When it comes to website design, there are many technical and not so technical items you should considered. The process of website design does not need to be complicated, and can be made easier by following these elements below. In this article we will look at everything including, the basics of the web, branding and design and advancements in technology. Designing a website does not have to be a difficult, so we want to make certain you feel comfortable when working on your own website, working with Cowlick Studios or with some one else on your website design. Here at Cowlick Studios, we consider many things when designing a website, we are going to take a thorough look into all of the aspects involved in creating a website. Let’s start with the basics.
The Basics of Website Design
What is the Web?
While it might seem a little simplistic to talk about this, our goal is to make sure you understand everything. The web is a system of computers and servers connected together for the sake of communication. This network of computers is a booming source of information for many people, especially in the last decade, and it seems to grow every day. Web users are able to connect to this network in various ways, from phone, cable lines and satellites. These methods of connection all make information move from point A to point B and back again.
What are Servers?
Servers are larger computers that remain connected to the web at all times. Information stored on servers is requested through a web browser (think Chrome or Firefox) or email client (think Outlook or Mac Mail).
What is a Web Browser?
Web browsers are the portals through which communication and information gathering take place. There are many types of browsers available to use. Internet Explorer offered by Microsoft has been a popular option for decades. However, there are other companies that offer web browsers that are just as effective. For example, Google offers Chrome, and Mozilla offers Firefox. Both of these web browsers work with either Mac OS or Windows OS computers, while Internet Explorer is restricted to Windows OS only. These browsers are the major players but there are many more available for download.
How Does Somebody Find a Website?
Finding a website is rather easy. You can either type a particular website address right into the HTML bar at the top of a web browser, or search on a search engine. Examples of search engines include, Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Search engines can bring up thousands, sometimes millions of results based on a keyword search. However, the more specific a keyword search is, the more accurately a search engine operates. For example, looking for a dog groomer might bring up many options from businesses across an entire country. However, adding the words “near me” will narrow this search down to a general geographic location.
Here are some tips on how to effectively market your website online – 5 Search Engine Optimization “Top of Google” Tips to Gain Website Traffic
Getting Started with Website Design
Registering a Domain Name
Many website builders such as Wix offer ways to build a website (more on this later). However, many of these websites operate on a sub-domain name that includes the generation service’s name in the domain name. For example: wix.cowlick.com. To personalize a website, many bloggers and businesses will opt to purchase a domain name that is specific to their content. For example: cowlickstudios.com. This domain name will allow people to go directly to a given website, which is the first step in creating a brand image for any person or business.
It is important to note that domains cost a nominal yearly fee. Prices vary depending on the ending tag. Typical options such as .com, .org, and .net are available for most companies, and government and education institutions can apply for .gov and .edu extensions respectively. Country related domains such as .ca, .au, or .us, are usually slightly more expensive.
When choosing a domain name it needs to be unique to your business. Many domains are already taken, hence, finding the right domain name can be difficult. Thankfully, other extensions such as .info and .biz are available providing more domain options.
Domain Name Considerations
Two important considerations when choosing a domain:
- Make certain it is not easily associated with other negative meanings or have negative words hidden in it.
- Keep the domain name short and simple and memorable.
There are many companies that offer domain name services. GoDaddy has been around for quite some time, and their prices are reasonable.
Renting Space with a Server as a Website Host
To have a website exist on the internet, you need to make certain that you find a reputable host. If the domain is like your street address, the host/server is the actual house and more specifically the content in the house. It is important to find professional hosting with exceptional up time, storage and speeds. Service is also paramount when choosing a host. We like Blue Host or Host Gator.
Branding and Website Design
Now comes the interesting part of website design. Any person who runs a blog or a company with a website needs to focus on two elements of their online presence:, branding and design. Both of these elements are crucial in creating an overall aesthetic that captures users attention and causes them to act on the information they are reading. If you are not sure what your website design should include you can check out this blog – 4 “Must Haves” for Website Design or download our FREE 47 Point Checklist. OR contact us and we can perform a WEBSITE RESCUE AUDIT.
A Word of Caution
When it comes to website design and development there are many website building services, such as WIX, that offer the ability to build your own website. You will find, Cowlick Studios’ experience and training allows us to build custom solutions for you to get your business looking good and found online. Most Website builder services do not offer the same level of customization or it takes a lot of time and effort to accomplish the look or function you want. Your time working on your business is more valuable than messing around trying to build your website. If website development is not something you do everyday it can be a real hassle. Cowlick Studios builds beautiful websites with no hassle.
Looking at UX
By definition, UX refers to the website user’s experience. UX directly affects the feelings and emotions a viewer establishes with your website. Therefore, making decisions about UX early on in a website’s development is essential. UX is what will keep viewers coming back again and again. Every detail of a website has to come together to make a lasting impact.
For this reason, most web design uses consistency between pages. The same color pallet, text choices, layout, button layout and general functionality are used consistently on every page of your website. UX consistency gives users a “happy” feeling because they know what to expect. Essentially, it brings your website to life in front of a person’s eyes.
Discussing the Front End
The “front end” of your website refers to the way in which the developed code interacts and connects to a browser. Website code provides the basic information needed to generate the pages or particular page being accessed. The information gathered through the front end is how the website looks.
It is important to note that not all computers or browsers will display your website the exact, same way. Depending on the computer’s settings, a website’s colors might appear darker or brighter. Each browser interprets the developed code slightly differently. There are not only different browsers but also different devices on which these browsers are operated. This includes phones, tablets, tv’s laptops and the standard desktop computer.
Development & UX
Going through the process of developing a website takes a great deal of time. Some businesses hire a third-party service or a particular employee to focus on caring for development. Both of these options will end up costing a lot of money. The benefit of utilizing a professional is that it saves the owner of a business or a blog writer from spending a lot of time working on their website. Developing and managing a website takes a great deal of time and effort.
A website is not much without good content. Content includes all of your websites text and images. Your content should be specific to a particular niche, focused on your market and arranged in logical order. Content should be placed strategically on your website. Your website content on your home page should answer three main questions and provide users with information that will make them want to surf deeper into your website. Web Design – Write Hero Image Text that Sells
What is a Blog?
Similar to a website, a business blog provides specific content relative to your business and industry. Blogs can include information about personal experiences or in-depth looks into certain topics. For example, a psychiatrist might run a blog out of their office of practice that focuses on information about different psychological disorders. Someone who has a psychological disorder might write another blog that focuses only on their own experiences with the disorder. Writing a blog for your business is a great way to keep the content on your website fresh and constant.
Advancements in Technology
Technology is always changing. With smartphones and tablets taking the world by storm, Responsive website design is essential to good website development. A mobile website will need to “look” different from its computer screen counter part.
For this reason, Cowlick Studios builds all websites to be responsive. The code we develop determines the appropriate way to display on the browser and device in use.
Speed and Up Time
If a website takes more than a few seconds to load, most viewers become impatient. Instant gratification is a real thing. For this reason, a website needs to load fast.
You may have experienced a slow website. Large images, poor code or the number of people viewing the site are all causes of a slow website. Viewers get frustrated by slow load times and move on to another website. At Cowlick Studios we try to use proper code, image sizes, and hosting bandwidth levels to ensure your website loads quickly.
What about people with visual disabilities? Website development needs to consider how somebody with low vision or no vision might navigate a website. By 2021 all websites in Canada must offer accessibility options. Website Accessibility and AODA – What You Need to Know. This should be a courtesy to your visually impaired users who deserve respect and are also your potential customers.
The Final Touch
The final touches of website design and development are getting found and the marketing of your website.
After building a website it is important to consider conversion rate optimization (CRO). CRO refers to the ease of finding a website and its rate of conversion i.e. filling out a contact form. Moving more viewers to a website is known as “driving traffic”. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a popular way to accomplish driving traffic. Google provides analysis for searches, which provide information to an SEO specialist with which they are able to make changes to the websites content. Other search engines offer similar services, but Google’s SEO measures seem to be the most popular. See this post to learn more about Google Analytics – A Beginners Guide to Understanding Google Analytics
SEO makes sure that websites appear in a search’s listing near the top of the page. Paying attention to keywords is essential to SEO. CRO takes SEO a step further. It means taking traffic and converting it into customers or viewers that return again and again. Therefore, shopping sites like Amazon focus on CRO and SEO heavily to make certain they appear in the top listings of any search engine.
Lead Forms and Website Design
Lead forms or landing pages help improve CRO by turning first-time visitors into returning visitors.
The concept of a landing page is fairly simple; create a page to send web visitors to and use that page to offer something of value in exchange for an email. Landing pages can also be used for subscribing to newsletters/email listings or to purchase particular products/services. The end goal is to transform website visitors into leads and ultimately sales for your business.
One feature that has become popular on many websites is a live chat. Live chat offers customer service 24/7 and offers an instant response to visitors. The visitor is connected directly to someone who is available in real time to answer questions. Most visitors expect this aspect to be available for their use at any time. Ultimately, this type of service should be available as much as possible on your site.
There are so many aspects to consider when it comes to web design. Whether you are building your own website, or improving your current site our goal is to help you understand all aspects of website design.