For businesses on the brink of a major web design (or website redesign), managing the changes alone can be a daunting task. Where do we start? What needs to change and what do we keep? Where do we go from here? How do we keep our sanity?

Five Elements of Web Design Alchemy - Wood ElementFor those navigating into these uncharted waters without a guide, I offer a bit of advice. Explore the basic elements of web design with me through the five elemental transitions. We’ll follow the flow of web design, with advice to govern each step of the transition.

Web Design Alchemy: Wood Element
The wood element corresponds to spring, and represents new growth. This is where you identify the core elements that will serve as the seeds of your new site. With new growth into uncharted territory, frustrations can flare up, so you need to be sensitive to what really matters in web design.

1. Sensitivity to essentials. Answer the big questions: Who are you? What do you do? Who does it help? Maintain balance as you construct these elements. No one appreciates an overabundance of ego. Most site visitors are interested in what you can do for them. Keep things short and sweet, and assume your visitors are in a hurry. Respect their time by not wasting it.

2. Out of many voices, one message. With a new website, many people may struggle to put their agendas on top. You can get into quite a few angry debates as everyone wants a turn at the wheel. Like a plant following the sun, you must maintain focus. Who are you trying to reach with this website? What do they need, and how will you deliver? Does the design showcase this properly?

3. Eliminate dead weight. Be prepared to shed your old website like an old shell, and approach your new site with an open mind. If you cling to the past, you risk sabotaging your efforts to move forward. Every element of your website needs to serve a purpose. Otherwise you are just taking on dead weight, which will slowly suffocate your site. This includes design elements as well as content: avoid industry jargon, spelling mistakes, and grammar issues.

4. Naming considerations. Your name, or URL, can have a considerable impact on your website. Keep the name short and memorable. Avoid spelling ambiguities, and use related keywords if possible. The idea is to make your site easy for visitors to find. Once you decide on a name, grab related extensions like .com, .org, and .net. This way, even if customers forget your extension, they’ll still be able to reach you.

5. Scale your plans for growth. If your plans for web design involve complex projects, such as a shopping cart or database programming, you may want to release the new site in stages. That way you can still give visitors the red carpet treatment while the heavy construction continues in the background.

Balancing the needs of your visitor and your company requires sensitivity, but the results are extremely satisfying. It’s exciting to see the changes taking shape in the springtime of your website. These decisions will affect the course of all your internet marketing efforts, so it’s important to get them right from the beginning.

The process of transformation continues in the next installment: Essential Elements of Web Design Alchemy: Fire Element.

Have you run into frustrations with web design?
Are you excited about new growth?

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