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Your Web Design Checklist For Small Businesses


Web Design Brainstorm

If you're a small business owner or entrepreneur who is looking to build a site, here is a web design checklist for small businesses that will guide you through some things you'll need to keep in mind as you begin:

  • Domain

  • Hosting

  • Templates Vs Web Designer

  • Hierarchy

  • Call To Action

  • Content

  • Colors

  • Web Developer

Domain & Hosting


For any website you'll need a domain and web hosting. I've heard domains described as the address for your site, just like the address for a house. And hosting is where the website lives, like the plot of land your house sits on. These are two necessities for your site.


When deciding what domain and hosting to choose - besides selecting a provider you can afford - here are a few other things to take into account:

  1. Your domain name should match your business and be as short as you can make it. If your business name is 'Funky Floral Decorations for Your Garden' consider making your domain 'funkyfloral.com' or 'funkyfloraldecor.org'. Shorter domains can be easier to remember.

  2. For hosting, there are many platforms: Godaddy, Siteground, Bluehost, Wix, Squarespace to name a few.

    • Platforms like Wix and Squarespace combine the hosting and the web builder into one. The web builder is the tool you use to actually build and design your website.

    • Godaddy, Siteground and other hosting sites like that, often use Wordpress. Wordpress can utilize several web builders that can be added as plug-ins.

Many sites are creating their own web builders, like Godaddy. These web builders can be pretty basic. Most of these hosting platforms also have access to templates for startups who need something quick or don't have money to hire a designer.


Templates Vs Web Designer


Personally, I don't like templates. I find them limiting, especially when the design solution you are looking for doesn't quite fit into the template's parameters. But that's me.


Templates are a good way to get a basic layout without having to spend hours coming up with something from scratch. Templates can be adjusted as well - updated with your colors, logo and images.


A web designer may or may not use a template (I don't), but working with a web designer allows for more freedom and versatility. You don't have to be boxed into a set of rules because a designer knows the principles of design, what makes a website look good and easy to navigate for visitors. They know how it works, so they don't need the helping hand a template provides. And they can add the personal touch of your branding.


 

Web Design

If you have built a website yourself, through using a template or doing it own your own, here are some other things you may want to pay attention to while designing:


Hierarchy


Hierarchy is how content relates to each other. It's one of the principles of design I always keep in mind. You don't want all the content to be the same. You want things that stand out over others so you can draw attention where it's needed most. Think of a newspaper article's layout. This can be accomplished by utilizing a variety of things like text size, width and color. Combining these variables create a visual story for your web page that helps your customers navigate with ease. That's very important in web design.


Call To Action


This works well with developing a nice hierarchy. A call to action should be prevalent on your homepage and typically in your header. It can be a good thing to have it at various places throughout the site, especially for startups. It promotes engagement from visitors. A call to action is a button that tells the site user what to do: Book A Call, Order My Book, etc


Content


Content! Your website needs content. You wouldn't want to go to a store with a nice large sign and beautiful exterior that's empty inside. Tell people about your business, your value, your goals, your products or services.


If you can't figure out what to say or how to say it, consider working with a copywriter. It's their job to flesh out content that is relative to your business and will help you rank in search engines so you can be found.


Branding

Colors


You'll need eye catching colors for your website. Colors shouldn't be too bright they hurt the eyes but also not too dull they people to sleep. You want your website to capture the attention of your audience. Colors can be key. If you don't know what colors to use, look at your logo or your overall brand identity. If you don't have either of those, consider working with a designer to help hone your look.


Web Development


There are good designers out there who can build a unique functioning site that looks great. But sometimes you may need something more robust. Depending on your business needs, if you need something beyond a template and/or elements from a web building platform, you may need to look into working with a developer who understands design. Web developers can build sites from scratch using code. They also can understand a lot of the backend issues that arise with maintaining a functioning site. In my opinion they are the creme de la creme of web design. They probably will be more expensive as well. However, some web designers are also verse in web development.


Conclusion


I hope you found this checklist of what to consider while thinking or beginning to tackle building a website helpful. The moral: understand what you need and what you can afford. If you're struggling in the dark on your own, consider working with a web designer to point you in the right direction.



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