Some say that a website makes it real. Business that is. Investing in a website tends to be that notable difference between someone’s hobby, and a legit registered and professional business. This applies across all industries too.
Would you trust (and happily pay good money to) a panel beater, house painter or accountant who didn’t have a website?
A well designed website legitimises your offering and also hints to your price point without even listing your charges. This can result in better quality customer enquiries because you’re online presence now appeals to a more appealing and profitable target audience.
Let’s Break the Web Design Jargon Down
Getting your web design started can be incredibly intimidating! There are so many acronyms, so many confusing buzz words and so many steps to take that if you’re feeling overwhelmed, that’s okay. You’re not the only one.
In our break down to help you go into getting a new website feeling informed and empowered, we’ll cover:
Demystifying Design Industry Jargon
If you’re unfamiliar with the industry, web design jargon can seem like an entirely different language.
Though the best web designers will explain things in a way that makes sense to you, it’s still helpful to have a little industry lingo under your belt.
CMS (Content Management System)
The wonderful world of website design is full of acronyms like this one, so it’s a good idea to get your head around what they all mean before you get lost in a sea of letters.
Your CMS is the software application that manages creating and modifying your website’s on-page content. This includes not only written content, but imagery as well.
It allows you to have all of your content assets in one place, and make changes to the website in a user-friendly way, even after the website design is done and dusted.
You’ll hear designers and developers talking about these two terms all the time.
Front end is essentially all of the parts of a website that your customers can view and interact with, like imagery, design cues, content, and navigation.
Back end, by contrast, refers to the parts of the site your customers can’t see, such as the way data is organised and stored.
You can think about it like going to a restaurant. The front end is the area where you are seated to eat, as well as other customer-accessible areas like the bathroom, bar, and front counter. The back end is everything behind the curtain, such as the kitchen, storerooms, and back office.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
SEO is the process of improving elements of your website to boost your search rankings.
Whenever someone performs a search on Google, they’re presented with a list of results which are ordered by relevance. That is, the topmost result is what Google considers to be the most relevant answer to your query.
To improve your search rankings, SEO focuses on three key areas:
- Technical SEO | how your website is built (for example if a page is slow to load, users won’t stay on for long. Google doesn’t like this)
- On-page SEO | what is actually on the page (does your page content answer the query?)
- Off-page SEO | pages on other websites that link back to yours (if another website links to you, Google makes the assumption that your page is of high quality)
Above/Below The Fold
This term is a bit of a hangover from the days of print media. It comes from the way a newspaper is typically folded to present only some of the information when on a display stand.
Your website is kind of the same. Everything you see when you first land on a page is above the fold (the fold being the imaginary line on the web page). As the user scrolls down the page, they enter into below the fold territory.
Web designers utilise the fold to determine where to position information, for example, what message is going to be communicated above the fold, and what will be included below.
What use is having a website if it’s not working to generate you leads?
CTAs can be either images or short snippets of copy, that prompt the user to take some form of action. Examples of CTAs include “sign up here”, “get in touch”, and “download your free eBook”.
3 Components Of A Great Website Design
Good web design is about more than just making things look pretty, your design actually has a pretty significant impact on the way users interact with your site, and how effective it is.
#1 | User Experience
Consider User Experience from both your own experience, getting your website built by someone plus the experience your customers will have once your website goes live.
There’s nothing more detrimental to user experience than a website that is difficult to understand and use. Great website design will make this experience seamless by positioning content well and keeping information and the layout simple.
Simple design is also conducive to faster page load times, which is just what we want.
#2 | The Website Is Mobile Responsive
Over half of all web searches are done on mobile devices. That means you can expect 50% of the customers clicking through to your website to be doing so from their smartphone or tablet.
A mobile responsive website is quite simply one that works well on a smartphone or tablet.
#3 | Effective Content
If there’s one area where websites are commonly let down, it’s in the content. i.e. the words on the page + visuals.
You need to have enough content to make sure Google can index your page properly, PLUS encourage your prospective customers to make contact with you.
Getting Ready For Your Web Designer
Now that you have decided to get a website designed, here are 3 areas to start considering:
#1 | Your Website Goals
What are you trying to achieve with your new website? This is especially important if you’re redesigning an existing website – why is it no longer cutting the mustard?
Whatever your goal is, make sure it’s clear, and that you communicate it with your website designer.
#2 | Think About Your Menu And Layout
Your designer will no doubt be able to help with this stage however start thinking about what the layout of the site will look like, how many pages you’ll need, and what you’ll be communicating on each page. This will also help with getting quotes from web designers.
An excellent place to start is by checking out some other websites (competitors or not) and come up with a list of things you like, and things you don’t like.
#3 | Your Website Wording + Photos
Typically, content writing isn’t part of a standard website design package. Neither is the creation of video and imagery. While some web designers do offer these services (like we do), some will expect you to supply all of this yourself.
So collate images, flyers, brochures you already have available, then decide what else you need. If you are not a writer, the we suggest you find yourself a web designer who also offers content writing services, particularly with a focus on both SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), marketing and sales.
Web Design Jargon + Website Prep Key Takeaways
There’s a lot to think about before you jump into bed with a website designer.
- Be familiar with some of the jargon so that you feel more confident getting quotes
- Ask them about their views on User Experience, Mobile responsiveness and Content
- Determine your overall website goal and have an idea of what you want your website to look like and say
With these tips, you now have a good foundation from which to start your web design journey.
If you’re still finding yourself confused and overwhelmed, why not give us a call? We’ve been helping business owners start their web design journey since 2006 and offer free consultations.
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