25 Sep 2018 What makes a good website?
Not all websites are created equally. Good ones are
Or, if you need a handy acronym to remember it by, UUECRC. Just kidding, that’s a terrible acronym…
The success of a website is determined by many factors such as search engine ranking, aesthetics and the overall user experience.
You should plan for these during the design stage and also make regular adjustments after the site is “live”. How you manage both phases is key to whether your site will yield the results you seek.
So what are the elements of a good website?
First and foremost, a good website is useful. In other words, it should allow the user to find what they are looking for, and to do the tasks they set out to.
To do this, you need to understand what goals your customer or ‘user’ has when they came looking your way. Then, the website has to facilitate the user to fulfill these.
For example, when looking for an accommodation provider, the user has a goal to secure accommodation at the time they need it. So, allowing people to see availability and book online through this kind of website is essential.
Likewise, people looking for a local physician really want to make an appointment, and customers wishing to find a gift will also want to purchase it… like, now before they get distracted by a bird and forget! And have it delivered promptly.
Websites need to be useful in order for them to generate sales or leads or both.
Good websites are intuitive to use.
When designing your site it is important to consider your audience
- who they are
- what they are looking for
- where they will be accessing your site (mobile, desktop) and so on
- how web-savvy they are
This will inform your writing style, your navigation, the images you use, the layout and design of the website and what content will be included.
People need to be able to
- Work out quickly who you are and what you do at a glance at your homepage.
- Determine whether you look credible and the right fit for them (they do this in 50 milliseconds, by the way)
- Find the information they’re looking for without having to hunt and interpret ‘creative’ labels – call a spade a spade, or a maybe a shovel… but not a “dirt disrupter”
- Get around your website without feeling like they’re virtually wandering around in a rabbit warren
- Generally feel like there is low cognitive load when they’re using your site (i.e. it shouldn’t hurt their brain!)
If your business is a cafe, being mobile friendly is important as it is very likely people will be searching for local cafes while they are in a specific location, using their phone.
Text has to be easily read on a small screen. Buttons need to be big for fat thumbs. Telephone numbers need to be tappable and the site needs to load fast. Check out some mobile usability guidelines here.
If you have an online store, your site should make it easy for the user to find the specific item they wish to buy among the many available on your site. This might mean clever filtering and search AND a nicely organised categorisation of products. In the biz, we call this ‘taxonomy‘ or ‘information architecture‘.
The purchase process should also be simple and predictable. If too many steps are involved, or there are aspects of the experience which are unexpected, you could end up with lots of abandoned carts.
A great website creates a connection or an emotional response from the user.
Your website should have some form of a “hook” to invite your audience in and keep them interested. This could be achieved through photos, language or a really unique design.
Having an engaging site also makes it more memorable. It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, there is always a way to make your site more engaging.
Take a look at this example of how an in-flight products business have played on the idea of planes flying on the screen carrying their products, as a unique way of engaging their audience and leading to case studies: https://global-c.nl/. We designed, wrote copy and built that one by the way… 👏
One of the most important elements of a good website is that it is current.
Currency can be in the form of technology – such as being mobile friendly – and the information it presents.
If your site was last updated in 2013, chances are the content could do with a refresh to show your audience that you are up to date, and still in business.
Moreover, Google also likes websites to be current. Those sites that are updated more regularly are seen to be more relevant than stale websites. This translates to higher search engine rankings, all other factors being equal.
Blogs are the easiest way to get fresh content onto your website. But they are a double-edged sword.
The most common examples of outdated websites we see are when the last blog post was published years ago. It’s the virtual equivalent of cobwebs on your front door…
If people are visiting your site for the first time having never done business with you before, having up to date blog posts shows them that you are still operating, and care enough about your business to keep your website up to date.
Make time, delegate it, or outsource it… just find a way to keep it fresh.
A website is not a set and forget thing, it has to be found on search engines easily.
When your site is nowhere in the search rankings for common phrases used to find businesses like yours, it’s like having a billboard in the middle of the desert. Who cares? Maybe the camels.
Good websites perform well in search engines such as Google – and to achieve this, you need to maintain your site regularly and ensure it’s created with search engine ranking in mind from the outset.
When you update your content often, relevant keywords need to be used in the titles, content, etc.
To drive traffic to your website, over time you must update and rework your content, backlinks and technical aspects to improve search engine rankings. It’s an ongoing process, you can never just ‘tick it off DONE’.
Finally, good sites make it really easy for customers to sign up to a mailing list, or make a purchase or send a message. We call this ‘conversion’ and it’s often a critical component of making your digital advertising pay off.
Designing your site with conversion in mind is all about making it super easy and super clear what you want your visitor to do. With online ads, we typically create a “landing page” that is totally focussed on just one thing – converting customers who clicked the ad into leads for your business.
After all, that’s the whole point, is it not? So if your website is not giving you any business leads, it could be time to revisit it.
Let us know if you would like to chat about creating an awesome website that is UUECRC. We will give you extra points if you can work out how to pronounce it!