Everything about your website including the structure, layout, content – even the way it looks and the way it works – is determined by the website design.
What is website design?
Website design is an all encompassing term but if you ask what it means to a sampling of business people, you’ll often get varying viewpoints.
- To the small business owner, it just means “I need a website. Can you build me one and how much will it cost?”
- To a website developer, it can mean simply the overall structure, layout and code.
- To a website content writer, it’s the copy design that attracts and engages visitors.
- To a digital marketer, it’s the user experience (UX) and flow design that converts visitors into customers.
If your business needs a website, it’s important to make the distinction between all of these approaches because each one is an integral part of website design. The problem is, it’s difficult to find all of these approaches in just one person or one agency. Many try to be all things to all people and fail at the majority of them.
Left brain, right brain…or a little of both?
Many website designers excel at “left brain,” analytical website development services (theme elements, CSS, structure) while others excel at “right brain,” creative website design services (copywriting, images, branding). Still others bring there customer experience expertise to the table with strategically placed calls to action, “frictionless” design, and funnel-like flow.
Having been a small business owner for many years myself, I’ve been through ALL of this journey more than a few times. Because I’m someone who wants control of my brand, in 2007 when I needed a website re-design, I decided to do it myself. I’d been using WordPress for a few years and took the time to learn web development.
This is how I learned what it’s like as a small business owner who needs a new website. I speak to so many business owners who are exhausted from their website decision process. So many choices…but so many horror stories, too!
My next obvious step a few years later was to take on website design as a part of my business here at Kruse Control. I came to digital marketing by way of content strategy and online reputation management. Combining web development, which I had taken the time to learn, and content, I knew I could deliver value to other business owners.
I believe content is the magnet that keeps website visitors engaged.
If you’re looking to get a new website or refresh your current site, it’s crucial to understand that website design must include content strategy.
Website design is like building a house.
- The “development” of a website is the foundation, framing and drywall.
- The “design” of a website is the content, which is the furniture and fixtures that make a house a home.
- Content turns your website into a home for your customers.
In our website design business, we include content strategy design and copywriting. We do this for a few reasons:
- I’ve been in the client’s chair. Twelve years ago, I needed my website refreshed and had a very tough time making developers understand the specific placement of copy to keep friction at a minimum and help the visitor understand how our products/services would improve their lives.
- Clients are generally not in a position to write their own content. They’re busy and their expertise is in their business. The years we’ve/I’ve spent studying UX and customer experience are a skill just like any other.
- Successful websites aren’t just attractive, they also need to convert visitors into customers. The right content attracts, engages and converts. The outcomes are not as successful when conversion optimization is left up to the inexperienced client or client employee.
Armed with these reasons to include content strategy, you’ll be better equipped when it comes time for your own new website.
Making the decision on a new website?
If you’re thinking about a new website, or, if it’s been five years or more, that you need a website re-design, take the steps to thoroughly vet your options.
Break things down by asking your narrowed-down-list of vendors these four questions :
- What is your approach to a website build? (should be “client-first” not just back end coding)
- Do you provide content strategy for my new website?
- Do you provide or offer support for the content that will fill up my new website (the “furniture and fixtures” for my “house”)?
- Do you provide guidance for how to keep visitors on my site? What would that look like?
Depending on their answers, ask yourself…
- “Do I really want a DIY solution?
- “Do I have the resources to fill in the gaps where the vendor is lacking?”
And speaking of DIY…
Be careful of “Website Builders”
I’ve talked many times about “Website Builders” such as Squarespace, Wix, and Godaddy. While these seem like less-expensive options, they do not supply content strategy or the content/copywriting. They leave all that up to you! You may or may not have or want to spend the resources to create the content yourself.
Professional expertise in UX (user experience) design, content, and “frictionless” flow are what you pay for with a more robust, self-hosted platform, such as WordPress. What you get is more visitors staying longer on your site, taking the actions you want them to take!
When the time comes for a more complete solution like WordPress, you won’t be able to migrate your website builder site. You’ll have to transfer everything manually.
Content is where the magic happens
Website design should always take a client-first approach.
Website design must include content strategy to attract and engage website visitors. You need a plan to guide people to do what you want them to do – buy, inquire, register or subscribe, make appointments, etc. – and an execution plan to make it happen.
Making a decision on a website solution is tough but hopefully I’ve supplied you with some good info to help you make your choice.
If you’d like advice or a consultation on content strategy – or if you’re considering a new website – please get in touch with me here.