You have decided to set up a business website. How do you start sourcing design ideas for your website?
1. Look at other website designs for inspiration
Many people start by looking at the design of their competitors’ websites but I wouldn’t recommend this as a starting point. The last thing you want to do is end up copying them and looking and sounding the same.
Start by surfing the web and look at websites in general. Don’t limit yourself to sites for businesses in your industry. Try to look beyond content and colour schemes and take note of things like the way menus are positioned and set out, and the layout of the logo, images and main content areas on the page. Note down any aspects that you like and the names of sites that you like.
If you want to get ideas from your industry try Googling practices in different cities or even overseas. For example, if you run an upmarket boutique in Sydney you could look for inspiration from the websites of similar businesses in like suburbs in Melbourne or Perth.
2. Look at your web designer’s portfolio
Note down any aspects of the portfolio websites that you particularly like or dislike. Ours can be viewed here.
3. Look to your existing branding
Consider the existing branding of your business. It is important to keep a similar look and feel between your business, existing marketing materials, and the website. Your existing logo and colour scheme will provide a good starting point.
4. Consider functionality and content
The prettiest design is not always the most functional. If people can’t find what they are looking for they will leave. In general, navigation should be obvious and easy to use and you shouldn’t have to scroll too much too view content (which is a rule I consciously break on this site’s home page… you can choose style over function if you think it’s worth it!).
As a designer I will always ask clients to let me know what information needs to feature most prominently on the site (i.e. in places where they will easily be seen or accessed). Examples might include business phone number, address, Google map, booking buttons, ordering buttons, opening hours, or current promotions. Some items just need to be prominent on one page such as the home page; others might be better to feature on every page. To avoid confusion it is usually a good idea to keep the page design fairly consistent throughout the site as well.
Also consider the images that you will use on the website, and whether you have or can source images that suit the designs that you like. Your designer can provide you with further guidance on this.
5. Don’t choose a design just because you like it
It is important to style your website in a way that suits your industry and clientele. Your personal tastes will not necessarily be right for your business.
For further advice on all things web design contact us here.