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15831639_sAfter years of developing websites using various methods I've realized that there is an underlying art to web design that is hidden from the general view.  The obvious pieces are known such as color, graphics, text, ...etc.  However, usability and functionality are not obvious and many times overlooked.

When we design a website we are going to first sit down and discuss things like features and behavior.  What is the purpose of the website?  To sell products?  Or to market your business?  Once we determine WHAT we are building the we will start on HOW we are going to build it.  But first we need to determine WHY.

Crafting your message, start with the WHY.  

In Simon Sinek’s book start with the WHY he explains how this approach will resonate with your audience.  This is where most businesses go wrong.  They start with the WHAT, using the HOW, and never get to the WHY.  See the diagram here: Start with the WHY

Sinek summarizes, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

This is how we craft your value proposition.  This is what separates you from your competition in the marketplace.  Why using your power tool is better than a hammer or a rock.  Or why your business exists and why you're better than the guy down the street.

This exercise can be daunting.  It took me months to figure out why I started Softwired and what keeps us going.  It wasn’t the obvious fact that we build great websites to market your business.  It was actually freedom from marketing systems that give little or no value.  It become clear our WHY was to give the best value to our customers rather than be the best at internet marketing.

Note, at this time we haven’t even started thinking about what the website is going to look like.

Now that we have your message we can look at your brand.  Visuals and other assets that we can use to design the website.  Colors, fonts, graphics, and all other aspects including your retail storefront if applicable.  We will use what is available or we will need to develop that for you.  Building your brand is an extremely long and difficult process.  If you look at Starbucks you’ll see everything about each store is the same.  It’s the experience you have when ordering your latte.  

Now that we have the materials to start building your website we’ll start with the framework.  The process generally goes like this:

  1. We use WordPress as a content management system like everybody else does these days.  We’ll set up the site and install the software to start building.

  2. We’ll pick a design framework to use for the website theme.  This is like another layer of content management that sits on top of WordPress.  These design frameworks have a bunch of controls where we don’t have to manually code everything.

  3. We’ll load the website with demo content that matches your brand.  This is the most difficult part of the process.  It’s like building a bridge from both sides of a river at once and meeting in the middle.  One side of the river is function and the other side is form.  Sometimes they don’t meet and we have to start over.

  4. We’ll use your content in place of the demo content.  This is a crafting process that is like creating a sculpture.  Honing and refining, removing the excess, until uncovering the beautiful work of art underneath all those layers.

The Demo

At this point we’ll have your demo ready for your first presentation. We’ll walk through the website design step by step, explaining the purpose of each element and the anticipated result from the website visitors.  After getting your feedback we’ll take the website back to the “shop” and incorporate those things we’ve learned.  We’ll continue refining and removing any other excess that isn’t usable for your purpose.  

Now we’ll be presenting the results of our work.  The purpose of the second review is to build a final checklist of adjustments prior to launch.  Our goal is to create a launch point where the website goes live and don’t keep refining behind the scenes.  This is a slightly different approach using Growth Driven Design where updates now occur in real time on the live website.

Now that your website is live our work is just beginning.  The website should define your brand and resonate with your customers.  From here we’ll be using Inbound Marketing to attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers via the website.

To learn more simply download our ebook to get started.

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Topics: web design

Tony Sova

Written by Tony Sova

Owner of Softwired, a web design, SEO, and Inbound Marketing firm.