So you want to create a website, but you want to make sure it looks great. You don’t really have time to learn the ins and outs of coding and programming, and the learning curve of web design software makes your brain hurt.
Does that mean you’re out of luck? Not at all! The good news is that there are many different avenues for professional website design today. The important thing to keep in mind that what actually constitutes a professional web design goes beyond solid code or gorgeous graphics. Here are the steps to make sure that no matter what path you choose, your website will look great, attract visitors and make an amazing impression.
Be Clear About Your Website’s Goals
Why do you want a professional website? It may be that you never stopped to consider this, but having a goal in mind will help you plan your website and improve your focus on achieving that goal.
Do you want to sell products online? Showcase a gallery? Collaborate with others toward a common mission? Whatever your website goals are, keep them front-of-mind. This will make seeing your professional website design come to fruition an exciting journey, as well as a concrete destination
Browse Professional Website Designs for Inspiration
There are plenty of websites out there with unique, engaging and professional designs. The great thing about the web is that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Browse for inspiration and write down what you like about each design. Is it the fluidity of the design? The way different parts of the page draw the eye?
Whatever it is, don’t hesitate to save screenshots, print them out, write notes in the margins and basically create a “swipe file” of designs with parts you like and why you like them. They don’t even have to be in the same industry as you. Be inspired and get creative!
Let Users Know What You Can Do For Them
One of the biggest issues with many of today’s websites is that they’re centered too much on the company or person behind them. As great as you may be and as varied as all your accomplishments, users don’t really want to know about you. They want to know what you (or your company) can do for them.
This may require a radical shift in how your website content is written, but if you can tell or show them what they get by taking a certain action (i.e. “When you sign up now, you’ll get this free report that shows you…”) they’ll be much more likely to pay attention and act on your suggestion because they’re intrigued, they want a good deal, or whatever else the motivation may be.
Ensure Your Professional Website Design is Mobile Responsive
It used to be that you could put mobile optimization on the back burner because so few people browsed the web on their cell phones. Now, that number has grown exponentially to the point where more people are browsing on their smartphones and tablets than on their desktop computers.
Having a mobile responsive website design ensures that your website not only loads and looks great in mobile devices, but that it is, in essence, “future-proofed”. As phones become smaller and screens become larger, a responsive website ensures that the design shifts accordingly to remain accessible. It’s an investment in your professional website design that makes it easier to use for everyone, no matter what they’re browsing with.
Build for Today, Plan for Tomorrow
There are plenty of free and low-cost website builders out there that promise you fully-fledged website design in a matter of hours. These sites may “do the job”, but they don’t necessarily do the job well. The best way to determine how to undertake a professional website design is to “build for today, plan for tomorrow”.
If you foresee that you only need a small and limited set of features today and well into the future, these do-it-yourself website makers may fit the bill. If, however, you find them lacking and want more control, more features and more expression, it may be worth working with a design agency to see your vision come to life.
Not only can a reputable web design company help you achieve the professional website design you’re looking for, but they can also advise you in terms of hosting, domain name, SEO and related technologies and optimizations to help your website thrive.
Customer Experiences Matter
Finally, perhaps the most important thing you can keep in mind in order to achieve that stylish and professional website is that, at the end of the day, customer experiences matter. You want people to not only use your website but love it. Not just in terms of “wow, this design looks great”, but also “wow, that shopping experience was really easy!” or “wow, these guys have EVERYTHING related to (product)”.
The impression that visitors and customers come away with when interacting with your site is everything online, so you want to do everything you can to nurture and grow it — and a professional website design is just one of the steps you can take.
Now that you know the best steps to keep in mind, a professional website design doesn’t seem nearly as overwhelming or challenging. Get out there and get yours!