Why Professional Web Design Is Important
Why You Should Always Avoid the 'Cheap' Web Design Option
In the old days when web design was in its infancy, anyone could design and code a website. Over the years web design has changed dramatically. As the internet has evolved, web design has evolved in tandem.
Although ready-made websites/website templates are offered cheaply by many companies, IT consultancies, computer maintenance businesses, printing companies, etc and can seem like a kind of heaven-sent 'off the peg' answer to all your web design prayers, choosing this option could mean you are actually compromising your website, your chances of generating website traffic/visitors to your website and your business's reputation.
Even bespoke design packages from companies who are not web design experts can adversely affect your website. Many companies offering web design (outside of their primary profession) simply don't understand how to design, code, and optimise websites to ensure they work for their clients.
In the long run it's better to invest in your site and employ a professional web designer.
What Your Website Absolutely Must Include
Your website needs to:
- Look professional and have an intuitive layout which is easy to navigate. Design is a key determinant to building online trust with site visitors. People form opinions about the look of your website in 1/20th of a second. The aesthetic of your design is therefore an important factor in the success of your website. Making information easy to find also plays an important role in how successful your site will be.
- Be available to mobile users, whether through a responsive website or a mobile version. With so many people now accessing the web via mobile devices its important to make sure your site can be "seen" by everyone no matter wther from a desktop, tablet or mobile.
- Be coded to the highest web standards. Your website should comply with W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) standards. Be 'table-free' and use valid code.
- Be compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). For a website to be accessible its content must be available to everyone, including people with disabilities. Learn more about accessibility and usability.
- Have a user friendly URL/domain name, and one that is registered to you and not your web designer, so that you own your domain name outright.
- Be search engine friendly. No one can buy from you if they can't find your website online. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a powerful marketing technique that involves imbedding relevant (and researched) keywords and phrases into your on-page text, and into the code behind each page, using ethical SEO practices. This process will help make your website more visible on the internet by driving it up the search engines' listings. Find out why building SEO into your website from day one is so important.
- Include original text (not plagiarised copy). A professional web designer will only use original copy - copy that is simple, powerful, unique and optimised for your site visitors and the search engines. For client supplied copy a good web designer will help to optimise the copy for the search engines or advise on the best tools to use to identify relevant keywords and the best optimisation techniques.
Your website will also need to:
- Download fast. Web usability studies continue to show that a page's download speed is very important. After 10 seconds waiting for your site to appear, your customer will have lost interest in your page, and may click off your site to go elsewhere.
- Work in different browsers. Your website needs to work across the various web browsers (Internet Explorer, Mozilla FireFox, Opera, Chrome etc). A professional web designer will know which browsers/browser versions need to be supported.
- Be reliably hosted from day one, so that your website is available, 24/7 and all-year-round. No matter how good your site is, if your hosting is more often 'off-line' than 'on' then you run the risk of losing potential visitors/customers and in some instances you may even be 'de-indexed' by the search engines.
And finally but just as important:
Your website needs to be current and updated to ensure you maintain your place in the search engines. This may mean using a content management system, a blog or having a support plan and adding new optimised content or updating the current content on a regular basis.
Choosing a Professional Web Designer
Opting for expert web design will ensure your business does well online.
It's important to choose a web designer who designs and codes to W3C standards and fully understands how to optimise your site for the search engines. Without this your website will languish in the seldom visited pages of the search engines.