How to design a high-quality website step by step?
It is said that you can’t run a business today without a website. There are many reasons. However, it’s not enough just a common project, you need tailor-made solutions. The best option may be a proprietary website tailored to your business – it’s better to expand your site in the future than to pay for unnecessary features from the beginning. What does the creative process look like? How to design the perfect website? In this article, you will learn a lot about creating websites.A good website should be tailored to the nature of the industry and business. What stages should a well-run project contain? For the more information
Brief – interview to learn about the client’s needs
Based on the brief you can learn the needs of the client and website users. No self-respecting advertising or web design agency omit this stage. A well constructed and reliably completed brief will be a helpful signpost when designing an online store or website. One should, first of all, consider the character of the brand, scope of activities, target audience, purpose, and image. The more details you put into the brief, the better the design will be.
Mock-up – the first-page layout design
UX (user experience) functional mockups are a draft of internet service. It is a concept of website operation, which assumes the arrangement of individual elements, including menu, search engine, login panel, sliders, logo, contact form, and content. A well-created mock-up will set the direction for the further work of the graphic designer and programmer.
Graphic design – creating target graphics for the needs of the project
Every website needs a graphic designer. Based on the brief and clickable functional mock-up, graphics can start work on the visual layer of a website or e-store. Modern trends focus on minimalism and uniqueness.
Website coding and graphics matching
When work on the visual layer of the site is over, it’s time to “bring graphics to life”. The choice of a programming language depends on the developer frontend, who can choose, among others HTML5, CSS3, and JS.
Domain and server selection
The domain is the unique name of the website on the internet , which consists of the name of the company and the extension that categorizes it – it can specify the country (e.g. .pl, .de or .us), region (e.g. .lubuskie.pl) or the purpose of the website ( e.g. .biz, .info, .edu or .gov).
The next choice is the server. The database and website files must be stored somewhere. It should be a place with a permanent connection to the power supply and the Internet. It is worth emphasizing that free servers should not be taken into account – they have limited space, lack of work continuity and a lot of advertising.
CMS implementation – installation of a content management system on the site
A website, especially the so-called “business card” can work without a CMS. However, is it worth giving up the content management system that will allow you to modify the content as you like? The more so that by implementing CMS you have many possibilities – from the free WordPress type to more expensive and proprietary solutions that guarantee self-sufficiency and can be easily adapted to your needs.
Tests – checking the functionality and correctness of the website
It is worth to properly test the website or e-store before launching because any errors on the site can effectively discourage users. Websites should be tested before being placed on a production server.
Original project or template page?
You can decide on an original design or a page on the template, each of these options has its pros and cons. The author’s website will be unique and fast and fully tailored to your needs. However, the price for its implementation is higher than for a page based on a ready template. In this case, the implementation of the author’s project requires more time. What to choose? The decision is not so obvious. A website based on a template is a faster and cheaper solution, but if you care about the best quality, which will proudly present the company’s assets – the choice will be your design.
The original design is an option for demanding customers, for whom quality and uniqueness matter. Only this solution will give the possibility to precisely match the functionality to the needs of the company. In this variant, the team of graphic designers and programmers has many possibilities, which is limited only by the imagination.
Advantages of the author’s project
- Creative freedom
- Adjustable to the company’s needs
- No need to modify templates
- Disadvantages of the original project
- Longer lead time
- Relatively more expensive price
- Page on the template
- The page on the template is made based on a ready-made design that can be purchased on special sites. The page is filled with content and adapted accordingly.
Website on the template
However, this is not a faultless option. These are not fully modifiable and in practice, you can often change basic things, such as colors, photos, or sizes of elements. For larger modifications, this solution misses the goal, because the price can match the performance of the author’s website or online store.
Advantages of the page on the template
- Fast delivery time
- Low price
- Disadvantages of the page on the template
- No more personalization options
- Inability to expand and add new functions
What is CMS (content management) and how important is it?
CMS is software that allows you to manage content on the page, including modifying, adding and deleting it. CMS systems can be divided into two general categories. These are proprietary and open source systems (free):
Proprietary CMS – is proprietary software often offered by larger agencies that implement them to the designed sites. The main advantage is safety, stability and usually excellent technical support. Proprietary software gives you full freedom and is also more tailored to customer needs. The disadvantage may be a higher price.
Open source – these are CMS systems made available to users free of charge. The most popular systems in this model are easy to use WordPress, Joomla and Are it always worth using proven solutions? The biggest advantage is the lack of payments, but this is the only advantage over proprietary solutions. Free CMSs are vulnerable, but the biggest disadvantage is that they are composed of modules created by people from all over the world, which often causes problems with updates.
Who is the website builder for?
Do you run a smaller local business such as a hairdresser or a beauty salon? You may not need to use the services of professional web designers. Website creators are targeted at these smallest companies, which allow them to design websites from ready-made elements. You don’t need to know programming languages. Such wizards have ready templates and elements that can be arranged and customized with a few mouse clicks.
Will website builders be a good solution for everyone?
- the wizard only allows you to create a simple business card page;
- most wizards do not allow you to optimize the page;
- the website created in the wizard has fewer opportunities for SEO activities;
- the wizard usually does not give access to the FTP server;
- most wizards do not provide the option to move the page;
- by using the wizard we can often be inspired by subscription fees.
What best practices should be used when designing websites?
There are several practices that you need to follow when designing websites. The website should be legible, secure, functional and made by current trends.
RWD (Responsive web design)
When designing a website, it’s worth taking care of RWD, i.e. the responsiveness of the website. Responsive websites ensure that the site will display properly on any device and adapt to the resolution of larger and smaller screens of mobile devices.
Security is an important aspect of every website and e-store. To increase them, an SSL certificate is used, which encrypts connections and thus protects data sent between the computer and the server. The implemented user sees the page as a green padlock next to the address and the prefix https: // instead of the former http: //.
The website should be designed and optimized for SEO. How to do it? Search engine crawlers consider about 210 factors when indexing and analyzing a page, including:
Load speed can be improved by getting rid of heavy graphics and unnecessary libraries.
UX – arranging elements on the page to provide the user with maximum convenience in using the website.
User flow – the number of users who visit the website.
Content that should be unique and properly structured using headings H1 to H6 that indicate the hierarchy of content.
Behavioral factors – site traffic from direct entries, time spent on the site, number of subpages visited per session, bounce rate.
The use of appropriate key phrases, which are properly selected in terms of the content of the site and their placement on the site will inform the robot and users about the most important content. It is mainly based on key phrases that an Internet user goes to a given website.