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Sketching a website that will immediately engage your visitors

Does this sound familiar? You want to get started on something that’s rather important, but you’re hesitant because you’re not sure how to get started? For some of my clients, it has been much the same for starting their own website.

Before you hire a designer, choose a content management system or decide on colors and fonts, try these simple steps in order to sketch a website and get some layout ideas.

1 – Change your frame of mind

Take on a different perspective, put yourself in the position of your website visitors instead of your self and build a list of inter-actions they should be able to perform. These actions can also be called features, because they are what your website will feature.

Say you are an enthusiastic gardener and you’d like to sell organic seeds of edible plants such as herbs, lettuce and vegetables. Your clients will be able to harvest for their favorite dishes.

Your feature list could look something like this:

On my website, people can

  • order seeds and gardening tools.
  • check a sowing schedule.
  • choose seeds according to their eating preferences.
  • subscribe to the monthly tip on gardening.
  • learn about gardening from videos.

2 – Drafting single pages
Design one page per feature.

For example, to display the videos lessons, I list the lessons on the left and have the video play in a box on the right. Then add a title for each page. This will give you your draft navigation!

Some pages are not as important as others, in this particular case it’s the contact page. I’ll remove it from the main navigation and place it in the footer. Rearrange until you get it right.

 

 

3 – Create an inviting welcome

Design the front page.

If you show a pack of seeds on your front page and say “buy this”, it’s probably not going to work.

Arrange this paramount page in a way that invites your visitors to ‘get involved’. Suggest some things that they might want to engage in, like learn more about gardening and read one of the previous monthly tips.

You can go beyond that – use your imagination to create ‘future’ products or tools that don’t yet exist, but would be nice to have (like a plot designer). If you can name it, ideas how to design it will follow.

It is important that you get people attracted and have a call to action so that they stay on your website.

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Remember, you have 8 seconds to convince them that you have something interesting to offer and if you can’t, they’ll be gone with a click.

If you bring this information to a web designer he or she will be delighted. No doubt, it will be easier to get an awesome design to go with your content. Knowing how to make a website might be easier than you thought.

To see an example of this wonderful website in action, go to www.seedtoplate.co.uk.

Please feel free to leave a comment, this is a great topic to discuss!

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