Website designers have quite a wide-ranging choice of tools at their disposal at the moment when creating custom sites. There are web-based solutions like SquareSpace, Wix or Weebly as well as a number of website-building themes for platforms like WordPress (and there’s always the coding option for those who prefer it…) Unfortunately, I’ve been noticing that, while many websites are clean and nice-looking, they are also starting to look very similar and creativity is seemingly taking a backseat to functionality.
Utilizing standard web practices and conventions is always a good idea, but we do run the risk of losing out on creativity and uniqueness. Afterall, we spend so much time on the web these days – shouldn’t it be a beautiful experience as well as an informative one?
So, it begs the question, how do we build better websites?
Firstly, a good website starts with a client/owner who is fully aligned with and connected to whatever they are offering and want to share on the web.
It’s much easier to build a website for someone who knows exactly what they want/need to communicate and knows how they want to say it. Some prospective website owners are quite clear from the start, but many need to do some deeper digging to really get at how they want to display themselves on the interwebs.
This is why we go through our BrandWell process with our clients. The full-day intensive session ensures that our client are as clear and aligned with their purpose, their branding and their upcoming website as they can be.
Secondly, a good website starts with a good plan. Ascertaining exactly what the website owner wants to include on the site (before you start building it) is crucial. What is to be the main focus of the site? What will its main purpose be? What elements are essential? Questions like these will allow the designer to create a wireframe or map of the proposed site and organize/visualize the basic structure of the new site.
But what about the actual building of the website? How do we make that site memorable so that it stands out from others? And how do we make it beautiful?!
As I said, there are many tools out there right now. For those clients who want an ‘all-in-one’ package which includes webhosting as well as website building tools, The WellBrand will implement a solution like SquareSpace. You can make very nice (and powerful) sites and it does keep your website and hosting under one umbrella, but the web builders on these platforms are somewhat limited. You can still build beautiful sites, but this is where you run the risk of having a site that looks a lot like many others.
For most clients, however, we utilize a really great web-building tool called ‘Divi’ by Elegant Themes. Divi is technically a ‘theme’ for WordPress, but unlike other themes that just give you a particular look and feel (a la SquareSpace and other above…), Divi allows you to build and customize every aspect of your site. Here are a few examples:
- Custom Page Builder – Divi allows designers to design and arrange pages exactly the way they want to by using a very intuitive building system. You layout your page in sections and then within those sections you decide how many columns and what elements (or modules) need to go there. You have full control over fonts, colours and every other aspect of your design.
- So Many Modules – These are the building blocks of the Divi system. There are the simple and expected modules like ones for basic text or images, but there are also more functional modules that automatically create a contact form for you, format your testimonials or embed a YouTube video onto your page. And becuase they have a thriving developer community, there are new modules being created and offered on a consistent basis.
- Did I mention Layouts? – While you can build your site from scratch, Divi also offers an extensive library of pre-made templated layouts for a wide variety of occupations. Whether you’re a travel blogger or a farm-to-table butcher, Divi has a ready-made website you can use to give you a huge headstart. (Again, while using a layout template makes life easy, it’s highly recommended to personalize and customize it so that it reflects you and doesn’t look the same as everyone else’s site.)
With all that customizeability, one can make a site as unique as your creativity allows. Many may not want to go to extremes with the uniqueness of their website, but having the freedom to really express themselves on the web allows designers and clients to make their websites their own.
As you’d expect, some designers have created some pretty amazing sites with Divi. Here are a few impressive examples:
The WellBrand is a strong proponent of allowing your true self and true purpose to shine through both your branding and your website. Having a tool like Divi means we can help them express our clients unique gifts and showcase them in a beautiful and aligned manner.
Have you seen any websites that have really caught your eye lately? Let us know about them in the Comments below – we always like to keep up with what others are creating. It’s inspiring and it challenges us to strive for the best and most well-designed outcome for our clients.
Namaste & Be Well,