Having a website is an absolute must for businesses these days. There are millions of websites out there, and a number of people (including myself) make a living out of creating websites.
In this article, I’ll be discussing a number of elements that contribute to the making of an epic website.
So what is it that makes a good website?
This question is quite subjective to begin with. It would be unfair to expect a website that showcases high resolution images or employs client side and server side encryption to perform the same way as your ‘usual’ websites.
For these reasons, let’s just narrow it down to an average business website. Here are some of the critical elements I expect from a successful business website.
1. An above average Conversion Rate
I consider Conversion Rate to be the most important aspect of a website, hence why it makes it to the top of this list (yes, even above the design). A common objective that all business websites share is generating leads. It is important for your website to be tailored to do this.
Getting traffic and likes is great and all, but it is just as important to convert them to paying clients. Yet, this job is quite often left to the Web Designers.
It is great that more and more web designers are learning the fundamentals of Conversion Rate Optimisation, but an average Web Designer is concerned about just the aesthetics of your website.
Luckily, we have call to actions and forms to boost your conversion rate. You can also perform rigorous split testing on your website until you get your formula right and the conversion rate is above average in your niche/industry.
2. Great Headlines
First impressions matter…
… A lot.
Your headline and meta description is perhaps the first impression for your visitor in the Search Engine they’re arriving from.
An interesting headline is a great way to draw more people to your website. An article by Gawker highlighted how people are willing to leave passionate comments without reading what’s in your post. Several people even share the article without reading the article or page content.
These two alone contribute a lot to improve your site’s click through rate in Search Engines. Once a visitor has clicked on your URL, it is important that he sees a well designed web page.
3. Good Design and Usability
Your Design communicates your brand’s personality to the prospect while they’re reading your article or watching your video. If your design managed to leave an impression it becomes more likely that the prospect will return and make a purchase.
Your website does not need to have an ultra complex or flashy set of features and elements in order for it to qualify as a good design.
Simple designs are more efficient and this study conducted by Google proves exactly that. The study finds that your users judge whether your website is ‘beautiful’ or not within 20 – 50 milliseconds.
You can also perform more research on the preferred colour and positioning of important elements that lead up to an action. Every element counts.
4. Page Load Speed
Back in 2010, Google introduced site speed as a new signal to determine your position in SERPs.
Loading your page quickly has become an integral part of the user experience (UX).
Consider that the attention span, and ability to retain focus on the task at hand of an average user is lower than that of a goldfish.
There is no 10 second rule on the internet. Instead, we have a 3 second rule.
If your webpage does not load within the 3 seconds of a fresh request (after clearing your cache), then you have a problem.
Get your web developer to speed it up for you.
If you’ve hit your hosting limits in terms of resources, switch to a different host that does not have the same issue.
5. Valuable Content that people want to share
This entire phrase above can be shortened to Inbound Marketing. The idea is to create valuable content with the intention of building authority and gaining your prospects’ trust…
…Not just to sell outright.
Articles are shared because they provide valuable information for the users.
DIY tutorials, infographics, informative articles, podcasts and public speaking are ways to increase the value of your content (and your brand). Depending on the niche/industry you are in, one way can be better suited for you than the other.
6. Other elements of the UX
Everything below point two in this post is a critical part of User Experience.
Being thoughtful of your user is key. You might really like your newly made promotional video, but there is no need to auto play it on your website. it is one of the most infamous put-offs, and yet we see a large amount of people who do not learn from it.
Keep your forms short: do not ask for information you do not need. For mobile, use an even shorter version of your form.
Keep in mind your target audience and make sure the text on your pages is readable. If you are targeting 75 year old pensioners, then please make sure your text is an extra 2 pt large. The contrast between the text and the background is also important.
Ask for honest feedback. Show your website to your family and friends and ask them to be critical. A lot of the time people who do not work in IT come up with some great advice. If you do not have friends, head over to websites like conceptfeedback.com to get people to rate your website’s usability and provide feedback.
If you are interested in learning more on refining User Experience, you can read a post I did some time ago here.
These factors work in conjunction with each other and the absence of one can be a reason your website hasn’t got the oomph your visitors are after. When all of them are perfected, you get an epic website that increases the amount of leads you generate, converts them into clients thereby increasing your profits.
I will expand on these ideas in future posts.
BTW, did you notice this list has got six points and not five as stated in the headline? If you did, leave a comment below.