Aha, the bit you've been dying to get to.
A website is like a house - the structure are its walls, the words are its bricks and website design is the concrete that holds it all together. If your house is built well it will be successful in delivering its primary function, which is to provide shelter. The primary objective of your website design is to communicate your offering to everyone else in an efficient way, or to achieve greater sales, if you have an online store. You will eventually communicate something and you will achieve a certain amount of sales, but your brand is what will make that experience a pleasure and keep your customers coming back for more.
What is your brand? Is it your logo? Is it that particular shade of green you use as a highlight? No, those are very small brand attributes that are part of your overall brand experience. Your brand is the sum total of all interactions that your customer has with your business. Your logo is one of them. Your logo can be one of the very first interactions with your brand, like your name - simple, like 'Tom', or more elaborate, like 'Aragorn, Son of Arathorn'. Next is the way you structure all your information - is your product list easy to navigate through? Or is it a total mess? The way you structure your website shows how organised you are in real life and that reflects upon the care and quality work you put into your products and services. The voice and tone you employ in your copy and web content also reflect your brand - Are you knowledgeable in your area of expertise? Are you pushy with sales? Are you completely empty-headed and clueless? Spend some time into crafting your brand. If you cannot do it yourself hire a copywriter and a graphic designer to craft your identity.
Furthermore, your brand is also the entire experience your customer goes through - Is your product information correct? Are they able to complete their purchases easily? Were their purchases shipped on time? Refunds? Product satisfaction? The entire cycle counts.
Your brand is not just your logo or your website design or your brochure design or your letterhead design. It is the entire experience that you offer to your customer. You can hire a design studio or at least a visual designer to handle all the aspects of your brand that need some graphic design expertise - business logos, stationery design, corporate identity design. Take a look at design marketplaces such as Behance for some graphic design inspiration.
In terms of look and feel or graphic design, and messaging, most companies would have already defined their brand to a certain level before starting a website. It is important you do the same:
1. What keywords define your brand - are you cool, futuristic, dependable, reliable and trustworthy, adventurous or safe, warm and cozy or funny?
2. What target audience are you looking at? Do your keywords resonate well with these kind of people? If not, change your keywords, or change your market.
3. Come up with a name for your business or operation. Any problems with getting a suitable domain name?
4. Select three colors that reflect your brand, select typography, do a logo, get a graphic designer to help you out. Always keep hi-res versions of all your artwork in different file formats. Hi-res is the keyword. You can always make a big image file small via compression but you cannot make a small file big - you will lose quality - this rule works across images, video and audio. And keep it all in a safe place - you might need to use the same artwork for several years.
Once you have an idea of the kind of colors you want and the kind of typography you are using in your logo it is simpler to select web design templates on Blipteam. There's several predesigned web templates (we call them "themes") that you can apply to your site at any point of time. You could have a different website design every day but that's really not a good idea - people should identify with your brand and remember it. You can also modify your theme - change colors, layouts and fonts - with a few simple clicks.
Remember, a good design will not hide weak or bad content. Always have good content on your site before you dive into design - have great images, provide healthy amounts of details about your products and services, have someone proof-read it to remove mistakes. All the questions that your audience will have about your offerings - answer those up front in your site. A good movie has a great plot to begin with - special effects slapped on to a lame story line wont get it very far. The same goes for website design.
Blipteam is a great tool for graphic designers to build websites or e-commerce webstores for clients. All the tech work is done, the web development has been done and each web page has already been coded to fit most desktop and mobile browsers. All it needs then is someone with graphic design capabilities or some training in the graphic arts to work on some really good imagery. At a very basic level you can simply upload images from your smart phone to fill out Blipteam themes, but it does not hurt to use some creative design and come up with some original graphics. You can use Blipteam for your graphic design portfolio or for your commercial graphic design projects or website design projects. You could also set up a Blipteam website and use it as a graphic design blog.
Also take a look at our Online Marketplace Builder - you could team up with other designers, photographers, copywriters and marketing pros to create virtual design teams or online studios.
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