What is Web Design (and Why Does It Matter for Edmonton Businesses)?

by Aaron Janes, Founder

A top-down view of a Mac computer setup for a web designer

Websites are everything for local businesses these days.

See this?

A screenshot of the top cafes in Edmonton with arrows pointing to website links

Whenever a potential customer is searching on Google, your website is put front and center, and if your website's not up to scratch, quite simply, you won't be in these top "promoted" results that everyone's clicking on first.


So, how is your website doing? 


Do you have a decent bounce rate of lower than 40%? Are you investing hours and hours and getting a relative traffic flow in return? Are you ranking in the top ten or even the top five for specific Edmonton-focused keywords?


Are you receiving complaints about your website being slow, confusing, or just plain outdated? Whenever you see your website, do you feel disappointed or even a little ashamed, yet revitalizing it is constantly bumped down your to-do list?

Ouch, right? I get it.


You see, your website isn't just a digital business card anymore. It's your virtual storefront, your 24/7 salesperson and your first impression rolled into one. 


That's where web design comes in.


Think of web design as the art and science of creating a website that not only looks amazing but also works seamlessly. 


It's about crafting an online experience that makes visitors want to stick around, learn more about your business, and ultimately become your customers.


Now, you might be thinking, "Isn't web design just about making things look pretty?" Well, not exactly. It's so much more than that. In fact, it's a strategic investment that can make or break your business in Edmonton's competitive market.


So, grab a cup of coffee (or a local craft beer – gotta love Edmonton!), and let's dive into why web design is absolutely essential for your business and how to get yours right.

Web Design vs. Web Development: The Dynamic Duo Behind Your Dream Website

A desk with two people working on a website design using paper and pen

Building your Edmonton business website is kind of like building a house. There are several moving parts and skills that come together to create the whole package.

Web design is the architect, crafting the blueprints, envisioning the layout, and choosing the materials that will make your home both beautiful and functional. 

Web development is the builder, taking those blueprints and bringing them to life, ensuring the house is structurally sound and everything works as it should.

Web Design: Crafting the Vision

Web design is all about your website's look, feel, and user experience. It's the creative process that involves:

  • Visuals: Choosing colors, fonts, and images that align with your brand identity and appeal to your target audience.
  • Layout: Arranging elements on the page in a way that's visually appealing, easy to navigate, and guides visitors towards your desired actions.
  • User Interface (UI): Designing interactive elements like buttons, menus, and forms to make your website easy and enjoyable to use.
  • User Experience (UX): Considering the entire journey a visitor takes on your website, from their first click to their final conversion, and optimizing every step for maximum satisfaction.


Again, good web design isn't just about making your website look pretty, although that's certainly part of it. It's about capturing the essence of your brand, communicating your message effectively, and creating a positive first impression that keeps visitors engaged.


For example, the Nike website is crisp, modern, sleek, and colorful, and clearly, the Nike website. It doesn't take more than a few seconds for people to get into the Nike branding and know where they are.

A screenshot of the Nike website

What about this website?

A screenshot of Peace with the Wild Candle website

Of course, this is a homemade candle website, and you can tell from the font, wooden header background, and green, calming, pastel colors that this is a nature, adventure, outdoorsy type website that makes you feel, well, that way.


See the difference?


Now, how does your website make people feel?


Do they connect with your branding? Can they see and feel your mission? Can you identify what you stand for in the first few seconds? Or does it confuse people? Does it leave them feeling a little all over the place?


Web design is everything you need to bring all your ideas together cohesively.

Web Development: Bringing the Vision to Life

On the other hand, web development takes the visual design and turns it into a functioning website. It involves:

  • Coding: Writing the code (HTML, CSS, JavaScript) that structures the website, adds functionality, and brings the design to life.
  • Content Management System (CMS): Implementing a CMS like WordPress to make it easy for you to update content, add new pages, and manage your website without needing technical skills.
  • Performance Optimization: Ensuring your website loads quickly, is mobile-friendly, and provides a smooth user experience.
  • Security: Protecting your website from hackers and malware to keep your business and customer data safe.


Development is like the engine that powers your website. The technical foundation that ensures your website works seamlessly so your visitors can focus on your content and your message.

Why Both Matter: The Perfect Partnership

Web design and web development are two sides of the same coin. You need both to create a successful website that achieves your business goals. 


A beautiful design without functionality is like a stunning house with no plumbing or electricity – it's not very useful.


Similarly, a website with all the bells and whistles but a poor user experience is like a cluttered, poorly designed house – it's hard to navigate and doesn't leave a good impression.


Investing in both professional web design and web development ensures your Edmonton business has a website that looks great, functions flawlessly, and delivers the results you need.

Why Does Web Design Matter for Edmonton Local Websites?

Two female local business owners looking through their furniture website

Let's break it down;

First Impressions Are Everything

Let's face it – we all judge books by their covers, and websites are no different. 


Your website is often the first point of contact a potential customer has with your brand. In a matter of seconds, they'll form an opinion about your business based on how your website looks and feels.  


Some research actually suggests this is less than 50 milliseconds (0.05 seconds)!


So, make it count. A well-designed website immediately signals professionalism, credibility, and attention to detail. It tells visitors you care about their experience and that you're a reputable business worth engaging with. 


On the flip side, a poorly designed website can send potential customers running to your competitors faster than you can say "poutine."


For instance, imagine a local Edmonton bakery with a website that's visually stunning, featuring mouthwatering photos of their pastries and an easy-to-navigate menu.


This website is far more likely to entice customers to visit than one with blurry images and a confusing layout.

User Experience is Non-Negotiable

Think of your website as a digital storefront. Would you want your customers to trip over displays, struggle to find prices, or wait in long lines? 


Of course not! The same principles apply to your website.


A website with poor user experience (UX) is like a frustrating shopping experience. If visitors can't easily find what they're looking for, navigate your site, or complete a purchase, they'll simply leave and find a business that offers a smoother experience.


According to Zippia research, 88% of online shoppers will NEVER return to a website after a bad user experience. Simultaneously, 55% of companies who invest in user experience tests on their website receive a 9,900% ROI on their investment (or every $1 of test spending returns $100).


Consider an Edmonton tourism website that's optimized for user experience. It has a clear navigation menu, fast loading times, and is easily viewable on both desktop and mobile devices. 


This website encourages visitors to stay longer, explore more local attractions, and potentially book accommodations or tours. It also ranks higher in the search engines!

Branding: Your Digital Identity

Your website is more than just a collection of pages; it's your digital identity.


It's a platform to showcase your brand's unique personality, values, and story. A well-designed website visually communicates your brand's essence through consistent colors, fonts, imagery, and tone of voice.


Think of a local Edmonton craft brewery. 


Their website might feature rustic textures, warm earth tones, and images of friendly faces enjoying their beer. This creates a brand identity that resonates with customers who value local businesses, community, and craftsmanship.


A strong brand identity not only sets you apart from competitors but also builds trust and loyalty with your audience. When visitors feel connected to your brand, they'll become repeat customers and brand advocates.


These days, it's not just about people buying your products or services. It's about them feeling what your business stands for and becoming a part of your community. 

Driving Conversions: From Clicks to Customers

And finally, while we've gone on about how customers need to feel your business, connect with your mission, become your community and strive to be your advocates, the truth is that your website does need to generate results. 


Otherwise, you're losing money, and you can't do what you do best for long. The point we've been trying to make is that it's not just about the metrics. These are a tool to help you understand whether you're moving in the right direction.


You could make a super-fast website with just a white screen and one sentence of text, but that doesn't provide value to anyone. It's about balance.


So, whether it's making a sale, booking an appointment, or subscribing to a newsletter, your website should guide visitors toward specific actions that benefit your business.


Strategic web design is key to meeting those goals, with clear calls-to-action (CTAs), intuitive forms, and streamlined checkout processes contributing to a higher conversion rate.


For example, an Edmonton law firm's website might feature a prominent "Schedule a Free Consultation" button, client testimonials, and case studies. These elements build trust and encourage visitors to take the next step.


By understanding your target audience's needs and pain points and designing your website to address them, you can create a seamless path from initial click to loyal customer.


As you can see, web design is so much more than just making your website look pretty. It's a strategic investment directly impacting your business's success in Edmonton's digital landscape.


A well-designed website creates positive first impressions, provides a seamless user experience, strengthens your brand identity, and drives conversions. It's your 24/7 salesperson, working tirelessly to attract and engage potential customers.


If your current website is outdated, confusing, or simply not delivering the results you want, it's time to consider a redesign. Don't underestimate the power of a well-crafted online presence to elevate your brand and drive business growth.


Ready to ignite your online potential? 


Visit Ignite Web Design, and let's create a website that truly reflects your Edmonton business's unique brilliance. We also offer free audits to update and improve your existing site!

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