5 Intentional Steps to Designing A Great Website
There’s Not a Template For That
Not many people know each and every nuance that goes into building a strong and good-looking website, so we’re going to pull back the curtain and let you in on a bit of our process! Our specific approach to web design includes more than just aesthetics, even though that’s an integral part of it. While we do create beautiful websites, it’s equally important to us that they function well also. Our holistic approach to website creation divides each project into five stages: discovery, information architecture & user flow, written & visual content creation, visual design, and website development.
We believe that your website should work for you. Like, it should actively take work off of you by answering your most frequently asked questions as soon as possible, and it should have a clear and concise path that users can take to get to your ultimate CTA (call to action). This approach results in a website that is both representative of your business, your story, and your style, and also actively converts visitors into paying customers. What’s better than that?
Here’s more on our process:
The first step is one people often skip for convenience and time, honestly. But we believe it’s a pivotal step in the process of building a website that truly represents our clients. So, we get to know our clients & help clarify their brand message. We spend intentional time getting to know them, asking important questions, and possibly even thwarting them into an existential crisis (only to come out better on the other side, of course). We do this because before we do anything else, we build your content and brand message. (People want to skip this step to go onto something that’s more flashy—like an awesome website—but if you lay the groundwork, then building upon that will be easier later on.)
Information Architecture & User Flow
Since we actually believe a great website should work FOR a business, our next step is to identify the main calls to action and then map the site to get users to the desired destination as smoothly and quickly as possible. We establish an overall site outline, then develop flow patterns that will guide your users from page to page on your site. We like to think of a website as an employee. It should be fully functional, actively taking work off of a business owner’s plate so they don’t have to answer the same questions over and over via phone, email, or contact forms. And they can be free to focus on, well, running their business.
Written & Visual Content Creation
Then we move to some fun stuff— actually writing the content for a website. We will never, ever try to fit your business’s unique message into a premade template. Before developing any design aspects for a website, we always develop the content first. The story of a business’s products or services is the most important thing about their online presence, so we build everything to fit that. We get creative. This is where every bit of mapping and questioning really comes into play and gets used to build content that truly represents a client. Once finished with the written content, we create a plan for the photography, videography, or custom illustrations for the site. It’s true that a picture speaks a thousand words, so we look to communicate as much as possible through visuals, and each image is carefully planned for.
Once the written and visual content are taken care of, we put all of these pieces, along with all branding elements, together to create a design that is truly custom to a client’s needs. Each page is designed specifically to showcase the content and photography/illustration. We believe clients should receive mockups of each page before any coding is done on the site itself. This saves a lot of time in the end, so there’s no developing and redeveloping pages of the website.
After the content, user flow, and design of the website have been approved, that’s when the site truly gets brought to life. It’s so important that a website be developed with true mobile-friendliness and great search engine optimization in mind. And it’s also important to test each page on your website before launching it to the public.
In conclusion, you should have a really cool-looking website. But it shouldn’t stop there. If you’re just starting out and you’re not making money yet, we believe that a templated website is a really great place to start. Really. But if you want your business to truly stand out online, investing in a website that will help to grow your business and drive more conversions is crucial. Your story matters, the flow of your site matters, and answering the most important questions that your audience will want to know matters. We hope this helped! And please, as always, shoot us a message with any questions you may have!