The wonderful world of website design shouldn’t be a magical mystery tour. Magical maybe, but not a mystery. In this article, we’re going to be exploring the many ingredients that make up a successful website design potion. We’re going to be looking under the hood of the process and discovering exactly what makes a great website design work. But first, let’s back up a bit and briefly look at how the internet, the conduit for all websites, was started.
Basically, Google is a young upstart. A child savant standing on the shoulders of giants. Incredibly, Google was founded just over two decades ago (take a moment to let that sink in) on September 4th 1998. But before Google, even before Windows, back in the early sixties, there were groups of earnest scientists huddled in dusty computer labs at MIT, Stanford and UCLA. They probably didn’t know it, but they were starting a communications revolution.
With funding from the US Department of Defence, these scientist and engineers were beginning to develop the fundamentals of the ‘information superhighway’. The results were disparate to start. Consequently, different protocols began to emerge. Recognising the issue, the first regulatory body was launched called the Internet Architecture Board (IAB). Furthermore, the IAB formed task forces to tackle problems relating to compatibility.
Early forms of basic internet were around in the late ’60’s and ’70’s. These rudimentary internet systems were mainly being used by academia and the military. But it took the deliberate development of a culture of information sharing that really made things change, and fast.
After 3 decades of development, along comes our hero, Tim Berners-Lee. He bought it all together and, in 1991, uploaded the first web page to pretty much the same internet that we use today. This is what the first page looked like. As a result, Sir Tim was awarded the “Nobel Prize of Computing” the ACM A.M. Turing Prize for inventing the World Wide Web, the first web browser, and the fundamental protocols and algorithms allowing the Web to scale. More about Tim here.
Much more about the history of the internet can be found here.
Clearly, we’ve witnessed exponential growth in processing power, internet speeds and the number of internet users since the old days. In addition, we’ve seen an incredible increase in internet commerce. In fact, the figures are staggering. Here are just a few figures to contemplate:
Obviously, the internet is a treasure trove of mind-blowing statistics. You can read more here.
Simply put, it means two things. Firstly, you’ve got a whole lot of competition and secondly, that’s a whole lot of possibilities. And so, here we are, back at the wonderful world of Website Design. With today’s internet, you’ll be competing with dozens, hundreds or maybe thousands of companies depending on your target area. Furthermore, many of these competitors will have an appealing website. A website that’s visually attractive, its design is easy to navigate, its design reflects the product and the kind of visitor it wants, and it informs. It informs in a way that motivates contact or a direct sale.
Website design encompasses a lot of skills and many elements. These include the following:
There’s an abundance of website design companies out there so how do you choose the right one? Obviously, a new website is your chance to market your business, make a good impression and drive sales. Therefore, it makes sense to spend time researching the right website partner for you. We suggest you gather a shortlist and then follow these simple steps below.
It’s easy to check out the quality and style of each company from their portfolios online. Ask yourself, is their work interesting and are the clients of good quality? Be careful because if they only have a few samples then they may be inexperienced. In short, don’t be afraid to ask for references.
Clearly, it’s a good idea to have a website budget but just remember; if this website works as it should, it’ll be worth a lot to your business. Pricing can be a minefield. Firstly, you may not know all the jargon and you can be easily confused. Secondly, websites are complex and there are lots of elements involved. Therefore, make sure your contact is clear about everything and make them explain the techy terms because transparency is key.
During your initial meeting make sure the company are engaged with you. In other words, are they asking good questions and making suggestions that will bring your brand to life?
Make sure that if you commission the company to design your website that you’ll have a contact that you get on with. This would preferably be the actual designer working on your site. Beyond that, if the designer isn’t available, who would deal with your issue or query?
Website design companies that use design templates are cheating. You should expect your design to be unique. Ask the question, if they say templates then walk away.
You’ll want to avoid having to pay the design agency every time you want to add a blog or change some of the text on your own site. Currently, WordPress is the most popular CMS (Content Management System). Importantly, this allows you to make changes very easily.
A great website design is only part of your effective digital presence. Ask about a Digital Marketing Plan (it can include a new website) to really boost your business returns online.
So, there we have it, a brief look at the wonderful world of website design. You should now have a better idea of what’s involved, what to expect and how to choose your ideal website design partner.