What is a website?
A website is a collection of interlinked web pages which share a common domain name. These pages are publicly-accessible on the Internet and are maintained by a person or group of people. In terms of a business website, this might be maintained by the business itself or an agency, such as our team at Rapid Agency. We offer web design services for a range of Belfast businesses.
Why you should consider web design for your Belfast business
A website is extremely beneficial to your business. In the age of all things digital, the legitimacy and professionalism of your business are questioned if you don’t have a website. Having an online presence with a website gives your customers peace of mind that you are real. In addition to this, you have the opportunity to give a great first impression.
There is several benefits to web design for your Belfast business, including:
Having a modern, updated website increases trust between your business and its customers. Customers who view your website online can physically see your professional presence. In the absence of a website, customers question your business’ legitimacy. Therefore, they become distrustful. Previously, a business without a physical address or phone number was questioned. Nowadays, this is also the case with websites and online presence. It is important to remember that while the majority of your customers are online, not everyone is on social media – presence through web design is important.
Websites are not just about aesthetic and looking professional. Alternatively, you can use websites for your own profitable advantage. There are a variety of available analytics tools to help you maximise your profits as a result of your online presence. These allow you to identify who your customer is. You can also discover how they stumbled upon your website, what demographic they are, and what they are interested in. By understanding your customer, you can improve on your weaknesses, and focus on your strengths.
No limit to your reach
When you are present online, you can reach anyone with access to the internet. Although you might be localised, there is no limit to which geographical locations you can focus on next. Absolutely everyone on the internet is a potential customer, and you should strategies on how to reach them.
Consider these things when designing your Belfast website
We already know that a website can help you identify your target audience, their demographics, and their interests. However, it’s important to understand how this fabricates itself in web design. Once your analytical tools have told you who you are targeting, it’s time to delve deeper.
There are several tools that you can use in creating your website to aid your business. For example, if you operate an ecommerce service, you might use Shopify. On the other hand, if you are writing a blog, you should consider WordPress. Selecting the correct platforms for your website is extremely important. This is because these platforms affect your user’s experience on your website. As well as this, these platforms help to optimise your website. This will ensure that your website is perceived by Google and other search engines as credible. When your website is credible, it is more likely to rank higher on search engine results pages.
“Every great web design begins with an understanding of who it is for.”
Your audience should also influence the design, platforms, and foundations of your website. For example, what age are they? Different age groups have different behaviours in the digital world. Your audience and their demographics should influence every decision you make along the way. From the language used (whether you are using jargon or layman’s terms) to the typography you choose (are they playful and fun, or formal and serious).
The design choices you make for your website are important. Your website is the first encounter your customer has with your brand. First impressions are important when it comes to web design, as it takes a user 50 milliseconds to make a first impression on your site. Make sure it’s a good one. You should treat your website as a shopfront, a shining introduction to your business – don’t let yourself down. There are so many factors to consider in the design of your website.
The Government has laid out a range of standards that must be met when designing a website surrounding accessibility. Websites should be made accessible to anyone with:
- Impaired vision
- Impaired hearing
- Motor difficulties
- Cognitive impairments
- Learning difficulties
When making your website more accessible for those with impaired vision, consider the colours you are using. For example, is there enough contrast between your background and text colours? If the colours are too similar, those with visual impairments will have difficulty divulging the information on your website. As well as this, it is not advisable to only convey information through colour. To display required fields, for example, you should use asterisks. This is, in contrast, to simply use different colours. Again, this is not visible to everyone.
How do I overcome accessibility issues in web design?
To overcome accessibility issues for those with impaired hearing, there are many available options. For example, by providing captions and subtitles. It is important to make sure that your audio and captions are synchronised correctly. Furthermore, you should ensure that all audio and video content is accurately summarised.
To overcome cognitive impairments or motor difficulties, you should ensure your web design is easy to navigate and use for everyone. Interactive elements on your website should be easily identifiable. Any clickable buttons should be easy to see and use. As well as this, clickable links should be styled differently from general text. That way, they are easier to use. Your navigation options on your web design should also be consistent. This makes them easier to identify for those with cognitive impairments as they are all the same.
Accessibility regulations have been in place in the UK since 2018. Therefore, there is an extensive list of aspects that should be considered when designing your website with accessibility in mind. The above recommendations are merely a starting point, further accessibility information can be found here. By prioritising accessibility in your web design, you can also improve your search engine rankings.
There are many things to consider when choosing a colour palette for your website. Firstly, consider your brand. What are your brand values? At Rapid Agency, we recommend you find 2-3 colour palettes that seem most suitable for your brand. Then, you can consider these and decide which best suits your brand. This can greatly affect viewers’ perceptions of your brand and your values. In addition to this, colour creates a mental association with your brand. Therefore, your customers can develop an emotional attachment to your brand, and they will have greater brand recognition.
When deciding on your colour scheme, it is also important to research colour psychology. Colour psychology relates to the perceptions of colour. Once we view a colour, our brain instantly releases chemicals. Over time, we have learned to associate colours with a range of emotions based on personal memories, places and events.
Therefore, you should consider exactly what message you want to send with your brand before you choose a colour palette. You can read more about the importance of choosing the correct colour in web design here.
The typography you choose is another important factor to consider in web design. This is another visual element of your website that affects how potential customers perceive your brand. Typography is an extremely powerful web design tool. This is because it has the power to communicate certain moods and feelings to your audience.
It is important to remain consistent with your chosen typographies. However, you might choose to have several typographies to represent your brand as opposed to just one. For example, you have your main font – the one that displays your website’s headlines and titles. Then, many brands include a secondary font. This is used for your main body text.
3. Navigation & Usability
The navigation and usability of your website affect how easily your visitors can make their way through your website. When you have good website navigation, your visitors have a more enjoyable experience. Therefore, the information they are searching for is located easily. A website that is difficult to use is likely to have a higher bounce rate. This is the percentage of users who leave your website after viewing the first page – you want to keep this as low as possible. Google is aware of your website’s bounce rate, and it can affect your rankings on search engine results pages.
Mobile optimisation is important in web design for your Belfast business
When we think about website visitors, we often imagine a user clicking onto our page from a desktop or laptop. Nowadays, this is not the case. In 2021, Statista recorded that over half of all online traffic originated from mobiles. This is excluding tablet devices such as iPads. Therefore, it is important to ensure your website’s navigation is optimised for use across all devices.
It’s clear that navigation is important to consider in web design. By giving your users a positive experience when they visit your website, it becomes more memorable. As a result, your customers are more likely to return to your website. Consider it yourself, have you ever returned to a website that didn’t work well on your mobile? Probably not.
4. Include important information & calls to action
Consumers are extremely busy and selective with their attention and time. In fact, it is estimated that customers only spend 8-15 seconds looking at a website, and only 28% of the words onscreen are read. Therefore, you have to be particular about the information you display on your website design. You can communicate key, important information to your customers with calls to action.
A call to action is essentially what you want your customer to do next. This might be a link to buy now, sign up for a newsletter, or simply move them forward through your website. It’s important to consider the exact purpose of your website – what do you want to achieve? Whether it’s sales, sign-ups, or brand awareness, you can direct your customers to exactly where you want them to be with the correct calls to action. Over time, you will reap the benefits of including the correct information on your website.
We already know that today’s customers are impatient. They want everything now, and if you can’t give them it now, they will find it somewhere else. Therefore, it is vital that your website is fast and has short loading times. Websites are hosted by a company that maintains and stabilises your website. They cost money, but this is returned when your customers are impressed.
In addition to this, speedy web design for your Belfast business is extremely beneficial for SEO. Google has over 200 ranking factors on their search engine. However, there are around 10 factors which are most important. One of these is page loading speed. If your website has slow loading times, you are less likely to rank higher than your competitors on search rankings. Make sure you invest in a fast web host!
The images on your web design affect your brand’s perceptions. It’s important to use high-quality images. Imagery is another visual indicator of your brand quality to consumers. If a new customer visits your website to find blurry images, it is likely they will perceive your brand as unprofessional.
At Rapid Agency, we often recommend our clients complete a photoshoot before designing their website. High-quality photography is extremely beneficial for your web design, as websites with good images receive over 90% more views than those without. If you don’t have the budget for a photo shoot, you can use stock imagery. However, we don’t always recommend this as it is difficult to find images that match your brand well. Consider the added value of good photography in showing your clients more of your business.
It’s time to focus on web design for your Belfast business
Web design can be very daunting for your Belfast business. There are many things to consider when designing your website, and it can be hard to know where to start. At Rapid Agency, we design websites for our clients with an extremely professional, affordable service. We focus on building bespoke websites catered to your unique needs, whilst also considering the optimisation of your website for SEO and mobile use.