8 Things that make a website good

Does your website tick these 8 critical boxes?

1. Does your website serve a clear purpose?

Or is it just there… On the web for no one to find…
Your website should be user friendly. Each page should have a clear purpose and guide the user to spring into action, whether it be subscribing to your mailing list, calling your office, booking an appointment or whatever you aim to achieve.

What is the purpose of your website? Are you imparting practical information like a ‘How to guide’? Is it a personal blog, entertainment website covering certain topics, are you selling products or is your website informational? There are many different purposes that websites may have but there are core purposes common to all websites;

  • Describing Expertise
  • Building Your Reputation
  • Generating Leads
  • Sales and After Care
2. Is your website simple and “easy on the eye”?

Keeping it simple is best. Consider the following 3 design elements when looking at your website:

  • Colour – Colour has the power to communicate messages and evoke emotional responses. Finding a colour palette that fits your brand will allow you to influence your customer’s behaviour towards your brand. Keep the colour selection limited to less than 5 colours. Complementary colours work very well. Pleasing colour combinations increase customer engagement and make the user feel good.
  • Type – Typography has an important role to play on your website. It commands attention and works as the visual interpretation of the brands voice. Typefaces should be legible and only use a maximum of 3 different fonts on the website.
  • Imagery – Imagery is every visual aspect used within communications. This includes still photography, illustration, video and all forms of graphics. All imagery should be expressive and capture the spirit of the company and act as the embodiment of their brand personality. Most of the initial information we consume on websites is visual and as a first impression it is important that high quality images are used to form an impression of professionalism and credibility in the visitors mind.
3. Easy navigation

There is no GPS for navigating complicated websites. Keep the navigation as simple as possible by avoiding unnecessary additional pages, making use of breadcrumbs, having page titles display at the top of each page and limiting the number of pages on your website (depending on the type of website you have).

Enable a search feature on your website so visitors can actually search for what they’re looking for on your website. Website navigation is key to retaining visitors. If the websites navigation is confusing visitors will give up and find what they need elsewhere. Keeping navigation simple, intuitive and consistent on every page is key.

4. Get straight to the point

Research has proven that users take an average of 3 seconds once landing on your website, to determine if they’ll find what they’re looking for. Needless to say, your home page should convince the user within 3 seconds or less to stay tuned. If your home page does not have the majority of the below elements, you should consider a redesign:

  • Image or video slider including text to highlight main products/services with call to action buttons
  • A short introduction to the company with a button directing the the About Us page
  • An intro to your most popular products/services with a button directing to the full products/services page
  • A gallery slider showcasing your products or | Client testimonials slider or | Any other method to prove trust from existing clients
  • An introduction to at least one of your team members with a button directing to the Our Team page – putting a face to your business also establishes trust
  • Contact Details & Social Media profile links in the footer of your website to show on every page – this makes it easy & convenient for visitors to get in touch with you

*Every website is unique, so not all of the above would be applicable to every single website

5. Content, content, content

The content of your website should be relevant, truthful and up to date. You can’t include bogus info on your website hoping to get traffic from “viral” search criteria. Once Google realises your website is not relevant to the “viral” search criteria, your website ranking will be negatively affected.

Make use of professional language, be attentive to grammar and detail and include high quality design and imagery to impress visitors and keep them engaged as long as possible on your site. The time is spent on your website also impacts your ranking on Google, as well as the amount of traffic your website gets. Be sure to have continuous and active SEO (search engine optimization) on your website for even better performance on search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo etc.

6. Organized layout is key

Grids help to structure your design and keep your content organized. The grid helps to align elements on the page and keep it clean. The grid based layout arranges content into a clean rigid grid structure with columns, sections that line up and feel balanced and impose order and results in an aesthetically pleasing website.

Make sure that visual elements and text are aligned and balanced. Avoid information overloads by using proper paragraphs in well structured columns. Be sure that white space and separator lines are used strategically on pages that do have large amounts of text. This gives the user’s eye a rest when reading through your content.

7. No time for slow websites

Your website should load within fractions of seconds (if the user’s internet connection is good). If your website loads slow, users will become frustrated and leave your site instantly.

Factors that affect the loading time of your site include, but are not limited to, speed of hosting servers, amount of content and images on page as well as image size and background functions loading.

Tips: Never upload a video directly to your website, as this will severely decrease loading speed. Make sure the images on your website are no larger than 80kb per image. Choose the best possible host for your website (like us :P) to ensure fast server speed and optimal uptime.

8. Responsive layout = mobile friendly

Responsive website design is a MUST. Since nearly 79% of all internet users use their smartphones to browse websites, you cannot not have a mobile friendly website design.

Responsive layout means that your website should respond to the screen dimensions of the device which the user views your site from. This includes desktop PCs, laptops, notebooks, tablets and smartphones.

If you don’t have a responsive or mobile friendly website design, you are most likely losing out on a whole lot of potential business, because of the inconvenience to the user.

And the 8 things that make a website bad 🙁

1. Bad content – or the total lack of content

Websites with little to no information and bad quality imagery rank lowest and does not capture visitors.

2. Slooooow looooaaadddiiinng

A slow loading speed on websites loses visitors and therefore potential business.

3. Missing or incorrect contact information

Sending an email to an unattended inbox. Calling a number that does not exist. Calling a number that is never answered. No. No. And no. But the biggest no is when your contact information is so buried, that visitors never find it and aren’t able to get in touch.

4. Organized chaos?

A website that is difficult and confusing to navigate is terrible. Menu bars differ from page to page, layouts, headings and structures aren’t consistent, no on-site search option is available and breadcrumbs are missing.

5. Not aesthetically pleasing

If a website is dull, has no defined headings, spacing, structure, imagery and colour variation, it is certainly a bore to the visitor. However, a website should also not look like a colourful mess. Balance should be maintained.

6. Users don’t know what to do

Websites should take users on a journey through your website and convince them to perform a certain action. If your website fails to convert a visitor to a lead, your website’s purpose is unclear.

7. Unresponsive design

Have you ever landed on a site that is not mobile friendly? You zoom and zoom and zoom and scroll to the right, to the left, to the right again, to the left again… No you don’t. You just leave the website and visit the next search result.

8. Little surprises

Website that surprises you with pop-up windows continuously, background music playing that you don’t know where to stop, auto-playing videos, those annoying adverts that cover the article you were reading… you know? Those things make people desert your website.

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