Most web designers can probably tell you a story that goes something like this.

A client says, “I really love this bright purple color. Let’s use that on my website.”

To which the programmer or designer might say, “Why that color? What purpose does it serve for your organization?”

And then the client might respond, “I just really like that color.”

There are, of course, many aspects to a website’s design and structure that reach beyond color choice. And the same scenario can happen with nearly any aspect of a website project. It’s easy to get caught up in what it looks like, what it says, and how it says it. And yes, those are all important things, but not the most important things.

The most important things are:

1. What are your goals for your business and your website?
2. Who is your target market?
3. What is your overall brand?

Whether you’re working with an internal team or an outside partner to create or redesign your website, the goals, target market, and brand should always come first. You have to establish what you want before you decide how to do it.

We’ve recently written blogs about setting specific goals and defining your target market through personas. But what should you consider about your brand?

Well, are you straightforward and serious, or are you quirky and fun? One isn’t better than the other, but rather simply reflects your business and takes into account the needs of your target market. That overall brand can affect the colors and other design decisions for your site, as well as the tone of your content. You wouldn’t expect a lawyer’s office to have a website that’s bright pink and green, but you might expect it from a kid-focused bakery.

As you think about the design of your company’s website, think about the bigger picture of design and the factors that go into determining it. Start with your goals, target market, and brand, and then make design decisions that reflect that.

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