There are over 1 billion websites in the world today. With so many websites, it can be hard – seemingly impossible – to stand out.
The quality of your website is critical. Since it’s likely that your competitors have an incredible website, expectations are high, and you must at least meet the bar, if not exceed it. If you want to stay in the game, you’ve got to have a website that makes it easy for your users to browse your products and services, make purchases, and to interact with your business.
A good website grabs your attention, wakes up your emotions, and gives you easily what you need. Here are some very important things you should consider when building a website for your business.
1. Understand a website’s goals:
Great design starts with a goal in mind. Ask yourself, “What do I want to accomplish with this page?” If a page doesn’t have a clear goal, consider getting rid of it.
Strategy comes before execution. “A strategic website’s core purpose is to serve, support, and sell,” writes author Lorrie Thomas in The McGraw-Hill 36-Hour Course: Online Marketing.
Thomas presents a five-pack of components that should be the focal points of your website:
2. Visual Website Design:
A site must be visually appealing, polished and professional. Remember, it’s reflecting your company, your products and your services. Your website may be the first, and only, impression a potential customer receives of your company. If the website design is not professional, then it’s doing you more harm than good.
Good websites are well organized and follow a structure. They are not cluttered; they are clean and professional. They are also built around a target audience and market. Organization makes a website accessible and user-friendly.
So, here are the four basic principles of what makes a good website to keep in mind before your redesign/launch:
✔ Custom Layout: Designs are cultivated from scratch. Templates are not advisable as such, an analysis and study of the business is carefully done in order to implement a proper and suitable design proposal for the client.
✔ Be Strategic with Your Logo Design: Generate some curiosity about what your company does and how your product or service can make consumers’ lives easier. Even your company’s logo should be an exciting design that compels them to visit your website or physical stores.
✔ Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly (Responsive Design ):Your website should be built in such a way that it can be viewed on every device that the visitor could think of to visit your website. As Google (and other search engines) is moving towards mobile first index, the mobile site will be more and more important. This will mean that the content that is on your mobile site will be used to rank your website in Google.
✔ Quality Photos: Photos make a great impact on a design so it’s essential to use images of high quality. As we all know we as people like to scan stuff today and then decide if it’s worth our time. So images can play a big role in communicating your message.
3. Website Navigation:
Successful websites offer simple and user friendly navigation. Visitors must find everything they need quick and easy. If users have to wonder around the site trying to find what they need they will get frustrated and leave. Thus, it is important to include an intuitive navigation bar on your website.
4. Original Contents:
The use of your own content is mandatory when it comes to websites, flyers, brochures, or any other type of marketing collateral. It should come without saying that this not only shows professionalism, but also elevates the credibility of the company.
High quality websites focus on their audience’s needs, not on what they’re selling. Good and fresh content builds the visitor’s interest and invite them to get involved, invite their friends and come back for more.Furthermore, Google values content that is relevant and interesting for users, so creating original content is a great way of double dipping when it comes to making a good website.
5. Writing Style:
“Good writing does not mean fancy writing; it means clean, clear, considerate writing.” – David Foster Wallace
Writing with the brand in mind is an effective practice that personifies with the identity of the company. It’s not the same style for everyone as it will depend on your brand personality and brand approach. If it’s a corporate website, then it should be a direct-to-the-point and informative writing style; if it’s a fashion or lifestyle brand, then tone can be casual and creative.
6. Fast Load Times:
Nothing is more annoying for website visitors than a website that takes long to load. In fact, slow speed is one of the main reasons why visitors leave a website. Making sure your website loads within 4 to 6 seconds is important for good usability. It also affects your search engine ranking.
Users don’t want to wait for slow content to download; they need their information quickly and without delay. In today’s internet spaces, most users know that if they click on a website and it does not load as fast as they expect, they can go back and click on another one that will deliver quickly. Optimized graphics, video and audio give a website the necessary speed it needs to load fast.
7. Browser Consistency:
Browser compatibility can be easily overlooked. Even the websites of some of the most reputable companies suffer from this problem due to neglect. This is bad for branding and has a negative affect on website usability.
Although modern browsers have evolved and become more efficient, some inconsistencies still exist in how a website is interpreted by different browsers. It is important to ensure your website appears and behaves consistently across all major browsers such as Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Opera. Simple things like this set a professionally designed website apart from the rest.
8. Clean And Validated Code:
Messy, outdated, deprecated, or wrong code can reduce a website’s search engine visibility. In fact, when marketers and web designers analyze your website to see what can be improved, they will most likely look at your website’s code first.
More information and mark-up validation tools can be found on W3C’s website.
9. Optimize for search(SEO):
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an effort that grows the visibility of your website through organic means (non-paid) in search engine results. A website without proper SEO design is like a home in the forest with no roads leading towards it.
Focusing on SEO at the early stage can save your website from drowning. Whether you’re going for a new website or getting your website re-designed, search engine optimization should be your topmost focus. Efficient SEO takes time and effort to see results, but it will strengthen your site and deliver ROI (return on investment).
10. Encrypt the website:
In this day and age, a secure website is no longer optional, and SSL certification is now a “must-have” for any business website. Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocol is responsible for creating secure communication between a website and its visitors. Without an SSL Certificate encrypting the data passing between them and the visitors to their site, both parties could be at risk.
For the millions of small businesses online today, a “Not Secure” notice could have a dramatic impact on their business by preventing visitor engagement and impacting SEO rankings. Businesses can obtain SSL certificates through their web hosting provider at little-to-no cost.
Website usability plays a vital role in the success of a website. Good usability helps to provide a seamless experience for visitors and improves your chances of success. It is one of the factors that sets a professionally designed website apart from the rest. Given above are 10 usability characteristics that every website must display. It can help to make your website a success.