Website Design Phases

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Phases  1 - Style over substance?

The first phase is to design a website that the chief executive officer, venture capitalists, and ad agencies like to see. There are all types of "bells and whistles" in this design. An entire website might be a Flash animated website. Or there might be some beautiful JavaScript mouse over effects or drop-down menus in the design. It's always a pretty design, but the message is clear - style over substance.

Phases  2 - Designing for online visibility In.

Phases  2, the reality of an ineffective website design begins to hit, usually around 3-6 months after the initial launch. A website will typically get rejected by many of the major directories, not be indexed by the major search engines, or not get the traffic or sales that were projected based on the various types of marketing strategies used. Typically, that's when companies decide that they will try to hire a professional online marketer to promote the website. Doorway page companies, in some way, shape or form, rear their ugly heads. Unfortunately, many website owners fall for a doorway page company's pitch because the beautifully designed website couldn't possibly be the problem with low website traffic. Yahoo might have rejected a website, or the website might have been listed in Yahoo and the company cannot understand why they have no description next to their company name. But in no way would many ad agencies or doorway page companies want to tell potential clients the truth, they simply did not design and write an effective website, because it would mean losing thousands of pounds in business.

Phases  3 - Designing for your audience.

By Phases 3, after spending an exorbitant amount of money on pretty website designs and various marketing strategies, website owners generally figure out that they did not design or write an effective Website for their target audience. Typically, website owners will bring in a usability expert to analyse potential problems and present various solutions. Bringing in a search engine marketing expert to help with search-engine friendly website designs & templates early in the design phase can save a company thousands of pounds in online marketing costs.

Phases  4 - Website redesign.

After careful usability and search engine visibility analyses, website owners finally have an effective website. A website that is written, coded and designed for user friendliness and search engine visibility generally gets the most traffic and resulting sales because it was written, programmed, and designed for end users.

Conclusion.

Websites should always be designed with your target audience in mind, not your own personal preferences. Colours have meaning. Professional designers understand the psychology of colour and the use of white space to best project the image your audience wishes to see. (For example, try not to use the colour red on a financial websites.) Understanding the products/services/information your target audience is searching for is paramount to designing and maintaining an effective website. When you launch a website, you might have to make an educated guess as to what your target audience wants. After that, tools such as website statistics software and reporting from website searches tell you exactly what your visitors are looking for. Then content and marketing strategies can be adjusted accordingly. Unless the advanced technology clearly benefits end users, do not use it on your website. If your venture capitalists or CEO's or lawyers like the website, ask if they are going to spend the thousands or millions of pounds to keep you in business.

They're not. Your target audience who will ultimately determine the success or failure of your website.

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