Looking to build a new website, or get more out of your existing site? A website can be an extremely valuable asset to any business; they are a relatively low cost & highly flexible form of advertising. But what do you need for an effective website that generates a return on investment for your business?
What makes a good website?
A good website gets to the point
A good website should get to the point quickly. When people visit your website they usually have an idea of what they are looking for, if they don’t feel they can find an answer to their problem they will quickly look elsewhere, without making a purchase.
- Don’t confuse your visitors, keep your site simple
- Focus on how your site benefits them
- Think about what people want from your website, can they find it straight away?
A good website keeps people interested
Any website should keep visitors interested long enough to turn them from a visitor into a paying customer. They might not read 1,000 words of content but they might stay long enough to watch a video about the same topic.
Think about different ways you can present your content that keep visitors engaged. The longer you keep people on your site, the more they will be exposed to your branding, products & opt in forms.
- Create “sticky content”, I.E. Live Chat, Videos, Productivity tools/calculators, social widgets, comment forms & opt in overlays all designed to keep people on your site.
- Make your content easier to read – Use more formatting, subheadings, cut paragraphs & use bullets/numbers
- Think about what people might want from your website, can they find it straight away?
Longer “dwell” time leads to improved search rankings
How long people stay on your site (dwell time) is also a factor used to determine a website’s search engine position. If people leave your site within a few seconds of visiting, or after viewing only one page this is a sign that your site probably isn’t of much value.
A good website is well branded
A business website is a great opportunity for any business to showcase their brand & create better relationships with their customers. Good branding helps to keep customers warm to your business, helps to improve brand recognition & increase trust.
These days, people want to create relationships with brands they like through social media sites, they want to feel like they are part of a “community” and are valued by the businesses they follow. Good branding can make it easier for people to enter into this relationship with you.
- Keep a consistent style of writing & colors
- Express a personality
Search engines like Google particularly like to promote ‘proven’ online brands. Getting your website branding right can be a significant help to achieve this.
A good website loads fast
Although internet speeds are improving all the time, websites still need to load fast to prevent frustrated visitors leaving your site. Most people expect a website to load within 3 seconds or less, if it doesn’t they will quickly find another website to load instead.
- Run aspeed test for your website
- Follow any suggestions in the report to improve your site speed
Google advises sites load in less than 1 second
Since the unstoppable rise of mobile search Google have advised webmasters to make sure their websites load in under 1 second to avoid losing disgruntled mobile users.
A good website is easy to use
A good website should be easy to use, navigate and effectively direct visitors around your site.
Related Article: A Quick Guide to Website Personalization
A good UI is especially important on mobile devices where screens are small & there isn’t much space to play with. You probably know the frustration of visiting a site that isn’t mobile friendly, struggling to interact with tiny buttons & a poor user interface.
- Implementresponsive web design
- Keep it clear & concise – Where relevant use tabs or accordion to display different points.
- Keep forms short – Shorter forms have been known to lead to higher conversions.
A good website doesn’t neglect formatting
Formatting is often something that is not considered as much but it can make a real difference to the performance of your website.
It’s always good practice to add vary your content, highlight important information, use subheadings & images to break your text up. Without it your pages can seem a little overwhelming, especially if you have large blocks of text on a mobile screen.
If you get a lot of mobile visitors try breaking your content up into sections, each with their own heading. It will help them to “skim” the information that is useful to them.
Don’t forget formatting can be used by search engines to better understand your web pages, use it to your advantage to make search gains!
What are your opinions of a good website? What makes a good website in 2015? What do you think makes a website stand out from the rest?