Website in a Week Part 2: Effective Website Design Basics and Content Development
With the three easy-to-follow steps in Website in a Week Part 1: How to Build a Professional Website from Scratch, you can create a website in as little as a couple of days. Once your new site is up and running, you are ready to customize and add content. This article provides some effective website design basics and tips for creating website content.
Create a Website Design and Content Development Strategy
This ia a critical key that is frequently overlooked by new web developers. Every element of an effective website is strategic. Nothing on your site should be accidental. Everything needs to be done with a specific end in mind.
1. Effective Website Design Basics: Keep it simple. If people are confused when they come to your site, they’ll leave as quickly as they came. The most effective designs are easy to understand and navigate. This should come as good news, because it means that your design can be simple. In fact, simple is better.
People form an opinion of your site within seconds. If they don’t find it attractive, they will go somewhere else. And once they decide to stay, you need to quickly tell them what they can expect and what you want them to do next.
We currently have a fair number of websites. Here are links to some of our websites that have very simple design and navigation:
You can use these as samples for design elements and locations. For example, your first goal when people arrive on your site should be to get them on your contact list, so they can get to know, like and trust you. Notice where we have located our opt-in box and put yours in the same location.
2. Create a Professional Appearance: The main qualities to strive for in the design of a website are professionalism, confidence, and authority. You want to establish your business and/or yourself as an authority, so your website needs to project the image that you are a highly regarded professional.
This can be done with a simple photo heading and an easy-to-navigate menu bar. Some wordpress.org themes come with professional looking headings and menu bars that you can use to get started. Once your website is up and running, you can refine to create the image you want to project.
Some notes on first impressions:
A. Your headline and byline (a brief message below your headline) need to communicate a message that speaks to your target audience. The byline should essentially say that you provide the very thing that your ideal client or customer wants. So if your ideal customer wants to have more confidence, your byline might say “Raise Your Self-Esteem, Build Confidence, and Be Everything You Can Be.”
B. The heading image should reinforce the message in the byline. For instance, if your message is about helping people to build confidence, the photo or image in the heading should exude confidence and provide validation that the visitor can get unshakable confidence on this site.
We have an example of the confidence theme at one of our websites that is currently under development at http://confidenceandclarity.com. The heading shows two people with thumbs up, validating the viewer, and a blue sky background. The images together reflect the message of creating a positive future for the visitor.
C. Your photo can further reinforce this message. As mentioned, you need to communicate professionalism, confidence, and authority. If your personal presence is an integral part of your message, your photo should be located near the top of the page, where the viewer can see it right away.
3. Make it easy for people to find their way around your website. Complexity may not be much of an issue when you are getting started, but it is something to watch as you develop your site. Always know what you want people do on your website and help them to take the steps you want them to take.
If you want help with design (or other tasks), here are a few suggestions:
A. On a budget? Check out fiverr.com. This is a site where people offer a variety of services for $5. If you look up web design, for instance, you may be able to find a person who can create a simple heading for you or solve other simple problems for $5. Another site where you can hire people to complete specific tasks for a reasonable price is odesk.com.
B. Use Artisteer for WordPress. This is a low-priced service that allows you to quickly choose a series of options to design your wordpress site. This is the only service we mention that we haven’t used ourselves. We include it as an easy-to-implement option for getting the kind of look you want.
C. Hire a designer. This is another option that may also be of interest. Once you are online, you can find help in refining your website and adding features.
4. Add the Essential Elements: To get started, here is a list of essential elements you will want to have on your site.
- Contact Information: The easiest thing to do is to provide contact information at the bottom of your page, as we did on our sample sites.
- About us
4. Add Content for Visitors: This is an ongoing process. The focus in the first week is primarily on getting the main elements onto your site, so you will want to start on your main page with information targeting your main keywords.
Remember as you prepare to add content to be strategic. This is a lesson we learned the hard way, by adding a lot of content that was interesting, but not necessarily targeted toward sales.
Website Content Development
Putting your website together is like solving a puzzle for people. When planning your content, decide on how you can best meet the needs of your prospects. People pay people to solve problems, especially the ones that keep them up at night. So your job is to know what your prospects want. Beware of trying to offer something you know they need but don’t want. Offer what they want and when you provide it, you can include the things you know they need.
With an understanding of the problems you are solving for people, you can select keywords to bring traffic to your website from the search engines. Select 5-10 keywords and create articles on these topics. Refer again to the sample sites listed earlier in this article for examples.
To draw the search engines to these pages, be sure to put the keywords in the article title and the url for the page. As an example, if you are writing an article based on the keyword “power of positive thinking,” the url on your wordpress blog may be http://yoursitewithmainkeyword.com/power-of-positive-thinking. This is an essential secret for attracting traffic that many people miss.
As we mentioned in Part 1 of this series, we have used a lot of tools to find the right keywords and now use Market Samurai. Unlike many keyword tools that require you to pay for a monthly service, this is a program you buy once. It comes with great training videos that teach you how to come up with effective keywords and a host of powerful tools that we find invaluable and use regularly. We wouldn’t want to be without it.
5. Get ready to sell your products and services. You will find more on this in Website in a Week Part 3: Building a List and Generating Sales
And please be sure to let us know if you have any comments or questions in the space below.