The Internet has revolutionised a generation. It’s the most valuable and used tool on the planet, enabling us all to find pretty much everything and anything in a heartbeat (with a good internet connection of course)!
Websites are the shop window to your business, so bear in mind, if the window looks untidy, disorganised and dated, it’s unlikely potential customers/clients will proceed past the home page.
When developing a successful website, a number of key points must be addressed to achieve the ultimate goal of a fully immersive, user-friendly experience to engage, unique and return visitors. These points include:
• Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Each of these hold a key to unlocking the door to search engine rankings, user engagement and customer satisfaction. Below is a brief overview of these processes:
The structure of your site needs to guide the user through your website providing information at every stage that entices them to read or want to know more. For example, on a consumer website, the user must be able to find his/her product quickly and efficiently, clearly offering solutions to their unasked questions, second guessing their next step.
This reduces friction caused by needless clicking and scrolling, which many sites do by leading visitors down a path trying desperately to cross sell more products but forgetting the fact a sale is a sale. If they have a good experience the first time, they are likely to come back again for something else. The more obstacles or links you place in front of the visitor, the more likely they are to look elsewhere.
Whether to be mobile friendly or not, isn’t an option anymore; with Google’s algorithms, all sites that are not mobile friendly, are penalised and companies will find their ratings plummet.
Google have taken this position as the number of people viewing websites via mobile devices is fast becoming the norm, over traditional computers.
Designing for mobile, especially phones, requires a simplified approach to a desktop site. You need to be selective of the content displayed to avoid endless scrolling and slow loading. It’s important to know how this will work before building the site to prevent additional costs.
Once the structure has been agreed, the design can then form. As with the Structure, the design must pre-empt the user experience offering clear directions for visitors, guiding them through the main options. Design is not just about the visual experience, in web design it’s also about user-experience and user-interface.
We all love funky, trendy designs, but these work best where the market allows; unfortunately not every market supports or requires these aspects and this can often overwhelm the whole site and lose connection with the user.
Good design finds a balance between creative and function to compliment the look of the site without hindering users.
Primarily, we develop websites in PHP using WordPress Content Management System (CMS). WordPress has widely established itself as the most used system available, due mainly to the simplicity of how content is managed by in-house teams. This makes the site very accessible for individuals with limited computer knowledge – to add, delete and edit content on a daily basis if required.
The beauty of WordPress is that it’s open-source so no single body controls the rights to its development. Developers from all around the globe continually share their findings to advance the platform.
This offers amazing flexibility for websites to grow and expand quickly with almost endless functionality options, without having to invest in expensive bespoke functionality from scratch. Good web designers and developers should present the options available from off-the-shelf plug-ins to custom builds.
There are literally thousands of plug-ins available (mostly free) from adding social icons, rotating sliders, to taking payments through your website.
Nowadays, it’s not so vital to have all your functionality outlined before building, as long as there is a plug-in available to do the job. This being said, to avoid any nasty surprises it is best practice to have a detailed brief that includes all aspects of the site functionality for ease of implementation further down the line.