Web Design Planning Saves Time and Money
All businesses are trying to capture new audiences by developing an online presence. Be it the local grocer or the pharmacy down the street, you're sure to find them on the internet. If they're not there yet, they're thinking about it.
Whether a business is planning to launch a new website or refurbish an existing one, planning is crucial. A project that starts off without initial planning can easily exceed timelines and budgets, irrespective of whether your website is designed in-house or by third party professionals. Here are a few pointers on what an effective plan should cover for the smooth development and deployment of a web site:
1) Define your audience
The first step in designing a website is to define the audience. The look and usability of the website should suit the audience to be useful. Therefore, before deciding the graphics and pages that will be part of the website, answer these questions:
- What characteristics define the target audience?
- How will the customers know about the website?
- What kind of content will keep the customers engaged?
- How will the customers access the website?
2) Define your expectations from the website
The second step involves assessing your business needs. You need to define the role of the website and its place in your business model. These questions help you in this task:
- What is the purpose of the website? Is it meant to be educational, entertaining, a selling portal, a promotional tool for your products and services, or a lead generator?
- What will be the source of the website's content?
- How often does the content need to be refreshed?
- How will the effectiveness of the website be measured?
3) Provide details to the website designers
The information aggregated in the first two steps should be provided to the web designers so they understand what the project involves. Investing time and effort at this juncture not only helps the designers build a website closely aligned to your requirements but also saves dollars as changes become more expensive down the road.
Web design includes a number of elements that may not really be useful for your website. For example, your website may have no need for a database interface, e-commerce, blog, forum or registration form. By understanding your needs, the designers ensure the website design is exactly fitted to your needs.
4) Choose between templates and custom website design
Templates make website design very fast. They are customizable to an extent - color and some elements can be changed - but not very flexible. Pictures and logos are restricted by aspect ratio, and the design cannot be altered to include elements at desired positions. However, templates are useful if your budget and time are limited. There are many templates on the internet and they can be purchased for a small cost. The best part is that designers can't go wrong with templates.
If you want your website to have a unique look and include features of some complexity, hire professional and experienced website designers who can build it up from the ground. These experts understand the ins and outs of designing languages and elements and make the design work as well as its looks. A professional designer ensures your website reflects your business image, conveys your message and appeals to the target audience.
4) Balancing technology and design
A website that looks good but does not attract traffic is a waste of money. Web designers should include keyword rich content that improves the natural ranking of the website and grabs the attention of audiences. The website should perform well and allow users to navigate and browse through easily. Any performance glitches will cost you your customers.
A professionally designed website will undoubtedly increase awareness of your brand and expand your customer base. However, you need to work with the designer from the onset - providing information and planning the design. Without a thoroughly thought out plan, no website can deliver optimum results.