Whether your website needs a redesign or you’re planning on changing platforms, here's a quick checklist to create a great website.
In all industries, less than 1 in 10 visitors to your website will take any type of action, according to Designerly. However, you can easily exceed those numbers with just a little effort and some testing to refine your website design.
Most web designers are adept at combining the right colors and at custom coding a website. Where you might fall short is how efficiently you complete the creative process and if the usability of the site is what it needs to be.
If your website needs a redesign or you're planning on changing platforms, here is a quick checklist to create a great website:
1) Know the purpose. Before you even choose a color for your design, know the reason for the site you're designing. What do you hope to gain? Possibilities include gathering emails, providing information and selling products.
Once you know the purpose, make a list of the features driving the user toward the goal. What is the journey the buyer takes? Then, create a sales funnel on paper and take it to your designer.
2) Save your work. Murphy's Law states that whatever can go wrong will go wrong. At some point, you'll suffer a computer crash or the work you completed won't save. If you put backups on autopilot, you'll lose less work and will be able to recover yesterday's amazing design.
Back up your servers every day. Even if you store your information in the cloud, you'll want regular backups in case the remote server crashes. It might be rare, but it can happen.
3) Choose a platform. Decide where you'd like to host your website and if you want to use a content management system. WordPress has tons of support for newbies and many free themes and plugins. It is open source, which means developers add new features regularly.
What type of experience do you have building sites? If you're you're confident in your coding abilities, you have more options. If you're a newbie, you'll want to stick with a managed option, such as a package through a hosting company or a third-party builder such as Wix.
4) Add content. Once you have your domain name and a platform, go ahead and add the content. You'll need a logo, color palette, images and text.
Also consider what pain points customers face and how you can answer those problems with articles, videos and advice. Choose pieces you can share on social media to draw more traffic to your pages.
5) Test your site. Pay close attention to the usability of your site. Do all the buttons function properly? Ensure the navigational hierarchy meets customer expectations. The home button should be on the far left and the contact button on the far right.
And don't forget about visitors who prefer using a mobile device. Does the site respond to smaller screens? Test everything and fix any known issues.
Once you go live, announce your new site to everyone. Make sure any social media pages include a link back to your company website. Send out an email to your mailing list to check out your new cyberspace presence. Ask for feedback and strive to improve your website over time.
Eleanor Hecks is the editor-in-chief and design writer for Designerly.