Unless you have gone ahead and used one of those ready-made templates where you simply add in your own information, then you may be wondering how designers make unique looking websites. Well, aside from the knowledge and experience side of things, there are several other ways in which a good designer can take your brief and turn it into something that is indeed absolutely unique.
First, a designer should be able to look at your website, or ideas, and view it as a unique problem that needs to be solved. In all honesty, this has to be one of the most important points to be made because if a designer starts to view two websites in the same way, then it can lead to an amount of crossover in the design that may not be best for either website.
It can become all too easy for the web designer to fall into the trap of feeling very comfortable in what they are creating because it is the fourth construction company website that they have made in the last 12 months. Ultimately, ideas can be regurgitated, which is also not good, and there can be less of a creative flow that can ultimately hamper the final design of the website.
The best way to get around this is indeed to view each website as being a one-off problem that has to be resolved. If this is the approach that is taken, then solutions will also flow more easily, which is not exactly a bad thing.
Starting from Nothing.
A good designer will listen to your brief and then start from absolutely nothing with the design. That means it is built from the ground up because taking an existing website and then personalizing it is going to lead to that crossover issue that we mentioned earlier.
If a website is constructed from point zero, then the chances of it being unique in every way is only going to be increased. It creates a certain freshness about it all and that can only be a good thing for the client.
Research is Everything.
To get a unique looking website, there has to be an amount of research undertaken to ultimately get the rough outline of the website which can then be added to as the project progresses. A designer going into a project blindly is increasing the chances of making mistakes, and that should clearly be avoided.
The designer should carry out research into the company they are working for, the market they are in, the competition, the color schemes that work well for the branding, and the key mistakes that need to be avoided. Failure to do any of this is only going to result in a relatively botched attempt to produce something that is satisfactory to the client. If you do not prepare, then you will more than likely fall back to previous designs and use them as your inspiration which can, as a result, lead to a number of parts effectively being copied.
But then, there is a point that should also be made in that you are going to find it very difficult to have something that is indeed completely unique. There will always be minor aspects that are effectively borrowed from elsewhere, but it is the overall scheme of things and the way in which they are all put together that is the key.
A designer is going to be aware of this, but they will not allow it to cloud their thinking. Instead, they will accept those aspects and continue working towards the brief in order to ultimately produce something that is unique for that client.
Even though having a template where you just add your own text is tempting, it can affect the way in which people view you as a company. Having something that is functional and delivers on what you need is the most important thing of all. So what if something is not 100% unique. If it provides to you what you need in your website, then that is key and if the designer has been able to achieve your brief and produce something that works and represents your brand, then the overall project should then be viewed as being a success.
The number of ways in which you can design your website is pretty much infinite. The variations in placement of sections, the way in which text or images are presented, the colors, the links to other pages or social media, the list just continues on for an eternity.
But then, with so many different options available, and people that want to include as much as possible on their website, it does lead to the question as to whether or not your website can be too distracting?
The key to answering this question will clearly lie in two different areas, the design and also the amount of content that you plan on including. The two work side by side and one can certainly influence the other, so there must be a sense of harmony for your entire website to then be able to function correctly.
Including too Much.
A major first hurdle that must be overcome is the apparent fear that is held by so many people regarding the amount of information that they should include on a single page. They worry that if they miss something out that it could lead to the visitor to their website not doing what they want them to do and going elsewhere, and the fear is very real.
The outcome of this is that people effectively tell their life story on a page as they feel that including all of the information that the visitor could ever hope to know will somehow make things so much better. Well, it doesn’t.
Instead, what it does is that the visitor lands on a page and is immediately confronted by a headache. All they see is text and information before them and they have no idea where to begin. Their eyes end up effectively shooting across the page and their brain makes valiant attempts to process the information, but it is not always that easy.
Think of it from this perspective.
If you owned a physical store, then your storefront is important when it comes to getting people to step inside. However, do you try and include every single product that you have for sale in the window?
Of course not as that would be crazy, and the same principles apply to your website. As with the window, you want to carefully select some of the best things about what you do and what you offer to entice people into viewing additional pages that they can then explore to learn more about you.
An Unplanned Design.
Careful thought has to go into the design of any page as it has been shown that individuals have a tendency to view things in an easy to follow manner. You need the design to flow as easily as possible so that the visitor can move between the different parts without feeling as if they have been overwhelmed.
If you look at successful websites, then there is a clear structure and a single page will be broken up into identifiable sections that all play an individual role in the overall make-up of the page. Spend some time studying other website and check out the kind of information that they are including in each section as this alone will help you with your own design.
Clearly, the design aspect can only really be achieved when you have worked on the information that is to be included. Once again, your research will allow you to determine which areas are working well along with those that are going against you.
Early websites did have a tendency to throw things together in a more haphazard way, but the understanding of the overall design and attention span of visitors to websites has ultimately led to things being streamlined somewhat. There is a reason why we now have a preference for more simplistic websites that are clearly defined, and it is because we just do not have the time, not the inclination, to work our way through websites that just swamp us with information.
The most important thing of all is to avoid falling into that trap of worrying about what to include and what to exclude on your site. Instead, focus more on building a structure of internal pages that can still get all of your points across, but in a way that will not swamp your visitor. If they are interested enough in you, they will trawl through your website, so you really do have nothing to fear.
One of the many things that good web design should ultimately be able to avoid is that rather annoying point where there is some spare space on a page on your website. The plan should always lead to every space being covered, or any gaps should be planned and not take the eye away from the key components of the page itself.
However, there are a growing number of people that are making attempts to create their own basic website via a range of packages and software that is available online, and that is leading to several problems.
One major problem is to do with the layout of a page, and in particular the home page, where you may be suddenly faced with some rather annoying spaces on your website that just do not make sense. From the perspective of an individual landing on your website, it gives the impression of something being disorganized and the feeling that you just do not have too much to say, which is not exactly going to be beneficial to you.
Ultimately, having gaps can work against you, but how do you avoid it in the first place?
- Think Carefully.
The first thing is to think carefully about what is going on that page. You may very well be using a template as a guide, but there are times where you simply do not have enough to say and run the risk of repeating yourself so you then leave parts out leading to these spaces.
People think that a template is going to solve all of their problems, but that is only true if you know how to manipulate the template to fit into your own vision. It is not really there for you to just throw your own information into it because then your website is not unique and looks like countless others out there, which is hardly good on your part either.
- Draw it Out.
Drawing the layout of the page on paper before you get started with the design does help you to ascertain as to whether or not there will be spaces that you have to deal with. In this drawing, you do not have to write down absolutely everything that you plan on writing, but just be aware of sub-headings for each part or what is intended to go in a key section of that page.
Drawing it out first also then means you are less likely to see a page all put together and then discover that certain aspects just do not work together. It is easier to change a drawing rather than move entire sections around which can then throw out the design in other areas, but there is still very much the possibility of that happening anyway, so this is not a fail-proof idea.
- Find the Balance of What to Say.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to website pages. There are some that argue you should include as much information as possible while there are others that certainly fall into the other camp.
Finding the balance of what to say will help with your plan, and it will then reduce the chances of there being those rather annoying spaces that can then become a problem. Look at other websites that are in the same industry or field as you and see what kind of information they are putting on their website. How much do they actually divulge?
Make life easier by creating bullet points of the information and then decide which areas you wish to expand upon. Look at the drawing of the layout and see how it all fits together like a puzzle or how you can use variations of placing text so that everything combines well together. Once again, this is something that can be harder to do when you are just using a template alongside having limited knowledge.
Discovering that there are spaces on your website is annoying as well as being distracting for your visitors, but it is a problem that can be fixed as well as one that can be avoided. You cannot leave it alone in the hope that nobody notices as that will just reflect poorly on both you and your website, which you certainly do not want.
Space can be good in certain areas, but the layout of your website is not one of them. If you are having any issues, then seeking professional help to rectify them will mean that those issues are resolved immediately.
If you have an e-commerce website, or are planning to have one, then you are going to need to turn your attention towards a payment gateway. However, the problem is that there are so many to choose from, so making the correct selection may not be as straightforward as you think.
This does then mean that you could be confused as to which company you should select and partner with for your website. After all, you want to be absolutely certain that everything is going to run in a smooth manner because, if it doesn’t, then you will have a whole host of other issues to contend with.
The Role of the Payment Gateway.
First, let’s look at the actual role of the payment gateway to provide you with a better understanding of what is going on.
People come to your website to hopefully purchase something. In order to do so, you need to provide a shopping cart and checkout which then leads them to a screen where they can enter their payment details. That is where the payment gateway is going to appear.
The payment gateway allows you to collect payment which is then sent to your bank account resulting in you having actual turnover and money in your account. It is the absolute basic requirement for your e-commerce website to be able to function or else you will just be unable to get any kind of money for your products.
Selecting Your Payment Gateway.
Selecting your payment gateway is not always as easy as you would think, and there is more to it than just having difficulty in choosing what to use from the plethora of options that are out there. Instead, you also have to look at the e-commerce software, or script, that you are using to run your store as not every gateway is going to be compatible for each script.
The good news is that the companies behind the actual e-commerce scripts will tell you which gateways can be linked up so that the entire process works in a seamless fashion. This alone will prevent you from getting a real headache when things just don’t want to link up in the manner that they should.
However, there is also more to it than just being aware as to which options are compatible. Instead, you must also think about the payment aspect as that too is going to play a role.
Different payment gateways are going to charge various transaction rates, and even the way in which they are calculated can differ. Some will charge a percentage. Some will charge a percentage plus a small fee, so looking around at the various options is advisable as it could save you a substantial amount of money.
Also, you have to think about when you will receive your money because not every payment gateway is going to supply you with your money in a short period of time. As you browse your options, you will notice that while some allow you to withdraw your money almost immediately, others will hold onto it for a period of time, sometimes over 30 days. From a financial and business point of view this is something that must be taken into consideration with your budget as you must be able to factor this into the equation before you launch or you will run into cashflow issues.
The main point we are making here is that you cannot just opt for the first payment gateway that you come across as there is no cast-iron guarantee that it is going to work in your favor. Compatibility, costs, times to withdraw cash are all key points that must be considered before moving forward. You need this part of your website to run as smoothly as possible because it will ultimately lead to people dumping their shopping cart and going to another website where they are not having the same issues.
Of course, you can make life so much easier for yourself by merely getting some professional help and advice from your web designer. They will not only advise you on the best gateway to suit your needs, but they can also make sure that it is connected in the correct and proper manner so everything runs as smoothly as possible from the outset.
Recently, there has been an increase in the popularity of the pop-up live chat box on a whole host of websites. Previously, this would have primarily been the domain of nationwide companies that had the infrastructure to contend with this part of customer service, but that is no longer the case.
However, the real emergence of this approach does then lead to a rather interesting question regarding web design as it leads to a discussion as to whether this pop-up chat is best, or a pop-up info box. You need to remember that the key aspect for most websites is the ability to convert those visitors into customers, or to get them to perform the action you are looking for, so getting to grips with this decision can be more important than you think.
The Pop-Up Info Box.
One of the main reasons for using the pop-up info box is to gather together subscribers or leads. Y
However, this free gift is merely the hook by which they hope to catch you, but as these boxes appear in a prominent position, it is difficult to simply not see them and avoid what they are saying. Ultimately, with them also generally offering something for free, then you can perhaps understand as to why it can have a relatively good success rate.
But, there are a number of problems and issues.
Often, visitors will regard this box as being rather intrusive as it comes up without them asking for it and sticks itself right in front of their nose. Also, it can appear at different times as some use it when you land on a page while others it is when you try to leave. Once again, this can irk some individuals and they will not complete the form just on that basis alone.
The Pop-Up Instant Chat.
The other option we are looking at is the instant chat box, and this does operate differently compared to the info box that we mentioned earlier. With this, the visitor is encouraged to go ahead and engage with a customer service representative via an instant messenger style app. This app can appear in either a pop-up form, or a button to access it will be displayed quite prominently on the website.
Of course, with this option there is the advantage of the visitor being able to talk to a real person, and studies have shown that this approach can lead to more sales on an e-commerce website. Indeed, growth has grown by approximately 30% after individuals have been able to converse via this live chat option.
So, which option is best for your website and has the potential to lead to a greater number of conversions?
Well, the answer to that lies in what you want to get from your website in the first place. If you are merely wanting to gather together names for a subscriber list, then a live chat would be a waste of time and money. However, if you want to convert to sales, then allowing visitors to deal with a real person can help to sway those individuals that were rather uncertain as to what they would do.
Also, there is no reason why you should not go ahead and use both options on your website, but then you certainly do not wish to be too intrusive as that in its own right could drive people away from you. In other words, striking the correct balance will prove to be a rather important and essential decision to make.
In conclusion, it has to be said that either option does have the potential to boost your website, but it is how you use both methods that will prove to be the key. You simply cannot look at including these approaches when you are merely doing so to follow the trend as that in itself can be counter-productive. Instead, seek some advice from your web designer who will be able to advise you as to whether or not it would indeed be a good idea. After all, they are the experts, so their advice will often prove to be invaluable.