Bill Bowerman didn’t design ballet shoes. As the University of Oregon’s track and field coach in the 1950s, Bowerman wasn’t looking to help dancers make it into national productions of Swan Lake. He was looking to help his runners make it around the track faster than anyone else. Knowing why he was making shoes helped him design a running shoe that would eventually lead to the creation of Nike.
Great businesses—and great websites—are not built on “what,” but on “why.” Everyone already knows what a website is. The question you need to ask yourself during the design process is “Why am I putting it out there?”
What do you want to Convey?
Every website has a purpose. It might provide information. It might advertise a product or service. It might sell directly. Before beginning any website design, determine what you want that website to do. A website that is purely informational will have a very different design than a website that demands action.
What do you want People to do?
Different websites have different calls to action. Retails sites want visitors to buy, charity sites want visitors to donate or volunteer, gaming sites want visitors to play. Whatever the purpose of your site, whatever action you would like visitors to take, it’s up to you, and the design of your site, to make that action easy for them.
The popular video site YouTube wants users to watch videos. They put the search box at the top center of the main page, making it easy for visitors to find what they want to watch. When a user clicks a video, the video screen and Play button appear front and center, making it easy to take action.
How can you help Yourself?
Once you know what your website needs to convey, make sure that message appears on every page. It doesn’t have to be repetitive and irritating. If you’re running a charity organization, a single “Donate” button that appears in the same spot on each page is a simple way of keeping the option to donate available to visitors without pressure.
Care in your web hosting is also essential. Business web hosting needs to be reliable, so your site stays up, and the purpose of your site will determine your hosting needs. A purely informational website that demands little user action doesn’t need the same resources of an action-dependent site that hosts videos or games requiring a lot of bandwidth. However, having a hosting package with too little bandwidth can result in slow loading, extra charges and even the shutdown of your site.
A hosting company that specializes in small business sites can help you determine which type of hosting package is right for you, but always pay attention to your site’s actual usage. If your hosting package is too big, you’re paying for resources you don’t need.
Designing a business website is much like launching the business itself. There’s a reason you’re doing it. Once that reason is clear, you can incorporate it into your website design, choose the right business web hosting package and give visitors a unique, compelling experience.