BUSINESS SIDEKICK

#02: How to Design a Killer Website from Scratch
15 April 2016
00:00 00:00 CC Download
“Regardless of whether you’re going to build your website by your own or you’re going to outsource it, you should be aware of these facts.”

From today’s episode you’ll learn:

  • why making a user-friendly, easy to use, and delightful website translates into traffic,
  • why making a good research is so important,
  • how to evaluate if a website is effective,
  • what are the basic tips on making a good website,
  • why constant improvement of your website is important for your PR.

You’ll also hear two quick chats I had with Ania, a UX designer, and Julia, a graphic designer.

Enjoy!

Podcast transcript

Hi all! Welcome to the second episode of Business Sidekick!

In the latest episode, I was talking about how you can spy on your competition. I told you about best spy tools, and I have shared with you LiveChat ways of gathering feedback from customers.

From today’s episode of Business Sidekick, you’ll learn how to make sure that your website it’s effective, user-friendly and fetching. I’ve asked our website experts to share with you theirs knowledge about web design and user experience.

Regardless of whether you’re going to build your website by your own or you’re going to outsource it, you should be aware of the facts we are going to discuss today.


You have probably seen at least a couple of really seductive websites that you didn’t want to leave. Maybe you liked the gallery of Mulberry handbags or maybe you couldn’t stop browsing through KFC menu trying to decide what to order.

There is something that makes those websites awesome, and it’s not only the looks: it’s the design. Design, that was made for you – a website visitor.

User experience design, or UX design is all about useful, easy to use, and delightful websites. I would say that it’s just as important as the visual identity. The reason is simple: you can have the best application or the most beautiful website in the world, but it doesn’t matter if people don’t know how to interact with it.

Here’s a quick chat I had with Ania, our UX designer, about the basics of user experience design on e-commerce websites.


Justyna: Can you tell us what’s the mysterious UX?

Ania: Well, UX is user experience, and basically it consists of all aspects of the user’s interactions with your website or product.

Justyna: So as a UX designer, your mission is to make a website user-friendly.

Ania: Exactly.

Justyna: Can you give us few tips on how to create such website?

Ania: Yes, first of all do a proper market research. You need to learn what your customers like… or maybe not and what are their needs.

Justyna: You already know that guys, because you have listened to the previous episode of Business Sidekick!

Ania: Also don’t forget about your competitors because sometimes checking their websites, or products, to find the common features may be really helpful. For example, you can go to an online store with clothes and see how they handle with the navigation bar, what are the categories, sections…

Justyna: OK, when we were talking about this previously, you said that navigation bar is very important.

Ania: Yes, because your customers should be able to properly navigate through your website and of course without any trouble or even without, you know, too much thinking about.

Justyna: It should be natural!

Ania: Yes!

Justyna: Are there any best practices to create a good navigation bar?

Ania: Yes, you can create something that is called information architecture and basically it’s about organizing the content meaningfully, so when you go to – again – online store with clothes, you can see different categories for women, for men, for kids for example and that’s, basically speaking, the information architecture.

Justyna: OK, so how about pricing, “about” sites…

Ania: Well, it depends on the industry. For example we have software…

Justyna: You’re talking about our LiveChat site?

Ania: Of course, because we’re the best!

Justyna: Yeah, we are!

Ania: What’s important for us and for our customers is all the information about product, so features, integrations, pricing and maybe some case studies, opinions from our customers and all that stuff.

Justyna: It makes a website more user-friendly. Is there anything else?

Ania: Yes. Visual design. You need to remember about readability and transparency. U can use different colors, different sizes of elements and different fonts to highlight the most importants things. Play with contrast (but not too much, because your site still needs to be easy to read) and of course you can separate different content visually. So for example you can create some columns and larger column has more important information, right?

Justyna: Yes, and the most important is call to action, isn’t it?

Ania: It’s very important. You should always have it. When it comes to call to action, it should be visible at the glance. The best example is checkout process in online store as there’s one particular action for users and of course important for you, and it’s checkout. User needs to do some shopping and pay for it. And really helpful are the call to action buttons which need to stand out. Maybe you can use red color when you have white or blue website. To sum it up, as long as you understand your users and do a market research and follow the rules I’ve mentioned before, so navigation and information architecture, your product probably will meet your customers need and sell itself. But don’t sit back and relax! Only constant optimization will result in returning and loyal customers. Even if someone is designing the site for you, you can always check it, because you have knowledge right now!

Justyna: It’s a great mistake, isn’t it? That people are creating their websites and they don’t do anything with it for years.

Ania: Yes, it’s actually kind of sad when I’m searching through the Internet and I come to the website that looks like… OMG, it’s so 2002!

Justyna: Exactly! So, guys, remember about market research, check your competitors and remember about…

Ania: 2016!

Justyna: Yes, 2016! Good luck! Thank you, Ania!

Ania: Thank you.


Let’s sum it up: do your market research. Checking out your competitor’s websites can be inspiring for you. Make sure that your landing pages are optimized for users and that they have simple navigation and clear calls to actions.

And, once you have your website ready, try to test how does it work for you.

  • Do you like the way you can browse through products?
  • Do you have any problems with adding products to a cart?
  • Does a payment go smoothly?
  • Are there any unnecessary steps you could remove from the buying process?

These are the questions you should ask yourself if you want your website to be usable and customer-friendly. And don’t worry, you don’t have to have a great UX knowledge to evaluate if the website is usable or not.


The next step in creating our website is thinking about visuals. Visuals are as important as a copy that you’re going to publish on your website, so let’s listen to tips from Julia, our graphic designer.

Justyna: Can you tell something about the basics of designing a website? What should a person that wants to have a nice website do?

Julia: So, first of all do market research to find what your competitors do. But remember: do not copy. Your website has to be unique. There are lot of platforms like Dribbble or Behance where you can find professional designers and this is a perfect place for looking for the newest trends in designing.

Justyna: And inspiration as well. Can you tell us why do website needs to be so trendy and fresh?

Julia: It has to be eye-catchy so visitors want to explore your website and spend their time there. If your website is unattractive and old-fashioned, it also means that maybe you don’t care about improving your product or services.

Justyna: OK, can you give me some basic tips on website design?

Julia: Design has to be simple. You should avoid using some unnecessary elements. You should use few fonts and simple color pallette. Maybe three, four colors…

Justyna: And how many fonts?

Julia: Also around three, four. Not more, it’s maximum. If you decide to use some pale colors, stay with that. Don’t mix it with any other bright colors.

Justyna: Is there a website where you can download free fonts?

Julia: There is one, which I really like to use. It’s Font Squirrel. You can find there a lot of fonts for free commercial use.

Justyna: And how about pictures? If someone wants to find nice graphics or photos for commercial use, are there any sites where you can find them?

Julia: Yes, there are few, for example Pixabay, Unsplash or Flickr.


Julia, as well as Ania, recommends doing a market research, checking your competitor’s websites and thinking about what you like and what would fit your brand’s personality.

Don’t use huge images if you don’t want your website to be slow. Always use graphics and pictures that fit the content and, for heaven’s sake, don’t use anything that blinks, flashes or rotates! Don’t ask why, just believe me that it’s terrible :)

Remember about whitespace so a website looks clear and aesthetic. Try to limit the number of different fonts to 3 and stick to the standard font families. I know that sticking to Helvetica or Arial might sound boring, but thanks to this your website will look correct on more browsers.


Last but not least, it’s time for the technical aspects of your website.

If you’re crazy enough to try to build a website by your own, you need to get your domain name, choose your web host and create your website, for example on WordPress.

You have to select a shopping cart, choose your e-commerce platform so your customers can easily buy your products or services.

Then you need to set up your store and set up a payment gateway. Oh, and you need to remember about the security because your customers will leave their credit card details on your website.

It’s a lot of things to remember, isn’t it?

The good thing is that you don’t have to know which hosting is the best. Or what would be a better e-commerce platform for you: Shopify or Bigcommerce.

Luckily, there are other ways to watch over the process of building a website.

There are companies like Wix.com, Godaddy.com or Squarespace.com that will get you covered.

They will make sure that you will get a professional website that will meet your customers’ needs, but it doesn’t mean that your job is done here.

Before you approve the project, you need to put yourself in your customers’ shoes and test your new website carefully.

Ask yourself a couple of questions: do visuals capture the spirit of your brand? Is the website aesthetic and clear? Is it easy and intuitive to navigate through your website? Can you purchase a product or service without a problem?

Remember that other companies might be better in making websites or creating payment platforms, but you are the only person that know your business best.


OK That’s all folks!

Thanks for listening, I hope you’ve learned something valuable from today’s episode. If you have any questions or requests, leave a comment!

For more information about Business Sidekick check out our website livechatinc.com/podcast. Don’t forget to sign up for email notifications to stay in touch as I’m sure you don’t want to miss another episode where I will share our insights into how to write damn good copy for your website!

Take care!

#Content Marketing #Marketing

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