Do you run for the hills when it's time to bust out the wireframes and discuss redesigning your website ? It's okay, not everyone was born to be a designer.
Creating a new website can potentially be a long and arduous process - but it doesn't have to be! So many businesses get stuck on 'form OVER function' when trying to design or redesign a website. What's "under the hood" is just as important - if not more - when you main goal is turning your site visitors into customers.
With that said, it's still important to have a site that makes a good first impression. For example, when we helped create Website Redesign LITE , stripping down the design process to the fundamentals was a key part of the plan. There are three fundamental aspects people should consider before engaging in a new web design process.
The homework looks something like this:
1. Decide on a navigation style and layout.
Making it easy for people to navigate through your site is extremely important and one of the first steps is to decide whether you want your main navigation on the top (horizontal), side (vertical) or both. Both remember, follow the general rule of 'less is more.'
For a majority of businesses, it's a best practice to have your home page, interior pages, and blog consisting of different layouts so visitors can easily distinguish between them. The popular cloud software company, Salesforce.com, did an excellent job creating separate looks for their home page , Cloud Blog , and interior content pages.
2. Identify elements that your target audience can quickly grasp.
In his New York Times best seller 'Blink,' Malcolm Gladwell states "When you meet someone for the first time, or walk into a house you are thinking of buying, or read the first few sentences of a book, your mind takes about two seconds to jump to a series of conclusions."
This is also true when people visit your website. These fleeting two seconds just might be the difference between acquiring a new customer who generates revenue for you, or simply a lost prospect who falls into the seductive arms of one of your competitors. Well-placed 'calls to action' buttons, such as this van from a Birmingham-area dry cleaner , clearly tell your visitors where to focus their attention. Also, having a prominent header image that viewers can easily connect with your business will create a lasting first impression.
3. Pick your color scheme.
Generally businesses have specific colors for their brand already established. Sooner or later you'll need to come to a consensus and choose a primary and secondary color for your site. Quite often, these are simply highlights from the colors of your logo.
There are plenty of free tools on the web to help you pick out color schemes. Adobe's Kuler , Aviary's Toucan , and Color Explorer are just some to name a few. Write down the hexcodes of the colors you want featured and pass them along to your designer to play with.
R esearching these three elements before diving into design meetings will put you in a much better position to minimize your turnaround time for your launch. Avoid wasting time on distracting flashy imagery or minute details that won't increase in lead generation.
The following was a guest post by Sam Coren. Coren is a Project Manager at PullnotPush, a Boston inbound marketing agency . She uses her arsenal of design skills combined with web marketing to deliver copywriting, analytics analysis, landing page creation, and social media outreach to help clients get results. You can find her on Twitter @ S_Coren and also find her musings on the Pull Marketing Blog .
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