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Website Design – Where to Begin

How to Begin Website Design From Scratch

Starting a website from scratch isn’t easy. Where do you begin? That is what this article is about – how to prepare for designing a new website, or having a web design company like us start designing a new website for you. 

Treasure Hunting - Website Design

The best place to begin thinking about a new website design is to start looking around the internet. Before a client begins working with us, we suggest they go out and find five websites they like and five websites they don’t. 

We ask them to try to pick at least a few that are specific to their industry, but the rest can simply be because they like them. 

In fact, we also invite our clients to not try to understand or explain “why” they like them – just find five you like. 

Next we suggest finding five websites you don’t like. As with the ones you DO LIKE – don’t try to understand why you don’t like them, just pick them out and write them down. 

Once you’ve picked out a few sites you like and a few you don’t, start looking at them more closely for things they share. Do you like the color scheme? Do you like large photos? Some people like “busy” sites and other people don’t. Look for things between the sites you’ve chosen to discover elements about them that stick out to you – fonts, colors, images, navigational menus. 

Also – while we are talking about navigation, pick out sites that navigate well in your opinion. If things are easy to find for you, or you like the way certain information is presented, chances are, other people will like it too. 

Web Design - Stay in Your Lane

We feel a little odd saying this since our own website is quite a bit different than what you might expect from a web design company. But our target audience lines up with our design, so it works for us.

But in general, people have an “expectation” about what a website is going to look like in your industry. Chances are they are visiting other sites that are similar or offer similar products or services. 

But if they go to your new website and it is way outside the normal range of what they are used to seeing online, it might throw them off. 

So it is important to perform an internet search, pick from the top five or so results and look at those websites. If your website is going to look radically different than what others look like, then you need to have a good reason for it being that way. 

For most services, you don’t have a good reason for it looking a lot different than other people’s website in your industry, so don’t do it. 

Start Web Design With The Right Questions

Often when new clients come to us, they’ve decided they want a new website and that is about as far as they have gotten. They have their credit card ready, and they want to buy a website. 

They are often shocked when we ask them to slow down and start thinking things through. There are a lot of questions you need to answer before you start designing a website. Here are some of them:

What goal must this website design accomplish? New sales? New products? Show new technical information about your products? Book events? Be as specific as you can. What is the goal of this website? 

Next  Question – What MUST visitors to your website come away knowing? What MUST be on your website? What information must people be able to find quickly? What do you want them to know or see or do? 

Next Question – Why Should They Choose You Over Your Competition? People really dislike this question. But you need to answer it and be able to answer it honestly and clearly. Why should I choose your solution over someone else’s? What have you got that is special? How are you different? And if you don’t know the answer to this question, then here is a pro tip: Search through negative reviews of your competition and figure out if you DON’T do those things to your customers. 

Next Question – What do you want as an outcome? Clicks? Leads? Form Completions? Bookings? Purchases online? An email wanting more information? What precisely do you want to be the outcome of a visitor coming to this new website? This seems straight forward, but it isn’t. How we present information when we design websites varies a great deal based on what you hope the person visiting will do before they leave. 

These are just a handful of good starter questions. But they are the very questions we ask every client, and we insist upon an answer before we even offer an estimate on a new website build. 

Summary - Web Design Where to Begin

Where to Begin Your Web Design Project – it isn’t easy to start a new web design from scratch. So don’t. 

Establish clear goals for this website design. If you don’t know where you want to end up, any direction will do. Plus, web designers who are willing to start projects without specified goals, are also web designers who end up not completing a lot of projects (and apparently they tend to keep your money and stop answering email). 

Check around on the internet and find things you like and things you don’t. There are a lot of great web designs out there. There is a lot of garbage out there. You are going to find websites that appeal to you and websites that don’t. Write them down and give them to your web designer. They will appreciate the help and forethought. 

Answer a few of the questions from this blog post. If you can come up with good answers to these questions, you will know what you need to write as far as copy for the website. You will know what types of call to action are required. You will know what information MUST be present on your new website. Every now and then we encounter a potential client who simply doesn’t want to bother answering out questions – we don’t do business with them because we know their website design project will never be successful and we will be blamed. 

About the Authors

Stay Wild Digital Marketing is a web design  company located in Salt Lake City Utah. We offer web design and SEO services throughout Utah, Texas, and California. We don’t design websites – we build worlds. Worlds your customers will want to see themselves in – or – will see themselves in when they visit. 

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