The Web Designers’ Blog

What Makes A Good Website in 2024?

Dec 12, 2023 | SEO, Web Design

Your website is often your business’s first impression on potential customers, so making the best possible impression is vital. A website needs to offer something of value to the user, and the value often comes in the form of content. Content is one of the main ingredients in making a good website, but there is more to a website than its content.

The Three Core Components of a Good Website

1. Design:

Design is essential in creating a good website. It’s not just about aesthetics; it plays a fundamental role in user experience, functionality, and even the success of your website.

Here’s why design matters:

  • First Impressions Count: Your website’s design is often the first thing visitors notice. An attractive and well-organised design can create a positive first impression, enticing users to explore further. For great design, implementing the fundamentals of User-interface (UI) design (Visual Hierarchy, white space, colour/contrast, alignment, typography and scale) is necessary.
  • User-Friendly Navigation:  Effective design includes clear menus, intuitive layouts, and organised content. These elements guide users through your site, making finding what they’re looking for easy.
  • Mobile Responsiveness:  In an era of mobile browsing, a responsive design is essential. It ensures your website looks and functions well on various devices, from smartphones to tablets and desktops.
  • Brand Identity:  Design elements such as colours, fonts, and visuals contribute to your brand’s identity. Consistency in design helps users recognise and remember your website and brand.
  • Readability and Scannability:  Design affects the readability of your content. Proper typography, spacing, and contrast make your text easy to read. Using headings and subheadings breaks up content for quick scanning.
  • Visual Appeal:  An appealing design engages users and encourages them to stay on your site. Eye-catching visuals, balanced layouts, and well-chosen colours can make your content more inviting.
  • Call to Action (CTA):  Design plays a critical role in positioning and highlighting your CTAs. Effective design encourages users to take action, whether it’s a “Buy Now” button or a “Sign Up” form.

In summary, design goes beyond making a website visually pleasing; it’s about creating an experience that resonates with your audience. A well-designed website attracts and retains visitors and ensures they can easily access your content and take desired actions. Design is a cornerstone of a good website, from user-friendly navigation to mobile responsiveness and brand consistency.

2. Functionality:

A good website is more than just looking great; it must also function flawlessly. Planning your website is essential before anything else; finding out who your audience is so you can target them is crucial. With the proper planning and strategy, you’ll be on your way to having a successful website.

  • Consider A/B testing and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) to optimise your website’s functionality. These involve testing different elements for optimisation, such as call-to-action (CTA) buttons and landing page design.
  • Your website’s architecture or structure plays a vital role in user experience. Avoid burying navigation too deep within the website. The more accessible visitors find what they need, the more likely they are to stay and explore. Straightforward and intuitive navigation ensures that users can quickly and efficiently access the information they’re seeking, ultimately guiding them towards the action you want them to take on your website.

Speed & Performance: The vital components of a good website

Optimising speed and performance is a fundamental element that defines a great website. In today’s fast-paced digital age, users have high expectations regarding website loading times. Nearly half of all users expect a website to load in just two seconds, and the majority are likely to abandon a website that takes longer than three seconds to load. Beyond user expectations, search engines, including Google, consider speed a crucial factor when ranking websites in search results.

How to Enhance Website Loading Times:

  1. Select Quality Hosting: Hosting plays a pivotal role in website performance. Opt for dedicated server hosting rather than shared hosting to ensure your website has ample resources to deliver content quickly and efficiently.
  2. Optimise Images: Images are often the heaviest elements on a webpage. Compress and optimise your images without compromising quality to reduce loading times significantly.
  3. Leverage Browser Caching: Caching allows browsers to store elements of your website on a user’s device, making subsequent visits faster. Implement browser caching to enhance the overall user experience.
  4. Reduce HTTP Requests: Each element on a webpage, whether it’s an image, script, or stylesheet, generates an HTTP request. Minimise these requests by combining files, reducing the number of external resources, and using asynchronous loading when possible.
  5. Minify CSS, JavaScript & HTML: Minification removes unnecessary spaces, line breaks, and other non-essential characters from code. This reduces file sizes and accelerates load times.
  6. Use a CDN (Content Distribution Network) Service: A CDN distributes your website’s content across multiple servers in various locations, ensuring faster delivery to users worldwide. This reduces latency and improves speed.
  7. Enable Compression – Gzip: Enable Gzip compression to reduce the size of files transmitted from your server to users’ browsers, resulting in faster loading times.

You will need to plan a website before anything else; finding out who your audience is so you can target them is crucial. But with the proper planning and strategy, you will be on your way to having a successful website.

Monitoring Speed Improvements:

You can utilise various online tools to measure your success in reducing website loading times. Google Page Speed Insights, Pingdom, and GT Metrix are valuable resources for assessing your website’s performance. These tools provide insights and recommendations for further optimisation, helping you create a website that loads quickly and delivers an exceptional user experience (UX).

You meet user expectations and enhance your website’s search engine ranking by prioritising speed and performance. A fast-loading website keeps visitors engaged and ensures that your content reaches a broad audience, making it an essential aspect of what makes a good website.

3. Content:

In the ever-evolving digital landscape, having a clear purpose and offering a solution to someone’s problem lies at the heart of what makes a good website. Whether it’s a platform to sell products or services or a hub for sharing valuable information, every visitor to your website arrives with a specific goal. However, with the vast amount of content on the internet, it’s crucial to make your content stand out, offering a superior experience to your audience.

The Importance of Fresh Quality Content: One of the cornerstones of a successful website is consistently providing fresh, high-quality content. Regular updates keep your audience engaged and coming back for more and signal to search engines that your site is active and relevant. This, in turn, can boost your visibility in search results and help you reach a wider audience.

To make your website content more user-friendly and aligned with search intent, consider the following strategies:

  1. Strategic Use of Headings: Each page on your website should have a well-defined goal and be tailored to cater to your target audience. Use headings and subheadings to break down your content into easily digestible sections. This lets visitors quickly grasp the main points and decide to dive deeper into the content.
  2. Linking Text: Incorporate internal and external links within your content to guide readers to related articles, resources, or products. This enriches the reader’s experience and helps with search engine optimisation. Be sure to use descriptive and meaningful anchor text for your links.
  3. Typography and Bold Type: Make essential information and important points stand out using bold type. This can draw the reader’s attention to critical elements and ensure they take advantage of crucial details.
  4. Bulleted and Numbered Lists: When presenting a list of items, benefits, or steps, opt for bulleted or numbered lists. Lists are a powerful tool for summarising information concisely and making it easier for readers to scan and absorb.
  5. Use Appropriate Visual Content: Content comes in various formats, such as text, images, infographics, podcasts, or videos, each serving unique purposes. Choose the most suitable format to convey your information effectively depending on your message and target audience. Incorporating engaging visuals can enhance the user experience.

In addition to these formatting tips, consider implementing a cohesive content strategy:

  • Content Calendars and Strategies: Plan your content in advance using content calendars. This helps you maintain a consistent posting schedule and ensures your content aligns with your broader goals. Fresh content should be a fundamental part of your strategy.
  • Voice and Tone Guidelines: Develop clear voice and tone guidelines for your content. This ensures that your messaging is consistent and resonates with your target audience. Your tone should align with your brand personality and the preferences of your visitors, ultimately meeting their search intent.
  • Search Intent and Content relevancy. When creating content, it’s essential to understand the intent behind a user’s search and ensure your content is highly relevant to their needs. Are they looking for information, wanting to purchase, or seeking a specific service? Tailoring your content to match the user’s intent ensures that your website provides what visitors want. This improves user experience and boosts your website’s ranking in search engine results. By delivering content that aligns with search intent and is highly relevant, you increase the chances of attracting and retaining the right audience.
  • Audience engagement: Actively engage with your audience by responding to comments, questions, and feedback. Encourage interaction and discussion to create a sense of community. This engagement fosters trust and provides insights into what your audience is searching for.

The Importance of E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) in Website Content

E-E-A-T, or Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, is a comprehensive set of criteria for assessing the quality of website content. These principles are paramount for building trust with your audience, improving your search engine ranking, and ensuring your website provides valuable and reliable information.

  • Experience: Including “Experience” in E-E-A-T emphasises the value of practical knowledge and hands-on experience. Content that reflects real-world application and experience adds a layer of authenticity and credibility. Sharing personal experiences, case studies, and valuable insights can enhance the quality of your content and build a deeper connection with your audience.
  • Expertise: Demonstrating your expertise in your niche is the cornerstone of creating high-quality content. Your content should reflect a deep understanding of the topics you cover, underpinned by extensive knowledge and experience. Expertise is developed through continuous learning, updating industry trends, and presenting accurate, well-researched information.
  • Authoritativeness: Building authority within your niche is crucial for your website’s reputation. Citations, references, and links to respected sources support the importance of authoritative content. Backing your content with credible data, expert opinions, and industry-standard references elevates your website’s authority and positions it as a trusted resource.
  • Trustworthiness: Trust is at the core of audience confidence. Your website should maintain trustworthiness by avoiding misleading information, exaggerated claims, and deceptive practices. Ethical content creation, user data privacy, and a secure website are essential to trustworthiness. Providing clear contact information, testimonials, and case studies further instils trust in your audience.

Incorporating the E-E-A-T principles, with “Experience” leading the way, into your website content is essential. It not only helps you gain the trust of your audience but also aligns with search engine algorithms, which aim to deliver dependable, relevant information to users. By focusing on E-E-A-T, you create content that stands out as a reliable, authoritative, and experience-based source in the vast online landscape. This, in turn, builds a loyal audience and enhances your website’s long-term success and visibility.

These strategies can make your website content informative, valuable, easy to read, scan, and aligned with search intent. Fresh, high-quality content is your website’s lifeblood, ensuring it remains relevant and appealing to your audience and search engines. In a world of information overload, a well-structured and user-friendly website can make all the difference in captivating your audience and achieving your goals.

Additional Considerations for a Successful Website

In addition to these core components, here are some more elements to consider when building a successful website:

Mobile Friendliness

With over 50% of website traffic coming from mobile devices, a mobile-friendly website is necessary! A responsive website adjusts to the device’s screen size, ensuring straightforward navigation, large buttons, and easily viewable content. Google also penalises websites that aren’t mobile-friendly, making them essential for search engine optimisation (SEO).

Voice Search Optimisation

The rise of voice search is changing the way people find information online. Optimising your website for voice search is crucial in the modern digital landscape. This involves understanding how voice search impacts SEO and implementing schema markup for voice search.

Web Analytics and SEO Tools

Regularly monitoring your website’s performance is essential. Use web analytics tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to gain insights into user behaviour. Additionally, consider employing SEO tools and practices to enhance your website’s visibility in search engine results.

Usability and Accessibility in Web Design

Usability and accessibility are fundamental aspects of web design, encompassing a broad spectrum of critical considerations for creating an effective online presence. Recognising that these two concepts warrant separate, focused attention is essential.

Website Usability

Website usability revolves around designing a website with the end-users in mind rather than just catering to personal preferences. A website that aligns with user expectations creates a more comfortable and engaging experience for visitors, increasing the likelihood of return visits. In essence, good usability is a pivotal factor for the overall success of your website.

The core principles of web usability involve optimising your website to enable users to swiftly and efficiently find the information they seek. This can be achieved through several key strategies:

  1. Content Accessibility: Ensure that content is easily accessible and readily available to users.
  2. Scannability: Implement designs that allow users to scan and comprehend the content quickly.
  3. Loading Speed: Ensure that your website loads swiftly to prevent user frustration.
  4. Clean Design: Maintain a clutter-free and visually appealing layout.
  5. Consistency: Create a consistent user experience throughout the website.
  6. Adequate Spacing: Avoid overcrowding the webpage with excessive information or elements.
  7. Scrolling: Minimise the need for extensive scrolling, ensuring a more user-friendly experience.
  8. Back Button: Do not hinder the functionality of the browser’s back button.
  9. Whitespace Utilisation: Use whitespace effectively in your design for improved readability and aesthetics.
  10. Error Management: Address and rectify errors promptly, providing a smooth user experience.
  11. Link Integrity: Ensure that all links on the website are functional and do not lead to broken pages.
  12. Simplicity: Keep the design and navigation straightforward and user-friendly.
  13. Familiarity: Utilise familiar design elements to make navigation more intuitive.
  14. Relevance: Ensure the content presented is relevant to the user’s needs.
  15. Custom 404 page: Create a customised 404 error page to guide users when they encounter broken links or missing content.

Web Accessibility

Web accessibility is about providing equal access and opportunities to all individuals, including those with disabilities, enabling them to use your website effectively. This aligns with the principles of social responsibility and is often governed by laws and regulations. Furthermore, web accessibility can enhance your website’s search engine optimisation (SEO) performance.

Web accessibility addresses various disability categories, including:

  1. Visual Impairments: This encompasses blindness, various forms of low vision, poor eyesight, and different types of colour blindness.
  2. Motor/Mobility impairments: Conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease, Muscular Dystrophy, Cerebral Palsy, or the aftermath of a stroke can impact a user’s ability to operate a mouse effectively.
  3. Auditory Impairments: It caters to individuals who are deaf or have hearing impairments, including those who are hard of hearing.
  4. Seizures: Web accessibility takes measures to prevent photo epileptic seizures induced by visual strobe or flashing effects.
  5. Cognitive/Intellectual disabilities: This category addresses developmental disabilities, learning disabilities, dyslexia, and cognitive impairments of various origins, affecting memory, attention, problem-solving, logic skills, and the ability to process large amounts of information effectively.

In summary, ensuring usability and accessibility in your web design provides a superior user experience and aligns with ethical, legal, and SEO-related imperatives. It is a holistic approach that contributes to your website’s overall success and impact.

Website Security: Protecting Your Digital Assets

A secure website is a fundamental requirement, particularly when handling sensitive information and processing payments. Maintaining the security of your website not only safeguards your data but also builds trust with your users.

SSL Certificate: Your First Line of Defence

  • Acquiring an SSL certificate is a crucial first step in enhancing website security. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and is a technology that establishes an encrypted connection between a web server and a user’s browser.
  • This encrypted link ensures that all data transmitted between the web server and browsers is kept private and secure, shielding it from potential eavesdropping or tampering.
  • SSL isn’t just about security; it also has SEO benefits. Google rewards websites with SSL certificates with improved search engine rankings, making it a crucial aspect of your site’s overall performance.
  • Users can identify secure websites by the padlock symbol and the “https” protocol in the website’s address bar, both of which signify a protected and trustworthy connection.

Enhancing Website Security

In addition to SSL certificates, you can take various other measures to bolster your website’s security. Strong usernames and passwords for back-end systems are a primary defence against unauthorised access.

Hosting Considerations

The choice of hosting also plays a pivotal role in website security. Shared hosting, while cost-effective, can pose certain security risks due to shared server resources. Consider upgrading to a dedicated private server to enhance security and improve download speeds.

Data Protection and Legal Compliance: Cookie and Privacy Policies

In an era of heightened data protection awareness, incorporating cookie and privacy policies into your website is not just advisable but, in many cases, legally required. These policies provide transparency about how you collect, use, and store user data and play a crucial role in establishing trust.

GDPR Compliance: Navigating Data Privacy Regulations

  • GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a significant legal framework that governs data privacy and protection in the European Union. It’s crucial to understand that GDPR doesn’t only apply to EU-based websites. Any site accessible to EU residents must also comply.
  • If you’re uncertain about GDPR requirements, seeking legal counsel or consulting with a privacy professional is highly recommended. Non-compliance can lead to severe penalties.

Cookie Policy: Transparency in Data Collection

A cookie policy outlines how your website uses cookies- small pieces of data stored on users’ devices. It’s essential to inform users about the types of cookies you use, their purpose, and how users can manage or disable them if desired.

Privacy Policy: Safeguarding User Information

A privacy policy is a comprehensive document that addresses how your website collects, processes, and protects user information. It covers topics such as what data is collected, how it’s used, user rights, and security measures in place.

By implementing robust security measures and complying with legal regulations regarding data protection, you protect your website and foster trust and credibility with your audience. These policies and practices are essential for a safe and transparent online experience, benefiting your users and business.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, a good website comes from a well-designed design, functionality, and content, each essential for a remarkable online experience. Design forms the visual foundation of your website, leaving a lasting impression on visitors. From first impressions to user-friendly navigation and mobile responsiveness, the design shapes how users interact with your site.

Functionality and planning are vital, ensuring your website offers a smooth experience and caters to your target audience’s needs. A/B testing, user-centric architecture, and speed optimisation help with your website’s functionality, providing an effective platform for your audience.

Content is the core of your website. Its quality and freshness are paramount, grabbing your audience’s attention, driving engagement, and enhancing your search engine ranking. Formatting, voice, tone, and a clear understanding of search intent distinguish your content from the vast amount of information on the web.

We’ve also looked into the critical principles of E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) and the importance of aligning with search intent. By incorporating these principles, your content becomes reliable, catering to your audience’s needs and search engines’ ranking algorithms.

Additionally, we looked at other considerations like mobile-friendliness, voice search optimisation, web analytics, and SEO tools. These elements contribute to your website’s success and visibility on the web.

Usability and accessibility are fundamental aspects of web design, each with its best practices contributing to a superior user experience.

Ensuring your website is easy to navigate and accessible to individuals with disabilities is ethically responsible and aligns with SEO guidelines and legal requirements.

Security safeguards your website and builds trust. Implementing SSL certificates, robust usernames and passwords, and secure hosting options help protect your website against unauthorised access. Data protection and legal compliance, including cookie and privacy policies, are critical for ensuring transparency and trustworthiness.

Remember, your website is often your business’s first impression, so make it exceptional.

The Web Designer’s Blog