Mill for Business crunched some big numbers to determine about 380 websites are created and Designing every minute of every day. The people who own those websites are competing with thousands of others from all around the world no matter what type of website they have.
That’s why solid web design is so important. When web design is subpar, it’s immediately noticeable and many users will bounce right off the page. The thing is, what’s considered “good” and “standard” for web design varies based on the type of website you’re looking at. Web designers have to be conscious of the fact that websites aren’t one-size-fits-all.
If you’re a web designer that’s just starting out it can help to study the work of others. Find a professional whose work you admire and check out their web designer online portfolio. Look specifically for how they vary their design for different types of websites. What techniques do they use? Are there similarities that are constant for a single type of website?
Beyond studying the work of seasoned web designers, there are a few other essential things to keep in mind in terms of designing different types of websites.
Who is the Audience?
The first rule of websites, whether you’re doing the website or creating a call to action, is to know your audience. That’s who you are designing for. You aren’t designing a website for you or even your client. You’re designing the website for their users, a.k.a. potential customers.
Begin by identifying the target audience and gathering demographic information like sex, age, income level, education, etc. From there start digging deeper. Your client should have information for you to use in terms of who their typical customer/user is. If you’re lucky they’ve even done in-depth user profiles that tell you what you need to know.
Rule of thumb – the more you know about the audience, the easier it is to design something that will aesthetically appeal to them. For example, a mommy blog website is going to have a dramatically different audience in a very different mindset compared to a tech website. Let those unique qualities guide your design.
What Does the Site Owner Want the Audience to Do?
Web design is largely about user experience (UX). What is it that the user intends to do or gain from the website? Are they just there to read articles, or are they wanting to join a webinar? To a large degree, this is actually about what the website owner wants users to do.
An e-commerce site is an excellent example. With this type of site, the main goal is to facilitate a purchase. It also helps to know the latest e-commerce trends that help boost sales based on customer behaviors and expectations.
What’s the Competition Doing?
Users’ expectations are largely built off of what they already know and have experienced. In other words, what other leaders and competitors are doing. If nothing else, it’s a good idea to check out the websites of competitors to get a feel for the quality level that’s expected.
However, you also don’t want to look like a carbon copy of a competitor. Use their websites as a benchmark then find ways to elevate the design further and set your website apart.
A Few Things Every Type of Website Needs
You’ve answered questions that will help you create a web design for a specific type of website, but there are several elements that should be incorporated into every design no matter the niche.
• Easy Navigation – Nothing annoys web users more than overly complex or confusing navigation.
• Good SEO – Search engine optimization isn’t just about content and keywords. There are a number of web design elements that impact SEO, so always use the best practices.
• Mobile-friendly format – The majority of Internet users are now using mobile devices, not desktop computers. Your design has got to be mobile-friendly. Period.
• Easy to find contact information – Like navigation, never make it difficult to find basic contact information.
Being able to show versatility is one of the best ways to market yourself as a web designer. It’s great to have a specialty that you know you can nail every time, but branching out some will help you build your own portfolio and customer base.