You’ve undoubtedly been at this for a while as a professional web designer and have learnt all there is to know about what makes a good website. Your first site was likely built years ago (or not long before mobile exploded). You feel like you’re an old pro now: your sites are clean, stylish, and load quickly. You can code in HTML and CSS like a ninja, you know the latest web design trends, and your last website got 300% more traffic than it had in its previous incarnation. So what’s left for you to learn?
Quite a bit. Don’t worry; we won’t be spouting off about responsive images or SVG just yet. We’re going to familiarize you with some of the less obvious things that we see every day and feel like we should address for all designers and business owners. These tips can help you get closer to making your next project a success, no matter who it is for.
1: Designing for mobile isn’t enough
We’ve been told for years now that we need to design for mobile. Almost everyone has heard the stories about the number of people who access the internet via smartphones and tablets. Still, few understand just how important it is to think about this tiny screen size when creating a new site.
The thing is, it isn’t enough to simply resize your page or figure out where you want your call to action buttons to go. You need a site that is completely designed with a mobile experience in mind. That’s why we urge every client to hire us for the entire design process instead of attaching themselves to someone who focuses on putting their content on a new website and calling it a day.
Ideally, you’d want information hierarchy, legible text, and call to action buttons that are large enough for you to tap or click on. It would be nice if the image quality of your site displayed crisply on a retina display, but let’s face it. Unless you’re selling something specific that requires huge images, this will not happen very often. We’ve been conditioned to think that a site needs to look great no matter what platform it’s being viewed from, and this simply isn’t the case anymore.
2: It’s not just for you
Your website might have been built with a wonderful design in mind, but did you ever stop and consider how your potential customers would find it? How about if someone is trying to search for you using Google and doesn’t know exactly how to spell your name? Or perhaps you created a blog and wrote about something related to your business, but it just didn’t get noticed.
Search engine optimization (SEO) can be the answer to all these problems. Even if potential customers are having difficulty finding you, you can situate yourself at the front of their minds by using keywords and phrases they might search for. In many cases, it’s better to be found on page two rather than not being found at all. We truly believe that a smart business will always invest some of its time and money into this area because it is so important.
3: Your website wasn’t built in a bubble
As web designers, we work with all kinds of businesses that do cool things. Whether you’re trying to sell clothing or coffee, it’s important to remember that what customers want may change on any given day based on the news, their moods, and who knows what else. If you have a news feed on your website, use it! If you’ve created an array of products or services that are all relevant to different clients, that’s even better.
The point is that firms with a genuine product will generally do well when they are in touch with their clients. Frequently these days, people want more than just a static site that offers nothing more than what they’re used to. People like feeling like they are part of something bigger when they visit your website, or at the very least feel that there is some real insight into the company and its people.
We’ve seen it repeatedly happen: businesses start with great websites and solid content, but as time wears on, they appear to lose interest in keeping things fresh and engaging. In these cases, it’s usually because the original web designer wasn’t involved in the company anymore or simply didn’t have enough time to keep up with their updates.
What we’re trying to say is that you should always be a part of your website, even if you hire someone else to build it. Whether it’s keeping up with our company blog, Facebook page, Twitter account, or anything else related to your website, it should be something that you care about and are willing to invest time into.