Website Design requires a number of different skills. The different areas of web design include:
- web graphic design;
- interface design;
- authoring, including standardised code and proprietary software;
- user experience design; and
- search engine optimization.
People work in teams covering different aspects of the design process, although some designers will cover them all. The term website design is normally used to describe the design process relating to the front-end design. Web sitedesigners are expected to have an awareness of usability and they are also expected to be up to date with web accessibility guidelines.
Web design trends come and go every year, and it is important for designers and business owners to keep up with them in order to stay up-to-date and avoid having an outdated website. Although minor trends pop up all the time, we’ll only talk about major trends in this article: simplicity, storytelling, and responsive design.
Designing your Web Site
When a customer visits your website, you have roughly ten seconds to capture their attention, so you better think carefully about what you want to include. Some websites go directly into the navigation and content of their websites on their first “index” page. Customers can surf around the site and decide if they want to buy the product or service. This is not really the wisest option available. Of course, every site does need the standard index page chock full of frequently asked questions, testimonials, order form, etc. But there is a better way to “capture” your visitors by using a squeeze. A squeeze page captures your audience with a screaming headline and brief key points about the customer’s problem and how you intend to solve it. Sometimes a squeeze page offers a free report or newsletter. Either way, all squeeze pages purpose is to retrieve the customers name and email address, or sometimes they ask the customer a burning question.
So what is the point in retrieving the customer’s name and email address? An opt-in list is gold to an internet marketer because you can send your customers information which will hopefully attract the customer back to the website to either purchase a product or service being offered. Spamming is illegal and having a great opt-in list is really necessary to any Internet marketer. You can also use your list to make money as an affiliate with another company. You can send customers an email from the site you are promoting and make profits as an affiliate. This is a great way to earn extra income indeed.
Squeeze pages are sometimes the first page found on a website. Sometimes they are pop ups on the index page of a website. They are very crucial to any Internet marketer’s business.
The first step to sales when customers visit your site to see the products they were looking for. Of course, search engine optimization and better rankings can’t keep your customer on your site or make them buy. The customer having visited your site, now ensure that he gets interested in your products or services and stays around. Motivate him to buy the product by providing clear and unambiguous information. Thus if you happen to sell more than one product or service, provide all necessary information about this, may be by keeping the information at a different page. By providing suitable and easily visible links, the customer can navigate to these pages and get the details.
If you design a website you think will attract clients, but you don’t really know who your customers are and what they want to buy, it is unlikely you make much money. Website business is an extension or replacement for a standard storefront. You can send email to your existing clients and ask them to complete a survey or even while they are browsing on your website. Ask them about their choices. Why do they like your products? Do you discount prices or offer coupons? Are your prices consistently lower than others? Is your shipping price cheaper? Do you respond faster to client questions? Are your product descriptions better? Your return policies and guarantees better than your competitor’s? To know your customer you can check credit card records or ask your customer to complete a simple contact form with name, address, age, gender, etc. when they purchase a product.
When you sell from a website, your customer can buy your products 24 hrs a day and also your customers may be from other states that are thousands of miles away. Always provide contact information, preferably on every page of your website, complete with mailing address, telephone number and an email address that reaches you. People may need to contact you about sales, general information or technical problems on your site. Also have your email forwarded to another email address if you do not check your website mailbox often. When customer wants to buy online provide enough options like credit card, PayPal or other online payment service.
Users understanding the content of a website often depends on users understanding how the website works. This is part of the user experience design. User experience is related to layout, clear instructions and labeling on a website. How well a user understands how they can interact on a site may also depend on the interactive design of the site. If a user perceives the usefulness of that website, they are more likely to continue using it.
Users who are skilled and well versed with website use may find a more unique, yet less intuitive or less user-friendly website interface useful nonetheless. However, users with less experience are less likely to see the advantages or usefulness of a less intuitive website interface. This drives the trend for a more universal user experience and ease of access to accommodate as many users as possible regardless of user skill. Much of the user experience design and interactive design are considered in the user interface design.
Advanced interactive functions may require plug-ins if not advanced coding language skills. Choosing whether or not to use interactivity that requires plug-ins is a critical decision in user experience design. If the plug-in doesn't come pre-installed with most browsers, there's a risk that the user will have neither the know how, nor the patience to install a plug-in just to access the content. If the function requires advanced coding language skills, it may be too costly in either time or money to code compared to the amount of enhancement the function will add to the user experience.
There is also a risk that advanced interactivity may be incompatible with older browsers or hardware configurations. Publishing a function that doesn't work reliably is potentially worse for the user experience than making no attempt. It depends on the target audience if it's likely to be needed or worth any risks.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is essential if you want to successfully earn money online.
Because of the importance of SEO, many website owners spend a lot of money and effort improving their website ranking on search engines. This article outlines the key benefits of SEO to your website and to your online business’ success.
- SEO helps to increase the ranking of your website on search engines. When your website ranks high on search engines, it means you get high volumes of traffic that is directed to your web site through the search engines. More traffic means more sales.
- SEO helps you to save money on paid advertising. If your website is well optimized and receives large volumes of traffic through search engines, you get a large volume of traffic coming to your website through organic links on the search engines. This means that you do not have to spend money on other advertising tools such as Pay Per Click (PPC).
- Optimizing your website for search engines and using your keywords and phrases in this process ensures that you get targeted visitors on your website. If you use all your keywords and phrases in your articles and website content, it means that your website is visible on search engines for your relevant keywords. When people type your keywords on search engines, your website ranks high on search engines.
- SEO helps you dominate your niche. If your website ranks high on all major search engines, and for all your keywords, you soon dominate the niche and become an expert in your niche or topic. This builds a good reputation for you, which further drives more traffic to your website.
Niche Web Sites
Picking a niche subject may be the hardest part of your web site project. There’s literally tons of subjects to choose from. People are interested in a variety of things – from cars to cats. You don’t have to necessarily pick something you’re interested in, but it helps.
You’re more likely to do a better job at building your site when you have some interest in the subject matter. It’s like taking a high school or college class. Some subjects are more interesting than others. Make sure you choose something that a reasonable amount of people are actually searching for online and want to find out more information about.
Keyword Research is a part that many people skip. I’ve made that mistake myself and suffered the consequences – a failed web site. Even though it’s nice to think that you can write anything you want and have total creative freedom, not using keyword rich content is a big mistake.
You must include targeted keywords in your web site copy and also, make sure you use your targeted keywords in the upper third portion of your web site pages. This is also called optimizing your web site for the search engines.
Keywords must be relevant to the theme of your site. Be careful not to over use them. Search engines don’t like keyword spam.
Having a unique domain name is important, although some don’t agree. However, a unique domain name makes your site look more professional and trustworthy to visitors.
Writing keyword rich content may be a hard step for those of you who do not consider yourselves writers but writing web site copy is not as hard as it seems. Just think of it as having a conversation with a friend about a product or service you’re really enthusiastic about.
Do not think you can extol the benefits of your subject? Tune your TV into one of the shopping networks to see how they can spend several minutes talking about the benefits of all kinds of mundane products. This is what you will be doing for your web site.
Your copy should feature a good balance of friendliness and professionalism. Remember, you’re passing along useful information to your visitor. Put yourself in their shoes. What would you want to know about your subject if you were them? Now, write that down. Don’t forget to sprinkle targeted keywords throughout your copy.
You have a lot of creative freedom on how you want your site to look, but remember that people are looking for attractive, easy-to-navigate sites with useful information.
You’ve created a web site about xyz subject. Now look for affiliate vendors who perfectly match the theme of your site. Integrate your affiliates attractively into your web site copy. Don’t confuse your visitors by giving them too many choices. If you want to list a lot of affiliates on the same page, you can create a helpful “resource guide” page.
Google has a great program for web site owners who wish to make a little extra money for simply displaying google ads on their web site. It’s easy to sign up and free. Just visit google and sign up for their Adsense program. They’ll give you some html code to copy and paste on your site.
While google decides which ads will actually appear on your site, you can decide how the google ads will look – choose colors, borders, etc. and where to put them on your pages.
Exchanging links with other web site owners is a must if you want to improve your search engine rankings. Google especially will consider your site more relevant if your site has other sites linking to it. Also the ad copy from other sites, if relevant, can add more valuable keyword content to your own site.
You’ll find that the best Internet marketers all write articles to promote themselves, their newsletters, and products and services. Remember, there’s a reason the Internet is called the “information” super highway. After writing your articles, you can post them to an article directory site like Article City. People can easily find your articles to use as free content for their sites.
With all these benefits of SEO, it is important that you start to optimize your website for search engines today!
One of the key balancing acts you as a Web designer must do is reconcile what clients think they want and what their customers actually need. During the Definition stage, you gather a bunch of business requirements. These requirements are really just a client wish list because not all the requirements are feasible within the project’s timeline and budget, nor are they appropriate for the end user. This is why it’s so important to not only define the three or so overarching business goals for the site, but also determine the top three or so user goals. These combined high level goals become your measuring stick when determining what kind of content and features to include in the site and how best to organize them.
Before you can design a site, you must first understand the target audience who will be using it. Suppose that you’re designing a Web site for a retirement home. If you’re not familiar with the assisted-living industry, you may mistakenly assume that the audience for the site is elderly people.
Unless you sit down with your client and ask a lot of questions, you’ll never know that the real audience for the site is people in their forties — the people who make plans for their aging parents. This changes everything about your ideas for the Web site — from the graphical appearance to the content features and site organization.
Customers wishing to have a website created may fall into the following categories:
- Businesses and individuals wishing to sell goods and services via the Internet.
- Businesses and individuals wishing to increase awareness of their services using the Internet.
- Business and individuals who do not have a conventional shop window, for example mobile hairdressers, interior design consultants, writers, artists, financial advisers.
- Other groups wishing to share information on their activities, for example charities, schools and colleges, social clubs and community groups.
- Individuals wishing to develop a website for personal or family interest, for example a family history, an online family album or a hobby page.
Some customers may be unclear about their specific needs regarding the design and functions of their website. This is partly because the majority of our clients will have little or no knowledge of web design. It is also due to the mystique surrounding information technology, which makes it potentially intimidating to the inexperienced.
Further jobs, which under particular circumstances may become involved during the creation of a website include:
- Graphic designers to create visuals for the site such as logos, layouts and buttons
- Internet marketing specialists to help maintain web presence through strategic solutions on targeting viewers to the site, by using marketing and promotional techniques on the internet
- SEO writers to research and recommend the correct words to be incorporated into a particular website and make the website more accessible and found on numerous search engines
- Internet copywriter to create the written content of the page to appeal to the targeted viewers of the site
- User experience (UX) designer incorporates aspects of user focused design considerations which include information architecture, user centered design, user testing, interaction design, and occasionally visual design.
Great Businesses were planned that way.
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