When most people new to web design set out to create their first website, they inevitably fall into the same trap that many web designers have fallen into. They put a lot of effort into designing a beautiful website complete with Flash animations, JavaScript effects, elaborate menus and more. Then, a few months after being launched, they realise that no one is visiting and that their website is barely ranking in any directory or search engine.

So they try to boost their image by implementing one of many search engine optimisation tactics offered by less than reputable ‘website marketing’ companies. They spend hundreds, if not thousands, on adding tags, links and other bits and pieces to their web design in the hope that it will rise in the ranks on Google or the other search engines. While some of these tactics may make a difference, you will still barking up the wrong tree if you’re only concentrating on one specific internet marketing tactic on your website.

The key to successful web design

Professional web designers and website marketers have learned that the key to a successful website often has little to do with how pretty a website is or how many gimmicks the designer can fit onto the page. All these extras play a role in keeping people on the site once they reach it, but people have to get to the site in the first place. The most important aspect for a successful website is that it is designed for the target audience.

What does this mean in practice? Essentially you want to design a website where a visitor can find the information they want quickly and effectively. The internet has shortened the attention span and if a person does not find what they are looking for on the first page they land on then, chances are, they are going to go elsewhere – without looking at any of the pretty web design.

Not only does a website need to appeal to its target audience, it also needs to be search engine friendly. This means you need to make sure there are meat titles on every page, H1 and H1 tags, text links, a sitemap and proper navigation.

Design for the audience from the start

The key to successful web design lies in creating a website for the target audience. Remember that you are creating a website that is going to be used by people at the end of the day and the success or failure of the website is determined by your visitors.

Need help with your website? Contact WSI for web design solutions in South Africa.