Last week we introduced our web series with a list of three things to think about when building a website. Now let’s look at the five perspectives you need when beginning the design, or redesign, process. These can come from five different people, five teams, or a single person with knowledge of all areas, but they are all insights you need to garner while planning your new site.
1. THE DESIGNER
Your want your site to attract business or awareness for your brand, so design is key. From color choice to photography, imagery, and typeface, the look of a website is equal to the personal presentation of a person. It’s what you will be judged on. If the typeface is too hard to read, users will navigate away. Designers look at websites from two different angles: details within parts of a page and the overall site as you flow from one page to another.
Here are some questions answer when working on design:
- What feeling do I want to convey? This will decide color choices.
- What color will make my calls to action stand out?
- What typeface will represent the brand without being too hard to small or hard to read?
- How will I format my H1, H2, H3, and H4 so that each is different yet works with the overall page design?
- How long do I want my pages to be? (i.e. Should users scroll or will you encourage clicks?)
- What type of photography, graphics, illustrations, and icons will represent the brand?
- How will the functionality of the pages differ for mobile, tablet, and desktop?
2. THE BUSINESS REP
Every website, company, and nonprofit has a business goal whether it’s e-commerce, fundraising, social interaction, editorial reach, or requests for information. Your website is the first step potential readers, customers, and donors have with your brand and their first touch to completing those goals. As much as you want a beautiful website, it also needs to carry out your company goals.
Questions to think about:
- What are my goals for this site? (Sharing, donations, form fills, e-commerce, etc.)
- Is there opportunity on every page for the user to take action towards those goal?
- What is the cost implications of the website design and development versus it’s R.O.I.?
- What will be considered a conversion?
3. THE SEO EXPERT
The beauty of the digital age is that your company can reach far beyond your back door. The tricks is that you have to know how to design and optimize your site for search engines to be found (and not on the 400th page of Google’s results). This is where an SEO consultant is beneficial. They know the ins and outs of keyword targets and what best practices to follow to increase your page and domain authority with major search engines all the while avoiding potential penalties.
Questions to address:
- What keywords are my target customers/donors searching for where I want to be a top result?
- Does my information architecture clearly define parent and child pages in a hierarchical structure?
- Have I avoided duplicate content from page to page?
- How will I monitor and measure my site health?
- How can I optimize my conversion rates based on the calls-to-action?
4. THE DEVELOPER
By this point you’ve got your design figured out, calls to action clear, and information architecture and content plan optimized for search, now is the time to think about the website infrastructure and functionality. The website developers perspective is key both for the technical expertise it brings as well as how it ties into both design and user experience.
Development questions to ask yourself or your consultant:
- Can your servers handle the potential traffic to your site?
- How will images and multimedia planned affect load time?
- What design specifications are needed to avoid potential crashes?
- Is the infrastructure setup now going to work for the long-term plan of the site or company?
- Does the plan allow for expansion and optimization on the current platform or will it require changes down the line?
5. THE USER
The user is the key aspect of any website design. You can answer all the questions above and implement all the best practices, but if you’re not thinking about your user then you can find yourself with an easily found, beautiful site with lots of CTAs and no one who sticks around beyond a few seconds. It’s easy to get bogged down in the technical details and marketing aspects of your website. Avoid a high bounce rate (when users hit your site then leave within seconds before taking an action) by asking yourself these final questions:
- Do I understand the actions the brand wants me to take as a user?
- Are the CTAs clear?
- Can I easily navigate from page to page?
- Am I overwhelmed by all the design and content presented?
- How will the design differ for mobile, tablet, and desktop?
Consider each of these perspectives when designing and developing your website and you’ll be a step above the competition.