“There is more to making a website than having people find it.”
If you’ve ever ventured into the world of web design and development, you’ve probably heard about SEO. Being the set of practices which enable site owners to get themselves ranked on search engines, like Google, this part of working with the web has become incredibly important over the last few years. Of course, there is more to making a website than having people find it. With search engine optimization taking the forefront, a lot of small businesses forget about the design and functionality of their site, leaving it to drive customers away. It doesn’t have to be this way, though, and this post will be showing you how to make sure that users like your site before it goes live.
The Design Process
Over the last few years, it has become a lot easier for people to get to work on their own websites, using services like Wix and Squarespace. This has opened the doors for waves of small businesses to get themselves onto the web, while also dropping the overall quality of the sites you find dotted around. Unfortunately, these services simply don’t cut it when it comes to designing something which users will be respond to.
Instead, to take this work out of your hands, it usually best to go with a professional. While this will cost some money, it will make it a lot easier to create a website which users will respond to, giving you the chance to use insider knowledge to build something beautiful. There are loads of web design companies out there, nowadays, and this makes it incredibly easy to find someone to work with. Some will be much better than others, though, and it will be worth reading some reviews.
Design isn’t the same thing as development when it comes to websites. Making something look right is a cakewalk compared to making it work correctly, and this can be another challenge to face. Programmers come in all shapes and sizes, with web development being one of the most popular areas to get into. Choosing the right person for this sort of job will always take loads of research. Using reviews from other sites, along with the portfolio they provide, you should assess a couple of options before choosing the right one for you.
During the design process, a lot of businesses will make the mistake of not making it known when they want something different or are unhappy. You’re paying your designer and developer, though, and this means that they are beholden to create exactly what you want. As a big part of this, it is wise to make sure that revisions are included in your agreement, as changes won’t always be obvious until you’ve seen the site working.
Before users ever touch your site, it will be time to do some testing which will ensure that it is usable by the time actual users are visiting it. There are two parts to this stage, and they will both have to be handled before you can get the site out there. Making sure that things are functional is essential, but you will also have to make sure the site is easy to use, and this will be largely down to the design you’ve chosen.
Testing Functionality: Testing functionality on a website is nice and easy. Ideally, you should choose someone with no experience on the site, giving them a list of tasks to perform to see how quickly they can do them. Each element of the site should be tested, ranging from clickable links to login systems and other complex scripts. Of course, though, this can’t be stuck to one device. With so many systems out there, it will be worth running the site across each mobile platform, along with the major computer operating systems available to you. This will ensure that any user coming to your site will be able to experience it without errors.
Testing Design: Along with making sure that the website is functional, it will be a good idea to look into the design, too. This work can be handled while the other testing is done, but you will have to look for different things. If you have to advise your tester at any point during their time with your site, it’s likely that it needs some changes, as the design wasn’t good enough to pass your test. Even something as simple as a misplaced icon can make a site hard to use. Solving this issue should be nice and easy, especially if you have the help of a professional UX designer on hand.
Finally, as the last area to consider, it’s time to think about the improvements you will make to the site once it has been released. Gathering user feedback is an important part of this, as it will give you an insight into what the people working with your website think of it. A lot of people are more than happy to give advice like this to businesses which ask for it, and it isn’t too hard to inspire honest comments about a site.
You have a couple of options which can be used to help you with this. Over the last few years, popup messages which take over a user’s experience have become very popular. Giving them the chance to skip it and use the site as normal, this sort of form is easy to install on your site, and can yield great results when giving every user the chance. This will be too intense for some companies, though, and you may be able to find similar success by emailing feedback forms to people who have used your business or shown interest in it. Most people will keep up with their emails above all of their other online communications.
With all of this in mind, it should start to get a lot easier to improve the way that your website looks and feels. You probably wouldn’t spend too much time on a site which doesn’t appeal to you, and most people are the same. This makes it hard for businesses to ensure that they are taking the right moves when working on this field.