What Makes a Great Website?

After you visit a website and find yourself staying for a while, what is it that makes you stay? A good website grabs your attention, wakes up your emotions, and gives you what you want or need very easily. The following do’s and don’ts can help you make your website work harder for you and acquire some new customers.

1. Appearance & design

Your website must be visually appealing, polished and professional. Remember, it’s not only your ‘shop window’, it reflects your business.

“A website design needs to be clean and simple so it’s easy for the user to quickly find what they want. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use large photos & graphics (I encourage that) — you have to be bold to stand out.” – Pat Johnson

2. Navigation & usability

Keep everything simple and intuitive – it works. Successful websites tend to be well-structured and very user friendly.

“There are only two things of importance. One is the customer, and the other is the product. If you take care of the customer, they come back. If you take care of product, it doesn’t come back.” – Stanley Marcus

3. Credible & original content

Writing for the Internet is very different to conventional methods. Potential customers are likely to skim read, especially when they first get to your website.

“High-quality web content that’s useful, usable, and enjoyable is one of the greatest competitive advantages you can create for yourself online.” – Kristina Halvorson,

4. Optimised for search engines

The greatest website in the world is no good to anyone if it can’t be found. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is likely to help bring customers to your shop window.

“Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first.” – Wendy Piersall

5. Speed

The thing about speed is that people only notice it when it’s slow. Visitors want information as quickly as possible.

“Fast is better than slow.” – Google

6. A mobile-ready version

Responsive web design enables your website’s layout to adapt to the relevant screen size from which it is being viewed.

“Intuitive design is how we give the user new superpowers.” – Jared Spool

7. Clean & validated Code

Disorganised, out-dated, deprecated, or wrong simply code can reduce a website’s search engine visibility. It can also generate browser-rendering issues that will slow down your website.

“I would imagine that if you could understand Morse code, a tap dancer would drive you crazy.” – Mitch Hedberg

8. Social Media Integration

Twitter. Facebook. Pinterest. Google+. LinkedIn. Instagram. There are many social media platforms out there, and you should promote your presence on them via your website.

“Running a business without marketing will kill it” – Paul Cookson

9. Website Platform or CMS (Content Management System)

This might be the least critical aspect but it still matters. Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress are all platforms that are used to manage content and we believe WordPress is the best option for you to use.

“Simply choosing one and using it without being aware of how you will use could waste a lot of time.” – Christian Cawley

10. Don’t give up!

If things aren’t working out as you had hoped try redefining your goals, simplifying your brand/services/products, gather feedback and consider getting some help.

“If you never give up, you’ll be successful.” – Dan O’Brien

The Don’ts!

  • Don’t do it yourself. If it looks homemade, visitors are going to make assumptions about your business that you want to avoid.
  • Don’t make visitors think too hard.
  • Don’t assume visitors will come. Just publishing a website will not result in traffic.
  • Don’t add a blog unless you are going to actually write posts. If you won’t, then forget about a blog.
  • Don’t use music, flash or anything that automatically plays.

Final Thoughts

It’s no longer a question of whether you should have or need a website, but what type of website you will have built for your needs. There are now plenty of options available to you. Unfortunately many will choose the cheapest or quickest options, over the more costly but proven solutions. This is why so many websites will fail and never achieve the type of results the business owner expects.

My question to you is will you pay to get a great website or will you invest in the easiest or cheapest solution?

Ant