There are many different ways that new visitors will come to your website. You might promote it through advertising, your existing customers might recommend you to their friends and family, or you may appear in search engine results pages when people search words and topics relating to your business.
This aspect of a successful business, bringing people to your website, is certainly important. But it’s also vitally important that once someone visits your website the site keeps them interested long enough for them to take whatever action you want them to (via product, sign up for a newsletter or whatever goal relates to your business).
Before any of those visitors get too deeply into your website content, though, they are going to make decisions and evaluations about your website based on how it looks. This means that your website design (whether you’re starting out from scratch or looking to redesign your current website) will play a vital role in attracting the audience you’re looking for.
The first step in designing your new website is to consider how you want your business to be viewed. To a large extent this will depend on the type of business you’re in, and the reason you have or want a website. For example, if your website promotes your services as a professional photographer, then it should be designed in such a way as to highlight the quality of your photographs. If you sell informational products, then your website should help reaffirm your expertise in your field, and that your products are valuable sources of information.
Now that you have an idea of the image you want to present to your target audience, you should focus on identifying that audience. Again, much of this determination will be driven by the reason you have a website, and the type of business you’re in. If your target audience is stay at home moms, for example, then your website design will likely perform better if it’s designed to look warmer and more inviting, as opposed to something loud and flashy which might appeal to 12-year-old boys. If you really don’t have any idea of your audience type, install analytics code on your current website (if you have one) so that you can get a better idea of who is currently visiting, and what type of visitors are spending the most time or taking the most action on your site. Google Analytics offers a free solution, and is a great place to start.
Finally, your goals will help drive your website design. Let’s say you want to convert website visitors into paying customers for your downloadable information products. You will need to make sure that it’s extremely easy to find the products you’re selling, as well as to complete the transaction. Any unintentional hurdles you put in front of your visitors will make it less likely you’ll achieve your goals. Keep in mind that you quite possibly have more than one goal for your website, and if that’s the case then you need to implement a design that takes all of your goals into account.
It’s not important that you have the absolute right answers to each of these questions at the outset, and in any case the answers will likely change over time. What’s important is that you are considering the questions and making design decisions based on the information you have, rather than an abstract ideal of what makes a “good website.”
Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I am a professional .NET and PHP software developer. I has been designing and developing websites professionally since 1994. Currently working as SEO consultant at UK SEO Company.