It’s among the most important aspects of setting up a new business, but with so many things to think about before launch day, web design is something that many start-ups don’t put enough thought into right at the beginning.
Start out with something beautiful and you’ll give yourself the best chance of your new venture gathering pace from the outset. Start out with something clunky and, well, we hope you have a plan B.
Today we’re looking at some of the things it’s worth devoting your attention to as your website plans begin to take shape.
Proper planning prevents poor performance
We’d argue that the success of any web design project hinges on the amount of planning you do at the start. Before you can move forward, you need to have a clear idea of every element of what you want your new site to be like. That includes, but is not limited to:
The overarching values and messaging you want your site to communicate
The routes and actions you want users to take
The site structure
How products and product information are managed
How enquiries and subsequent user data are handled
The types of content that will be included on the site
Your website needs to provide an engaging experience to keep users returning and attract conversions, so it’s well worth putting user experience at the heart of everything you think about during your planning phase. For example, here at Intuitiv, our user experience architect uses wireframes to create lo-fi, skeletal views of potential website pages. This ensures the user journey is as clear and engaging as possible from the outset.
You’re probably bursting with ideas for your new site, and the temptation is to run before you can walk. We’d encourage an agile approach: nail your MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and then build incrementally once you have further insights into what’s working and what’s not. That way, you won’t burn up too much budget too soon.
On the subject of budgets, watch any housebuilding TV show and you’ll rarely see projects coming in on budget - don’t accept this with your website build! In over 20 years of helping start-ups of all sizes, we’ve very rarely had to go back to a client during a project and ask for more budget to complete what was originally agreed. Quite a claim, but true. Proper planning, clear requirements and realistic expectations are crucial to staying within budget.
GDPR – data security by design
The General Data Protection Regulation came into effect on the 25th May, 2018. The main purpose of GDPR is to give EU residents more control over their personal data, irrespective of where the personal data is collected or processed. Essentially, this means that information cannot be collected and processed unless consent has been obtained. For example, your site might collect personal data via contact forms, newsletters, and cookies. Clear consent must be gained in these cases and data stored correctly to be GDPR compliant.
As data owners, you’ll need to consider privacy as the default setting. You’ll need to consider data protection compliance from the start, and embed this approach into the application (website) design process. Hence the industry phrase, ‘security by design’.
Again, if in doubt, just ask!
Content is king
It’s a cliche, but it’s true: content is indeed king. Your website needs clear information and messaging, backed up by great quality imagery.
But let’s take it a step further: relevant content is king.
Relevant content is a must because:
Google uses it as a factor when ranking your site on its search results pages
It will engage your users more, which could lead to more sales and return visits.
You’ll also need a Content Management System (CMS). This will enable you to easily update website content yourself, instead of paying for an agency to make the updates for you. Again, Google favours sites with news and blog pages that are regularly maintained, which in turn will help drive traffic to your site instead of your competitors. At Intuitiv Digital, our CMS of choice is Umbraco - here’s why.
Clear navigation is a must too; there’s no point having loads of splendid relevant content if users can’t find their way to it. And, of course, it’s vital that your site is truly responsive, so that it works elegantly on all screen sizes and devices.
Test, test and test again
We’re sure you don’t need us to tell you this, but thorough testing is essential before you hit that ‘publish’ button. It’s hard to win back users after they experience a bug, particularly when you’re a start-up and therefore already an unknown entity. Making sure your site runs smoothly helps build trust and credibility.
Finally, cash can be tight when you’re a start-up, but with your website so critical to your business, it pays to get it right from the outset. Hiring a web design agency means you’ll get the best quality design and build for your budget, with experts to hold your hand along the way.
Here at Intuitiv, we can even help with your branding if it’s not something you’ve thought about yet.