Website Development and Website Design Playbook

A business’s online presence can have an outsized influence on its success. Even outside of eCommerce and D2C sectors, the vast majority of a company’s investors, partners, and customers, whether B2C or B2B, will visit their website before making a decision to purchase or invest. 

Creating a visible online footprint for your business, starting with a solid website, builds a strong foundation for revenue generation.

Communication channels are the base of your overall strategy
Communication channels - including your website - are how you're able to present your business.

What Advantages Does the Website Give to Your Business?

A website is the digital landing site for your community - the key awareness platform for new and existing customers, partners, investors, and other stakeholders.  A well-designed and user-friendly website demonstrates expertise and permanence, and through that establishes trust between the company and its audience.

It is the most important tool for a business that gives your brand presence in your category if it can provide users with a first-class experience. Needless to say, it is critical to approach this process thoughtfully. While certain small, or early-stage businesses can start by building their website and online presence on their own, most companies should opt in for working with a professional agency in order to build a website that will serve them as a strong platform and content engine for years as they scale and grow.

What is the key purpose of the website? Website Development and Design Playbook
Remember to keep in mind the purpose of your website when designing wireframes and drafting content.

Sitemap and Wireframes

Start with a deep dive into your goals for the site, what you expect it to achieve, and how you can leverage it as the primary tool to connect with your audience, build a following, reinforce your brand identity, and facilitate revenue. 

To build a strong foundation for your website, start by identifying how it factors into your business goals, as well as your customers’ expectations and behavior. Establish context, and benchmark how your site should function against key competitors and industry standards.

Once the website brief is created, the next step is to sketch the sitemap and new web layouts through wireframe development. These allow experimentation through quick iterations so there is a clear and agreed sense of content placement.

Some of the best solutions to map out your site and sketch the wireframes that we use ourselves include Miro and Figma.

An example of website sitemaps and wireframes
Here's an example of how a wireframe may appear on different devices and screens.

Website Copywriting and SEO tools

Once the wireframes are signed off, they should be populated with content, aka web copy.  Well-crafted website copywriting defines effective user flow, keeps them engaged, and often leads users to take desired action, such as making a purchase, subscribing to a newsletter, or submitting a contact form.

Great copy rooted in your brand identity can give your users the extra push they need to engage with your business. However, the main goal of writing for the web is not user flow and CTAs alone - successful and effective web copy is a balancing act between an engaging on-site narrative and SEO. 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has had an immense impact on how we write online, and what we hope to achieve with it. As Google and other search engines grow in utilization, so does the need for traffic through these engines.

Running an SEO audit of your existing site or taking into account best SEO practices while creating a new one will ensure that your website is engaging. It helps you connect with the motivations of those who found it but also makes it easy to find and searchable for those who haven’t heard of your brand before but are looking for products and services similar to your business.

SEO tools such as SE Ranking, Semrush, or Moz make SEO auditing accessible and straightforward even for non-technical users.

Website Design

Once the wireframes are approved and the final content is supplied, the screen design begins. These add color and more detail to the initial wireframes, giving a stronger visual representation of the final product. It is important to prepare mockups that show how the final design will look on desktop, tablet, and smartphone screen sizes.

Examples of website design
These are a few examples of the websites Wunderdogs has designed over the years for clients in various industries.

There are a few important design characteristics that all successful user-first websites share:

  • Simple: When users come to a business website, they do so to find specific information or complete an action. Excessive design elements, animations, and copy overload distract users from the ultimate action you want them to take.

  • Navigable and Hierarchical: Even the most information-heavy websites can provide a pleasant and clear user flow if the information hierarchy is clean; meaning, layouts and design elements drive attention toward the most important information first. The most efficient websites have the least amount of clicks the user needs to make to get the information they want.

  • Accessible: A website is a digital public space - it is crucial to make sure that it is accessible to all users, including people with limitations that affect their browsing experience. A tool like AccessiBe helps identify flaws in your website’s accessibility and provides tools to meet the accessibility standards.

  • Credible and consistent: A website exists to ensure that your brand is represented in a consistent, trustworthy, and credible way to your customers and end users. Therefore, ensuring informational and visual consistency throughout the website, as well as making sure that the site is consistent with your brand, marketing, and sales materials is crucial.


As a communication tool that allows you to convey the most information in one place vs. other channels, your website presents an opportunity to communicate every aspect of your business and brand, creating a starting point for connection with your audience.

Efficient user-friendly websites are a prerequisite for any brand. Where websites really deliver is when the time and thought to develop one that accurately reflects your brand, product, and customer combines with design thinking to create something that is not only a tool but an experience that brings your audience in and keeps them there.


How do vision and mission statements impact a company's long-term direction?

Effective vision and mission statements should ideally constitute important tools in formulating a company’s strategy. They should largely remain unchanged through the years, though a significant pivot may bring about new vision and mission statements. Together, they work to define the focus of the business and how it impacts the world. 

The vision statement is a representation of your company’s view of a better world. The mission statement reflects how it sets about to achieve this vision. They work together to create internal alignment and help with strategic decision making. When planning for the future, developing new products, or experimenting with new strategies, teams can perform a quick check against the vision and mission statements to ensure that these initiatives are aligned with the essence of the brand. 

In short, the vision and mission statements are powerful tools which can and should impact decisions across the organizations, making them important factors in a company’s long-term direction.

How does brand strategy influence the overall success of a business?

Your brand strategy reflects how your brand sees the world and its role within it. It is the framework that, ideally, should guide all your communications (both external and internal) and audience touchpoints, i.e. each interaction an audience member has with your business. 

Having standardized communication across all channels and touchpoints makes business processes smoother and positively influences your client relationships, ensuring you develop strong, long-term connections with your customers. It also simplifies strategic decision-making and aligns your team. All these factors are vital to the success of a business.

How do messaging frameworks help communicate your brand message effectively?

Messaging frameworks are structured guides that outline the core messages, value propositions, and differentiators of a brand. They ensure consistency across all communications, from marketing materials and social media posts to customer service interactions. By defining key messages that resonate with the brand's target audiences, messaging frameworks help ensure that a brand’s communications are clear and memorable. 

They also help organizations stay aligned internally and ensure that each member, regardless of their role, understands what the brand’s key message is and how to communicate it effectively. This internal alignment is crucial for presenting a unified brand image to the outside world.

What specific elements contribute to a brand's verbal identity?

A brand’s verbal identity should align your team on how your brand communicates and how this communication changes depending on the situation. It defines a specific and recognizable language through which your brand can deliver its message to your audience or audiences.

Typically, a verbal identity includes some, or all, of the following elements:

Brand personality: This captures the human traits or characteristics that your brand embodies, such as being adventurous, sophisticated, or reliable, which help shape how your brand is perceived.

Brand voice: The brand voice reflects how your brand reflects its personality across all communication channels.

Brand tone: While the brand voice remains consistent, the brand tone can change depending on the context of the message and the audience being addressed, ranging from formal and professional to informal and friendly.

Messaging frameworks: These are strategic tools that outline the key messages your brand intends to communicate to its different target audiences, ensuring that all messaging is aligned with your brand's mission, vision, and value propositions.

Messaging examples: These provide specific examples of how your brand's messaging might be applied in various scenarios.

Style and grammar guidelines: These outline your preferred spelling, grammar, and style, ensuring that your communication is consistent across the board. 

What are some key considerations when developing a tone of voice for a brand?

The first and most important consideration is the brand’s personality. While businesses are functional, they still communicate with people – and people primarily connect with stories and personas. Your brand’s personality will define a set of human characteristics which reflect how it sees itself in the world. By giving your brand these human attributes, you are making it both distinctive and easier to identify with. The tone of voice should reflect your brand’s personality.

It’s also important to consider your target market and your audience’s expectations. While having a distinctive tone of voice is important for memorability, there is such a thing as being too different. If all brands in your segment adopt a serious, professional tone, and you would like to be fun and playful, there is certainly space for that, but consider very carefully why you are doing it.


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How do brand guidelines ensure consistency in visual identity across different platforms?

Brand guidelines are a key tool for maintaining a consistent visual presentation across various platforms. These guidelines typically outline the main use cases where the brand's visual identity will appear and provide comprehensive rules and standards.

The guidelines include detailed instructions on how to use the brand’s assets, such as logos, color palettes, typography, and imagery. This ensures that anyone using these assets, whether they're designers, marketers, or external partners, can apply them correctly and consistently. 

It’s crucial that the entire team is familiar with these guidelines. It’s important to get team buy-in on the visual identity and ensure that the guidelines are easily accessible. When the whole team understands and follows the guidelines, the brand's visual identity remains unified across all touchpoints, enhancing brand recognition and trust.

How does visual identity differ across industries, and how can a brand ensure it stands out while remaining authentic?

Visual identity varies significantly across industries, shaped by both the industry norms and the unique aspects of each brand. Understanding where your brand stands in the competitive market is essential when crafting a visual identity that both stands out and remains authentic.

Industries have distinct visual trends that are often expected by consumers. For instance, financial services brands typically adopt a reserved, traditional look with a color palette dominated by blues and greys. In contrast, skincare brands often go for a lighter, more colorful approach with pastels. Being aware of these industry-specific trends is important because it helps to decide how much your brand should differentiate itself from these norms. This differentiation should be based on your audience's expectations and your brand's unique value propositions.

For example, a financial services brand that emphasizes its use of innovative technologies might choose a more digital-oriented visual language. Similarly, a skincare brand that focuses on scientific innovation might benefit from a more science-based visual language.

How does competitive benchmarking influence the development of a visual identity?

Competitive benchmarking is important in developing a brand's visual identity as it provides insights into the market environment. By examining the competition, a brand can better understand its unique value proposition and strengths. This understanding is crucial in identifying what sets the brand apart from others.

With this knowledge, a brand can lean into its unique strengths when crafting its visual language. This approach ensures that the visual identity not only looks appealing but also reinforces the brand’s distinct point of view and competitive edge.

What are the key considerations when creating visual concepts for a brand?

The visual identity of a brand should quickly and clearly reflect its strategic positioning. Designers begin the process of creating visual concepts by immersing themselves in the brand’s strategy to extract key narrative themes. These themes are then translated into a visual language that employs both emotional and aesthetic elements to communicate the brand's messages. This translation is crucial as it shapes how the audience perceives and interacts with the brand.

When developing visual concepts, it's important to make sure they align with the brand's strategy and fit well within the competitive landscape: demonstrating key differentiators, but still fitting into the industry at large. The visuals should also be suitable for the mediums they will be used in. Whether for digital, print, or physical applications, the choice of medium can greatly influence how the visual concepts are designed.

How does visual identity contribute to brand recognition and trustworthiness?

Visual identity is key to boosting brand recognition and trustworthiness, especially in busy markets. When a company maintains a consistent visual brand across different platforms, it becomes easier for customers to recognize and remember it. This consistency is crucial for standing out among competitors.

Having a consistent visual identity also shows professionalism and attention to detail. These qualities make customers more likely to trust a brand. When a brand looks the same across all touchpoints, from websites to products and ads, it tells customers the brand is reliable and serious. This builds trust and makes customers more likely to pick this brand over others that may not look as professional or consistent.


What are the advantages of having a well-designed and user-friendly website for a business?

The business landscape has changed dramatically since the pandemic. Now, your digital footprint is definitely at the center of most business growth strategies. A well-designed website allows companies to connect with users in an effective manner, ensure customer loyalty, and expand business - among other benefits.

Website design is the key ingredient to digital success, alongside well-functioning SEO tools, connected backend, and user-friendly strategy. A user-friendly website for your business will:

  • Increase user engagement and conversion rates
  • Improve SEO and searchability of your business
  • Improve retention rates
  • Make your business more credible while making your brand more memorable
How does the design of a website impact its accessibility to users, including those with disabilities?

In website design, "accessibility" refers to whether a site is designed in a way that is inclusive and usable by everyone, regardless of their physical or cognitive abilities. 

This may include important site characteristics such as text-to-speech functionality, video captions, alternative text tags for images, enhanced with good design practices of intuitive navigation, straightforward copy. and others. Accessibility is integral to website performance and user experience.

How can businesses ensure consistency and credibility across their website, brand, and marketing materials?

To achieve consistency and credibility across all your collateral, you need to ensure that the brand message - both verbal and visual - is compliant with your brand guidelines. This can include:

  • Using the correct tone of voice principles across all communication channels to differentiate your brand personality

  • Communicating consistent messaging and key differentiators on all platforms

  • Ensuring that key visual elements (logo, color palette, typography, imagery) on your website, marketing, and sales materials are aligned with each other

What are some common pitfalls to avoid when designing and developing a business website?

According to a 2024 web statistics report, a staggering 75% of business credibility is attributed to various web design decisions. In order to improve your website’s trustworthiness, avoid the following common design mistakes:

  • Not prioritizing accessibility: One of the biggest design mistakes out there is overlooking web accessibility principles on your website.

  • Not investing in responsive design and customization: With the majority of global traffic coming from mobile and tablet devices, lack of responsive design and customization can break a business.
  • Prioritizing aesthetics over function: Compromising user experience in favor of flashy aesthetics will dilute your brand message and user journey to the required call to action.

  • Lacking clarity in messaging and navigation: Clear navigation and messaging will reduce the friction users may experience when landing on your site as they are trying to get a clear picture of what your business is.
How does website copywriting contribute to user engagement and conversion, and what role does SEO play in this?

The goal of web copywriting is to guide your users through their web journey while providing information, engaging with and converting them into buyers. Each section of your site shapes the visitor perception about your brand and affects their buying decisions. 

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a practice of creating engaging and persuasive content that not only appeals to your users, but also incorporates relevant keywords and techniques to attract organic traffic to your site.

To start writing SEO-friendly copy for your site, you can:

  • Manually conduct keyword research by checking what competitors are ranking for
  • Use SEO software like SEMRush to investigate new keyword opportunities
  • Make sure to review keywords frequently as their popularity changes often and you want to keep ranking for competitive terms.

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