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Web Design \ JUL 12th 2016

The Secret Sauce for Making Great Websites

With summer in full swing, it’s time to bust out your BBQ sauce, dust off the old grill and get your website cookin’. What’s the secret to serving up a fabulous website? It’s all about the best ingredients. Start with a great template (or start from scratch), measure out equal parts content, functionality and design, sprinkle with your brand’s own unique voice and we guarantee your website will be smokin’ hot.

The following award-winning recipe, straight from the Wix test kitchen, includes 15 steps to take your website from satisfying to scrumptious.

The Secret Sauce for Making Great Websites

The Prep Work

Know Thyself.

Start with a clear understanding of what your website should offer, by answering the following questions: Who am I? What am I offering? What do I want people to do on my website?

These answers will build the foundation of your site in the form of these key pages – your homepage, about page and products or services page(s).

Know Thy Audience.

Knowing who you’re speaking to will inform not only what you say, but how you say it. Ask yourself questions like: Who are my site visitors? What brought them to my website? What did they come here to find or learn? How did they arrive at my site?

The answers to these questions will help you decide how to arrange your content by influencing what should appear on your homepage, what your primary Call to Action should be, and what your voice sounds like (that is, the virtual voice of your brand).

The Prep Work

The Main Ingredients

Content

Now that your prep work is complete, get your skillet sizzling with your first main ingredient: Content.

Maybe you’ve heard it 100 times, but the old(ish) adage still rings true. Content is king. Before you decide what you want your website to look like or how it should work, you need to know what you want to say.

How to cook up brilliant content:

  • Provide engaging, useful information that is fresh & original. Not only will it keep your site visitors interested, but will improve your SEO.
  • Use precise language, free of spelling and grammatical mistakes.
  • Send a consistent message through strong branding. Your logo, slogan, philosophy, along with visual design elements like colors and fonts, should be visibly unified throughout your website (and all aspects of your business!).
  • Write compelling calls to action. CTAs are the short, direct messages, usually in the form of clickable buttons, that implore the visitor to take action. Keep ‘em clear and evocative and give your users a reason to click.
  • Put contact information up front where it’s easy to locate.

The Main Ingredients

Functionality

Give your users an easy way to eat up all that delicious content with a smooth functioning, user-friendly site. Your site should be easy to understand, intuitive to navigate, and free of excess noise and distractions. Before delving in too deep, do a sketch of your entire site. Decide what pages you need, in what order they should appear and how you want your visitor’s journey on your site to flow.

What ingredients go into a user-friendly site?

  • A menu that is easy to find, has clear and simple page titles and a visible hierarchy. Know what the most important information on your site is, and organize your menu using broader headings as the main parent page and branching down into specific sub-pages.
  • Internal links that help the user move seamlessly around your site. A good practice is to link your logo to your homepage so that if your user ever gets lost, they know where to click to return home. Anchor links are a great way to let the user jump to specific areas on a page, especially if your page is long and requires lots of scrolling.
  • A smart footer that contains links to all the pages on your site so at any time, a user can jump to exactly what they’re looking for. Also include your contact info, social links and any legal bits (Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, etc) that are important for your business. For a great example just look down and check out the footer at the bottom of this page.
  • External links that lead your visitor to relevant information outside of your site. Frequently check that those links work and the pages still exist.
  • Mobile compatibility so your site provides a great experience on smartphones and tablets. Keep in mind that mobile users are looking for key information fast, so adjust your layout by reducing purely aesthetic design elements and putting contact info and their CTAs along with super relevant information up front.

Wix templates come pre-seasoned so it’s all built right in there for you.

Design

It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for. You’ve done amazing prep work on your content and established the foundation for a fluid functioning site. Now you get to ask, what does it look like?

What’s the recipe for a DAZZLING DESIGN?

  • Know current web design trends and what’s in style. The reigning trend is flat design which relies on a minimalistic approach using strong colors and geometric shapes.
  • Create a clean layout. Work within the concept of a grid and make sure all pages on your site are a variation of a single layout. Or create a killer 1-pager by using a long scrolling page layout broken up by strips that create sections and adding anchors for easy navigation. Your user experience will be streamlined and your website will look totally current.
  • Choose a high-contrast color palette for a bold, eye catching effect. Conversely, softer pastels (especially blush and lavender) are a current trend that look gorgeous. Just check-out Instagram’s new icon for a trendy example.
  • Select stylish but readable fonts. Never mix more than 2-3 fonts. A good rule of thumb is to choose 1 or 2 serif or sans serif types for headlines and running text, and 1 accent font that can be more fun or stylized for eye catching places.
  • Showcase professional images that are crisp, high resolution but sized optimally for speedy site loading time. Put your most captivating images on the homepage to wow new visitors right from the get-go. Along with images, well crafted videos will captivate your users and convey meaningful content like nothing else can.

Are you ready to put these principles into action? Get your website online and smokin’ hot today!


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