19 Apr Web Design: The 5 Tools You Need
Web design is a big beast for anyone to tackle. If you don’t have the right tools handy, then you could end up with an ineffective site that just doesn’t do much for you.
No one wants that.
If you’re designing a website, then you need those tools. If someone is designing a website for you, then you need the tools to make sure the website they’re building is effective at doing its job.
What is the job of a web design?
Your site should be accomplishing one of these things:
- Creating awareness for your brand
- Displaying a portfolio of work
- Selling products or services
If your site isn’t doing one of these things, then you might need to go back to the drawing board and check on your website design. These 5 tools will help you get a great website that accomplishes your business’ goals:
1. Wireframes Set the Stage for Good Web Design
This is the part where you actually pick up a pen (or a pencil, if you prefer) and grab a piece of paper. Yes. You read that correctly. You’re going to use pen and paper, not a fancy computer program.
Believe it or not, the web design process doesn’t actually need to start on a computer. Instead of just jumping into whatever design program you just downloaded a trial version of, sketch out what you want your website to look like. This is a good time to think out a thing or two:
- Website navigation
- Page titles
- Number of pages
- Contact forms
You want your site to be awesome. So, spend some time thinking it through before actually designing it.
2. Web Design Page Flow
Web sites and pages shouldn’t exist just because they’re supposed to or because someone told you that you needed to be online. Every page you create needs to have a purpose that fits into a higher purpose.
(This is where we typically play the Circle of Life song).
You see, a page about your company isn’t just a page about your company. It lets people get to know you. It acts as social proof of your company’s values and how you handle your business.
The flow of your site needs to be natural and intuitive. During your wireframing process, think about how one page will flow to another. And, how every page will work together to tell the story of your company.
3. Web Design Responsiveness Is No Longer an Option
Often overlooked and forgotten, your website needs to be responsive.
That means if a visitor is using their phone, your site still looks awesome. They don’t have to pinch-zoom or scroll all over the place to read content or view images. Responsiveness means that no matter the device (computer, tablet, or phone) the user experience is still awesome.
If users can’t easily interact with your website on a tablet or phone, then they’ll move onto a different site. Probably your competitors’.
If that isn’t enough, Google actually uses website responsiveness when ranking websites, which means if you want to be at the top of the results, you need a responsive web design.
You want the look and feel of your website to be on point. How do you accomplish that?
Here are some tips for figuring out what’s working in web design:
- Look at direct competitors– Don’t rip their site off (that’s a big no-no), but poke around and see what you like and don’t like. Does their navigation make sense? How are their pages laid out?
- Take notes from industry leaders– Move away from competition and look at others in your industry. Maybe it’s the big guys you don’t directly compete with. What are they doing with their website? Are they using offers? What information did they include?
- Watch out for trends- Avoid getting sucked into web design trends. Some trends look awesome, but they don’t work out too well. When looking at trends, ask yourself how it promotes your message or the user experience.
- Analyze your existing site- If you currently have a website, then test it to understand what works and doesn’t work. Maybe it isn’t optimized for the right keywords. Maybe the design isn’t very intuitive. Use this information to understand how your new site needs to be designed.
Inconsistent website design can destroy your brand. Think through the different elements you need and want on your site. Where will your logo be? What types of images and graphics represent your brand the best? What’s your key message viewers need to see?
5. Gated Material Is One of The Most Powerful Web Design Tools
You wouldn’t offer your business secrets without getting something in return, would you? Don’t give out every insight and piece of information you know on your website. Instead, gate some of that material.
To get the most out of your site, you need to create offers that visitors can download. This material shouldn’t be accessible just by clicking on a link. Instead, gate it so that visitors to your site have to fill out a contact form in order to download the offer. As a result, you’ll be generating leads left and right.
As you start planning out your web design, think about the gated material that you can offer on your site and how you’ll drive traffic to the landing pages that the material can be accessed from.
Using Web Design Tools
Knowing these 5 tools will go a long way in understanding what makes a great website, but there’s still a lot to know when it comes to actually designing one. It isn’t enough to purchase an updated theme and slap some content and photos together.
Your site needs to be comprehensive and work for a greater purpose: selling. Selling your products and services. Selling your brand to customers. And selling your value proposition.
Is your website your most powerful marketing tool? Does it work 24/7 as a salesperson for you? If it doesn’t, then you need a strategic web design team to craft and build a website that goes to work for you.