Websites serve as the online base of your business in addition to your social media platforms. In many scenarios, it’s the first interaction a customer will have with your brand. And let’s face it: web design can be a very tricky process, with experts having to take in the creative design elements as well as the functionality to accompany. Although DIY web design sites have grown in popularity, there are always limits on what you’re able to accomplish. For this reason, whether you take on the massive project yourself or outsource to a local marketing agency, here are 5 critical elements to keep in mind when it comes to designing a new website.

Have a plan in place

A website should never be designed or even started without a well thought-out plan. Sites such as WordPress and Shopify offer beautiful themes and templates that you can edit and that creative web design teams can build upon. With this in mind, give your web team as much information about your brand as possible and the vision you’re seeking for the site. If no theme really speaks to you, then graphic designers can build out your website with the exact images that you have in mind.

Include social shares

Although it may seem obvious, make sure you have a designated area on your website for any social media platforms that your brand utilizes. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are the most common, but as social media continue to innovate, you may notice brands taking advantage of new platforms, such as TikTok. Sharing your socials at the top or bottom of your website is a simple way to ensure that anyone who navigates to your site has easy access to check out your online presence and see what you’re all about. Some websites also give you the ability to feature your social media directly through homepage plug-ins, such as for Instagram or Twitter. This gives you the option to easily display any social media updates for web visitors on your website.

Stay mobile-friendly

The rate of mobile web searches has grown exponentially compared to desktop within the past 10 years. Think about it: you only really use a desktop to search for things when you’re at work, right? That is, if you have an office job. For most people, whether you’re on the go, in traffic, or laying in bed at night, you’re most likely going to use a phone for any web searches. For this reason, it is crucial that you have a mobile website that is just as responsive as desktop. Some businesses had to learn the hard way about mobile responsiveness, so don’t let it be yours. Mobile sites are never carbon-copies of their desktop counterparts, and a creative web design team will ensure that your mobile and desktop sites work together despite any small differences.

Launch after much-needed testing

Unless a local web agency is launching your site, you may be tempted to launch your site right upon finishing the designing of it yourself, through platforms such as Wix or Squarespace. But patience is key when it comes to creative web design. When you put your website in the hands of a digital marketing agency or any LA web agency, there are multiple eyes on it, checking for any errors or inconsistencies. If you design it yourself, this task falls solely on you. Be sure to have multiple eyes on your website before its launch; send it to any close friends or family for their opinion. Also, be sure to click on every link possible! Does it take you to the correct page or do you receive an error message? There’s nothing worse than a potential customer trying to find and utilize vital information on your site only to be met with broken links.

Don’t forget about SEO

Search engine optimization is crucial to any business, small or large, and can aid a great deal in getting your next sale. SEO generally comes after the launch of a site, but it can also be factored in during the building of it depending on your skill-level. While web design focuses a great deal on imagery and general aesthetic, SEO factors in words and responsiveness at a higher level. Search engine optimization involves keyword research, blogging, link-building and a multitude of other components that are guaranteed to help your brand get found easier. So many factors go into building a high-level SEO strategy, so it’s best to consult an expert or do your fair share of research on the subject.

If you’re still unsure on whether you should design your website yourself, or outsource to an LA web agency, then feel free to give Klout9 a call so that we can discuss your options. As stated earlier, web design can be extremely tricky and you’re often limited on what you can do with a DIY website builder. Once your website is up and running, you’ll be able to start driving valuable traffic to your newly designed site and turn those new visitors into your loyal customers.