Adaptive versus responsive
Two of the most common elements used in website creation are adaptive and responsive web design. In responsive design, content can move freely about the page regardless of screen size, while adaptive aspects are fixed in a layout that best suits the browser window it is viewed on. To make sure your company gains – and keeps – customers, website layouts should be consistent between mobiles, computers, and tablets, whatever you choose.
The pros of adaptive design mean easy compatibility across devices, allowing both a desktop and mobile user experience. Graphic designers also find that creating custom, bespoke designs is easier to integrate without code, boasting a ‘what you see is what you get’ effect.
Responsive web design is typically seen as the sturdier option, thanks to its more rigid build. Your website will look cohesive no matter what it’s viewed on, with the help of a custom website design on top of flexible grid layouts.
Choosing the right interactive design for your website and its needs is one of the biggest things to consider when weighing up your options, especially since 93% of users leave a website because it doesn’t display properly on their device.
User interface design
One of the most common terms within website design is User Interface (or UI Design). This is what designers use to build interfaces in software or on computerised devices, focusing on the visual style of the page and how it plays on emotion. Designers aim to create interfaces or communication designs that customers find easy to use and enjoyable, because visiting your website should always be a positive experience. UI design also refers to other aspects of interfaces, such as voice-controlled technology.
User Interface Design is all about making the overall customer journey frustration-free and satisfying while ensuring your brand values are being communicated in a clear way. This design understands that audiences quickly judge what they see and makes sure those precious seconds count, with beauty and function being the main user focus.
User experience design
User Experience Design (or UX Design) is defined as any interaction a customer makes with a product or service. The User Experience takes stock of each and every design element involved in how a browser might spend time on a website, considering how it makes the user feel and how easy it is to navigate.
UX design is quite methodical, integrating strategies, market research, strategy, product development and design to build user experiences for products, services, and processes. Its main goal is to put the customer into focus when doing anything regarding a product, understanding what aspects might help or hinder their experience. Good user experience uncovers problems that people may have when interacting with a website and understands how to fix it, streamlining the process and increasing customer retention, which is always good for business.
Search engine optimisation
Search Engine Optimisation (or SEO) is the method where content or structure on a website is adjusted so it will be displayed at the forefront of a search engine. Its usage and popularity make sense, considering 93% of online experiences begin with the help of Google, Bing, Yahoo, and more.
Rather than paying advertising to rank highly on these engines, SEO means looking at your website content and understanding how to ‘flip’ or create content that will get those results naturally. Search engines follow certain rules to discern what information they want to pass to users, so making sure your site is accessible, well-labelled, and has compliant HTML are good places to start. Content, links, and references should all be relevant with stand-out page titles, with excellent spelling and grammar to impress search rankings and improve the user experience.
Spending some time on keyword research will help you craft really good content that will help you rank higher on Google. Keywords will tell you what your audience wants to know based on what they’re searching for, so choosing the right ones is incredibly important. It’s also helpful to look at related search criteria and see how they rank, observing terms that come out at the top and bottom of the listings. It may be tempting to try and bandwagon a popular or obvious keyword, but sometimes cultivating content that is based on a long-tail or more niche term may be a smarter option as these types of term tend to have less competition.
Indexing is the process by which search engines organise information before a search to enable super-fast responses to queries. Searching through individual pages for keywords and topics would be a very slow process for search engines to identify relevant information. Instead, search engines (including Google) use an inverted index, also known as a reverse index.
What content should be on a website?
Before you send a brief to a copywriter, deciding what your business’s tone of voice sounds like is a good place to start. Content and visuals go hand in hand, so making sure the feel of what your customers will be reading matches the graphics they will be interacting with cannot be overlooked.
Then you should consider all the sections you’ll be needing for your website and what information the audience needs to know. Traditionally, a website will need a homepage, about page, a products page (which may feature e-commerce tools), and, most importantly, your contact details. Some businesses might like to include a blog or testimonials page, but that is entirely up to personal preference.
An important thing to remember is that landing pages, such as your homepage and about section, should be evergreen. Blogs, testimonials, and product pages are great places to continually refresh with new pieces of content, which will help your website look active, helping your chances to show up in search engines and criteria.
This is probably the most important page on the entire website. As well as engaging design, this is where your audience will find out the purpose of your business and understand the brand identity. All content here should be concise and attention-grabbing, so it doesn’t slow down the website’s loading speed: a lag can be costly, with 47% of customers expecting a website to load in two seconds at the very most.
Your copy should touch on who you are and what you do, give an overview of the products and services on offer and let your customers know why your business is exactly what they are looking for.
This page gives browsers a peek at the people behind the website, which gives you a great opportunity to reveal your values, history, and what sets you apart from everyone else. Usually, a summary of your company and who works there, what drives your businesses and any notable facts, such as achievements, will live here.
Here is where all of your services or products should be spotlighted. Informative copy, alongside high-quality photographs, allows customers to get a feel for what is on offer and what they can expect. Make sure to include short descriptions of each product or service, link to any relevant pages that contain more information, and make sure to let customers know why they should buy from you.
As for services, you might want to expand on the feel of and benefit of the services alongside any key information. It’s helpful to give further context and will encourage people to get in touch!
A blog is a great tool to show a business has its finger on the pulse and is knowledgeable about an industry. It also gives insight into your company and any exciting developments.
It can also double as a resource tool, especially regarding long-form, well-researched posts, which tend to rank highly in SEO and gain clicks from social media. Because of this, blogs are excellent ways of building brand awareness and can establish your business as an active voice in a sector. Some of your pages may be designed to bring in traffic from people who are searching online. If the purpose of your content is to bring in organic searchers, choose a good keyword to target in your writing, and dedicate some time to making your pieces useful to a wider audience – this is a great opportunity to build some backlinks.
The more your blog (or any page on a website) is linked to from another, the more Google and other big search engines will suggest it to searchers. These “inbound links”, “incoming links” or “one-way links” are a fantastic, organic way to make sure your website will feature highly in rankings.
It might take a bit of prep and strategy to decide who you are blogging for and what uses it will bring to your website but it offers many possibilities to spotlight media mentions, guest posts, industry news, and much more.
Contact Us page
The final page of your website is usually reserved for your contact details. This includes your business name, address, telephone number, fax number, email address, and other useful information. You should always strive to keep these details consistent across every page of your site,. This will make sure you look credible and avoids any errors being made should anyone want to get in touch!
It is also important to have your phone number, email address, and socials accessible throughout the whole site, if possible, so customers don’t have to search for them. This might also be a good opportunity to spotlight testimonials from other service users, such as a brief paragraph of feedback that shows how good your business is and to further persuade customers to get in touch.
Depending on the size of your business or what type of website you have, you might also want to consider including an events page, advertising information, a job or careers section, or a standalone testimonial page.