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Web Design: The Basics
As a small business owner, creating an appealing website is just as important as maintaining the quality of the products and services you offer. The standards of today’s online shoppers are higher than ever, so it’s important that your website is making the best possible impression of your company.
Choosing a Web Design Company
If you just started looking for web designers in your area or on a national level, you are probably surprised to see how many are available. From template based websites, to full multimedia e-commerce sites with streaming music and video, your options are endless – what you will need in particular is of utmost importance to get a well branded, successful website for your customers.
- Study each web designer’s personal portfolio of previous projects. Note if a designer's portfolio of sites includes misspelled words, corrupt links, or over pixilated images. Make note about the different techniques and styles you like from each designer.
- Gert references of their work. Take note of any feedback about how well they worked with given timelines, how easy they were to get a hold of in times of need, and how knowledgeable they were about design.
- Read the contract thoroughly to be sure you know the ins and outs of pricing and services. Learn what to look for in The Nitty Gritty of Web Design Contracts.
- It may be in your best interest to look for a company that offers all-inclusive services. Ask your web designer if they can provide web hosting services to secure the domain of your page and perform any necessary maintenance. If you plan on using online marketing to attract new customers, see if the web designer has a specialist in-house that can perform optimization and customer tracking.
Be sure to check out our vendors for e-commerce web design.
Professional Website Design Tips
There are three general options when it comes to a business web design.
- An information-sharing website is generally based on a basic template and can portray up to six pages of information about your company.
- A showcase website uses flash-based web graphics or client testimonials to help sell your product or service.
- An e-commerce website allows for your website customers to view all of your products and make a purchase over the Internet.
Once you have decided what type of site your company could benefit from building, you can begin to construct it effectively.
- Keep it Simple. Your website doesn’t have to be entirely flash-based or overcrowded with information. Including too much textual information can bore or overwhelm viewers. The most effective website design addresses only the necessary information, and then provides links to contact and supplemental information. Consider using roll-over and drop down menus to “hide” more information.
- Use Images. Today’s online consumers are highly visual. Have your product photographed by a professional and include the images on your site, and make sure the correlating text will provide enough detail about what is included.
- Optimize. Be sure to optimize your website for search engine traffic. You want your site to be easy to navigate with simple link structures. Don’t forget to incorporate keywords in your page content, and make sure your site loads quickly and completely.
- Mobile Compatibility. Mobile sales are projected to quadruple by 2015, and with 1 in 3 US adults owning a smartphone, it’s essential that you make your website compatible with mobile devices. Consider either making a mobile-friendly version of your site, or incorporating responsive design into your existing website.
Remember that your website is a direct reflection of your company and product. If a potential customer is comparing your company to your competitor, they may go with the company with a more appealing website. Keep this in mind and be creative with your web design to attract your current and future customers.