Your website is perhaps the most important and essential part of your business — your 24hr business card and your #1 sales tool — so naturally, you want to get it right. And preferably the first time.
Building a website can seem like a daunting experience – you’ll probably encounter terms and concepts that sound pretty damn foreign – and I’m not going to lie, there is a lot involved to get it right for your brand.
Having somewhat of an understanding, though, will help make the process a hell of a lot smoother as well as help you make more informed decisions. It will also help with your own research and earn you brownie points with a professional designer.
Here’s a list of 15 essential design features & terms required to create an effective website:
The unique address that directs to a specific web page (http://www.yourawesomewebsite.com). A domain refers to the name of a website (yourawesomewebsite.com).
A uniquely designed graphic that represents your brand. A wordmark or logotype is simply your brand name written in any kind of font in place of a graphic logo.
Commonly displayed as a horizontal bar within the header, the navigation bar is made up of menu items that link to specific pages or locations within your website.
The top section of your website that holds your logo, heading, navigation and often the banner image as well. The header commonly appears on every page of your website, except on sales or landing pages, and is one of the most valuable areas of your entire site.
5. Banner/Hero Image
The banner image – or hero image – is the star attraction for each page to capture your customer’s attention and entice them to explore your website further. It can be a relevant photo, a branded graphic or even a video that spans the top of the page.
Headings are anchors that guide visitors through the text of a website. Readers pay particular attention to headings so they should be informative and enticing so your potential customers read on. They should also indicate what the following paragraph is about.
Sub-headings back up the heading with a bit more information or a teaser into what the following paragraph is about.
8. Call To Action
Visitors of your website like to be directed on which action to take next. Cue the call-to-action (CTA), commonly a ‘buy now’, ‘sign up’, ‘read more’ etc., CTA’s are actionable links that guide your customer to the information you want them to see next.
9. Content Area
This is the guts of your site; the area where your copy (text) and images go. Keep in mind, people want the right kind of content, not more content, so make it count.
11. Opt-in Form
An opt-in is when someone is given the option to provide their email to your mailing list/newsletter, typically in exchange for some sort of freebie. Growing your email list is an essential part of your marketing plan and growing your business so you want an opt-in!
12. Social Media Icons
Commonly displayed in the footer and/or the header, social media icons are important little links that connect the user to your social media pages.
13. Search Field
A search box allows users to search for specific content or search terms within a website. These are particularly relevant for online stores and are really helpful if the user can’t find the desired content in the main navigation.
A small, personalised icon associated with a website, typically displayed in the address bar of a web browser. (Pronounced ‘fave-icon’.)
The sidebar is a column that is positioned on either the left or right side of the general content area. Kind of like a side note, they house extra bits of content.