At present time, designers are facing more professional competition than ever. There are a million sites promoting do-it-yourself web design, outsourcing companies like 99 designs have become all the rage, and the market has been flooded with talented and freewheeling Millenials looking to corner a niche. So how do you separate yourself from the pack? And how do you ensure that your website has the features it needs to show that you mean business?
The web is one of the most fluid environments known to humankind. The amount of change it undergoes in a given time period is astounding. If you’re building a website today without care, you may end up needing a new one in 6-12 months. There was a day in age where you could slap something together, throw a whole bunch of text on it, and in three months you were getting business from search engine traffic. Now, the entire market has flipped itself entirely on its head. You have to accomplish specific goals and pay attention to very important features of your website.
The first goal that your website needs to accomplish is that it has to effectively communicate the appropriate message to users. Within 30 seconds of landing on your site, more than half of your users are most likely gone. This means you have to be a lean, mean, content curating machine. Don’t just throw a whole bunch of crap up there and see what sticks. Services, packages, pricing, contact info, and your online portfolio are some of the most important things you could have on your website. Let’s be honest, no one wants to read an essay about your life (though I’m sure it’s very exciting). Stick to the brass tacks when it comes to homepage content.
This may go without saying, but an important feature of a website for a designer would be… good design. Pages need to have a certain amount of simplicity built in. Navigating the site must be easy and simple. Make sure to put common user interface elements in normal places (your navigation bar should not be at the bottom of the screen, covered up by doodads and pretty things). Users on the internet have near ultimate freedom; landing on a website is not like walking into a store. Many feel obligated to at least seem interested while browsing a traditional store, and will stay for some period of time. People on the internet are not nearly so constrained. If they become confused, frustrated or overwhelmed by your over-the-top design, there is a simple solution to the problem: leave.
Finally, if you’re not going to program the site yourself, you better make sure to use someone talented. The web is experiencing exceptional growing pains these days. There are more ‘standards’, platforms, devices, browsers and languages than any sane person may care to count. You need to make sure you build a responsive website that is able to meet the needs of your customer. Your website must perform not just on traditional desktops and browsers, but on mobile devices like tablets and Smartphones. Without that ability, you will inevitably miss out on business.
Important Features of Websites for Designers