Here are my top tips as to What makes a good website.
Often a website is the first impression of a business, so it’s vital to make the best possible impression you can. 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 what makes a good website, but of course, there is more to a website than just it’s content.
You can break it down into three main components:
You will need to plan a website before anything else, finding out who your audience is, so you can then target them is crucial. But with the right planning and strategy, you will be on your way to having a successful website.
Having a purpose, offering a solution to someone’s problem is an important part of what makes a good website. Whether it’s to buy products, services or provide information, every visitor to your website is there for a reason. With so much content on the internet, you need to make your content outstanding, better than anyone else.
Every page should have a goal and be specifically aimed with your target audience in mind, using their terminology and presenting it in a way that they will easily understand and find engaging. There are many different formats for content, such as text, images, infographics, podcasts or videos, all have their purposes. So use the most appropriate, to communicate the message with your audience.
Most people will not read every word on a page, but will often scan the content to find what they are looking for. By laying out content, using different formats will help your audience find what they are searching for quicker.
- Link Text
- Bold Text
- Bulleted Lists
Producing clear, quality and relevant content while adding your personality, will go along way in making a website successful. Adding trusted reviews from existing customers should help with credibility, reassuring potential customers to take action.
Speed & Performance
It’s important to optimise for speed and performance, it’s another crucial element in what makes a good website. Nearly half of users expect a website to load in two seconds, and most will abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load. Google also takes speed seriously and takes this into account when ranking sites in its search engine results.
How to reduce webpage loading times:
- Good Hosting – (Having dedicated server hosting, rather than shared)
- Optimise Images
- Leverage Browser Caching
- Reduce HTTP Requests
- Minify CSS, JavaScipt & HTML
- Use a CDN (Content Distribution Network) Service
- Enable Compression – Gzip
Optimised for Search Engines (SEO)
Making your website search engine friendly is known as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and is an essential part of getting found on the web. With nearly 1.8 billion websites, your website needs to stand out, when your content becomes relevant to the searcher.
As SEO goes hand-in-hand with many recommendations for what makes a good website, implementing these will also mean you are optimising your website for search engines.
Generating good quality and relevant content as well as having the appropriate keywords will all play a part in optimising your website for search engines.
If you wish to learn more about SEO, then the beginners guide to SEO by MOZ will be a good starting point.
With over 50% of website traffic now coming from mobile devices, having a mobile-friendly website is a must!
A responsive website means, it adjusts to the screen size of the device, in which it’s being viewed. Ensuring it has clear navigation, large buttons and content easily viewable, with no need to scroll sideways or pinch to zoom is necessary for 2020.
A mobile-friendly website is also highly important when it comes to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), as Google will penalise websites which are not responsive.
Google’s mobile-friendly tool analyses how easily a visitor can use your page, on a mobile device. It also provides additional resources.
Navigation & Website Architecture
Navigation is an important part when planning a website. There are two main reasons for this:
- Google will be able to index your website easier.
- Users will be able to find their way around your website easier.
Website users do not have patience, when searching for information in a hurry, clear navigation assists users in finding what they want quicker.
Links, menus and buttons, are all part of a website’s navigation and how people move between pages within a website. It’s also part of the users’ journey, guiding them through the website, allowing them to find the information they require. This allows for an end goal, an action you want the user to perform while on your website.
Usability & Accessibility
Usability and accessibility cover a wide area including, being mobile-friendly, fast to download and good navigation, which all deserve separate entities on this list.
What is Website Usability?
Web usability means designing for your visitors instead of for yourself. A website that conforms to user expectations makes visitors more comfortable and more likely to visit again. Good usability is critical to your website’s success.
Web usability is about making your website in such a way that your website users can find what they’re looking for quickly and efficiently.
How to Improve Website Usability
- Content should be easy to find
- Easy to scan
- Quick to download
- Not overcrowded
- No scrolling
- Don’t restrict the back button
- Making good use of white space
- No errors
- No broken links
- Error 404 page
What is Web Accessibility?
Web accessibility is giving people equal access and equal opportunity, so people with disabilities can use your website.
It also benefits SEO, it’s a social responsibility that is governed by laws and regulations.
Web accessibility helps address the following:
- Visual: Visual impairment including blindness, various common types of low vision, poor eyesight and various types of colour blindness.
- Motor/Mobility: Conditions such as Parkinson Disease – Muscular Dystrophy; Cerebral Palsy, or a Stroke, can all affect the ability to use a mouse.
- Auditory: Deafness or hearing impairments, including individuals who are hard of hearing.
- Seizures: Photo epileptic seizures caused by visual strobe or flashing effects.
- Cognitive/Intellectual: Developmental disabilities, learning disabilities dyslexia and cognitive disabilities of various origins, affecting memory, attention, developmental “maturity,” problem-solving and logic skills, an inability to remember or focus on large amounts of information.
Security & Legal Policies
A Secure website is essential, especially when holding sensitive information and taking payment.
Having an SSL certificate is probably the first step in website security. SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the technology used for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and secure. Google gives encrypted sites an SEO boost too and is also seen as a sign of trust. SSL is represented by a padlock and the (https) protocol in the website’s address bar.
There are many ways to go about securing a website, such as using strong usernames and passwords for any back-end systems. Cheap shared hosting can also provide a security risk. Upgrading a website to a dedicated private server will add some protection against issues security, while also increasing download speed.
When it comes to data protection, adding cookie and privacy policies are advisable and for many websites, a legal requirement. GDPR which protects privacy is a grey area, but always seek advice from a legal professional if unsure of any requirements.
Make it easy and clear for website visitors to get in touch with you, should they need to. Include a ‘Contact Us’ page offering as many options as possible, addresses (email and physical location), phone number and an online chat facility if you can.
Always keep form fields to a minimum, when using a contact form. In making them less complex to complete, studies have shown you are more likely to get a response.
Adding opening or operating hours and social media links if applicable, are also useful.