Design Tips for Creating Your First Website

Design Tips for Creating Your First Website

What this article is and isn’t

I wrote this article to help small business owners who might not have the budget to hire a designer but still want to publish their business page. This can also help someone who wants to make a website for their personal brand. 

There are many applications out there that help you create a website without any coding experience. Wix, Squarespace, and Shopify are among the most popular choices for people. The concepts I will be talking about can be implemented in any platform. I will not be comparing Wix, Squarespace or Shopify. One distinction I will note is that if you are building an E-commerce store, you should definitely consider using Shopify. Their platform is user friendly, and they have many things that can help you manage an online store.

Why it matters

Before we get into it, let’s talk about why the design for your website matters.

Design is crucial because it can be the difference between a happy customer and a frustrated one that leaves your page because they didn’t understand your website. You want to achieve the look and feel that best represents your business brand while also delivering a great experience for the user. Make sure your small business website has the following items.

The tips

The Hero is the first thing that someone sees on your website. It must tell the user who you are, what you do, and how you can bring value to them. Optimize this section to answer these questions:

  1. What do you do?
  2. How can you help the user?
  3. How can the user get what you’re selling?

Value can come in many different forms. It can be a service, product, entertainment, or information — pretty much anything that the user is willing to give their attention to. This will depend on what your objective is with the website. You also want to make sure that you answer these in a simple way. People do not want to feel lost in your website. My advice is to keep it clean and simple. Usually, I recommend going with a large font header, a small font sub-header that tells more, and main button(s).

On every section of your page, you should have a Call To Action (CTA). With a CTA you are telling the user what you want them to do with the information in a given section. For example, if you have a section showcasing your shoes for sale, you would have the picture of the shoe, and a section describing it or selling it, then the CTA would be: “Buy now”. The CTA may be a button, a link, or a form depending on what you want the user to do. Sometimes, you can get away with having more than one CTA’s per section. As long as you are sure that they are relevant to the content shown in that section but I usually recommend keeping it to one or two.

Having a mobile design in today’s day in age is a must-have.. According to Statista, the number of users browsing the internet on their phone is now around 50%. That means that if you don’t have a mobile friendly design of your website, you could be missing out on 50% of potential customers. Of course there are a number of things that you should account for when going mobile, but one main thing to avoid is screen crowding. Keep it simple and easy to use and maneuver.

Make sure you have a Simple Navigation at the top of your page. Most tools like Wix, Squarespace, and Shopify will help you with this. You just want to make sure that the link titles are not ambiguous.

Wherever possible apply these general design tips:

  • Grab the user’s attention with an image or graphic
  • Give them a short, but descriptive, header to pull them in
  • Have a sub-header with information for them to learn more
  • Follow with a Call To Action

Final thoughts

These are just a few tips for getting started and making sure you've got your bases covered when it comes to designing your first website. Remember to have fun with your design.

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