How to make your website responsive, optimised and effective
We’ve written a lot recently about the many important jobs a website does for a small business and the different skill sets needed to make it truly effective. Websites may look easy and straightforward but they are anything but!
It can be easy to be overwhelmed or get confused by it all. Website success isn’t really a mythical thing and it certainly need not be too technical for you to understand. It’s just about marketing to people. We wanted to lift the lid for you on how good website design in Sussex really works; so do have a read of the jargon free summary below!
The four stages to good website design and development...
Stage 1: Discovery
This is where you and your website partners/agency should sit down together to discover and discuss what your goals are for your website.
This might include such things as:
- lead generation
- brand reputation
- ecommerce sales
- customer service
- or a combination of all of these.
If you have multiple purposes for your website, be sure to rank and prioritise them and recognise the different types of customers coming to your site. A person looking to buy something has a very different mindset and expectation to someone just wanting to enquire or looking for support.
If you already have a website, it will be necessary to understand how it is performing currently and what the impact is of that on your business – both for the good and the bad.
Finally, don’t forget to examine the marketplace and your competitors, but also those businesses that represent the gold standard.
- What can we learn from them?
- What are they missing?
- What could be done better?
Stage 2: Design & Development
This is where the look and function of your site are set.
Using all of the insights, aspirations and knowledge from the discovery phase, the design and development make them a reality. There is a bunch of technical work that takes place here to ensure the functionality works as intended. This includes ensuring all of the latest plugins and features which are relevant are activated, and making certain that the site loads quickly and works across devices and screen sizes.
These are things you should be able to trust a website designer to do. As a business owner or business professional, your focus should be on considering and sharing the likely user experience based on your direct understanding of them. It’s also important you are involved to check the branding is represented correctly and that core content is being stylised appropriately for your audience.
Stage 3: Testing
Once the site is built it goes through rounds of user testing and reviews with the client team. It’s really important at this stage to put yourself in the shoes of your potential customer:
- What are they thinking, feeling, seeing and doing?
- How does that impact their mindset, expectations and needs from your site?
It isn’t as straightforward as to whether they can navigate around the site easily.
Again a bunch of this is technical work is then undertaken to ensure your site works across browsers, devices etc.
Any small hiccups can seriously damage your brand reputation so it’s important to get this right before it goes live. This is especially the case if you had a previous website and are making changes to it. All of the equity, backlinks and SEO-juice you had built up with the likes of Google should not be lost. Otherwise, it would be like starting all over again, and you REALLY don’t want that!
Stage 4: Training & launching
Lots of website design agencies in Sussex and further afield, work on the basis of generating their own margins through ongoing maintenance and management of a website. Growth by Design doesn’t work like that. We want you to feel confident and empowered to be able to manage the website ongoing should you wish too. There are of course technical and SEO aspects we’d recommend using experts for but there are also many less complex aspects of the website we’d encourage you to know how to use before it launches to the world.