Designing a website goes deeper than just physical appearance. Yes it needs to be a perfect visual representation of your business, but if it doesn’t perform as intended that will reflect badly on your brand.The expression web design is something of a misnomer.
It suggests sketching out the appearance of the site and mapping its pages. That literally scratches the surface of what’s involved in planning and creating a high-performance website.
Having searched around for a ‘web design agency near me’, you should have a shortlist of likely candidates. However, understanding how they work can help you to narrow that down, and find a web designer you can trust.
How do you ‘design’ a website, and what services do web design agencies provide?
Setting digital needs and goals
Your website is the central plank of your digital marketing. It’s not a separate entity, nor is it something that can be designed in a vacuum. That means the first thing an agency should do, is work with you to breakdown your business goals and requirements.
There are many different website design tools and options, so it’s imperative that your brief is detailed and specific from day one. For example, what functions do you need it to offer? Who are your target audiences, and what’s going to be the best way to grab and hold their attention?
Some clients need to go right back to basics when commissioning website designs, including revisiting their brand and brand identity.
With this sort of information to hand, work can begin on a website that matches your business perfectly.
Web design structure and prototype
A website design agency would then develop a draft structure and some creative ideas.
The graphic designer’s role is to produce a visual representation of your brand, that works well on a digital platform – the façade of your site. The website developers pin down the important ‘backroom’ specifications.
Creating a prototype website is a great way to evaluate and test it before it goes live. It can be used for User Experience Research too, generating views and ideas from your target audiences.
What’s meant by coding a website?
A cheap way to build a website would be to use online software to creates a basic template for you to fill in. However, it’s highly likely to be a restricted, ‘clunky’ website that looks similar to others!
A web design agency would use a more advanced development platform, to create an entirely bespoke site. (Factory Pattern, in common with many other agencies, uses WordPress).
The team tasked with building your website will work with the relevant ‘language’ or code needed to add the best features and functions for you.
Web hosting and domains
To make your new website secure and easy to find, a web design agency sorts out the issue of a suitable web host. It’s a supercomputer system that stores and supports websites.
What’s the difference between a domain and web hosting?
The domain is a unique address that will be attached to your website. It will need to be registered by your design agency, so you can hold it uninterrupted and legally. So, no one else can have www.factorypattern.co.uk of course.
Web hosting is the place the site – with its unique domain name – sits on the worldwide web.
Making your website effective
As already mentioned, a great website is not just one that looks amazing! There’s a lot of tasks leading web design agencies do to maximise the return on your investment.
This includes building a responsive website, that works well across all devices and browsers.
They should also create your website with important Search Engine Optimisation features built-in. These are the techniques to make sure Google can find you when customers search on relevant keywords.
The aim of every website is to guide people towards an action of some kind; buy, register, visit, ring etc. Even websites for information and education purposes need to check responses, so they too could include some form of ‘call to action’.
This makes User Experience important. This is the way that website visitors interact with your pages, and travel towards your desired action.
Much of UX revolves around the content of your website, which your agency will help you to generate. UX is also connected to fast loading and smooth navigation; among other things.
The best web design agency will always show you how to keep your site fresh, upgraded and working well, to support continuously successful UX.
What is digital marketing?
Your web design agency should also work with you on ways to drive traffic to your site. This could be via different marketing activities but is highly likely to include social media. Your agency should explain how your website Content and social media activities support each other.
They could also suggest and deliver paid-for methods to create website traffic, such as Pay Per Click campaigns.
To get an even better idea of how website design agencies work (ones that get superb results) give the team at Factory Pattern a call!