A professional-looking design helps tell potential customers they are in the right place, helps them navigate through the site and feel confident in dealing with your business.
Visitors to your Web site are interested in discovering more about your business and making buying decisions. This is why design is an integral part of the process, but what if you work on a tight budget and can not afford a bespoke design?
Website Design Options
An effective website is a combination of branding, design and functionality. The branding element is the choice of colour and style, helping to build the overall image and feel of your site; this is important as it allows visitors to recognise your brand and feel confident that they are in the right place.
For there are two design options
- Template-based design
- Custom Design and build
Templates are not necessarily a bad idea, and nor are they cheating. A template can be used “off shelf” with very little modification or used as a framework and completely customised. It is not unusual for a smaller business to begin with a generic template when starting out and then move on to more customisation before transferring to a completely bespoke design.
Customising a templated design to match your branding can save a lot of time and money: this is the preferred approach for most small businesses.
Custom Design and Build
Once the budget allows for it, I would always advise a business to employ a graphic designer to create a bespoke design. However, although good graphic designers are not cheap, they are generally worth the investment.
The entire design process involves a graphic designer, usability experts and developers of different disciplines. The process is not quick and is obviously expensive. But well worth it for businesses that can afford it.
There is, however, an entirely reasonable intermediate step. Working with existing artwork, such as a logo, letterhead or shop signage, we can create a website design built on WordPress. A website for your business that is completely customised.
You will need to give some thought to your potential visitors and what they want to do on your website. Some sites are little more than online brochures, providing a brief overview of the products and services on offer. Other sites aim to offer more functionality, for example, online shopping, account management, order tracking etc.
Some design and functionality ideas to consider:
- Are your visitors likely to view your website on a mobile device or computer
- How will potential customers contact you
- Do you want to take and process orders online
- Will customers create an account and log in to check on the status of orders
- Do you want to host audio or video files
- Do you need an online chat facility
The beauty of using a modular system like WordPress is that you don’t have to create all the above in one go. It’s far more costs-effective to deploy each element as you need it.