How to design a beautiful and functional website

Building your company’s website can be an overwhelming process. There are several key items to consider before jumping in. For example, how do I communicate who we are? How do I make my website look unique? How do I get visitors to buy the product or service I am selling?

Many business owners upload a bunch of lengthy paragraphs and images and expect visitors to navigate through and engage in the product or service they are selling. Well…not exactly. You must lead your audience. Simplify and clearly tell them the important information, tell them why they should care, and what they should do next. Remember, when clients visit your website, it is most often their first interaction with your brand. It is where they develop their first impressions and build trust in the service or product you offer. Don’t miss the opportunity to make a big impact.

Here are some tips & tricks I have put together on designing a website that is on point and on brand:

All content follows a hierarchy. Visitors understand ‘who is Daffodil Digital’ and ‘why should I use them?’ within a few moments of landing on company’s website. (Website coming soon)

All content follows a hierarchy. Visitors understand ‘who is Daffodil Digital’ and ‘why should I use them?’ within a few moments of landing on company’s website. (Website coming soon)

• Content Strategy

Content is KEY. When evaluating the content of your website ask yourself a few critical questions. For example, is this content useful? Who is it useful for? When visitors land on your site, what do you want them to know? Develop a hierarchy of information with the most important being front and center on your website. Eliminate wordy paragraphs and distracting information. Create content that is clear and encourages visitors to take action.

Design serves the primary purpose of gaining the trust of your intended audience.

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• Design

Next, present your content in the best possible manner. Develop a complementary design to highlight your newly edited content. My design motto has always been simpler is better. Design serves the primary purpose of gaining the trust of your intended audience. Within seconds of landing on your website, visitors have already made opinions about the quality and value of your product or service. Develop a design that is intuitive and enhances your visitor’s experience. Talk with your designer and discuss what layout options are best suited to your brand and your product. If you aren’t working with a designer, website templates like Squarespace, Showit, and Wix are a great resource and provide flexible and polished interfaces.

All design elements, e.g. colors, fonts, icons, and imagery help communicate the tone and visual identity behind the brand. (www.volitionbeauty.com)

All design elements, e.g. colors, fonts, icons, and imagery help communicate the tone and visual identity behind the brand. (www.volitionbeauty.com)


• Branding

Developing your brand is critical in communicating the tone and visual identity of your business. When starting any new design project, I require my clients to go through an exercise I call “Defining your 5 Brand Essences.” During this exercise, I sit down with my clients and ask them to come up with five very distinct words that define their brand. Each word has to be unique and clearly different from the others. After we agree to these five words we launch into the design phase. From there, every design decision we make should lead back to one of those brand essences. In the end, you have a brand that feels purposeful and consistent.

Take time during this phase and research the competition. Figure out how you are going to be different. Don’t pick brand colors and typefaces that are being used by your competition. You want to create a brand that will withstand trends and feel uniquely yours. All visual elements should work together cohesively to create a consistent look and feel throughout your entire site.

Don’t pick brand colors and typefaces that are being used by your competition. You want to create a brand that will withstand trends and feel uniquely yours.

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• Social Media

Last but not least, let’s talk social media. This seems obvious, but make sure to include social media icons as part of your main navigation. These icons are most commonly displayed on the top, bottom, or side of a website. If possible, go a step further and customize your icons based on your design and consider how your user will be interacting with these icons on your site. Lastly, make sure these buttons open new windows to your social media pages. This allows visitors to further connect with your brand and get a better sense of its personality, while keeping them on your site.

Whether you are in the primary stages of building your company’s website, or giving your existing one a facelift, take time to map out a strategy for the above points. The end goal is for visitors to engage in your content, experience your brand, and TAKE ACTION.

Danielle McWaters is the creative behind Designsake Studio, a boutique studio specializing in design, direction, and branding. Danielle is a believer of design and it’s ability to create new connections and lasting impressions. It drives her to create things that are not only authentic, but that matter. Working alongside her clients, she develops strategies and solutions to transform big ideas into stand out design.

 

 

 

 

Kate Williams

Writer + editorial director in Los Angeles. Reading books + watching palm trees.