“The Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. The Design is how it works”.
These words are by the famous Steve Jobs, the late co-founder of Apple Inc. And we, the Digital Lime Green team, take this very seriously as we apply this ideology throughout our web design practices. In this article, we will be exploring the 7 necessary steps to design a website.
7 Steps to Design a Website.
If you are someone who thinks only a professional can do a well-designed website; or that this task is extremely difficult, then let us tell you otherwise. However, even though the process is relatively simpler than your imagination, there are plenty of things that may go wrong. Let us tell you how we do it. These are the 7 steps we follow to design a website for our clients.
a. What does your client expect from this website?
First step? Identify your goals. This includes having a meeting with your client(s) and understanding what they expect from the website. It is very important for you to get a clear picture before you actually begin working on the website design.
To make it simple, have a questionnaire as a checklist:
- What is the client’s end goal with the website?
- How do they expect to progress their website in the future? Basically, their plans for the website in future.
- Website’s primary goal? E-commerce, blogging, service provider, entertainment and so on.
- How do they want to stand out from their competitors, if there are any?
- Is this website going to deliver the core brand message? Or is it a part of a bigger strategy, focusing on a unique aspect of it?
Feel free to add further questions to the list as you see fit. Make sure you get a clear picture and be on the same page with your client before you proceed. Because if you start on a project without having good clarity on it, things may go wrong and you may end up spending unnecessary time and valuable resources on fixing the mistakes.
b. Setting up sub-goals and allotting time duration for the same.
Time management is the key especially if you are running with a deadline. Furthermore, make sure you also consider the possibilities of further instructions from your clients.
It is a nice idea to set deadlines, smaller goals, and do your best to stick to them. This will help everyone to stay updated on the project’s progress, resulting in better overall efficiency.
c. Deciding on the sitemap and wireframe of the website.
Sitemap defines a website’s navigation as well as SEO. A well-designed website has a properly defined sitemap, always. User Experience and a well-defined sitemap are very close relatives of each other.
On to wireframe, a wireframe is like a visual blueprint of the website that allows you to visualise the website design (on paper or on software). This will help you and your client to get a general idea about the website design. You may get some digital inspiration for this, or create your own wireframe mockup. Once finalising your wireframe, consider it as your guideline to designing the final website for your client.
d. Creating and adding content on your website.
This is probably one of the trickiest parts to get right. Now, for us, most of our clients already have a general idea about what kind of content they would want on the website. However, as a web design expert, it is your job to advise your clients on the two important matters:
- Visitor Engagement
- Search Engine Optimisation
We all know how important content is in terms of driving engagement on your website. If a piece of content brings some value to your visitors, it is obvious that they would want and expect more from your website. It is a good idea to read, proofread, and see how your content sounds. Make sure it’s accurate, true to the facts, and original.
Secondly, SEO. Yes, your content majorly defines how the SEO will perform on your website. After all, it’s a game of keywords. Hence, it is a good idea to use a keyword research tool like Google Keyword Planner (it is free, by the way!). Optimise your content with necessary keywords to optimise; make it discoverable by search engines.
e. It’s time to consider visuals for that website.
Once you are done with finalizing content, it’s time to understand how the content will be distributed across the website. Furthermore, it is also time to decide on visuals for your website.
Now, clients usually have a brand image and brand identity set in their minds. That also means you will know what kind of fonts and colour combinations to use in the visual design.
However, if the client expects a design from scratch, then you will have to improvise. Find inspirations in templates, other websites, or mood boards. Always stay In touch with your client during the process.
f. Website Development and Testing.
Once you have finalised all the steps above, it is time for you to put everything together. Now, if your clients are asking for a website with specific features, there is a good chance you will have to put code.
Now, as a technical person, it should be easy for you. However, if you are a non-technical person, you have two options. Either hire a website developer or be creative with the non-developer tools like page builders, themes, and templates.
It is a good idea to test your website as you progress on developing it. Also, keep your client in the loop throughout this process. Everything has to be of their liking, right? Get it all approved before the website goes live.
g. Launching the Website.
So, you got everything, right up until now? Then it is finally time to publish the website, hand it over to your client, and relax a bit — you’ve earned it.
However, yes, there is always room for improvement. If you think the website can be made better, go ahead. You can always add new content, make the existing content look better, add better features, and so on. The website may also need some post-launch cleanup or maintenance as well.
And that’s basically it! The seven steps to designing a website. The process on paper does not have to be so complicated, right? Website design will get simpler if you plan the development process. Also, make sure you follow the 7Cs of a Website Design.
If you need a web design service for your business in South Africa, feel free to contact us. We are a web design and digital marketing agency based in Cape Town, South Africa. Feel free to take a look at our services here.