Have you ever cringed when someone asked for your website name, knowing that your design does NOT reflect your brand? Maybe you created a hasty DIY website, or maybe you went with a design company that didn’t have a web design process to ensure your new site fit seamlessly with your brand or mission.
Either way, if you navigated to this post, chances are you: (a) have a bit — or a lot ? — of that dreaded website shame, (b) are struggling to drive more conversions through your website, or (c) know your website no longer reflects your business.
Well, my friend, I’m about to help you solve these struggles. After reading this post, you’ll feel inspired and informed, because you’ll learn how to create a lead-generating design for your website. And this new and improved design will allow you to book more clients or customers and scale your profits.
Are you ready to dive in and learn the exact steps we take to create high-converting websites? If so, grab a warm cup of coffee and your favourite notebook, because this web design process is going to knock your socks off. ?
Sketching Your Framework
Raise your hand if you’ve ever gone full force into a design — maybe even your current website or blog design — without first thinking about how the full vision will look.
You open up your browser, look at some other web design inspiration, then stare at that blank page builder, and start placing in sections and elements without much foresight.
I think any new designer, blogger, or budget-strained business owner has been there.
But, my friend, those days are officially over. Because now you’ll have a clear cut framework to approach each new design. No more unlayering your design live. No more guessing as you go. And no more creative frustration.
Before you start implementing any design, I want you to grab a piece of paper, a pencil, and an eraser. Yes, we’re going all the way back to the basics.
Imagine your paper is your web page. Start with the sections you’d like to create. And start blocking out your design. Now, to be clear, you don’t have to have the drawing skills of an artist. This is simply the framework of your design and the first step in creating the real deal.
As your sketching, I want you to keep 3 crucial web design elements in mind:
01: User Experience
Your user experience is THE MOST IMPORTANT aspect of your overall design. Because it will ultimately create an environment for your visitors to feel engaged, informed, and curious.
In order to create a positive user experience, make sure your design has enough white space to feel uncluttered, professional, and easy to read. In addition, make sure your website is intuitive.
This means your visitors should never EVER have to guess what will happen when they click a button, navigate to a specific page, or fill out a form. Everything in your design should have a clear purpose that makes intuitive sense.
02: Your Brand Identity
Your brand is the heart and soul of your business. It’s the single thing that keeps your audience coming back for more. And it’s the element of your business that separates you from all the noise.
Your website’s design should seamlessly fit within your brand identity. When a visitor lands on your social media or paid ad and navigates towards your website, their experience should be consistent and cohesive.
They should land on your website and immediately feel like they’ve entered the virtual home of your brand.
So, to ensure your website reflects your brand, I have quick practice for you:
- Using only one word for each descriptor, I want you to write 5 words that describe your brand. For us, those 5 words are dreamy, cohesive, fun, modern, and adventurous. These are the 5 words I use to describe our brand. Because we’re about making dreams a reality in fun, actionable, and exciting ways. So, now it’s your turn. Grab your notebook, and write your 5 brand descriptors.
- Head over to Pinterest, and type in your brand words separately. Browse through some imagery associated with that word. If your descriptor word is universal, try typing ‘wedding’ after it. Since weddings are more about aesthetic, this will grant you better results.
- Save your top images from each word.
- Turn back to your framework, and write your 5 brand words at the top. In addition, either print off or have a digital collection of your imagery available. And continuously refer back to your inspiration as you create your framework.
Another important note about your brand identity is using a consistent color palette for your design. To learn how to create your very own brand palette, check out this past post. Having your color scheme established before you start designing will make your workflow 100 times more productive.
03: Flow of Information
Your website’s flow of information is more than your sequence of copy. It’s a story that you weave for your visitors, a connection that you create with your ideal client or customer.
As a visitor works their way down your page, they should feel as if they’re on a leisurely journey with you. They should understand how your brand connects to them and how you are the solution to their toughest problems.
So, as you craft your information flow, imagine you’re telling a story. And, as a designer, it’s your job to keep your audience engaged and informed as they travel through your website. They should never feel confused. And they should never feel lost.
As a tip, I recommend starting with your audience’s pain points, then walking them through how you solve their problems and challenges. And make sure you keep your flow of information consistent with a natural rhythm.
In addition, make sure your flow of information effortlessly leads to your primary conversion. Your visitor should finish scrolling through your page and have a complete picture that inspires immediate action.
Building Your Design
Once you have a fleshed out framework with an intuitive user experience, a consistent brand identity, and a clear flow of information, now comes the exciting part of your web design process — building your new design.
Remember those 5 brand words you wrote down and those images you saved? Keep them handy, because you’ll continue to refer to them as you create your design based on your framework. Also, make sure you have your brand palette available and — even better — a set of font’s you’d like to use.
To start, here are 3 tips to creating a lead-generating design:
01: Use the Right Software
Even after we have a framework, we never design live. We always start with creating our design on Photoshop or Adobe XD. This allows us to bring our framework to life in a simpler, more efficient platform.
And, in addition, designing on an external software also allows us to send our designs to our clients and gathert their input BEFORE spending hours on development and integration. That way, if they have a change they’d like to make, we’ll know.
Remember, while you’re designing, efficiency is key. If you don’t have a dedicated web design process, you’ll end up wasting valuable time. But, if you follow the right steps first, your process will flow smoothly and your creativity will remain focused and attentive.
If you don’t have a Creative Cloud subscription, you can also create your designs on Canva or other free software. However, if you’re serious about design, then I highly recommend biting the bullet and purchasing an Adobe subscription.
02: Balance Functionality with Aesthetic
As you’re creating, keep your design balanced between functionality and aesthetic. While I’m designing, I continuously ask myself what purpose an element serves. If I can’t connect it to my brand words or imagery, then I reframe it to better connect with my brand identity.
If you don’t understand why you’re creating a specific element, chances are it’ll confuse your visitors. And remember, a huge part of designing a lead-generating website is making sure your page is clear and purposeful.
03: Keep Your Design Uncluttered
Repeat after me: white space is my best friend. As you build your design, keep your page uncluttered. Each element should have room to breathe. And your visitors should have the ability to navigate and scroll through your site with ease.
They should NEVER feel overwhelmed. Their eyes should be effortlessly drawn to the most important information while flowing over secondary or tertiary information with zero strain.
The goal in any design is to keep your audience’s cognitive strain to a minimum. And by spacing out your elements and separating your sections, you can better achieve this goal.
Developing Your Design
Whew! That’s a lot of steps to getting to the actual implementation of your design. But I promise, if you follow this web design process, your design WILL be more cohesive, more aligned with your brand, and drive more conversions.
Now, there’s a huge range of skill and comfortability with a development process. And, to be completely transparent, I don’t handle the development area of our designs. Like at all.
Because I’m not a developer. So, if you have the room in your budget, I HIGHLY recommend hiring an experienced developer to integrate your design onto your website. However, if you’re just getting started or feel comfortable with the process, here’s some tips for you.
01: Consider Your Platform
Each CMS platform and page builder is different. For our websites, we use a combination of WordPress and Elementor. And, over the years, we’ve developed an expert familiarity with the software we use. Sultan, the other half of our business, specializes in WordPress and Elementor development. And he’s developed a fluent proficiency in utilizing both softwares to create high-converting websites.
So, if you don’t already have a familiarity with your platform/page builder, I highly recommend you take some courses or watch some tutorials. Because the more knowledge you have, the more successful your design will be.
And, just a quick note, if you’re looking for a new page builder, I can’t recommend Elementor enough. It allows you almost endless potential to integrate your design and build your custom website.
02: Optimize Your Images
While you’re developing your new design, make sure you optimize your images before uploading them. This quick step will make your site MUCH faster.
You can optimize your images three different ways:
- Use the size tool on your laptop or desktop. Change the dimensions of your image or graphic to the ideal size for its purpose. Then, if the option is available, lower the files quality. For instance, most high resolution images are published at a ppi of either 300 or 240. And this is wayyyy to large for a website and will slow down your site significantly.
- Use Photoshop to adjust the size and quality. This is how I mainly optimize my images or graphics. When you save a file on Photoshop, they’ll give you the option to manipulate the file size. Typically, I set my quality to a low resolution, unless the image will appear blown up (like on a main slider). For .png files, you can follow the same steps and select ‘low’ as the quality when Photoshop offers the prompt.
- Use Tiny PNG to expedite the process. When I have a lot of images to condense, I’ll use Tiny PNG to speed up my workflow.
The more you optimize your images, the faster your site will load. And remember, if your site is slow it will cause visitors to bounce from your website, ultimately affecting your conversion rate.
03: Make Your Website FULLY Responsive
About 90% of our website visitors are using mobile devices.
Yep, you heard that right.
If your website isn’t fully responsive, you will lose conversions. And your website will not perform as well as it could . . . even if the desktop version is drop dead gorgeous.
So, invest the time into making your site responsive across all devices. Most page builders give you the option of designing in mobile and tablet. If yours doesn’t, I suggest finding a software that allows you to edit in responsive mode with relative ease.
And please, please, pllleeeassse stop telling your prospects or audience to only view your website on desktop!
Launching Your Design
You did it! After all the hard work, focus, and commitment, you’ve created your very own conversion-driving design AND developed a foolproof web design process.
But we’re not quite down. There’s a few more practices I recommend before launching your new site:
01: Revise, Revise, and Revise
Never ever publish your first draft of . . . well, anything. And this includes your website. Always comb through your final design and development and make any necessary revisions.
After you complete your initial draft, step away from your project for at least a day. And come back to it with a fresh pair of eyes. Chances are you’ll find more errors than you would’ve if you revised on the same day.
02: Get a Second Opinion
One of the best parts of having a team is gathering a second opinion about our designs and development. However, if you’re a solopreneur, you won’t have a team member to browse through your site.
In that case, ask a trusted friend — the more unbiased and opinionated the better — to take a deep dive into your new website. And ask for their honest opinion. Listen to what they have to say without getting offended. And see how you can revise your design or development with their advice in mind.
03: Test Your Site Speed
Before launching, test your site speed and performance. We use GTmetrix, and it gives you an in-depth analysis of how fast your site speed is and what elements are slowing it down.
Pay close attention to anything in the red and investigate to see how you can improve these problems. If you need some assistance, we also provide site speed optimization for an affordable price.
Final Thoughts on Your Web Design Process . . .
That was a doozy of a post, am I right? If you’ve stuck it out this long, I’m so dang happy for you. And you deserve about a hundred virtual pats on the shoulder. Because I know you’re super serious about driving more conversions through your website and creating a stronger web design process.
And now you have the knowledge and the know-how to create a lead-generating website that actually gets your business results.
Now that you have the exact strategies you need to create your own conversion-driving website, why not add some engaging and fresh stock images to your new site. Subscribe to our newsletter, and receive 5 FREE stock photos every single month.
Also, if you have any questions or insights, make sure to leave a comment below!
And, one last thing, if you KNOW you don’t have the time, resources, or — let’s face it — the desire to improve your website or blog design, head over to our contact form and book a FREE virtual consultation to discover how we can create a lead-generating website for your small-but-mighty biz.