Homepage mockups – the key stage of a new website design

It’s been a busy start to 2021 here at Black Nova Designs! We’re putting a new website live virtually every day, enquiries for websites, hosting, Wi-Fi and CCTV are flooding in and we’re even hiring another new staff member. We are so thankful that, one year on from that very first lockdown, Black Nova Designs is busier than ever before.

It’s no surprise to us that people are keen to establish or improve an online presence. Even prior to the pandemic, businesses increasingly needed people to be visible online, but the past year has accelerated and amplified that trend. And, as there is still plenty of uncertainty around which events will and won’t run in 2021, a website is in high demand. What’s more, our clients often want their website to be ready as soon as possible.

That’s understandable – you want your website up and running to get those leads and sales rolling in ASAP! So how can we work together to ensure the design process is productive and efficient? We thought we would share some of the common questions and challenges with you, as well as the process behind the initial stages of website design. That way, you can see what you need to consider and send us to make the design process effective.

How you can help us design your dream website

Your passion and vision are always going to be your area of expertise – our job is to create an online space where that passion will shine through to anyone visiting it! For that to happen, we will need your input from the start. We create totally bespoke websites, so imagine a blank homepage and then think about what you want to see on it.  A key element of the homepage is the images you use, as they will catch your people’s attention first. We have blogged before about how important good images are, so make sure you read that here, as this is quite honestly one of the most crucial elements to a website.

Many clients say, “I want something wildly different; I want my website to stand out”. Naturally, we design all sites to look different, but there are some standard features that all websites need to have in order to work well, especially when you factor in responsive design. Make a list of all the elements you want on your homepage – for example testimonials, blog entries, information about you, links to your products – and make sure you share that with us. The order they appear in should be governed by what you would like people to see when they first arrive, and then what you want them to do – read on for tips on how to make sense of that!

Really take your time filling out our questionnaire

When we take on a new website job, we send a questionnaire to every client. As well as ensuring we have all the key information about your business (what you do, where you are located, the domain name, opening hours and so on), it gives us a steer on what you want to homepage to look like. We can’t read your mind, so it’s important you take the time to complete the questionnaire carefully.

Now if your immediate response is “I have no idea what it will look like – that’s why I have employed you!”, we understand that. But we still need to find out what websites you love, and which designs you really don’t like. It takes our team a few days to draw up a website homepage, so it’s really important we get on the right track before we start.  

Our kick-off questionnaire asks you to spend some time looking at other websites so that you can send us the link to 5 which you like the look, feel and layout of. We make sure every website we design is unique, but we do need to know if you love white space and really clean designs. Or, if you prefer lots of images and bright, colourful backgrounds. We also need to know the colour scheme and logo you want us to include, so that the first mockup we send over really knocks your socks off! If you have some gorgeous images for your business, then make sure you send them over for us to use in the mockup. If you have photoshoot booked in then just let us know when we can expect them.

Think about what you want people to do when they visit your website

User experience (or UX) is a fancy web designer and marketer’s term for what people will see, read and do when they visit your website. You have 5.94 seconds to capture a person’s attention when they land on your homepage, so bear that in mind. You want to make it really clear what your business does, how you do it and who you do it for.

Once you have their attention, that visitor might scroll down a little bit, so what do you want them to do next? Do you want them to be able to shop your most popular products, see an amazing testimonial or fill in a contact form? We can add all sorts of content on your homepage, we just need to know what you want people to do. That’s the best way to choose what to include.

Your homepage will also include the menu at the top for people to navigate their way around the website – what additional pages and information do you want the website to include? A simple website menu might just have the following:

  • About us/behind the brand
  • Products (or services if you are service based!)
  • News/blog
  • Contact us

But other websites may have dedicated pages for services which then link out to ecommerce pages, content downloads and more. We’re happy to chat through what you are looking for and give you our advice on menus, homepages and website maps in general.

Make sure you keep in touch with us

If you follow these steps and work with us, the chances are that when we share that first mockup with you, it will make you happy. But we might not get it right the first time! So, make sure you keep in touch with our team. If you’ve changed your mind about the colour scheme or the homepage structure, make sure you let us know as soon as possible! Communication is so important in all areas of business, and here it will save everyone time.

In closing, – a homepage is just one page of your website. But it’s the most important page by far. It’s likely to be the first thing people see when they Google or click through from social media. It’s also the first thing we will mockup and it will be the template we use to design the rest of the site. So, take the steps above and you can look forward to a beautiful, effective website.

Please do keep in mind that we ask for all content and images to be supplied to us to build your website. We do work with some amazing copywriters and photographers that we can recommend, but these wonderful additional services do come at an additional cost on top of the website. It is really important to us that we manage our clients’ expectations from the beginning, so job is too small, and no question is too daft. We are here to help any time you need us!

To learn more about our website design and hosting services, drop us a line today, or pop us an email and we can send over the initial questionnaire.