The thought process behind designing the greystokegraphics.co.uk website.
As you should do at the start of any graphic design project I asked myself the most important question: What do I want to achieve?
1) It needed to be as simple and as basic as possible.
So firstly, as I’m pushing the WordPress platform I decided to use a WordPress template and chose twentyseventeen. This was for a couple of reasons. There is a plethora of templates out there, but if they are free there is a chance they won’t be updated for security issues etc as often as they should. Whereas WordPress have to keep their free templates updated. To stand a better chance of your template being updated you’d need to go for a ‘payed for’ option. And as I think I’ve mentioned before, I’m a bit tight and wanted to show that you don’t need to pay for one.
2) I wanted prospective clients to scan through the whole website methodically instead of just skipping from one page to another.
There’s more to designing a website than just making it look nice. You also need to think about the functionality and what experience you are offering the viewer. Bare in mind that the average website user’s attention span is between 5 and 10 seconds. Any information needs to be in bite size pieces. While you don’t want viewers constantly having to go to the menu for the next item in an ad-hoc way, you also don’t want a website that just seems to scroll and scroll.
My answer for this was to encourage viewers to go ‘on a journey’. The text for each page was to be kept to the minimum with a simple click through at the bottom of each page to the next item. The idea being that all the important pages were read in a logical order. Obviously the menu is still there for those that want to go straight to any particular item.
3) It needed to be completely different from any competitors so that it stands out.
While doing research on the website design I obviously viewed competitors sites to see what they were doing, enabling me to come up with something different. So that meant I couldn’t do the obvious and have website examples superimposed on the screen of an iMac or even clickable square examples scrolling one after the other. Hence, the use of montages to display items. Everything I wanted to show is in one image. There’s no clicking on separate images to see each example of work. It’s all there for a quick scroll through.
4) The content needed to be SEO rich to improve my Google ranking.
This is quite a difficult one, while the copy needs to be readable it still needs to have all the search terms people might use to find the site in the text. While meta tags might help, Google relies more on the actual content of the page. There also needs to be click throughs to other pages on your site.
Google will rank your site higher if it has informative information and not just sales spiel. Hence the use of the tips and resources items.
Additionally you ideally want to have plenty of inbound links (websites linking to you). The more people that link to your site the better, these need to be relevant links, not just a wodge of ‘paid for’ links which will harm your SEO. So, the more interesting your pages, the more the chances are of people linking to you. The second best option is for your site to link to relevant informative websites. This helps Google view your site as informative. In case you were wondering, this is the reason for the link to Wikipedia at the bottom of the home page (and the link to WordPress TwentySeventeen in item 1).
5) And finally, I wanted to show my expertise and knowledge in the areas I work.
This was the second reason for including the hints and tips pages. Not just to improve Google ranking but also to show that there is a wealth of experience that you might not of thought of when employing a good graphic designer. Of course I don’t want to give you too much information, just enough for you to think “umm this looks more complicated than I thought, I’d better use a professional graphic designer” 😉