Website Design Basics

A simple guide to planning your website

What will my website look like?

 

The easy answer:

We can make a website look however you want it to look!

 

The longer, more brutal, answer:

Today, many websites rely on big, beautiful images to create a look.

 

We can say though, with almost 100% certainty, the majority of clients do not have access to, or the budget for the sorts images that are suitable for this style of design.

 

While there are options to source images, including stock photography, or hiring a photographer, there are other design options that we can propose that will create a successful online presence for your business.

 

The look of your site also comes down to your own tastes and preferences;  and what one client will love, another will hate. As there is no right or wrong answer, the best way to get started is:

 

1. Find some websites you like the look of that can be used as a discussion point.

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2. Collect all your assets (text, images, etc.) so we can have a look at what you have and set realistic expectations up front. Only when we can see everything you have available to you, can we guide you on the best approach.

 

And if you want big, beautiful images, but don't have your own? We can point you in the right direction to find some great generic images at the right price!

 

It's all the the planning

 

Pixelated Commerce's website packages have been designed to be simple to understand in terms of what they offer.

But what about the site itself?

We understand that for many clients out there, planning a website and understanding the various aspects involved is often as clear as mud.

We like to keep everything upfront, which makes everyone comfortable before starting,  so we have created this basic 4 point guide to help you understand, and plan, your new website as simply as possible...

1: How big should it be?

The most simple way to think about your new website is that it's similar to a magazine with a front cover and pages inside. Depending how complex your business is, the amount of 'internal' pages will vary, from as few as one, to as many as ten or more.

When thinking about your business as a website, think about what it might look like if it were a printed magazine.

Here's a simple, guide that may help...

 

Website Plan

The design of your website is driven by the amount of pages and the way you want to convey your information to your visitors.

If you have a simple business, you may consider a single page site, where everything you want to say is on one page. If you though have more that needs explaining, adding pages is a good way to do this.

Pages that we regard as essential are:

  • About
  • Contact
How many pages does a website need?

Ecommerce Plan

An e-commerce store is slightly different than a 'regular' website, in that it has automatic product related pages. The number of these pages depends on the number of products you have and the way you organise them.

Pages that we regard as essential are:

  • Privacy
  • About
  • Contact
What does a e-commerce website look like?

2: Think in grids

For better or worse, modern website design is based on grids. This design philosophy, originally made popular by Twitter's 'Bootstrap' framework, has been almost universally adopted due to it's 'mobile first' approach. This means the one website design easily responds to different screen sizes, from large desktops all the way down to phones, without the need for additional mobile only elements.

When planning your content, think of it being broken up into a grid on a page. Doing this helps you plan your messaging and makes it easy for us to understand how you are seeing your content presented.

 

3: Keep it simple...

Everyone likes to say it but very few do it. When in doubt, we always say less is more is the best approach, especially online.

Websites are organic and develop over time. You can add to them, take bits away or change any aspect, at any point in time. As such, there's no rush in trying to get everything you can think of up on your site right away.

We suggest planning for the essentials first and get these really right. From there, see what you can realistically add – it's more damaging to a business to put something online that is not 100%, than it is not to do it at all.

This last aspect is one of the big reasons we caution any business against including a blog on their site – there is nothing worse than a blog that is dead in the water!

4: Special Functions

Our website packages are designed, and priced, to fit with the majority of small business website needs. But what if you need something extra? Online data capture forms, or a booking system?

When you are planning your new website, think about additional features you may need, either right away, or down the track. We can then look at these in our planning upfront, work out the best way to achieve it, and the associated costs, so you can decide on the right time to implement them.

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