Designing Your Business Website – Before You Begin
by Scott Riley
Let’s say that you have a killer idea for a new business website. It’s important that you stand out, but you don’t really know where to start. You’ve looked around online, but there is just too much information! How do you begin? Well, I’m glad you asked that question!
Before you start it’s important to have a clear understanding of some fundamentals. You need to know how to create the basis for the overall design and identify the structural components of a typical website. These include a distinctive business brand, and the standard structure of a business webpage.
This article will provide you with some information to use as a foundation upon which to build your spectacular new business website.
Creating a Business Brand
The first thing that you need to do is to create a business identity, or brand that will guide the design of your website. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you envision a well-known company? Most likely, it’s their logo or emblem, such as the Nike swoosh, Starbucks maiden or McDonald’s arches, and a specific color or colors – Facebook blue, Coke red, etc.
Okay, cool, but… how do you go about getting one of those for your own business?
Notice how I asked you to “envision” those companies? That was a clue.
You start with your own, unique vision of and for your business. Focus on the passion, drive and feeling you have for it. What does your business dream look like? How does it make you feel? How do you want it to make your audience feel? Focus on the energy behind and around it. Try to describe it by writing it down. Use adjectives and colors and emotions.
Now use your written description as a guide to do some rough sketching. This sketch will provide the foundation for your business website logo design and color palette, so be sure to indicate 2 or 3 colors that you prefer as well.
Once you have a sketch that captures the essence of your business, take it to a professional digital designer to develop a unique, custom logo. Your logo will be the core visual representing your business. It must be very clean, finely detailed, strong and dynamic to convey your business as an authoritative, active and well-organized enterprise.
Now that you have an awesome logo, it’s time to have the graphics and elements needed for your new business website designed. A good designer will create a coordinated color palette based on the primary colors used for your logo.
Understanding the Business Webpage Layout
Your business website pages can be styled with a custom background image or color, font-faces, styles, colors and other unique design elements.
Individual layout containers are placed on the Body and usually include a Header, Navigation Menu, Main Content, Sidebar (optional) and Footer.
The header, navigation menu and footer section elements are carried throughout the website.
The body encompasses the bulk of the page’s area, which can be set to a specific or full width. It’s the background upon which all other page elements are placed.
A menu will be needed to navigate your new website. It will contain links to each of the various pages or sections, typically Home, About, Services, and Contact.
The footer appears at the bottom of the web page and usually displays the navigation menu, copyright and contact information and other important data.
The header appears at the top of each page and contains your logo (with contact info), tagline, navigation menu and various optional items such as social media links, RSS feed and internal search form field.
The typography used throughout your business website must consist of consistent font sizes for the body text (p) and headings (H). There are 6 headings, gradually reducing in size, that are universally labeled as: H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, and H6.
The design of a business website may include one or more sidebars on each page or selected pages. Sidebars commonly feature info, links, video clips, search bars, tags, images, META data and more.
In order to keep your new website effective and running smoothly, you will need to maintain it. This requires scheduled time to perform various tasks, such as backups, inspection, testing, updates and repairs. New Domain Design offers two web maintenance plans that will attend to these items and much more. For more details, click here.
To learn about the essential items involved, you can download our website maintenance and protection guide for free (see below).
Designing a new business website requires research, inspiration and a solid understanding of the fundamental structure of a website before the project starts.
When I first started visiting my local gym to work out, my trainer said something that has applied to nearly every endeavor I’ve undertaken since. He said, “The hardest part isn’t the workout. The hardest part is opening the door.”
I hope that this short article has provided you with some clarity about how to find and open the “door” to start the design your new business website.
Next, be sure to check out our upcoming posts about the business website design process:
- Business Website Design – Initial Consultation Tips
- Your Business Web Design Proposal – What to Expect
- Business Website Design Creative Briefs – Important?
- Business Web Design Mock Up Process – Wireframing