“What separates design from art is that design is meant to be functional.”
The first step most folks take when creating a website for their start up business is to find a design they like; usually mimicking some other site (often a competitor), selecting a popular theme from WordPress or whatever other content management system (CMS) they’ve signed up to. Once theme or skin is chosen they generally focus on the aesthetic elements first. And in all honesty it’s a really stupid way to go about it. Seriously. If you follow that tactic you’ll end up frustrated and changing things to the point of distraction. Look, websites, as I noted in Your Website Has Only One Purpose, are there to help you establish contact with customers. That’s it. Sure, you can search engine optimise (SEO) your content until the cows come home, buy up Facebook adverts, backlinks and Oomph social media channels to breaking point, but these are all just a means to an end. And that endgame is getting email addresses from interested parties – and if that involves part of the actual sales process then all the better. Everything else is really just window dressing and time-wasting. In order to make that website do its job correctly, forget about the bells and whistles, colour pallets, column choices and fonts until you have what’s called a wireframe sorted out. Your wireframe is your map of what goes where and how it all connects. And all of those roads you create in your wireframe must lead readers and surfers alike quickly towards the main objective; establishing contact and getting the email address, contact number or Bitcoin wallet code (so to speak). Once that wireframe map is created, agreed and built into your site design like a brick shithouse, then you can fret all you want about the wallpaper and the carpeting. Remember this; some of the simplest and ugliest websites on the planet are the most effective, popular and most used. Want proof? Look no further than global leaders like eBay, PlentyOfFish, Craigslist and Google.
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