Anyone serious about their online marketing, understands that a website forms a key element of any business’s branding and sales strategy. You do need to get it right from the off. No half measures. 
Consequently, the design needs to be considered both aesthetically in how it looks and also technically in how it is structured. Whenever your website is viewed, it really does have an impact on the way visitors perceive your brand, whether they are current clients or potential new customers. 
There is a lot written about what is right and what is wrong, and good website designers will understand the key conventions and apply what works and what doesn’t. 
 
As a starting point, good designers will actively listen, as after all you will have some idea of what you would like if not necessarily how it should look, but certainly what you would like to achieve. Indeed, with some good open and easily understood questions you as the client should be able to articulate your thoughts and preferences. After all, there should be a key end result in mind: will the site appeal to your target audience? 
 
So, the first couple of questions are pretty obvious: 

1 – How will my website appeal to my target clients? 

Empirical studies clearly show that people do not spend much time on any website when searching for what they expect to see. 
In reality, you have around 5 to 8 seconds to make a positive impression when a visitor lands on your site following a search query through their browser. Not much time is it. Particularly when you consider a significant proportion of your online marketing budget could be spent on this small amount of time. 
 
When we are designing sites, we ask ourselves on behalf of our clients will this design count in this extremely short time window? Neither of us will want visitors ‘bouncing’ off our websites frustrated. 
As an example, our designs are typically unfussy, clean, and minimal. The brand and the core sales messages or value propositions, unique selling points, and promises need to be at the forefront. Bold visuals are great in helping the audience really connect and pay attention, wanting to find out more in order to satisfy or answer their query. This is further assisted through sympathetic colour schemes and design elements, which altogether helps drive the desired outcome of making contact or placing an online order. And this desired outcome is fully supported by strategically placed CTAs or ‘call to actions’ which are prompts for the visitor to easily make that contact either by telephone or email. 

2 – How can my website look professional? 

Surely a prerequisite is that a website needs to create the impression that the business is professional and capable. In lots of cases, the visitor may just be visiting the website to check that your business looks credible, is a real business, and not fictitious, before engaging to enquire about your products and services. 
 
The minimum it needs to deliver is a feeling of authority and trust. How is this achieved? Through a combination of the correct design elements and eliminating any mistakes or grammatical errors, for example, hard to read fonts, poor or irrelevant stock imagery, and questionable colour schemes. And general lack of attention to subtle detail. Through simple planning, effective briefing, and skilled design all these things are easily avoided. 

3 – How will you design my website to look trustworthy? 

As I am sure you can imagine. This is a core concept behind brand success, and how it is translated through all marketing communication channels, and the website is one of the most important. 
 
Predominantly, this is achieved through great design. This is integral to convincing a potential client to make the call and contact and making it appear to them that you’re a business that is serious and means business. 
 
Skilled writing of appropriate content is also key to gaining trust – not only for the visitor when landing on the site but also for Google in order to index in terms of relevance and to rank your site appropriately. 
 
And of course, any audience loves reviews, and to present these prominently and in an easy-to-read fashion, all help. 

4 - Will it create impact and do its job of driving interest and enquiries? 

Naturally, the initial visual impact of the design can help deliver. Creating a reassuring message of competence, integrity, and professionalism - all foundation blocks for helping to build trust. 
 
It comes back to the attention-grabbing of those first few seconds, mentioned earlier in this article. 
 
Once that attention has been gained, this has to lead the way to further reading or scanning other relevant parts of the website, and on that journey, the visitor will learn more in a positive way all helping to build and further reinforce that trust. 
 
Also, the website has to have the functionality to reconfigure automatically to any size of the screen, i.e. being mobile responsive, without the visitor having to ‘pinch and widen’ the page to be read. It has to accommodate the wishes and viewing preferences of the visitor not the other way round. It is there to provide an easy-to-use service so the experience is positive by its convenient versatility and intuitivism. 

5 – How will my visitors know how to move around the website? 

A good design takes account of the target audience and depending on its size common website design principles do need to be employed. It should be a familiar experience. 
 
Its architecture and navigation need to make intuitive sense, the placement of the links, slides, tabs, and various call to actions can all have a big impact on the way users will experience and interact with your site. 
 
You will know from your own experience that a poorly constructed site is incredibly frustrating and not tolerated for long. 
 
We would deem this completely unacceptable and strive always to maximize the user experience. 

6 - Will the navigation be clear? 

Following on for the previous point, this is another fundamental principle of delivering great user experience. 
 
Websites need to have a clear and easy to use navigation. Having visible and well-marked out tabs and buttons is essential. As soon as you have the attention of the prospect client you need to make it easy to find their way around your site, reaching the pages that are of most interest, easily and quickly. 
 
The two main styles of navigation are ‘breadcrumb’ trails and drop-down menus. ‘Breadcrumbs’ boost the search potential of pages by displaying a visual that features the user’s location within the hierarchy. This decreases the number of actions a visitor will need to make to move on to a higher level. 
 
Drop-down menus have a list of items that appear when users click on the menu title. The latter is the most popular. 

7 – How will the key communication and information be prioritised? 

An effective and well thought out design should aim to establish a clear and easily understandable system for organising the content of a website. 
 
Ideally, all the content needs to be an enjoyable read in order for it to be easily understood. 
It is a bit like reading a newspaper article with all the important information summarised at the beginning and highlighted accordingly. 
 
This can be done as we do by using the appropriate font, placing white space effectively, and supported by the use of sidebars and headings. In the industry, this is called visual hierarchy, and here at it’seeze Web Design Watford, we will advise on the best fit to maximise the website. 

8 – How do you ensure my website is visually attractive and maximise the visual appeal? 

In short, this is achieved through the use of colour schemes and design by professional designers who have been trained in the art of web design. 
 
And do not be fooled into assuming it must be expensive. It is all about clever and sympathetic design, perhaps with some subtle animation to add further nuance. 
 
It is all about personalisation and tailoring it to appeal to the target audience! 

9 – How do you make our business story compelling? 

Storytelling is a very powerful way to engage mood and emotions for the brand. 
 
Clearly, this has to be a serious consideration with any website design. And whilst help and tips should be forthcoming from the web developer to really make a difference, one needs to consider employing a specialist copywriter. Bearing in mind that the website needs to be viewed as an investment, the modest cost of employing a copywriter is worthwhile as the style the content is written and presented in needs to be an appropriate ‘tone of voice’ and at a level which would appeal to that target audience. 
 
Any good web developer should be able to offer that service either in-house or through a trusted and proven third party. At it’seeze Web Design Watford, we have that covered! 

10 – What is the value of having pictures of me and my team on the site? 

The old acronym of ‘People buy from people’, does apply here, particularly for smaller and local businesses. 
 
It adds appeal, consciously or unconsciously to those who found the site. It adds personality to the business and makes it ‘real’ in the eyes of the visitor. 
 
Of course, websites will need to use stock photos to help with the overall design, yet the more one can personalise with good quality personal photography, the better. 
 
In summary, talk to the people who know what they are doing. And if you are not convinced go and talk to someone else. 
 
At it’seeze Web Design Watford, our core business is websites. We focus on delivering websites that are custom-designed whatever the budget to make an impact online. We listen, we act, and you will not be disappointed, look at our Trustpilot and Google reviews. 
 
We always know that you have a choice! 
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