Start with Website Strategy, Not Design

As I was preparing my new website for launch so many thoughts about website design and life, in general, were rolling around in my head. Website design isn’t necessarily about a client’s idea of “design” at all. Design isn’t just about pretty colors and typography. Website design starts with the website strategy — goals, intentions, layout. Colors and typography play a big role, but I rarely start the process there. Like anything I do, it doesn’t make sense to create the “thing” if I don’t know what the purpose is or what goal I’m trying to achieve.

Whenever I move, I bring all of the boxes into the house and spend a few weeks putting the house together. In most cases, the rooms have a clear plan and the objective is straightforward. There isn’t a lot of room for strategy. The living room has the cable outlet on a wall that already makes sense. It makes things easy.

But then comes the kitchen. Oh my, the kitchen. If I’m being 100% honest, after several months, I am still rearranging things in the kitchen. Why? Because when I’m in the kitchen I need so much more efficiency. I want my user experience to be seamless, easy, and logical — just like it should be on your website.

If you’ve read my bio, you know that I love color, typography, and images. I just know that these elements aren’t the first step in web design. Strategy is. So, where does website strategy start? What should you be thinking about?

Every website designer works differently. They all have different steps in their process, but the basics are almost always the same. Below is a really brief overview of parts of the website design process and some areas to start thinking about.

Start with these six areas of website strategy

GOALS

This is actually much easier than it sounds. Just ask yourself, what do I want people to do when they visit my site? Schedule a discovery call? Subscribe to my email list? Register for my webinar or course? Buy a specific product? If you’re building your email list, don’t send them to your affiliate sites first. Do that from your emails once they’re on your list.

Because I work with high touch business owners, building an email list is a great option for them. They enjoy talking to their people and sending regular emails is a great way to add another layer of communication.

SEO

Yes, I brought it up because it’s that important. There is so much on this topic alone and I’m not saying you have to be deep in SEO, but you do need to know what your people are searching for and that your content speaks to that. If you’re working with an SEO specialist they need a place to start their work. Adding SEO to your website design with us is super-easy and very affordable.

COPY

Copy is a huge part of your brand identity and can be one of the biggest hurdles business owners face. You only have a few seconds to convey your message to a visitor and your copy needs to grab their attention quickly. It is also who you are and, while it must be written for your site visitor, it should be written in your voice. Copy is the piece that supports much of the layout during the design process.

LAYOUT AND NAVIGATION

The layout and navigation relate directly to each other and direct the flow of your site. Your website layout is one of my main thoughts in website design. The user experience, much like in my kitchen, needs to be smooth and super-easy for your visitors to navigate. If a visitor gets lost, they will almost always leave and they’ll leave frustrated. And I don’t have to tell you that that is never a good thing.

COLORS AND TYPOGRAPHY

Color and typography is another piece your brand identity. You can read more about that in this Hubspot article. It defines brand identity beautifully.

The color and typography part of your brand identity has a job to do in your website design. It helps to create division in your copy, making it easier for visitors to follow the path you’ve laid out and it highlights your calls to action. Super-simple but very important.

ACCESSORIES

Oh, we all love good accessories but don’t overdo it. Accessories for your website might be a YouTube channel, a Facebook group, other social media sites, a podcast, or free webinars. There are tons of ways to accessorize your website, but I am a fan of simplicity. I believe it is always better to do fewer things really well rather than #allthethings with half of your time and attention.

These pieces must work together to create a site that is both beautiful and effective.

The important take away is that while color and typography are very important to your brand, they aren’t necessarily the first thing to focus on when designing your website. As I stood in my kitchen, the colors and accessories were the furthest things from my mind. I adore a gorgeous room, but I also need my kitchen to feel so efficient that it’s effortless to move around and find what I need. I want your website visitors to feel that way and that requires you to invest some time into planning the whole design, not just the pretty pieces.