Website Design & Functionality
Website design & functionality go together like a jigsaw puzzle. Ultimately a really successful website works when the pieces fit together like they were made for each other.
To establish what pieces you’ll need to build your website, you do need to work out a few things upfront:
Decide on the goals for your website; for example, are you selling products or services, are you creating a course or membership site? The goal is the conversion of these products or services to sales.
Establish who you’re building for; what do you know about your target audience? For example, how do they surf the web? Laptop, tablet, mobile device?
Think about how you want your audience to interact with your site, what will your call to action be? Do you want them to sign up to your email list? Buy something? Where will the call to action/s be located?
What features and functionality do you need? The type of design used for an eCommerce store selling products will differ greatly from an information-based site, e.g. a food blog. This is why it’s really important to have a clear vision of what you need your website to do for you and your business, as well as how you are delivering that to your clients.
You can access your free workbook to answer these questions and keep track of all your information here.
MAKE A PLAN
- Start browsing the kind of designs you like and perhaps start a Pinterest board to capture your inspiration for your website.
- Review other websites that cater for your target market, work out what you think works and what doesn’t.
- Establish which elements will be consistent on each page, for example, where will your opt-in be on every page?
- Remember, less is better on the web, allow for plenty of white space rather than cluttering every page with too much information/images. If there is too much going on, someone landing on your site won’t know where to look first.
- Opt-in integration to mailing list provider (e.g. MailChimp)
- Social links to your various social media profiles
- Social sharing links, so your posts/pages can be easily shared
- Event calendar
- Online bookings
- Simple online payments (link to PayPal)
- eCommerce functionality (i.e. more complex shopping functionality)
- Membership site
- Forms e.g. basic contact form, project request questionnaire, coaching questionnaire, etc.
Think about how you see your audience using your website, actually imagine the person sitting on their couch navigating and interacting with your site.
As an example, if you are running a membership website, how will the site look and work on a laptop, versus on an iPad or other tablet? Will it operate in the same manner for a mouse versus a touch screen? Will the menu be the same? Users may prefer a collapsible menu on an iPad and other tablet devices. This also comes back to knowing your audience – which device is most likely to be used?
Bonus points for roughly sketching out the elements and how you see them fitting together. Take a look at the examples in the Planner (download your free copy here) and draw your design layout for a mobile device, tablet device, and a laptop screen.
Don’t worry about your drawing skills, a web designer or developer won’t bag you for that but they will love you more for conceptualising the layout you want.
Finally, take the pages list from the Content & Copy section and arrange these in a mind map, write down in your Planner:
- Which ones are your main menu options?
- Which ones are sub-menu options under each?
The more you can map out and visualise these elements, the easier it will be to put the pieces together during your project, which saves you time AND money going back and forth changing things.