the places your target persona likes to hang out, which is great! It’s important to come to them where they are.
To further increase the impact of these social media channels, integrate them with your website. Make them easy to find by placing them somewhere in your footer and on your Contact Us page.
Finally, integrating social media with your website makes it easy for people to share your awesome content. Make sure your blog has social share buttons – the easier it is for people to share, the more exposure you can get!
- Make it readable
- Use sans serif fonts
- Don’t use harsh colors
- Keep fonts consistent
For the next step, you need to choose your typography. Choose wisely; fonts and typefaces are more important than you might think.
Using a clearly legible font is definitely important. You don’t want people to have to squint to read your text or have it hurt their eyes.
The good news is that there are ways to use typography to your advantage and increase your website’s readability by over 50%!
Did you know that sans serif fonts are better for website content than serif fonts? It’s true!
A “serif” is a slight projection finishing off a stroke of a letter in certain typefaces.
Serifs are the little “feet” you see on typefaces like Times New Roman. Sans serif means “without serifs.” Sans serif fonts such as Helvetica don’t have these little feet.
While serif fonts like Times New Roman are best for print-based publications like books, it’s much easier to read SANS serif fonts on a screen. The lack of “feet” on these fonts means your brain can process the text much more easily, and results in less eye strain.
Color is also important when it comes to readability. Don’t make your website black with neon pink text. That will end up hurting people’s eyes and frustrating potential customers.
Keep it Consistent
When choosing a font, it’s important to pick ones that are consistent with your branding as well as the tastes of your target audience. According to Missouri University of Science and Technology, there are 4 content categories:
- Serif – Often associated with respect, authority, tradition, pedigree, and grandeur. Serif fonts tend to make customers feel that they’re interacting with a stable, reputable company. Examples include Times New Roman, Georgia, Bodoni, and Baskerville.
- Sans Serif – More modern, straight-forward, and sensible. Looks more contemporary while still maintaining professionalism. Examples include Calibri, Arial, Helvetica, Verdana, and Century Gothic.
- Script – The more formal script fonts are typically used to demonstrate creativity and knowledge. Think about where you most often see scripts – in signatures, higher education degrees, formal documents, etc. Examples include Script MT, Segoe Script, Edwardian Script, Brush Script, and Freestyle Script. Famous brands such as Coca Cola, Cadillac, and Instagram use script fonts.
- Modern – These fonts can be quite intriguing and tend to be progressive and stylish. They can be innocent or off-the-wall! Great examples of brands using modern fonts are Shutterfly and Facebook.
Unsure if your fonts look good together?
Thankfully, there are tools that can help you decide. Check out Font Pair, Google Type, and Type Connection. If you’re struggling to find fonts altogether, check out DaFont and Google Fonts. Both are filled with thousands of free fonts you can use on your website!
- Make it easy for visitors to interact
- Give them perks when they register
Some websites require visitors to “register” with the site before letting them interact with all or some of the content on it.
Why would you want to do that? It’s simple: lead capture. Requiring users to register gives you a database of names and emails you can market to!
But remember – you need to give visitors something valuable, too. If visitors have to register to interact with your website, give them advantages when they do.
For example, offer downloadable PDFs, extra blog content, or other cool stuff they’ll want – but only if they register. Once they register, they can access everything and download the things they want. Even better is you can track what’s getting downloaded most often, and see what is more successful. The main takeaway here, though, is offer your customers value when they register – always give them extra incentive!
- Create a members-only section on your website.
- Enable user registration.
- Notify your visitors and get them to register their accounts.
This tops the list of our favorite SEO tools. It’s the go-to tool for internet marketing, and we can’t live without it. Do you want to understand your audience better? (Hint: You should!) This tool will help you do it.
Get detailed data on activity on your website, including:
- site visits
- traffic details
- and so much more
Google Analytics really is an indispensable tool for web design. If you’re not familiar with it, don’t worry! Google actually offers a “Google Analytics for Beginners” course through their Analytics Academy. You can register for that course by clicking the button below.
User experience is one of the most important parts of stellar web design. The better the experience, the better your website. To improve user experience, your website should be stable, secure, and reliable.
Above all else, your website visitors should feel safe not only when visiting your website, but also when giving you their information, especially when they need to supply credit card information or other sensitive details.
And while online shopping has now dominated in-person shopping, people are still concerned about the safety and security of their sensitive information.
If your site is mostly e-commerce, you’ll need an internet merchant account. After that, you’ll need a payment gateway account, which is an online credit card transaction processor.
If you’re not e-commerce, but still deal with confidential information, this is where SSL/Secure Certificate comes in.
SSL and Secure Certificates provide security for your website by encrypting communications between the server and the person visiting the website.
In fact, SSL is often required by most credit card networks. This is an essential step to making sure your website is PCI compliant and safe.
Wanna Discuss Web Design for Your Business? Schedule a 15-minute call with us today!
Are you interested in web design? Our team of experts is happy to answer any and all questions you may have. Whether you want to redesign what you already have, or start from scratch with a brand new website, the eWebResults web design team is highly experienced and knowledgeable and can help you achieve your dream website design. What are you waiting for? Contact us at 713-592-6724 today to get started and learn more!
20 Must-Haves for Awesome Web Design | eWebResults – Houston, TX
Author: Samantha Davis
Sammie writes original content for all of our clients’ blogs, social media, newsletters, and pages. A writer and editor at heart, Sammie has a sincere love for the written word. She holds a BA in English from Sam Houston State University as well as a MA in Mass Communication from the University of Houston and is a member of the Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society.
Born and raised in Houston, Sammie’s experience in content creation spans genres and industries. She has written pieces spanning topics from literature commentary and horror movie reviews, fiction and poetry, to technical writing, fitness and health, journalism, and more. She is proud to have written for The 1960 Sun Newspaper in Houston, as well as The Borgen Project, and several university publications.