For decades, there has been one question on the minds of CEOs, web designers, those in marketing, and even bloggers. Many suggestions have been thrown about in the hopes that one of them will answer the question – What is the secret to great web design?
Many people have spent countless hours brainstorming trying to figure this out. Is it the website’s aesthetics? Maybe it’s the overall flow, from the homepage to all the other pages? Lots of pictures and videos? No pictures or videos with an emphasis on elegant white space and textual elements?
The important thing to realize here is that popular website design styles change every few years, so the look and feel becomes dated fairly quickly. Although the suggestions above can be key to “good” web design, it’s not what makes website design great. The “secret” is actually quite simple, and even though our focus is on Maryland web design, this applies to website design all over the world.
The Secret Is …
As the old adage reminds us, “Give them what they want, and they’ll come.” That, in a nutshell, is the secret to great web design. In other words, know your audience.
While it’s good for the designers of your company’s website to keep images, videos, and other elements in mind when they’re building your site, it’s not going to help as much if they don’t understand who it is you’re targeting. The web designers need to know what your company’s message is so that it doesn’t get lost in the overall design.
Sadly, far too many companies go into the website design process thinking a flashy website that looks like it took dozens of expert designers to create is all they need to attract their audience. When companies and web designers forget about the audience, the audience will soon forget about the company.
Help Web Designers Understand Your Audience
You understand your company better than anyone. You know what your company does, your company’s core values, your competition, and you definitely know your target audience. The problem, though, is that whether your web designers are in-house or from an outside agency, they’re not going to know your company as well as you do.
If your company is looking for a new website, or just a redesign of your current one, the web designers need to have a good understanding of your target audience before they start working on any web design. Building a website can be complex, so the web designers need to know going in where the focus needs to lie.
It’s at this point you might be asking yourself why the overall design of the website is important for your audience. The focus should be mainly on the content, right? It’s true, the content on your website is crucial to your target audience. However, if your website design is such that it doesn’t attract the attention of your audience, the content isn’t going to matter because the user has already left your page.
Web Design Focused on Your Audience
In fact, you have anywhere from 50 milliseconds to six seconds to make a first impression with your website. In that time, you need to make sure a user knows who you are, what you do, what you can offer them, and why they should continue reading information on your website. That’s a lot to show in a very short amount of time.
This is why your web designers need to know everything going into the project. If your company deals with interior design, your homepage and overall website should focus more on the visual side. If your business is geared toward technology and IT support, your homepage should show images and bold text that leaves no doubt about what it is your company does.
Whatever it is your company does, it needs to be blatantly obvious as soon as someone looks at your website. If not, potential clients and customers will move on.
Design with SEO in Mind
Before web designers start typing in code for what will be your new website, they need to also understand the value and importance of building your website design with a focus on search engine optimization, or SEO.
In order for your audience to find your website when they do a search in Google, Bing, or any other search engine, those search engines have to know your website exists. Shortly after the launch of your company’s website, you’ll be able to find it on a search engine results page – or SERP – but how well it ranks depends on the SEO.
Your company isn’t the only one in the world that does what it does. Your competition has websites, too. Search engines will rank these websites based on what it believes is the best result for a user’s search term. Where your website lands in the search rankings – from first to first on page six – depends on your site’s optimization.
Many web designers and developers don’t take SEO into consideration when creating your website. More times than not, they’ll say content – such as blogs – is where the SEO should be focused. While there is truth in that, SEO must be tackled from the start.
Content is everything on your website and the thing that drives your audience to your company’s site. It’s not just blog posts. Every page of your website should have optimized content. If your company provides different services, each service needs its own page and its own optimized content. If your company’s services are strictly for a local audience, the content should reflect that.
Google is starting to pay closer attention to how quickly your website loads. If it takes too long, Google will penalize your site in the rankings. This means web designers need to keep an eye on image and file sizes, and other things that would cause a low load speed.
It should come as no surprise many people in your target audience will come across your website after searching on their phones or tablets. This means web designers have to develop a site for your company that not only works on a computer, but also mobile devices. Again, this is something Google really keys in on, and if your site isn’t optimized for mobile, it will be penalized in search results.
Find a Team that Specializes in Maryland Web Design
As you can see, while the secret to great website design is easy, the implementation is a lot more difficult. If your company’s website is all flash and no substance, it’s not going to succeed. Your target audience should be the focus of your website design from start to finish – and beyond.
Once your website is built, that doesn’t mean the job is over. Tweaks will need to be made over time and content will need to be added and removed. You’ll also have to keep an eye on SEO and your search rankings.
We know it’s a lot of work, but we also know it’s important because it is your business. You want the best and you want to have a website design that brings in clients and customers. That’s why New North is here to help you meet your goals.
Here at New North, we know about these things because we’ve worked with companies just like yours. Maryland website design is a specialty of ours, and we take it very seriously. We know what works and what will work for your company.
Let’s talk about just how we can help your business on its path to growth. Contact us today for a free, no-hassle consultation by clicking here, or give us a call at 240-575-5887. We look forward to hearing from you so we can talk about Maryland web design.