When you embark on the journey of creating a brand new website or even when you want to revamp an old one, there is actually quite a few elements to think about. Most people know they need copy and images, but don’t realise there are a number of other areas to consider when creating a website, so I thought I would go into each of them for you! Enjoy.
TIP: If want to watch a series of FREE videos where I go into each of these steps in more detail, you can sign up for the Website Preparation Course.
Your branding is the face of your business and incorporates, colour, style, fonts, photography etc … it is essentially your ‘look and feel’ plus how you want people to see and respond to your business. It is 100% worth investing money into getting a professional to help you put together your branding. Your brand should be consistent on your website, print material, social media, business card etc … so we also recommend you put together a style guide so that each time you create something new for your business you don’t go off track with your branding.
When having your logo designed for your website, you will need to consider the type of website navigation you want to go for, if it is a thin navigation then your logo for the website will need to be longer and narrow as opposed to square. If you are going for centre navigation with the logo above it, then you can go for a bigger logo. Consider if you want a design element with your logo or just font? We would recommend having different versions of your logo made so it can sit on a black or a white background equally well as you will need to use it in social media and other graphics. Also have a square and a rectangle version, again so it can be used in different places. You want to make sure your logo will become instantly recognisable to your audience and the public.
Your website will need one signature colour for the main elements on the site and we would recommend choosing 1-2 other secondary colours to use as a contrast. Check out other websites and Pinterest for inspiration. Also have a look at Adobe Color, which lets you create colour schemes with the colour wheel or browse thousands of colour combinations from the Adobe Color community. Or another similar site is Colour Lovers. You might also want to consider the psychology of colours if that is something you are into.
Another important design element of your website is the font and we suggest you choose 2- 3 fonts to use throughout your design that you will carry through on your website, print, social media graphics etc. See if you can find inspiration and ideas of fonts you like on Pinterest or you can check out one of the many font specialty sites like Typekit or Fonts.com. Bear in mind that most website themes are compatible with Google fonts and they are free so they are a great idea to use these, as you may need to customise your website / theme to include fonts that are not part of the Google fonts range. There are also design awards for creativity on the Internet, so you can get a feel for what is popular at the moment.
This is how the menu will look at the very top of your website. It usually consists of your logo or website name and links to the other pages on your website such as ‘About’, ‘Blog’ or ‘Shop’ if you have one. You can have a plain white background, coloured background, or your menu can appear as part of your main banner. See examples below and select your style, or if you would like something different, take a screenshot from a website you have seen with the same menu and upload your example below.
One of the things that will make your site stand out from the others … is photography, but not just any ole photos … good quality, relevant and unique photography is very worthwhile spending money on. Either by purchasing some good stock photography (but try not to make it look too much like stock photos) or hire someone to do a photo shoot specifically for your website branding. You may decide to go with graphics or video as the focus content on your website but if you do decide to use photography, you can check out our blog on the best free stock image websites.
People love videos and if you are able to produce a short video that can explain or sum up who you are and what your business does in less than 2 minutes, then you will find that it can assist with conversion greatly, particularly if the call to action is clear at the end. You will find that a lot of websites are now using intro videos on the home page; it is also a cool trend to use moving video backgrounds as part of their banners, which we talk about below. When you are using videos on your website or perhaps you will be using video for social media, please make sure they are branded and include your logo, or even better a custom made intro, and the outro should have your website or call to action.
When I say banners, I mean the headers that can be placed on the top of your home page, not all websites choose to use them, however, if you do, they are a great way to highlight exactly what you offer and what your website stands for ‘at a glance’. When someone lands on your website you have approx. 3-8 seconds to ‘grab’ their attention and make them want to look around and find out more. So by placing one or more banners on your website (you can have a series and make them auto-rotate) you can get that message across and direct them to the action you want them to take immediately. Sometimes the banner incorporates the photography we already mentioned or what is often called a hero image. Like everything else, it needs to be professional and good quality otherwise, it will reflect poorly on your business.
Website icons or signature elements
When you start looking around at websites for inspiration, you will notice a lot of them tend to have ‘signature’ element or icon that they use throughout the website and it usually carries through on the social media and other branding material. Think the Google icons, the Nike tick or the twitter bird. It could also form part of your logo and is usually in your ‘signature’ colour as well. You might use it as a favicon (the icon that shows at the top of your browser tab) or as little bullet points or in a myriad of different ways. It’s not essential to your website but it can be a cool way to give yourself a point of difference and something that others might recognise you for.
We hope this information has helped to get you started on your Website journey.
If you are thinking about or in the process of creating a website and are not sure where to start, I have created a FREE Website Preparation Course specifically for YOU, which will take you through everything from choosing a theme, preparing images, using photoshop, where to get good stock images, branding, website copy and more. It will mean the difference between a SO SO and a SENSATIONAL website!ACCESS THE FREE WEBSITE PREPARATION COURSE