Last update : 17 September 2020
Website design is a fundamental step for any business. As an SME leader, this process requires some involvement. Whether you choose to go through a freelancer, an agency, or do it yourself, some time will have to be dedicated to building your site.
Once this concept is in mind, you can set up a website creation strategy by following certain steps. Whether it is the site structure, the content or the design, there are certain phases that shouldn’t be neglected. Of course, web design encompasses other aspects, but we prefer to list the basics to give you an overall picture.
1. Define the site structure from the start of your website design
When you create a website, the first step is to define its structure, the number of pages and how the user will navigate between these pages.
What is the site tree?
The site tree is established even before the creation of your website, on a Word or Photoshop document and is the site’s architecture.
The tree should be designed to make it easier for your users to navigate between your pages, providing them with fast, intuitive paths to effortlessly access what they are looking for.
To do this, it will be necessary to analyze and organize the content that you want to highlight on your site. Don’t hesitate to seek inspiration from your competitors. For many entrepreneurs, refining these points and thinking about all the stages of a site’s creation isn’t always easy. That is why many turn to a digital agency for better guidance.
Define your website’s target audience
Depending if your products/services are aimed at parents, teenagers, businesses, men, women, seniors (etc.), the tree will not necessarily be the same for every audience, since their needs or navigation behaviours can be different.
Keep in mind what your visitors are looking for first and take the time to prioritize your content to highlight the important content. A visitor should ideally need no more than three clicks to access the content they want.
Take SEO into account in the tree structure
When building your tree, you can already start thinking about SEO. In effect, your site structure must respect certain rules so that it is clearly identified by the search engines and referenced as best as possible.
For this, you will have to think about the keywords, the URLs and the internal linking of your site.
Keep in mind that the easier it is to browse your site, the less negatively impacted your SEO will be since SEO largely depends on the user experience.
2. Determine the goal of your website
A website is a powerful communication tool and a genuine marketing tool. Don’t hesitate to ask simple questions to define your goals. What is the purpose of my website? Is it a catalogue for my products, a showcase site or a transactional site?
Creating a showcase website
A showcase site will present what your SME does, your products and/or your services. It will help you get new contacts, develop a good reputation and gain credibility. It is mainly a communication tool, not a sales tool
Creating an e-commerce site
An e-commerce site is an online store where you present your products and services that can purchased. The user can place an order in a product catalogue and pay using a secure payment system. An e-commerce site will enable your company to cover a much wider geographical area that a physical store and therefore increase your number of customers and your turnover.
The need for a blog
In addition to your site, it is highly recommended to think about creating a blog section. This section will allow you to improve your SEO through internal linking by creating links to your product and service pages. It is also a good way to get closer to potential customers by feeding content to your social networks. However, a company blog requires the creation of regular, high-quality content to be credible.
3. Think about content from the start of your web design
Content is an important step in a website’s design, it is necessary to think about your content before even imagining the site design so the design can be adapted to it. We make the form (= site design) according to the substance (= content), the vase according to the flowers and not the opposite.
Choose your keywords
From the start of your website design, keyword research will allow you to optimize all the pages of your site and begin with a solid foundation.
Keywords must be related to the services offered by your company. To avoid repetition and overoptimization, don’t hesitate to search for synonyms and related words. Don’t neglect the long-tail keywords. When users search, they more commonly enter a short sentence than a single keyword.
The importance of content to robots
The higher quality the content, the more likely you are to be well referenced.
In general, whether on blog posts or service pages, it is recommended to have texts of at least 500 words, complete with title tags and meta descriptions.
Think ahead about the tables and graphics you want to insert and remember to rename them to optimize the page SEO.
4. Take into account optimization for mobile devices
Today, a quarter of online purchases are made from mobile devices, a figure that is constantly increasing.
It is therefore recommended to foresee an interface that is responsive no matter the users’ screen size.
Also remember to compress your images to prevent them from being too heavy and increasing the loading time of your pages. An image should ideally not exceed 500 KB – 1 MB. To compress your images, you can use professional software like Photoshop or free tools like Paint or your default photo editing software. A 70% compression for a standard image should not overly deteriorate the quality.
5. Envisage an attractive and effective design for the user
The mistake that any entrepreneur who decides to make a website is likely to commit is implementing a design simply because you like it. An aesthetic design is fun to look at, but many other parameters come into play if you want to lead your visitors to conversion.
You do not have to create a beautiful design, you have to create one that works. Your clients need to be steered and motivated to take action. To do this, set up action buttons and make the information clear.
Images, typography … Graphic elements must be clear and consistent throughout the site.
Don’t hesitate to take inspiration from competing sites that work. It’s not about copying, but making sure your model works for you too.
Website design: upstream work
As you can see, a website isn’t created overnight. It is important to define your target audience in order to meet their needs and try to guide them to your site to encourage conversion. Web design requires a minimum level of expertise, whether in programming or SEO, so it is important to take the time to learn or be supported by a competent team.
If you need guidance in creating your future website, don’t hesitate to contact us, we will be happy to help you!