When it comes to digital marketing, there is nothing more important than having a high-quality website, which acts as your business’s virtual front door. Now more than ever, your website needs to be as unique as you and your business are. In this article, you will learn about the importance of having a great website, as well as the characteristics of a great website.
Why is Having a Great Website Important?
In this digital age, people search the internet for businesses, products, services, and just about everything else. Long gone are the days of relying on phone books. If someone needs to find information, they are most likely going to start by using the internet. When a potential customer is searching for something that you and your business offer, you want to make sure that your business and its online appearance is the best it can possibly be.
Looking good online is important because your website is often the first impression you give potential customers. If they found your site through a search or a link a friend gave them, then your website will be your business’s first point of contact with them. Before they even see your store or talk to your staff, they will see your website. This is why it’s important to make sure that that first impression is a good one. It’s important to think about your website as your digital storefront and showroom. People are looking at it and forming an opinion of your business based on it, so it’s crucial that your website ensures they will have a great first impression.
What are the Characteristics of a Great Website?
As a company or business, your website is a tool. For some, it is the foundation of their entire business. It is important to make your website a quality and most valued tool from the start, and then continue to use and take good care of it. There are a lot of things that make up a good site, but below are a few of the characteristics that make a good website.
As more and more people use their mobile phones to access the internet, creating a mobile-optimized website has become a necessity. In order to do this, the first step is to check how your existing website appears on a mobile device. You can use a Google mobile site tester in order to see how your site looks. If your website cannot be accessed on a mobile device or isn’t configured to look as it should on a mobile device, you can create a mobile version of your website for free with the help of web-based mobile website builders.
Accessible for All Users
A user-friendly website should not only be accessible to mobile users, but should be accessible to blind, disabled, and elderly users too. These users typically use screen-readers to access the Internet. The 508 website accessibility guidelines highlight simple web design techniques that can be applied to make sure your website can be accessed easily on-screen for all readers, making your website available to a larger audience.
Well Planned Information Architecture
The way your information is organized and presented on your website is vital for good usability. However, this aspect of web design is often neglected. In this day and age, it has become even more important to have a well-planned design as websites offer a wide range of information and resources to attract their target market. Plan your website sections and categories carefully and present information in a way that is easy for users to find. It is important to always think from the perspective of your users, and this is particularly important if your company’s website offers a lot of content.
Well-Formatted Content That is Easy to Scan
The average internet user skims through the content on a web page instead of reading each and every word from top to down. Users tend to scan through key parts of the page quickly in order to determine if it is relevant to their needs. Because of this, it is imperative that you format your content with this in mind. Correct use of headings, sub-headings, paragraphs, bullets, or lists help to break up long text, which makes it easy for readers to scan and find the information most relevant to their needs.
Fast Loading Times
When looking at a website, nothing can be more frustrating than using a site that takes a long time to load. Slow speed is one of the main reasons why visitors leave a website. One of the hallmark qualities of a good website is one that loads between 4 to 6 seconds. This is important for good usability, as well as affecting your search engine ranking. In order to test your loading speed, you can use a free tool such as Pingdom, where you can also get a suggestion on what you can do to improve your speed.
A lot of the time, third-party website plugins and widgets including website tracking and social media tend to be one of the most common factors that affect website speed. Try to limit their use and only use the ones that are essential to your site. Long loading times are also one of the main reasons visitors leave your site. Customer expectations have significantly changed over the past few years. A typical customer will only wait for a few seconds for your page to load, after which they will most likely navigate away to a competitor’s site, and will likely not visit yours again.
Browser compatibility is something that can be easily overlooked. Even the websites of some of the most reputable companies suffer from this problem due to neglect. This is bad for branding and has a negative effect on website usability. Although modern browsers have evolved and become more efficient, some inconsistencies still exist in how a website is interpreted by different browsers. An important characteristic of a great website is that it appears and behaves consistently across all major browsers such as Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Opera. Simple things like this set a professionally designed website apart from the rest.
- A good search feature
- Multiple ways to explore content (ex. Top 10, most rates, most popular, etc.)
- A custom 404 Page
- Good internal linking
- An informative header and footer
Good Error Handling
Good error handling and description of on-screen messages are very important for good usability. However, this is often overlooked. Correct handling of errors at a code level ensures the website is robust and free from bugs. Displaying the right error message improves the user experience and overall usability.
Valid Mark-Up and Clean Code
A website that adheres to the relevant web design best practices and standards is often more robust and dependable. It also ensures that the website will load faster and appear consistent across browsers and devices. It also makes it easier to locate problems and troubleshoot if the need arises.
Contrasting Color Scheme
The right contrast between the background of the website and content is one of the most basic yet most important characteristics of a great website that should never be overlooked. Good contrast between background and text is vital. For example, black text on a white background makes your content legible and easy to read. On the other hand, having a lack of contrast between background and text makes it very difficult for visitors to read your content.
Forms are an extremely important element for business websites because they allow users to interact with the site. Forms are also very useful for generating leads for a business. In order to get the most out of your site, it is important to ensure the forms are easy to use and accessible to everyone. Here are some tips to ensure all forms are usable and accessible:
- Use correct labels for all fields
- Follow good form design principles
- Try to keep the number of fields to a minimum
- Offer tooltips and suggestions
- Display on-screen message on completion
- Use correct validation
Website Usability is Vital to Success
The most important quality of a good website comes down to its usability. Good usability helps provide a seamless experience for visitors and improves your chances of success. It is one of the factors that sets a professionally designed website apart from the rest. Implementing the characteristics of a great website listed above can help make your website a success. If you’re finding that you need help making a good website, reach out to SEO Design Chicago!
- What is a good website?
- Why is it important to have a great website?
- Why do I need to have a mobile-compatible site?
- What makes a great website?
- How do I make my website more usable?