If you've got a website or you're trying to find out more information about having one, you'll have heard the term 'web design'.
But what exactly does it mean and what is the web design process? Put simply, web design is the most important thing for any small or medium business wanting effective marketing online. Professional web design encompasses everything from the design of the website through to the writing of it, search engine optimisation and the complete building of it. In fact, there are seven stages of a successful web design project. Don't worry though; we'll give you comprehensive guides on each of them;
- Planning and research
- Initial design
- Production and build
- Quality assurance
- Marketing and search engine optimisation
Planning and research
The very first stage of any successful project is the planning and consultation stage. Effective web design is all about developing a strategy to meet the business' objectives and then carry that out.
During the planning and consultation stage, the web design company will sit down with you and discuss your individual objectives and hopes for the new website. This would include the look of it, the functionality needed, the wording and any potential keywords to be optimised.
The planning and research stage is the most important of the stages too; working out exactly what you need from your website is vital in ensuring the greatest possible success. So, when you meet your web design company, go in armed with information and objectives that need to be met.
Once you've met the web design company, the next step of the web design process is the text content. This stage is often overlooked by most web design companies, who prefer to save time and have the client write their own content.
However, this is not going to help you in the long run. While you know your business better than anyone else, you are unlikely to know how to market your services and products in the right way. An experienced copywriter will write engaging content that encourages sales enquiries and includes enough keywords to ensure high search positions on Google and the other search engines.
Getting the design of a website is crucial. You want to make sure that the new website perfectly reflects the values of your business while at the same time encouraging new business and wowing potential new customers.
The initial design should only show you a snippet of how the whole website will look but it should give you a good idea of what the overall theme of the site will look like. It's at this stage that major design tweaks, such as colour changes or layout amendments, can take place.
While copywriting plays a huge part in whether your website will be a success or not, the design can also make a difference too. An easy to use and visually engaging site is far more likely to encourage new business than an outdated website that looks like it was made in the late 90s.
Production and build
Once the initial design and copywriting has been approved, it's time for the production, or building, of the site. This very technical stage involves the complex coding of the site and the adding of the necessary bells and whistles. This stage enables the designer to complete the entire website design, not just the homepage like earlier. It will also give you a great insight into how easy to navigate the site will be and how engaging it will be for the end user.
During this stage, experienced web designers will also add a responsive element to the site. This means that the site will tailor itself to fit whatever size screen is viewing it; be it a mobile device, tablet, laptop or desktop computer screen. In the last year or so, it's become absolutely imperative that websites are now responsive. In fact, Google has stated that it will prioritise sites that are designed to suit any device.
This is also known as the feedback stage. The best thing about having a website built by a professional web design company is that you are always part of the process. While the company itself takes care of everything, you are able to view the site as it's being built. You will always be able to give your opinions on the design, the colours used, the images added and the text content on each and every page.
Don't forget though, that while the website has been designed for you, it's actually being aimed at your customers. So what you might think it unimportant or unnecessary, could actually be vital for the end user. A website aimed at your customers will succeed more than one that was built with your needs in mind.
Marketing and search engine optimisation
Before being launched, every website should be given comprehensive search engine optimisation. After all, it's all well and good having a beautiful new website but if it's not found on Google, what's the point? Professional website design companies will optimise your site so that if a potential customer searches for one of your goods or services, you are likely to appear on the first page of results.
This is another reason why it's always best to have a web design company write your text content for you. An experienced marketing expert will know how to promote your services while at the same time keeping it optimised for the search engines.
Now comes the most exciting bit; the launch of your new website! Once you've approved the website design and construction, it's time to set the site live. This generally takes a couple of hours, as the designers and developers make the finishing touches and carry out testing. This makes sure that going from a staging environment to a live one doesn't break anything or cause unforeseen issues.
This is really just the beginning though, as now the website is live, the public can start using it!
So there you have it; that's the web design process in all its glory! Hopefully this helps you understand everything that is needed to ensure that your new website is the success you deserve it to be. Of course, this is the web design process that should be followed by every web design company. Sadly, there are many that use shortcuts and even avoid whole stages (including the copywriting). This is why you need a professional company that listens to what you need and gives you exactly that.
At the Smart Domain Group, we specialise in stunning web design services; encompassing everything from the design and build of the site right through to the text content, search engine optimisation, logo design, branding and ongoing marketing once the site is live. Contact our team today on 01634 810600 to discuss your web design requirements.
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