Your website is the most important presentation letter for your business. When a user performs an online search looking for your products or services, their first encounter will be your website.
If you still don’t have a website for your business, consider investing in one. Studies show that 75% of consumers judge a company’s credibility based on the company’s website design.
It gives potential customers crucial first impressions, reflects on your branding, and helps visitors understand what to expect from your product or service.
Additionally, by appealing to your target audience with an attractive web design, you’ll increase your chances of turning visitors into customers. Creating the perfect website might sound overwhelming, and you may not know where to start. That’s why we have created the ultimate website design checklist to help you make the process easier.
The key to any web design process is user experience. It doesn’t matter how attractive or engaging you might think your website is. Sacrificing a website’s functionality for a beautiful design is not worth it. You need to help users find what they want when browsing your site to accomplish your main objective.
Below are some things you should include in your web design checklist to ensure you are maximizing your results.
Define your website goals
When defining your website’s goals, it is essential to consider what you hope to accomplish with the website and how it will help you reach your desired outcome. For example, do you want your website to help you generate more clients? Or would you want it to be for more informative purposes?
Create an accurate web design based on the objectives that match your business’s goals.
Before creating your website, it is a good and recommended best practice to look at what your top competitors are doing. Check what site structure they are using and determine if it’s something you would like to implement for your own. However, ensure that the competitors you analyze pursue the same objectives as you. Web designs will vary depending on each business’s goals.
You can start by typing a keyword related to your products or services on Google and see what websites come up. The first results are the ones that perform the best and the ones that you are interested in analyzing.
Select a Website Domain and Register it
If you are creating a website from scratch, you first want to select an easy-to-remember domain name for your site. You want to choose a domain name that reflects your company’s name and that users can think of when a specific need arises. Avoid using numbers, signs, or anything that makes it hard to remember. Ideally, your domain should look like www.companyname.com. It’s straight to the point and reflects your brand’s name.
Once you’ve decided on one, register it to avoid any other website using your business’s name. You should also research before choosing a name to ensure the domain isn’t taken.
Next, you should select a reliable web hosting service. Web hosting is a server where your website will be allocated. Choosing the right hosting is of crucial importance as this will have a direct impact on your website’s security, speed, and SEO performance.
Research and look at some of the top hosting providers used by different companies. Some of them you could consider using are:
Download our free Website Design Checklist!
Security plays a vital role in any website’s performance. SSL certificates are data files that ensure your website’s connection to users is encrypted and secure. An SSL certificate protects your website from being a victim of cybersecurity attacks. Additionally, having a secure website transmits credibility and confidence to users when visiting it. It’s been proven that safe websites experience an increase in their traffic as opposed to unsecured sites, which makes total sense.
Would you visit a website that looks spammy, compromises your personal information, and can result in malware, cyberattacks, or security breaches? Probably not. It is an SEO and web design best practice to ensure your site is secure.
You can identify whether a site is safe by looking at the URL. Unsecured website URLs look something like this: http://mycompany.com. On the other hand, secured websites have a URL like this: https://mycompany.com.
Improve Loading Speed
No matter how attractive and engaging your web design might look, if it does not load fast, you won’t be achieving anything. Loading speed is essential in any web design and a search engine optimization best practice. Ideally, your site should load in no more than 3 seconds, or users will leave before even looking at the content.
Besides, loading speed is a direct ranking factor, according to Google. Work on optimizing your site’s code, elements, and content so users can access it as quickly as possible. You can check your website’s overall speed performance with Google’s Page Speed Insights tool.
Develop an Internal Linking Strategy
Internal links help build a structure around your site. For Google to index your pages, they must be found. You can do this by strategically interlinking all of your pages in a way that makes sense. This will also help users in their investigation/buying journey as you will redirect them to pages with relevant information for them to make a decision.
Additionally, internal links help you pass any SEO juice across your important pages while assisting Google in figuring out your site’s architecture. Make sure you design your website with an internal linking plan in mind.
Add external Links
External links help your business build credibility and relevance. You should also redirect users to external pages that contain relevant information. These links signal to Google that your business is a trustworthy source, which can help you improve your SEO performance.
Think of it as writing an essay. To sound credible, you must cite sources that back up your content. The same way works for your website. To increase your website’s authority, include external links strategically across your web pages.
Now that we’ve discussed some technical stuff to consider when designing your site let’s jump into some aesthetics and architecture.
Design a friendly navigation system
When creating your website, make sure it is easy to browse through the different pages. Ideally, you should create a menu with the most important pages on your site. If users can’t easily find the pages they are looking for, they’ll leave your website before you can even imagine. Your menu should ideally include the following:
- Main Service/Products Pages
- Contact Us Page
- Blog Forum
- About Us Page
Also, ensure your menu is visible on your site for users to find. Never sacrifice usability with design.
Define your Brand Identity
Your website should reflect your brand identity and personality. Make sure you include your company logo, colors, and fonts. Stick with a format across your pages and twist them with diverse visual elements.
However, keep your website’s format manageable. You want to make your website engaging and visually appealing but not overwhelming. Less is more. A simple but attractive layout will perform better than one overloaded with too many colors and exaggerated fonts.
Create a Sitemap
A sitemap is a list of all your website’s URLs. Sitemaps help search engines discover all of your website’s pages, making them more easily discoverable and allowing Google to display them on search results.
A dynamic XML sitemap will help you list all pages automatically once you publish them. These sitemaps are usually included with content management systems like WordPress. They make your job easier as you don’t have to update them manually.
Make your Website Mobile Friendly
60% of all internet searches are performed directly from mobile devices. Your website should be optimized to fit into different devices screens, such as smartphones and tablets. Ensure your images, headings, and visual elements are mobile-friendly.
A bad mobile experience can harm your SEO performance as users will leave your website as soon as they notice the poor experience on their phones. Work with your development team to ensure you offer the best mobile experience possible.
Each of your website pages should have a clearly defined purpose. A call to action (CTA) is what you wish users to perform at the end of your page. For example, you can create a service page selling one of your products or services with a call to action to get a free marketing plan. Some CTAs you could use are:
- Buy now
- Contact Us
- Sign Up
- Learn more
- Download now
The CTA you choose will vary depending on the purpose of each of your pages. Decide which one adapts better to your current objectives.
Create relevant and engaging content
Creating relevant and engaging content is perhaps the most important strategy for creating the perfect website. Helpful content will complement an attractive website design. Not only will you be offering a pleasurable experience when visiting your site, but you will also provide valuable content to users that make them return for more.
You can create blog posts, service pages, FAQ forums, explanatory videos, infographics, and any other piece of content that provides value.
Optimize On-Page Elements
When designing your website, ensure your on-page elements follow SEO best practices. On-page elements are relevant factors that Google considers when deciding which websites to rank. Some of these elements include:
- Title Tags
- Meta descriptions
- Alt texts
Ensure you include relevant keywords strategically across your on-page elements to increase the chances of ranking for those keywords. With this tip, you will create website designs that improve SEO performance.
Include and Optimize Visual Elements
Including visual elements on a website is an invaluable way to help users understand the information being presented. You can present content in a more digestible way. Ensure you compress and resize your images. It will help your page load faster and offer a better experience for users.
Also, if you plan to include videos, include embedded links in your pa to help load them faster. Visual elements will help make your page design more attractive and help users understand the content on the page easily.
Avoid duplicate content
As part of your web design process, you want to guarantee that each page contains original content. You want to avoid duplicate content as it harms your website’s performance. Duplicate content can lead to penalties and lower search engine rankings. Make sure to write unique meta descriptions, title tags, H1s, page copy, and URLs.
People feel attracted to things that are unique and creative. If they see the same thing repeatedly, they may lose interest. It’s essential to create fresh and original content people want to read.
Watch out for Keyword Cannibalization
Keyword cannibalization is a common mistake that can hurt your website’s rankings. It occurs when multiple pages of the same website use the same keyword or phrase, which can lead to confusion for search engines.
Google then doesn’t differentiate each page and doesn’t know which one to rank higher, which can result in ranking for a page that wasn’t that important to you. It becomes a never-ending competition between each page to see which ranks higher.
To avoid this issue when designing your website, make sure you target different keywords on each of your pages. Try building topic clustering to target a specific topic in different ways. For example, you can have a general page for insurance products and create pages that target the various insurances you offer. Such as home insurance, car insurance, business insurance, and so on.
Add relevant SEO plugins
Adding relevant plugins to your site will provide extra features to make the most out of your SEO efforts. However, installing too many plugins might slow your website’s loading speed. Consider adding just the ones that provide the most value to your site. Some plugins you could consider installing are:
These plugins contain valuable and relevant features to ensure your website’s SEO performs at its top. If websites were designed with SEO in mind, many business owners wouldn’t struggle that much in positioning their businesses in the minds of online consumers.
Add Google Analytics Tracking Codes
The Google Analytics Software will allow you to track important information from your website, such as traffic sources, user behavior, conversions, and more. Make sure you insert tracking codes in the most relevant pages of your website to ensure maximum results. In this way, you can identify areas of opportunity and redesign your website to ensure that it focuses on the user experience above anything else.
Creating a website design checklist is essential to any web development or design project. It ensures that all necessary elements are included and that the final result meets all standards to ensure maximum performance.
By following the guidelines outlined in this blog, you can ensure that your website design process is efficient and successful. Remember that every website is different and will require a different approach. Most importantly, never sacrifice usability for design.
Designing an optimized website requires time, attention to detail, and the right tools. Are you still not confident about taking this challenge on your own? Don’t worry, RealTop is here to help! Our web designers will help you create a top-performing website optimized to drive results on search engine results pages. Get a free marketing plan today!