Articulate-Web design process

The oh-so-clever web design process for optimising your website

Posted by Alex Cohen Picture of Alex Cohen on 5 December 2018
Marketing copywriter specialising in writing about technology, marketing, branding, strategy and thought leadership for Articulate Marketing. Avid learner of new things, from juggling to social media management.
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Optimising your website’s design can seem like your own personal Everest. There are so many things that go in to successful web design - as well as so many website design trends to avoid - that it can be difficult to find a place to begin. We’re here to give you the web design process you need, with tried-and-true methods that our own fantastic design team use when starting a new project.

Take the temperature

The first step when it comes to a multi-faceted project like optimising your web design has to be an evaluation and planning stage. Take a look at your site. Really look at it. What content do you want to keep, and what can you do without? How would you like to arrange information on your site? Defer to Abraham Lincoln’s infinite wisdom when deciding how much attention to give to this stage:

‘Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.’ 

For a quick win, sharpen what you already have, then plan what you’re going to do next.

Become an architect

The watchword at this stage is clarity. Ensure that your planned menu structure is intuitive, and that important pages are easily accessed with a few clicks. In the world of web design, this is known as the ‘site architecture’. Plan your website’s content around this framework.

Website menu hierarchy on Articulate's home page .                      Hierarchy at work on our homepage 

Make it easy for visitors to get from page to page, and you’ll be making it easier for Google to do so, too. This has a huge impact on SEO. If search engines struggle to navigate your site, it’s more difficult for them to rank your pages. 

It can be helpful to start completely afresh with a totally new website for this – Ioana Negulescu, our in-house design leader, has this to say:

‘We recommend starting from scratch with a newly developed and designed page or site, so that we can make sure the code is optimised and the design is trendy and nice.

Send out the call

Take a look at the sorts of calls-to-action (CTAs) you already have. Are they worth keeping, or does it make sense to craft some new ones? Is the CTA copy engaging and valuable, or does it just say ‘click here’? And - if you don’t have any at all, you really should! They’re an optimisation essential, guiding visitors to forms that gather the information, such as email addresses, you’ll use to nurture leads.

Our team creates CTAs for individual offers, often in several different formats corresponding to their location on web pages. This is a great way to differentiate the content that you’re trying to convince people to sign up for. This also makes it easier for you to distinguish between CTAs when you’re adding them to web pages behind the scenes.

Get graphic

Style and branding aren’t superficial. They’re the elements that make up the digital ‘face’ of your organisation, so, should be given appropriate attention. A well-designed, well thought-out design scheme will make for an attractive, memorable website that is recognisably yours.

Our designers suggest creating illustrations rather than using stock photos when it comes to fleshing out the imagery on a website. Not only does this allow for consistent branding and style throughout your website, it boosts your site performance as .svg files are less taxing and less pixelated. Healthy site performance and page-speed is something that Google is looking for when ranking websites, so it’s a boon for your SEO as well. If you are using stock photos, make sure they’re right for the page, and try to keep them under 300KB to keep everything running smoothly. 

Articulate marketing's home page

If you’re not confident in your design skills, consider reaching out to professionals (hello) to put together a great looking website that aligns with your existing branding.

As we’ve said, this is just the beginning. These tips provide a basic framework of essentials to consider when starting your web design journey – they’re the basics that you’ll need to perfect if you want a fully optimised website that does what you need it to. Your site will be many potential leads’ (and Google’s!) first contact with your organisation – the digital equivalent of an introductory handshake. Avoid a ‘dead fish’ by following the process we’ve detailed above.

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