Being truly happy with the website that you choose for you or your business and feeling that it represents your values and ambitions is fundamentally important to your success. It is often the first exposure that potential clients or partners have to you and so it should communicate authentically and clearly what you stand for.
Choosing the right website development partner is therefore also key, as the right partnership will ensure that your values are built into your online shop window.
At Ideal Vantage we design, build and optimise websites using WordPress. It is very flexible and richly-featured and ideal for pretty much any kind of website.
WordPress uses themes and there are many free and premium themes available. Our favourite is the excellent premium theme package by Elegant Themes and almost always build websites using their flagship Divi theme. Divi is a modular theme with such a huge range of flexible options that it is almost a blank canvas and we can use this to paint the pictures that you want to represent your business.
We also occasionally use another theme called Expositio for artists and photographers who want a responsive, horizontal-scrolling site.
So what makes a good website?
- Layout – clear and aesthetically-pleasing – full-width or boxed, top or side header, margins and padding sizes, use of columns, boxes etc.
- Navigation – a clear menu so your users can find everything easily
- Logo – designed well in line with your brand
- Colours – choices and combinations that feel right
- Font – sizes and styles
- Content – copy, images, video, audio etc. that communicate really well
- Congruence – putting all these elements in a way that reflects your brand, outlook, mission etc.
Layout and navigation
People often get very bogged down in designing their website layout. It is a very common rabbit hole. A website is not like a static page from a magazine. We must consider that the layout needs to be responsive – i.e. look good on any screen size or dimensions and on any web browser software.
Building a site in Divi on WordPress means that we can achieve this. However, clients need to trust our skill and experience and not expect us to replicate very specific things which they may have seen on other websites. Such details may not be possible within software being used, at least not without hacking into the code which takes time and therefore increases the price significantly.
We can write code, CSS in particular, and if more complex code such as PHP is required, we can employ someone to write it for us. So it is OK to ask for hacks. However, clients who want a website within a budget are reminded that micro-managing the layout is not a good idea. Layout details are often far less significant to the impact and overall feel of a website than people seem to think when they focus on them. Gimmicks that might strike you as wonderful on someone else’s website might not work so well on yours and may not appeal to all that many people. Also, they tire quickly and can easily become annoying.
Your website should showcase something and not distract your audience from your message. So take care not to impose ideas and tastes onto your website that dilute its impact. Go for a layout that has an overall feel that is attractive to you and reflects your brand.
Similarly, a logo works well when it generates a feeling that reflects your brand. Conceptual, clever or convoluted logos – for example making letters into icons – only work if done incredibly well, and again, they take far more time and effort to create often without strengthening the impact at all, perhaps even weakening it. Think about what feeling the logo needs to create and let the designer design it!
Colours and fonts
The choice of colours and fonts and the way they all combine together can make a huge difference to the feeling being communicated. It is rather like decorating and a room. Again, it is vital to think about the feeling of your brand when choosing. They are easy to play with so don’t worry too much about trying things out and about changing your mind – within reason! A designer is experienced and skillful with colour and font combinations so micromanaging is again something to keep in check! We want to give you the website you really want – one which will do the best possible job for you.
The content you choose is very important for many obvious and not so obvious reasons. Consider the kind of person you want to visit your site and create content to communicate appealingly to them. Avoid boring content! If you have a lot of content to share, headings, use of images, block quotes, video or audio all work to offer it in a more engaging way but of course, well-written copy is also still a powerful way to get your message out there.
Minimal content can also work very well when there is clarity in the communication. If the content is obscure or hard to understand, this can add a kind of intriguing element which might feel cool. It can work if done carefully but unless you already have unshakably devoted followers, be careful not to irritate your audience.
To sum up, your content is most powerful when you really mean it. We can help you finding images and writing copy if you get stuck.
This is arguably the most important element. In a way it is synonymous with branding. Your brand works best when it is a clear and powerful expression of your true offering. Of course, artificial gloss or smoke and mirrors can work but most of us lack the narcissistic, immoral character necessary to pull off such an inauthentic approach. So unless you really are a scoundrel, our advice is to represent yourself with honesty and enthusiasm. Make everything on your website come from an authentic place and your audience will feel the integrity.
These are the key considerations that we have in mind when we build a website for you at Ideal Vantage, as we want the end result to be a website that you can be truly proud of. Get in touch with us with a brief for your new website and let’s work together to create something special for your future business.