Written by Anath Abenzour, UI Designer Lead, Duda
So, you want to build a great website? Of course you do. I mean, if you’ve already made the decision to build a website, then of course you want to make it a great one. One that tells your company’s story, stands out from the rest, loads quickly, makes sense, and converts site visitors into customers.
To help you achieve all this (and more) here are some best practices that will help you get started on the right foot and guide you on your way.
1. Research your audience
Before you start designing your website, do some basic market research about your business area and target audience. Look for answers to questions like:
- What type of information does your audience expect to find on your website?
- What kind of voice, tone and language will they feel most comfortable with?
- What can you say that will make your business stand out from the rest?
2. Look for inspiration
You don’t live in a bubble, and neither does your website. Surf the web to see what’s trendy and timely, what sites look good to you, what sites make sense. Pay attention to what your competitors are doing and take a look at UI and UX.
- UI is User Interface; it’s the visual design of the website, what visitors see, how things look and are arranged on the page.
- UX is people’s experience on the website, how things flow, whether the movement from one step to the next makes sense.
3. Map your website
When you go on a road trip, you probably map out your route in advance. Do the same for your website. Plan the route your site visitors will take. You can do this with design software or old-fashioned pen and paper.
- Where will visitors start?
- Where will they go from there?
- Will the path lead to new pages or will everything be on the same page?
- What will be in the navigation (at the top of the site) that helps them make their way along the site?
4. Sketch out the design
Once you’ve mapped the site, you can start designing it. You can use any type of design software to do this: Sketch, Adobe (Photoshop, Illustrator, XD), Figma, etc. If you’re not familiar with design tools, software such as Paint can work, too.
As you design your site, don’t forget to include elements that relate to your company and your brand. These include:
- Your company logo. If you don’t have one, hire someone to design one or use an online platform.
- Fonts. Choose fonts that are readable and don’t use too many of them. No more than two is enough.
- Colors. Choose colors that relate to your brand and logo. Make sure there is enough contrast so that your logo is easy to see.
- Images. It’s true today more than ever: an image is worth 1000 words. Just make sure to use high-quality images.
- Icons. These are great for conveying information without making people read. Just make sure you use high-quality icons and ones that are consistent with each other and with the site.
5. Add content wisely
Content is the words and images that you add to the site, the material that fills the layout. Make sure your visual content - images, videos and more - are relevant and of high quality. As for the words you use to tell your message - make sure they are easy to read, clear and correct. Stick to your main message and to use simple language that your audience will understand. Don’t. Write. Too. Much.
6. Make sure your homepage is stunning
Your homepage is crucial. It is the first element visitors see on your site, and you have just a few seconds to attract their attention, convey your message, and convince them to stay on your page. Make sure the homepage is consistent with the entire website design, both in terms of the design and the content.
Make sure your homepage includes:
- A high quality image (that represents the business)
- A short tagline
- A CTA
7. Keep everything professional
Check for typos and grammatical errors. Ask someone you know and trust to read everything: a colleague, a family member, a good friend. Check that all the links and anchors work. Don’t let your website go live without double-checking everything.
8. Check on mobile and adjust
You’ll probably design and build your site using a desktop computer, but many (if not most!) people will view your site on their mobile device. So, make sure everything looks great on mobile and tablet too. You’ll probably need to make some adjustments, changing layout and font size, but it’s worth it.