Seven Must-Haves for Any Design Website
As the design industry continues to move into the digital world, websites have become a priority for brands and design professionals. Creating an online digital showroom and portfolio is one of the best ways to attract new clients while making your work accessible 24/7. Whether you’ve referred a potential client to your site or a user is finding you online for the first time, your website should be able to speak for you.
Here are seven must have’s for your design website:
1. Intuitive Design
The majority of your website visitors have visited countless other websites. When designing your site, you want to make sure to create a layout that is easy-to-use and simple to navigate in a way that feels natural. Users may not always comment if a website is easy to use, but will certainly point out if it's inconvenient. Take into account the use of colors and contrast to help position your page elements. Text, buttons, and other important items should contrast from its surroundings to ensure they are noticeable. Also make sure your links and navigation tools are arranged logically. If users have to sift through your website to find what they’re looking for, chances are they will end up looking elsewhere.
Make sure your website is optimized for all devices. More users are browsing the web via their smartphones and tablets, so your site needs to be designed to display correctly across each device. Picture this: a former client is mentioning you to a friend and they reach for their smartphone to look you up immediately. You only have one chance to make a first impression, so your website needs to be easy-to-use and easy to access at all times. Many website builders such as Squarespace and Wordpress have built-in preview tools so you can see how your site will look to end-users. If your site is managed through a web developer, be sure to request that your is responsive for all devices. This will also help your SEO as search engines like Google rank responsive websites higher than those that aren't.
3. High-Resolution Photos
In the design industry, your photos speak for themselves. If the quality of your images are bad, what are potential clients supposed to think about the quality of your work? You want to ensure your site has high-resolution web-optimized photos to highlight your work in the best way possible. When it comes to your website, quality is always better than quantity.
4. Contact Forms
Providing a way for people to reach you is extremely important. A contact form on your website should supply your contact information and allow users to immediately reach out or send an inquiry. Whether you are creating a designated contact page or embedding a form within a web page, make sure they are easy to find or risk losing a potential client. Also, be conscious of what information you are requesting. The required fields should be limited to only information you need to know (email, reason for inquiry, budget, etc.), or it may deter users from filling out your form.
5. Social Media Buttons
In addition to your contact information, providing links to your social platforms can also help to propel your business. Social networking can help to create awareness and generate more followers for your design business. If your business is active on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest, you may want to include button links to those platforms at the top or bottom of your site.
6. Content Management System
Even if you don’t plan on updating your website frequently, you still want control over editing content. If your website is managed by a web designer, ask them to implement a content management system (CMS) for the components that may need editing at some point. Maybe you want to update your portfolio or add a new blog post. With a CMS, you can skip over the coding and go straight to a form page that gives you the editing ability you need. Many website builders include this functionality, but if your website is custom coded, look into integrating a CMS.
Many sole proprietors use services like WordPress or SquareSpace. These solutions have a built-in CRM that make content changes quick and easy.
A blog is a great way to produce fresh new content at your own pace. Maybe you want to share updates on your latest project or share some exciting news about your business. Blogs help to drive new traffic to your website and can also help to boost your search engine rankings over time. Depending on how often you post, blogs can also be a great way to bring users back to your site to see the latest on what is going on.
Today the website is the new storefront. It's where people discover you and your work. As such, your website should be professional, easy to navigate, full of beautiful, high-quality images and encourage visitors to explore you and your brand. These seven steps will get you on your way to having a truly memorable and effective website.