In the modern era, a website has become a bare minimum requirement for running a business or operation of any kind.
Websites are a one-stop shop for users to find all the information about your operation, be it the services you provide or contact information. And when users are scouring the interwebs for a particular service, your website will have seconds to attract their attention.
That’s where proper web design comes into play, no matter the scale of your operation. A well-designed website attracts user traffic and boosts the visibility of your content on search engines and across different screen sizes.
A web design checklist is a vital tool when building a new website. A checklist can help ensure that all the necessary components are included in your website design process, providing structure to creating a website. Your checklist can ensure that all relevant elements, such as content, navigation, visuals, accessibility, and SEO, have been considered. It also helps ensure that the website provides a positive user experience. Let’s take a look at some statistics:
- Design contributes 75% to a website’s credibility — so having a well-built and thought-out design is crucial.
- According to 59% of people, browsing ‘beautiful and well-designed sites is more enjoyable than browsing basic websites.
- In 53.8% of cases, redesigning a website is due to its inability to be responsive on all devices.
- There are currently around 200 million active websites worldwide.
So, if you’re thinking about starting a new website, you’ll want to follow a checklist of things it needs to make its presence known. We’ve compiled the ultimate website design checklist so you can make the best web page possible with little to no hassle.
Web Design Checklist: An Introduction
The main rationale behind data protection, digital marketing strategies, and the design process checklist is for web designers to keep track of the web design process. It summarises all the tasks they must perform while creating a website, ensuring that no task is left undone.
This web design checklist includes every stage of the process, including coding, testing, programming and client feedback, to help ensure a successful project completion. By keeping the website design checklist on their radar, designers can be mindful of user experience, how the web pages hold up to modern standards and more.
Why Use A Website Design Checklist
Website design, even with the use of website templates, is a lengthy and arduous process often performed while trying to meet a specific deadline. Without a guide, website designers could lose track of some details, especially when they have little time to spare.
However, a web design checklist keeps the designing process smooth and easy to manage. This is especially important when the designers don’t have the time to search every little detail of a site to find what they missed.
As a result, a website ends up being precise in delivering its message and services while visually appealing. User experience makes or breaks a website, and a checklist ensures that the UX design follows the best practices.
As a web designer, planning everything from the get-go is best. Doing so not only provides you with an overview of what your website ought to be and keeps your design fundamentals in check.
Let’s consider what you can do to plan out every step to get started with your website design before fully committing to it.
1. Detailed Mockup
Creating a detailed sitemap and a mockup of your website will give you a solid foundation on what the site should become. It’s a significant first step of the process since it eliminates any chances of confusion during the actual development phase.
Otherwise known as the wireframe process of designing a website, a mockup helps guide the rest of the project to completion.
2. Set Up Design Goals
The primary business goals of any commercial website is to further the business it promotes and effectively showcase its products or services, and the site design should reflect that.
One thing that’s common with big-name modern websites is that they all have a visually striking design and a memorable colour palette. While the layout of each web page is different, you can conduct a competitor analysis and study a few sites to see what makes them appealing to the user.
Once you have a clear idea of your website, proceed with creating the website design checklist. If you had one, you could even use a previous iteration of the website to pinpoint where it needed improvement and why it failed.
Your website design should be purposeful without any distractions that may take away from your core message.
3. Establish Communication Paths
Once the plans are ready, you should figure out how to redirect a user to pertinent information, such as contact info. Websites typically have an ‘About Us’ page dedicated to this purpose and a section near the bottom of the page.
Consider where you should place this information according to your requirements: top, middle or bottom. Where you place the content and the CTAs you use directly affect user conversion, so it pays to be vigilant of this.
4. Look Into Analytics
While analytics have no use until your entire website is up and ready, you can look into which platforms to use before committing to it. Analytics play a huge part in keeping a website afloat, and the more you know about them, the better prepared you’ll be for website operation.
The 10-Step Website Design Checklist
1. Domain Name Registration
Every website needs a domain name for users to click on. It’s akin to picking a name for what you want your website to be called, typically formatted as (domain name). (organisation type).
As a general rule of thumb, the domain name or brand name must be easy to remember and unique while matching your business.
Now, your domain name can be letter-for-letter, the same as the name of your business, but not necessarily so. Pro tip: if the name of your business is lengthy, it would be unintuitive for users to type a lengthy URL when accessing the site.
Next is the matter of the scope of your business and services. Businesses expand over time, as does their scope of work, branching out into different areas of the same field or beyond. So, it’s always better not to register a domain name that hyper-focuses on your current area of work, ensuring that the domain name continues to serve you well after the business has spread far and wide.
As a company grows bigger, so do its chances of losing out on the desired URL before registration. You’ll want to be quick with domain registration since purchasing your desired website address from a third party would become a hassle. No one wants the most obvious and user-friendly domain name to get snatched, after all!
And lastly, the organisation type is largely predicated on the scope of your operation and how far-reaching you would want it to be. A commercial organisation based in Australia that doesn’t look towards global expansion can work with a country-specific extension like .com.au, while a worldwide business should use .com instead. Below is a list of organisation types that people are familiar with and will remember easily when typing out a URL:
2. Web Hosting
web hosting, closely linked to the efficient use of a content management system, is essentially reserving a space for your website on a server, enabling users to visit and view your website. You can choose from thousands of web hosting providers to access this space and set up your website.
A reliable web hosting service’s main task is ensuring that your website functions 24x7, taking care to prevent security issues as well. This is in addition to the storage they provide for your files, website assets and databases on their servers.
There are four kinds of web hosting: shared hosting, virtual private server hosting, dedicated hosting and cloud hosting. In addition to different basic functionality, they differ in the ability to handle user traffic, directly affecting how functional your website is during traffic spikes.
When choosing a web hosting space, be mindful of data protection laws and consider what you need out of your website. The most elementary of these is the website uptime and how often the hosting service faces maintenance issues. After all, there is little point in a website that isn’t up during peak traffic hours.
Next, ensure your provider allows you ample disc space on the hosting account. You needn’t invest in hundreds of gigabytes of disc space if you only need a handful of GBs. For more minor, more essential purposes, you can limit your investment in storage space, while for larger operations, you will need to reserve a room for customer databases.
Websites with high user traffic eventually grow too large for a previously allocated storage space, requiring site owners to relocate to a different hosting service. And if you want to expand to a global user base, it’s best to have extra storage space in your back pocket.
Brand identity is everything when it comes to holding user attention. From your logo design to the colour choices, how you project your brand has a tangible effect on user retention.
Web designers aim to strike a careful balance between style and substance. Sites strive to be as visually pleasing as possible while still being readable and engaging. And naturally, it’s a task easier said than done.
Complementary Colours, Typography, Logos And How They Help Your Website
Web page clutter, violating web content accessibility guidelines, is the enemy of encouraging your user base to engage with the website content, and it’s a mistake many beginners make. Colours that don’t match, content with no hierarchy and an uninspired and derivative logo are all elements you should avoid in web design. It would be best if you never led users to believe that any website is an off-brand copy of something else.
You can remedy these problems by carefully studying how complementary colours, typography, and branding works. Colours are a particularly important factor when it comes to web design, as they determine the feel of your website. The same page can inspire a different emotion within a reader simply by using a different colour scheme.
In some manners, typography may hold precedence over the colour scheme. A web page with a sterile colour scheme may still be appealing through better fonts and good use of hierarchy. The readability of any site increases if the long wall of text is sectioned off under headings and subheadings appropriately.
And lastly, the company logo is the most critical part of any company that is out to get more eyes on its website is the company logo. A professional graphic designer better handles this since they abide by logo designing principles, ensuring your logo is unique. The viewer should be able to know what your operation is all about with just a single glance — something all great logos successfully achieve.
4. Content Compilation
Once you’ve prepared all the website content and its visual design, it’s time to decide how it fits on the page. While you pick and choose where you place your content, it’s important to remember that content quality precedes user retention over all else. Thus, quality assurance becomes an essential step in the compilation process.
Your content must include the following essentials, much like a table of contents, to make up your website. These enhance user experience and segregate the content based on relevance.
- Home page
- Services offered
- About the company
- Contact Information
- Reviews and testimonials
- Terms and conditions
- Blog section
- Additional resources
- External links to social media website pages
- Video and audio files
Feel free to add to this list relevant to your services or additional details about your business.
5. Website Headers And Banners
Colour schemes, typography and logos are a significant part of your website branding, but you can do more to increase its visual appeal. After all, colours, logos and content alone can grow old when browsing a website.
You can get creative by having your website headers and banners designed or by using images. The former is usually preferable since you’re almost always bound to end up with something unique that can help people directly connect to your brand. Even if it does involve investing in a visual design artist, the price is well worth the result.
The alternative is to use images you find online. When looking up images online, remember that they are often protected by copyright. It is undoubtedly not worth tarnishing your brand image with a copyright breach case against you.
You can find royalty-free professional image banks with hundreds of thousands of images to choose from in exchange for a nominal fee. Here, you should ensure that the licence specifies that the image can be used for commercial purposes, as many artists only allow personal use.
Relevance to the content and how well the image matches the site’s overall aesthetic affect your website’s perception. Using insufficient resources and ill-fitted image dimensions will leave your target audience with a negative impression of your business, so consider your options well.
6. Website Performance
Loading times, interactive elements and page stability are all core aspects of any web page performance. If your website isn’t optimised properly or lined correctly, it stands to reason that potential users will click off the website due to a poor user experience.
User interaction on a website should be straightforward, but with tests, it can be easier to determine where the page needs improvements. This is where Google has stepped up, providing web developers with Core Web Vitals to help them understand how their website performance can be improved.
Core Web Vitals provides a complete scoring system across all web platforms, pinpointing where to improve site performance. Using metrics such as First Input Delay and Cumulative Layout Shift, Core Web Vitals measure website performance as it would be on different devices. The same applies to various operating systems and multiple browsers as well.
7. Search Engine Optimisation
Website popularity largely depends on Google algorithms, requiring the website owner to have at least a passing knowledge of search engine optimisation. If people can’t find your website, there’s no chance of it ever becoming popular.
You can optimise the website on your own or hire an expert for a technical SEO strategy. These experts regularly check up on the algorithms and keep up with them, ensuring your website doesn’t fall by the wayside as time goes on.
An SEO expert does the following to ensure your website shows up when users type relevant search queries into the Google Search Console.
- Update titles and headings to include keywords relevant to the topic
- Prevent keyword stuffing in the content
- Add unique meta descriptions for each page
- Update the RSS feed with the metadata
- Create a sitemap using dynamic XML
- Add the dynamic XML sitemap to search engines
- Ensure that the page URLs match the site content and information
Well-executed SEO work can be costly, and if you can’t allocate much of the budget to SEO, optimising on your own is also an option. You may need to thoroughly study the subject to ensure SEO success, but it will pay off in the long run.
We have an in-depth SEO checklist you can follow.
The primary purpose of analytics tracking is to measure site traffic and receive detailed information about how people find your website. Google Analytics can help you gauge how successful or unsuccessful an endeavour was on the website, allowing you to create a marketing strategy for future ventures accordingly. This examination of marketing data analysis through Google Analytics may prove to be instrumental in the success of your website.
In the complex arena of web development, people gravitate towards certain pages more than others, and analytics software will help you pinpoint why. This will also help you identify which content is perceived as the best on your site, allowing you to act accordingly. Putting your best foot forward can make all the difference in your website traffic.
Visitor tracking software lets you discover how the user was redirected to your website through a referral link or a search engine query. Acting upon this, you can track which link got you the most referrals and increase the rate of referrals from it.
Working hand-in-hand with SEO, analytics can also aid in discovering your site, leading to greater conversion rates and leads. Using Google Analytics, you can increase the number of terms in your content that show up frequently on search engine queries, further improving site traffic.
9. Site Accessibility
A website should be accessible to all users regardless of location, age, impairments or disabilities. Text-to-speech support provides accessibility for visually impaired users by letting them know what they are viewing, which is why ALT text is essential.
These accessibility features should allow users to navigate the website without major issues. Individuals with disabilities should be able to access every page with the input device of their preference. To achieve this, your website may need extensive accessibility testing to cater to the needs of the differently abled.
10. Website Expansion
Once you’ve set your website up, you can include additional functionality to the page, such as adding affiliate links with marketing plugins that improve user experience and website management. These can be site security, internal links redirecting to relevant content, links to an eCommerce website, identifying broken links, social media icons, and more. The increased functionality using first and third-party tools can also help with user retention on your website.
Before adding these features, explore tools like Google Webmaster and contact your website provider to see if they support the functionality.
Check it Off: Your Essential Web Design Checklist!
In hindsight, a web design checklist should cover all the basic parts of what goes into designing a website. These elements are a core part of what makes an ordinary web page a successful and user-friendly venture.
User experience is the most critical factor in retaining and increasing your daily site traffic. Doing the bare minimum won’t cut it today; creating a successful website requires more, as hundreds of thousands of websites are clamouring for users’ attention.
It’s important to remember what your website needs the most, as going overboard with interactive elements can harm the load time, loading speed, and user experience. Consider the web design process a delicate balancing act, where you must keep your visual design attractive but not overwhelming.
Need help figuring out where to begin? Our web designers in Brisbane are here to help! Our experts can do everything from custom web design to creating a dynamic XML sitemap. Our experienced web developers strive to help small Australian businesses grow and succeed online. So, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today!
That’s all for this guide on web design. We look forward to seeing you in the following article!