Your website is the front line of your digital marketing strategy; the window through which customers experience your brand. It only takes a few seconds for a visitor to make an impression about your business from your website. So, does your website reflect your business’s image and potential? It’s not everyday that you build a website. It is a process that takes time, effort, and money. That’s why you need to take the time to reflect on the requirements you need of your website. Let’s talk about some different types of websites out there, particularly informational websites and online forum ones. This article will also tackle what to check for before your website goes live.
Are You Looking for ‘Web Design Newry’?
ProfileTree – Expert Web Designers and Developers with a Local Flavour Serving Businesses in Newry, County Down, Northern Ireland
We are a self-made, family run agency based in Belfast and Monaghan. We’ve established ourselves in the Northern Irish market since 2010. We’ve grown the team, collected awards, and helped local and international businesses with building top-notch websites. We’ve also helped hundreds of small and medium sized businesses with free web design and development training through programmes funded by Northern Ireland’s Councils over the course of three years. Investing in building a website for your business in Newry means making sure your new website partnership is built on proven methods. We’re also SEO specialists and a leading content marketing agency, so not only can we help with building a website, but also help you get traffic for that website.
Web Design Newry: Types of Websites
We’ve touched on several types of websites in previous web design guides: ecommerce websites, business websites, blog websites, portfolio websites, and event, membership and non-profit websites. Now, we’re going to discuss two more popular types of websites: information and online forum websites. It’s important to understand that not all websites are built equal. The needs of every website determine what its requirements, features, user experience, site map, and even the tone of voice of its content will look like. Moreover, the bigger picture of what the visitors will expect out of your website needs to be considered during the design and development phase.
Web Design Newry Type #8: Informational Website
Informational websites act as a resource to convey information. Examples include encyclopedias, digital dictionaries, and news outlet websites. They’re different from blog websites – although both focus on content as the main part of the website. Informational websites often include long form content to satisfy reader curiosity and implement search functions, so visitors can find what they are looking for. They’re, more or less, a library or a bank of information organised and available to everyone.
Web Design Newry: Informational Websites Requirements and Functionalities
Building a Mini Search Engine Website
The most prominent part of an informational website is how efficient its search function is. The categorisation of its topics comes in second place. Because informational websites have that much of information, categories and featured content can only show you the tip of the iceberg. That’s why you’ll find that users quickly go to the search bar to type their question or their topic of interest. A strong search function needs to be in place to be able to give relevant answers based on the keywords. In other words, you’re trying to build another Google.
Categories is where you can get to be playful. Because you can categorise by topic, genre, user persona, trending pages, and the options are endless. You need to know your audience well to come up with strong and relevant categories. But more importantly, you need the content management system to be flexible enough for you to add, remove, or replace categories as you go.
Design Is Ignored
What we often see is that informational website have poor design. While it is appreciated that content is the main focus – it shouldn’t be the only focus. If you’re building your website with the goal of getting traffic, then web design is essential to keep your visitors engaged. If your design is clean, visitors will be encouraged to stay longer and return to your website again. Your fonts’ clarity, colours suitable for reading, and ease of navigation can make or break the experience for the users.
Web Design Newry Type #9: Online Forums Website
An online forum website allows you to build community around a shared interest, and even allow you, as a site owner to earn profit by restricting access to members only. Users can discuss topics, compare experiences, ask questions, and interact with people with similar professions, hobbies, or worldviews. Many business models are built on that idea. Trustpilot, TripAdvisor, Quora and Reddit are the most popular examples of this type of websites. But you don’t need to have a business model which is entirely based on forums so that you can need an online forum website.
Say you own a hair care brand; you can create an online forum website because it is a topic that is so broad – and your users probably have so many unanswered questions about their hair care routines. By building an online forum website, you can become the go-to place where people share tips, advice, and reviews about hair care. This will also be your go-to community to interact and engage with your audience. Your website would basically be their digital salon. Whether your online forum is dedicated to gaming, environmental sustainability, or gluten-free dessert recipes, it’s an ideal place to digitally congregate.
Web Design Newry: Online Forum Websites Functionalities and Requirements
They’re built for engagement, so they’re meant to be dynamic. You need video content to be an essential part of your website. Strong Calls To Action(CTAs) to encourage your audience to participate and share their own two cents. Incentives and competitions are highly encouraged as well. Any sort of engagement is an essential part of the design and development of such websites.
In addition to engagement, you need to have a powerful search function. If you plan on making this website a reference for anyone interested in the topic, then you need to show them that you have quick answers to their very specific, unsolved queries.
Web Design Newry: What You Need to Check Your Website Before You Launch
Now, your website is ready to be launched and the developer or the agency has just dropped you an email asking you to review it before the final launch, what do you need to do? Agencies usually test out any website several times before it is delivered to you, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t review it. Many client are puzzled at this point not knowing what to check. Here are some aspects that you need to review before you give the green light.
Web Design Newry: Content
Yes, we hear you that it is daunting to review the content of your whole website. But you’d be surprised to see the amount of spelling or punctuation mistakes. We advise you start with the new pages and the core pages of your website including your homepage. Also, many times weird formatting can appear if you copy and paste from older pages, Word or Google Docs. Double check your fonts and make sure it’s consistent across the website.
While you’re reviewing the text, it’s necessary to review the images, too. Make sure all display text renders on the image when you hover over it (the alt attribute). Make sure the images display correctly. Remember, high-quality images do give a great look page but if it’s a few megabytes in size, most people won’t even stay long enough to look at it. Therefore, image optimising programs like Imageoptim which will compress your images much better than your photo editing software allowing you to reduce a few more kilobytes from your page load.
Web Design Newry: Web Forms and Live URLs
Checking forms is especially important if you have a marketing automation platform integrated in your site. Go through and fill out the forms and review the process again. Note down any changes you’d like to make. Make sure that the forms are passing lead information over to your marketing automation system. Can the flow be improved? Shortened? Does the form match the service or offering you want to focus on? Ensure that a notification is sent to the sales team or the relevant department in your company. If there’re any errors or bugs, this is when you need to point them out. Make sure that once you submit a form, you get the transactional/thank you email.
Web Design Newry: Tools and Social Media Integration
Tools like Google Analytics or any social media integrations need to be checked. They must be ready to use. Ensure that the social media icons on the site go to the correct pages.
Web Design Newry: Live URLs
URLs play a vital role in your SEO. Backlinking and internal linking impact the authority of your domain hugely. When a site goes live, the URLs are transferred from a staging site to the Live Site. Every single URL on your site needs to be tested when the site goes live to make sure they lead to the correct destination. This is important from both a functionality standpoint and for SEO purposes; visitors will get frustrated, and your site will be penalised search engines if these URLs are incorrect.
Web Design Newry: Stress Testing
If you know that your website already gets a lot of traffic – even if that traffic is seasonal, it’s super important to test it out for a higher load. By simulating the HTTP requests generated by simultaneous users, you can test your web server performance under normal and excessive loads. A suggested tool is Load Impact.
Web Design Newry: Compatibility to Devices and Browsers
Something you should never miss is to make sure your website is performing well across different browsers and devices. Test your website from a desktop, an Android phone, an iPhone, and an iPad too, if possible. Check the website’s performance on the most important browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, etc. The old school way of testing is to do it manually. Alternatively, there’re much more efficient ways to test across browsers, using either free or commercial tools like Adobe Browserlab, Browsershots, or SuperPreview.
Web Design Newry: Site Speed
Last, but surely not least, you need to test out your site speed on both mobile and desktop. Loading speed could kill your SEO efforts if it takes too long for a page to load. In fact, Google will actually penalise slow loading websites. Page Speed Insights is a tool offered by Google to test out the speed of your website. It gives you a score and lists out the areas of weakness that you should fix to improve your speed.
There are two main scenarios to consider when testing the speed of your site: initial page load and returning visitor. Naturally, the initial page load will take longer because all the images and code must be sent from the server to your browser. Returning visitor scenario, on the other hand, should be slower because users will have some, if not all, of the assets cached so they won’t have to download all these files again. Be sure to test for both scenarios where you want to get the initial page load size as small as possible, and you want to have as many assets cached for returning visitors.
Web Design Newry: How to Approach Building Your Website
For web design in Newry, our local knowledge means we understand your business, your customers, and your challenges. We’ve grown our own company and internal brands using great web design, SEO, and content marketing, so we can show you tried-and-tested methods and results.
One thing we’ve discovered through creating successful websites for returning customers? An ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure! We’ve seen how taking a little extra time before starting to develop a new website for a client can save a much more time-consuming change later. So, instead of simply asking you ‘what’ you need, we’ll ask ‘why’ to really understand what’s needed and the steps we need to take to make your new site a living, breathing – and performing – part of your company. This helps avoid some common mistakes…
Web Design Newry: Mistakes to Avoid While Building a New Website
Web Design Newry: Style Over Substance
We’ve seen websites which look great but don’t perform the functions needed by a business. Can blogs be added easily? Are product images easy to change? Has a landing page been included? Your needs as a business can change, will your site change with you?
Web Design Newry: The Website Solo Run
No one has a monopoly on good ideas, and this especially applies to developing a website! Imagine launching your new site to discover that – say – sales colleagues don’t refer customers as the right information hasn’t been included. It happens! A website should perform for everyone in the business and help them perform for your business. Taking time to bring everyone into the project will make the site a genuine part of your business.
Web Design Newry: Not Letting Customers Go Their Own Way
We all know Northern Irish customers have their own way of doing business. There’s no point – say – expecting a segment of your audience who prefer to make contact by phone to use a web form instead. You know your customers best. How they like to talk to you is how they’ll want to respond to your business. A good website adapts to this.
Web Design Newry: Things to Consider While Starting A New Website Project
Keep One Step Ahead
The latest changes in how people – your potential customers – search ongoing give an opportunity to keep ahead of the competition. Who in your market was first to make sure their site was mobile optimised? Has anyone in your market considered updated their call-to-action to respond to the latest devices? How people behave online isn’t a mystery, far from it in fact, with some simple study of the right analytics. A great website design will have one eye on the short-to-medium-term future and a great website designer-client relationship will help keep your business ahead of future change too.
Always Ask Why
Some companies just ask ‘what’ needs done, but we recommend knowing WHY your new site is needed. Dated design on your existing site? Not producing leads? Or needs more functionality? Understanding your ‘why’ is a great first step. Not sure how to combine your site with your strategies? ProfileTree will help focus on your essential needs and how these play a part in your future success.
Collaborate With Your Team Internally First
Talk to your people about what will help them make your business bigger and better. You might be surprised by the answers! Sales might ask for a reference area for customers or a bank of demo videos. If it helps your team, it’s worth considering. That’s because your team deals with your customers, your processes and your challenges every day. Ask them about their needs, we’ll help you design these into your new site.
One group of people will be spending even more time on your new site than you will: your customers! Consider how to make their life easier and you’ll see the results filter through to your bottom line. ProfileTree can help make sure your potential buyers discover the right user experience. We’ll also help you to see your new site through their eyes. After all, why invest in a website unless it will work hard for your buyers?
Thinking of a website as a done-and-dusted task is a common mistake: the ways people search for your business and the things they want to see will be ever-changing. Talk to experts about how to stay ahead of the curve. We’ll be happy to help. In fact, we love hearing from our clients about their businesses, the changes they are seeing online and what’s working for their individual circumstances. We listen, we learn, and we support. Just ask.
Web Design Newry: How Much Does a Website Cost
Working with so many different businesses over the years taught us to work with different budgets and requirements. We have created three different packages for our web design and development projects; through which we cater for different needs and requirements. In other words, you set the requirements, we tailor a package within the limits of your spending. The average cost of a website at ProfileTree is 7000£ covering research, UI/UX design, web development, SEO, and content migration. This price figure is subject to change according to the requirements of the website and future updates to our packages.
Web Design Newry: Ready to Book a Free Website Audit?
A website audit is where one of our expert team members go through your website analyse its content, functionality, user experience, and SEO performance to give you a brief report of your website’s overall performance and how you can utilise our services to your advantage. Fill the form and send us your questions, we will be happy to answer all of them. Please do let us know if your business is registered in Newry, County Down. Alternatively, you can book a chat with one of our team members to audit your website for free and find out how we can help you establish a strong website presence in Newry, County Down, Northern Ireland.