Everything You Need to Know About Web Design
by Taylor Veal
Web design can be an intimidating thought. We’re here to give you everything you need to know.
What Do I Need For Web Design?
Keystone has built hundreds of websites over the years; websites that were small, large, complex, simple, in a variety of industries. Web design and build have become increasingly important over the years, as we conduct more and more business online. Don’t fall under the misconception that just because your company isn’t interested in e-commerce that your website isn’t important. Au contraire.
Regardless if a purchase will be made through your site, Google’s search engine rankings play a constant factor in the success of your business. Therefore, your website becomes a hub for all your company’s information and offerings.
Usually the types of websites we see fall under one of these three categories:
Totally New- This is either a new business or a business who hasn’t seen the value in a website… until now. It can seem overwhelming at first- how many pages do we need? What do we say on the site? Who will maintain once it’s finished? We work from the ground, up- editing content and nailing down the appropriate voice, designing to fit a brand’s image, choosing a content management system, and launching a tool that will transform a business.
Fixing the Broken- These are some of the toughest websites to tackle. A site exists… technically. However, for one reason or another, this website was neglected, built poorly, or is utterly unmanageable. In this fixer-upper era, it’s tempting to want to “bandage” the site. However, just like you wouldn’t want to put the time and effort into renovating a house on a faulty foundation, renovating a website with a defective framework is a recipe for disappointment and disaster. We will audit your site and figure out the appropriate course of action needed.
Refresh/Update- These are often websites that we have worked on in the past, or are built on a platform that we use and trust. Even a well-built website will need to undergo maintenance, updates, and refreshes throughout the years. Often website best-practices change, or we see the need to A/B test the location of a form for better conversions.
When it comes to web design in Nashville, we know there are many options. It can be overwhelming to think about design and where to garner inspiration for what you’d like. While we have excellent designers on staff, you know your business best. We want to collaborate with you to design a site that speaks to the look, feel, culture, and tone of your business. Some resources we love for inspiration:
- Webby Awards: Perhaps you didn’t know, but excellence on the internet is awarded much like some of your favorite musical artists at the Grammy Awards. These sites, apps, and social campaigns are the best of the best.
- The Next Web – Creative: News and trends updates to stay on top of the website game.
- Codrops: This site contains tutorials, blueprints, and websites of the week, plus some articles on recent online trends.
- Awwwawards: This is another site recognizing exemplary online work. The ease of their portfolio is excellent, as you can search award-winning websites by tags such as clean, business, and mobile.
- Crayon: Not of the coloring sort. This site is a plethora of marketing designs (over 22 million) including home pages, landing pages, and other marketing materials.
Of course, you can also check out our portfolio to get a glimpse into our style and quality of work!
Choosing a Web Designer
With all the choices for a Nashville web designer, it’s a wonder you can make a decision. There are some things to consider when you’re doing your research and signing a contract. For starters, ensure that the designer has either experience or capabilities to work in your field. A designer could do fantastic work, but if they specialize in solely the entertainment industry and you’re a doctor’s office, things could get hairy. Ask questions upfront about the types of businesses with which a digital agency works.
The next thing to consider is if the company is merely a web designer or also a web developer (who knew there was a difference?!). Many marketing agencies can do one or the other, but not both. This isn’t always a bad thing, but can certainly be problematic in ways that you wouldn’t even consider. A design may seem great and impressive and attention-grabbing, but is it feasible? Is it going to affect the user experience? Will it provide simple functionality? These are all things to consider if a company outsources their development. It may end up producing extra headache and a lot of back and forth discussion if so.
Likely one of the absolute most important aspects to consider is budget. There is considerable variance in the price of website design, and, like with most services, you want to avoid the cheapest and the most expensive. Aim for the sweet spot that falls into what you can spend. Keep in mind, however, that a website is an investment. You’re going to get out of it what you put in. As tempting as it may be to DIY your site or cut corners, it’s not advisable and will likely end up costing you more money in the long run.
Some other items to consider are:
- Communication with the company
- Domain ownership and management
- Timeline for your project
- Support after development
- Reviews and testimonials from other customers
Don’t be nervous to ask lots of questions. A good web design company will be able to explain their reasoning for steps in the project, as they want you to feel confident in your final product!
The Keystone Process
We would love to think that Keystone is the right fit for everyone, but it inevitably is not. And that’s okay! Here’s what you can expect from our web design and development process:
We plan your destination. What does your website need to be successful? We’ll complete a brand audit, competitor audit, marketing audit, set goals, and come up with an editorial calendar. Keystone partners with you on all of these tasks so that your plan is 100% about your business.
At this point in the process, you’ll want to garner your “key people” for input and approval. We have some strong opinions on “design by committee”… Not that it’s a horrible idea, there are just specific ways and times to incorporate the people you need to into the project. The end is not, and will never be, one of those times.
Like we said before, we’ve worked with businesses that are over half a century old and businesses that don’t yet have a logo. No matter which end of the spectrum you’re on, we’ll build your marketing around what you need. This step includes your website design and content.
The important thing to remember during any website build is that websites are ALWAYS a work in progress. This is not to say that we’re going to launch any half-ass projects. We put 110% into everything before it’s live. What it does mean, however, is that your website will have continuous needs for adding content (like a blog), changing items for SEO, and updating photos. Which leads us to our next step…
We’ll “fly” with you on your marketing journey so that you never feel lost. Websites require maintenance and updates that we’re happy to provide!