Nowadays owning a business site is much more than a simple choice: it is a fundamental prerequisite for the success of any business. The world is increasingly digital and having a website no longer simply means owning an online showcase, but becomes a real statement of credibility, professionalism and reliability. If you were still undecided about its realization for your business, here are some clarifications for you: why create a website, to whom to turn and what are the necessary steps for its realization?
Premise: why create a website and who to turn to?
Why create a website?
- An ocean of potential customers. The data are clear: 73% of the population in Italy uses the Internet, with 83% of mobile users and 57% of users active on social media – and are in constant growth, with a CAGR of +10% compared to last year.
- Having an online showcase is today, above all, a matter of credibility: any authoritative company is online, the absence on the Web can generate uncertainty in the potential customer, who may decide to turn to someone else.
- 24/7 Communication. A website is a real showcase for your business, the starting point to make your company known and transmit professionalism and reliability. Not only is this a “virtual store” reachable by the client at any time and on any day of the year, but, if well built, the quality of communication can be optimal: an eye-catching graphics, informative content, photos and videos can have a great visual impact and contribute to the sales even more of a showcase for the sparkling.
- A new sales channel. I as always, diversification is as essential as Keeping Up With The Times. Opening an e-commerce site can prove to be the winning strategy if you want to give your business a new dimension.
Who to turn to for the design and development of a site?
First of all, it is good to emphasize that designing a website is a complex matter, it requires specific skills and a good deal of experience. Relying on a good consulting service, rather than freelance web developers and web designers, can prove to be the winning strategy to ensure a complete and well-structured website.
In general, there are several variables to consider for creating a quality site, but usability and optimization for search engines are the characteristics imprescendibili for each site and must be kept in mind during the entire process of design, development and management of the Web Site.
- Usability – usability in English-means the ability of a site to meet the needs of the end user, ensuring ease of access, optimal navigability and a good level of comprehensibility of information content. It is, in other words, to build a site that is effective, and therefore rich and complete, efficient and satisfactory for the user, that is, user-friendly.
- Search engine optimization means the correct implementation of all those elements that are part of SEO optimization, that is, that allow a correct indexing by search engines, satisfying the on-page ranking factors.
For this reason it is necessary the presence of appropriate skills on both fronts, both at the technical level – i.e. in terms of web design and web development, and at the level of the SEO, to ensure from the outset a correct setting is essential to the indexing of the Site and, consequently, to its visibility.
Creation of a website: Web Design
Generally, the phases of building a website are summarized in “4D”: define, design, develop and deploy.
- Define means the definition of objectives and type and the definition of an expenditure budget, essential to be able to define technical specifications.
- By design we mean everything related to the structure and graphic aspect of the site, which must be user-friendly and graphically cared for.
- With develop we mean the phase of real design and development, more or less complex depending on whether you opt for a proprietary CMS or an Open Source one.
- With deploy we mean, trivially, everything related to the management of the site: follow its update, traffic, manage its promotion and marketing.
For simplicity, we will reorganize the discourse into three fundamental phases: design, development, website management and performance monitoring.
Step 1: website design
Before proceeding with the design of the site, three are the fundamental elements to be defined: site type and objectives, specific technical requirements, graphics and design.
Definition of the type of site
In order to start the design, it is first necessary to define the type of website and the message that you want to communicate, the objective of the website. Trivially, three are the types:
- Landing page, i.e. a website generally consisting of a single page, designed to promote a specific action. It is, trivially, a very simple site, with an essential structure, usually containing a simple plug-in for data collection. It is generally associated with a dedicated digital marketing campaign and is used, for example, in the case of particular promotions, launches of new products or services, or more simply used only to generate contacts for the newsletter.
- A generic business site, consisting of several pages, more complex than the single Landing Page – which must still be present within the site – but less structured than an e-commerce site. It is generally used to promote different actions and is suitable to increase brand awareness and to perform a mainly informative function.
- An e-Commerce site, used for the online sale of products and services, the more complex a site is generic, as it is structured on multiple levels and enhanced with all the functionality needed for the sale: not only has more pages of category, subcategory, and lots of product pages, but must also include structure and plug-in appropriate for the management of orders, reservations, payments, reviews, customer service and so much more.
Definition of any technical requirements
Once defined objectives and type it is necessary to reason on any technical requirements and special requests to be met in case of special needs or for the performance of specific functions, such as automation of certain functions, import of products, presence of a CRM integrated in the ERP.
Definition of graphics and design
Once you have also defined any technical requirements, you can move on to the lighter part, defining graphics and design of the site. It is essential, in this sense, to maintain as much as possible elements consistent with the image and personality of the brand, remembering that it is, first of all, a corporate showcase.
In the definition of a graphic line, keep in mind, also, that the same consistency must be maintained in all the various pages of the site, which, in order not to generate confusion during navigation, must carry the same style.
Definition of the CMS platform
A final decision to make, before you can proceed with the development, is that concerning the platform to be used. The options for developing a website are, basically, two: use a proprietary CMS or an open source CMS.
What does CMS mean and how do the two types differ?
First of all, CMS stands for Content Management System – in Italian, Content Management System – and it is, in practice, a platform that allows to manage in a simplified way the content of a website, without having to resort to modifications of the code, significantly more complex and risky.
- Open source CMS means platforms known and publicly available, widely used, generally economical and flexible management, which respond to the most general needs and adapt to a wide range of customers.
- Proprietary CMS means a unique platform, developed ad hoc for a particular project and responding to specific needs.
Is it better a known CMS or a proprietary platform?
The answer is always the same: it depends. Both types have advantages and disadvantages. Generally, if you have special requirements, it is preferable to use an Open Source CMS: is it more user friendly and easier to manage, it is generally well-known by all the professionals of the sector and therefore less binding, it is an investment, less demanding and, being the most used, it is generally easier to manage issues.
In this sense, popular CMS such as WordPress or Magento, generally have a good community of developers and specialists: trivially, it is difficult not to find, in the meanders of the web, solutions and tips for almost anything. In the same way, there are many plug-ins on the market and able, for a negligible cost and more often for free, to manage more complex processes and respond to the most varied needs.
Generally, each web designer will have a preferred CMS platform. In order not to remain tied to a developer, it is recommended to opt for more common solutions, equally efficient but less complex, generally known by most professionals in the sector.
In this sense, WordPress is the ideal solution. Unlike other applications, its ease of use and its structure, already predisposed to writing blogs and content, make it a great platform for creating e-commerce sites and the statistics confirm this: it is estimated that 25% of the websites is built in WordPress!
Step 2: website development and Web Design
Once defined type and characteristics and identified, based on the defined technical specifications, the ideal platform, you can proceed with the realization of the site. This means, in a nutshell, the construction of every single element of the site: from layout to pages, from textual content to graphic and dynamic elements.
Development process: structure, Pages, text, graphics
After a first creation of the structure – more or less complex depending on the type of site and to the objectives of the project – it will be possible to proceed with the creation of the pages – static pages, category pages, subcategory, and product, information pages, blog section and much more. Once created, text content will be inserted, enriched with images and dynamic elements.
It is important, in this phase, to maintain a constant attention to both aesthetics and functionality, in order to facilitate the interaction of users and optimize the fluidity in navigation, trying to make it, as far as possible, effective also in terms of experienciality.
In this sense, special attention is paid to the presence of call to action. Slider, banner and hyperlink constitute, in fact, a fundamental element for the achievement of good results in terms of performance: they will not only increase the usability of the site, but will provide the correct navigation cues to the user, allowing greater control of behavior flows.
NB: pay attention to SEO already being implemented!
As mentioned earlier, it is absolutely advisable to turn to those who has also expertise in terms of SEO and not limited to mere web development: in order to ensure the maximum performance of the site on search engines, every single item must be created, thought out and structured not only in terms of usability but also of indexing, optimizing as much as possible the site already under construction.
A preliminary attention to SEO will immediately guarantee a correct indexing, facilitating the positioning process: although immediately indicating specific keywords and fundamental tags may turn out to be, initially, a more onerous process, it will determine overall a net saving in terms of optimization time.
Step 3: website management and performance monitoring
As with everything, once created, any website needs proper management and maintenance, and a performance monitoring.
- Automatic updates with critical update verification
- Cloud backup with automatic sending to customer via cloud (Dropbox, Amazon etc)
- Site cloning
- Website security check
- Website performance verification
- Uptime Monitor with offline site reporting via SMS or EMAIL
- Site activity reports automatically sent to customers
- Collaboration with the team and customers
- SEO Ranking with analysis of competing sites
- Integrated Google Analytics
- Maintenance mode
- Management of comments on articles on the site
- Online store management
Not all of us are born experts, it is normal to find yourself in difficulty on various occasions, especially when dealing with complex topics such as the creation of a website. It is therefore essential to have quick access to technical assistance in case of any event.
It may happen that some functions do not work as planned, in which case those who Commission the re-realization of a website must be sure that they can receive help in the shortest and most effective ways. Many errors are solved in seconds by industry experts, while if ignored they can trigger chain reactions that interfere with the complex structure of the entire site.
A prompt and careful technical assistance can make the difference in many cases between fortifying and ruining a website!
Hosting and Server Management
You have to distinguish the management of the site from the management of the server! It is not only useful to entrust experts with the management of your site, but also allow hosting and access to the server where the site data is stored. This guarantees another tool to be able to intervene more quickly in case of error or damage.
In addition, experts in the field can also make sure to develop solid foundations for the proper functioning of the site through the choice of the best and most efficient server.
A whole series of tips and advice about how to use your Web site, how to improve the experience of your users, how to make it more appealing and more functional, the graphics of the site and much more are all a set of factors that you need to consider when you consider to create a Web page.
It becomes very useful for optimization to receive technical consulting services in order to make your site more navigable and more user-friendly.
To conclude: the key to success
In conclusion, the creation of a website is a long and complex process, which requires the analysis of many variables. For a successful project the key elements are summarized in points:
- Establish with criterion and precision objectives and needs of the customer, so as to be able to define with equal clarity technical specifications and requirements of the site.
- Based on what is defined, opt for the most suitable CMS platform.
- Start immediately to deal with SEO, worrying about inserting as many elements as possible for the purposes of indexing and positioning.
- Contact a consultant who can properly manage the site and provide a constant technical assistance
- Constantly monitor performance and traffic to optimize performance.
The new trends of Web Design in 2020
The world of web design and the development of the internet are constantly changing, just think of the revolution in web design brought by mobile. Companies need to keep up with the times with digitalization.
Today web designers have to work on content that fits all screens, from the largest to the smallest, so that no information is lost.
Web design is an extremely dynamic environment, the web designer and the user must quickly get used to the graphic variations.
What looked like the web revolution 12 months ago today could be outdated, outdated and therefore could not to the best results.
In this 2020 we can identify some trends regarding web design applied to eCommerce.
Responsiveness is one of the first elements to take into account because the size of the screen changes constantly, so it is essential that the site manages to adapt perfectly to each type of device. Especially with regard to the size of the smartphone screen.
Visual content has always been very important, today video content is the master. Videos help to make the design of the site Modern, different and attractive.
Videos increase visitor engagement, also making the project more efficient and close to the audience. In fact, with videos it is easier to tell stories and you do not need to scroll through a page to search for certain information.
Taking voice searches into account will become increasingly important. Requests made on the internet through voice search services are increasingly increasing.
In Web design, improving the user experience is the Mission
The goal is to help visitors, through excellent experiences, so that users turn into customers buying and this regardless of the device through which you are using the service.
The buttons dedicated to Call to Action must be well placed and scattered throughout the pages, the goal is to guide the user towards something, towards a goal. The purpose of CTAS is for the user to do a pre-defined action within the page.
The important thing is that these buttons are in harmony with the page.
Pop-ups can be a potential ally if not abused. In fact too many pop-ups can cause irritation, but with the correct approach they have the ability to attract attention, also leading to an increase in conversions.
A correct text of a pop-up should contain a call to action, a call to action, and the button should be flashy and eye-catching.
Every website, private or corporate, must take into account every new trend of web design. It is therefore essential to stay up to date on the news of web design.
Not only is a responsive site important, but also the speed of it.
Users often have no patience to wait for the site to load, so if this time exceeds expectations the tendency is to abandon the page. The waiting time you expect is a few seconds.
In addition, Google already in 2018 had given greater priority in SEO campaigns and in search engine indexing, to those sites whose loading speed was lower than the others.
In 2020 it will be necessary to ensure that multimedia content, increasingly important, does not burden the use on the website.
In addition to content, usability and speed, design and layout are also elements to study and take into account. In fact a clean and minimalist design will be focal points in this 2020.
Elimination of any source of disturbance and disorder will be two elements to care for, but minimal does not mean boring, in fact it will have to be minimal, but with simple graphics, eye-catching, to make the user experience engaging.
Even the layouts better if symmetrical, not forgetting the creative part. So yes to neat, but not boring design and layout. This is to differentiate itself from its competitors.
Everything from design to call to action must be original.
Web Design is all about interactivity
As already mentioned, videos will become a key ally in user-to-customer conversions. Which is why micro-animations will also become more and more important in this 2019. What role will they play? They will allow to offer the user an intuitive and more satisfying experience, through small animations to capture the attention.
Another novelty that is invading the web in 2019 will become increasingly important: chatbots and artificial intelligence. But what are chatbots? These are automated chats that allow interaction with the user without the need for a human presence, thus providing an excellent customer service, guaranteeing a presence 24 hours a day, 7 days a 7 all the year.
These 2020 trends are all based on the importance of creating and providing the user with an interactive experience while using the site. Clearly all this without forgetting that websites must be designed to be totally user-friendly and to be fast, both in loading and in accessing content, so everything must be just a click away.
Content should be optimized for the best representation on any device, not adapted separately based on the screen. The scope of Responsive Design is important and must always be taken into account.
That of infinite scrolling are stylistic effects very used and very appreciated, able to accompany the visitor while browsing within the website. Clearly this practice must be adapted to the type of site.
Interactive storytelling when used in the right way is an important tool to create connection with the audience and interest. Keywords, short stories make sure to create interest as opposed to neutral theses with which information can be provided to customers.
All this adds a personal touch, for example hand-drawn illustrations, images, GIFs, high-quality videos and backgrounds, custom fonts.
Another fundamental variable for many online businesses is the presence on their site of optimized landing pages that can intercept useful leads and contacts.
The literal translation of landing page corresponds exactly to landing page. It is therefore a web page, apparently not too different from a normal website, to which the user arrives after clicking on an advertisement or in a specific link.
The landing page is part of the digital marketing strategies created specifically to turn users into potential customers. For this reason a landing page plays a very important key role for the communication and business of a given company.
The landing page can be created with different objectives, on the one hand it can be realized with the objective of obtaining data and then aiming at a conversion of the user, on the other it can be realized with the sole objective of selling a product.
According to the objectives that you want to achieve, the landing page will also have to be structured in a certain way.
What is a Landing Page?
More specifically and from a more technical point of view, a landing page is a non-indexed page that allows, however, to obtain important information about the traffic that is then generated from a given channel.
In general, therefore, the landing page represents one of the most important elements of an inbound marketing strategy, aimed at transforming an anonymous user into a real contact.
It is a very important tool to make lead generation and go to increase the brand awareness of a specific business.
In addition, very often the creation of these landing Pages is associated with programs for the creation of advertising content such as Google AdWords and Facebook Ads, in this way it is possible to further optimize lead generation campaigns. Thanks to this system it is not only possible to collect user data but it is also possible to profile them more appropriately.
A detailed profiling of the users allows according to the stage in which you are to go to intervene and create the landing page in a different way.
The results and effectiveness of these campaigns are such and also allow to convert in a particularly effective way a percentage of visitors.
Why the Landing Page is important
A landing page is very important because it allows you to direct and transform user traffic into real leads.
The other conversion techniques used to date are in fact not very effective. For this reason in recent years the focus has shifted particularly to the creation of a landing page.
In the case of a landing page the process of acquiring contacts is not standard but varies depending on the scope and context of reference. More specifically it is a tool that by structure and characteristics differs a lot from a normal website.
The first thing that catches your eye is related to the fact that a website does not contain the form for contacts or any other forms that encourage the user to perform actions.
Moreover, very often the permanence of a user on a website is not very high percentage. The rate of abandonment of the page is high because you do not always find the necessary information or because the site is not attractive.
Here, a simple and effective landing page greatly increases the chances of conversion.
To increase the chances of converting users you need to create a landing page in a certain way.
An accurate and effective landing should in fact limit the number of exits and should therefore focus attention on filling out the form.
It is very important to point out that in recent years the principles behind the creation of an effective landing page are also increasingly influencing the creation of websites.
In fact, the techniques of creating a landing page are so perfected and effective that even web masters have begun to structure websites as landing pages.
Considering that there are websites that demonstrate how the rate of stay of a user on a web page is not so high, the goal becomes precisely to favour the stay of a user on the web.
To do this, it was observed that structuring a website according to the principles of the landing page allows to obtain positive results not only in terms of positioning.
It is also possible if not very effective to structure a website by referring to the principles of creating a landing page.
In fact, these are very effective tips that also allow your website to be optimized. This optimization also guarantees benefits especially in terms of visibility and positioning.
How to create an effective and optimized Landing Page
The landing page, being an effective tool to be realized must follow a specific strategy and must take into account some important assumptions.
Surely having some knowledge and skills for the realization of these contents is necessary to make it really effective.
When creating a landing page always keep in mind that the purpose of the landing page, in particular remember that the goal is to convert users and therefore the goal is not to distract people.
In order not to distract people and increase conversion rates, it is also necessary to provide value.
A visitor will in fact be inclined to fill out a forum only if he has actually been invited by the proposal contained on the site.
As in other communication strategies for landing pages, content plays a very important role. It is therefore very important to create attractive and quality content that is not too long but simply very effective.
In more detail the contents of a landing page should be:
Also with regard to content it is very important to pay attention to the type of language that is used. The contents, especially the technical ones, should be exposed with a simple language understandable to all but at the same time not too generic.
Only if these aspects are satisfied will the user be more likely to subscribe in the form.
In addition to support and push even more users to fill out the form, it is advisable, if possible, to enter content downloadable by the user, who once completed the form can proceed with the download.
In general, therefore, to make a landing page very effective it is important:
- restrict navigation. If the goal is to create lead generation you have to make sure that the user stays on that page. Creating a simple site without many other pages on it is essential to capture the attention of users, who will not be so driven to click on other pages. A user friendly landing page is very important to facilitate navigation on the landing page.
- Clarity and brevity in content and structure is very important, optimizing from an SEO perspective. Do not forget the goal for which you are creating a landing page. And above all that the rate of abandonment of web pages is high. With simple, clear and short content you will be able to keep the attention of your users alive.
- Do not underestimate the graphics. The eye wants its share, too. Taking care of the graphic aspects is very important to make a site particularly attractive.
- The content must be consistent and relevant with each other but also with your goal.
- Also do not underestimate the possibility of sharing the landing page in social media. The fact that they can be shared can greatly increase the success of your promotional campaign, especially when combined with programmatic advertising activities, such as Facebook Ads;
- Do not forget to enter the contact form. The call to action must always be very explicit.
When you think about the content to write, try to identify yourself with the user and the question that this has posed. The goal is to create simple answers that go straight to the point. A simple reading allows you to keep the user more on the page.
The structure of a landing page should include an introduction part, a more detailed explanation of the purposes, the closing part and finally the contacts or the part related to the purchase.
In this 2020, where the web is becoming a sea of services, emerging is increasingly a challenge, which is why the emotional involvement of the visitor on the Website is the way to go. The basics remain the same, but creativity and customization must prevail. Websites must be user-oriented, offering quality, appealing and highly personalized content, all this and good SEO skills for indexing on the search engine will allow to emerge and succeed in the sea of the World Wide Web.