Creating a well-designed website is similar to following a great recipe in the kitchen. There are many steps to follow, and various ingredients to use, it takes precision, patience, and of course, creativity. There will be some trial and error to get it just right, but when you do, the results are delicious. Let’s just say we are pretty good chefs 👩🍳🤌.
These days, anyone can build a site. There are DIY builders out there that offer many easy-to-use platforms and templates that make website building available to many people looking to do things on their own. While these are great, it is important to remember that there are a handful of non-negotiable fundamentals that each website (whether done DIY style or by a professional) must have. These foundational elements must be present on your site if you want to maximize how it impacts your business.
Let’s take a look at some of the main website fundamentals below.
- Have a strategy – before you embark on the journey to creating your website, make sure to take the time to ask yourself the following: what is the overall goal? Who is the target audience? What issues does your service/product solve for them? Who are your competitors and what are they doing right or wrong? What do you do differently? This will help you formulate the perfect strategy to build a website that will work hard for you and successfully connect with your users.
- Seamless navigation – this is absolutely essential. In a previous article, we talked about the importance of making websites accessible, and seamless navigation is definitely a part of the recipe to success. You want users to be able to immediately find the information they are looking for and be able to easily orient themselves when browsing.
- Responsive design – there are a few things more frustrating than landing on a page that is not responsive, meaning that it does not automatically resize to fit the screen you are using. Responsiveness is key for seamless user interaction because if you don’t get that right, you will lose the user almost right away. You only have a few seconds to make a good impression, use them wisely!
- Branding – building a website without branding has many pitfalls and leaves a lot of room for error. It’s important to know how you want to use colors as well as when and where. It’s also important to know what tone of voice your messaging will be written in. The website should be consistent in general, including the functional elements being used on every page. The best thing to do is create branding guidelines and follow them closely.
- Optimization – Your site should load quickly (less than 3 seconds is the standard), be responsive, and have the necessary plugins implemented to ensure that when a user arrives at your site, it runs smoothly. Otherwise, you run the risk of losing the user almost immediately.
- Follow industry standards – after seeing countless websites over the years, people have developed a sort of “expectation” and familiarity with how a site will generally function. This, along with how websites are constantly improving and evolving has created industry standards that must be adhered to in order to connect with your users. Don’t let this affect your creativity though! There are things that need to follow a certain framework i.e. having a search bar at the top of every page is something that users have become familiar with and if you choose to add it to the bottom instead, this may cause confusion.
Remember, put yourself in the user’s shoes! Look at your site from the perspective of your audience. Where are they coming from? What are they looking for? Where would they be looking for specific types of information on your site? It’s easy to say that a website looks good and functions well, but without taking the time to explore your site through your users’ eyes, you could miss some big opportunities.
If you are looking for a partner who knows the ins and outs of how to make a website stand out while always keeping in mind the end user, drop us a line!