What makes a great website?

What makes a great website?

In this blog, we look at the elements that go into a website which looks great, works as it should and, most importantly, pays for itself by bringing in new customers.

If you’re here, chances are you’re either considering getting a website for the first time, or you want to update your existing page. Whichever option applies, there are some important points to note when planning your site.

We have split these up into three key areas to consider when you’re setting out to have a new website built for your business.

What do you sell, and who is your customer?

Hopefully, you know the answer to this, well certainly the first part, but if you’re unsure of who your customer is, it’s worth taking the time to build a persona . This might sound a bit daunting, but its really making up a generic ‘person’ who is likely to be your ideal customer. You can then use them as your benchmark for what your site should offer and how it should look and feel.

If you sell a product, or products, you may want an e-commerce site which allows you to receive orders and payments and display your catalogue with real-time stock updates. The design of the site could be heavily led by the style of your product line, and you’re likely to need additional pages for important information such as terms and conditions, shipping or returns info.

However, if you sell a service, your site is likely to act more as a portfolio to showcase your work. In that case, there could be less pages and the overall build time will be reduced. It is important to remember though, that your new site will still need regular updates and maintenance to keep it working as it should – even if it seems relatively light on data.

First impressions are lasting impressions

How your website looks is every bit as important as how it works. While it is entirely possible to build a site from a template using Wix, Squarespace, or GoDaddy, look at how many other websites across the world look the same as yours. Also, if you want to give the impression of being professional, and attract high-paying customers, having “This site was designed with the Wix website builder…” across the top of the page isn’t a great starting point.

This brings us to an important point – first impressions really do count. Remember, a new website is an investment in your business and as such, it should pay for itself by bringing in new business. But, you only have a few seconds to make an impression, and if your design fails to capture the imagination of the customer, they’re gone.

There are studies to back this up too.  According to research by Adobe , 73% of millennials, prefer good web design, with 62% of Gen Xers, and 55% of Baby Boomers all agreeing. This means that more than half of your potential audience will not even give your brand a chance if your website is poorly designed.

Put yourself in the shoes of your customer. If you were looking to buy a car, would you buy from the dealership with the barely functioning site built on Wix or one with a sleek, responsive site that was clearly built bespoke by professionals?

Its what’s inside that counts

We used a word above – responsive – that is really important when it comes to web design. You might be tempted to think that it refers to how fast your site loads or processes your input. However, while that is indeed important, a responsive website means it seamlessly adapts to the user and the device or screen their viewing it on, portrait to landscape, laptop to phone. This is great for the user, but also keeps Google happy, as its robots will give priority in the rankings to responsive sites.

Keeping in Google’s good books has a multitude of benefits, not least in terms of getting your site in front of more potential customers, and the best tool for this is SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation. In its simplest form, this means making sure your site ticks all of Google’s boxes before it goes live, and a good web developer will be able to sort this for you. However, you know your business and your industry, so go to your designer armed with some common search terms you think customers would type into Google to find you – or what you’d like them to type.

Google will also be checking to see what kind of content you are presenting to customers and how often it is updated. This is where blogging becomes important, as your blog is a great way to answer potential questions your customer base might have and to position yourself as an expert – plus, Google just loves blogs.

Finally, your site must be readable, using clear, concise language and avoiding jargon. Of course, you want to come across as an expert, but not at the cost of alienating your customers.

Next steps

If you’re ready for a new website, and would like help planning the look, feel and content, or just having it built, our team of experts are here to help. For more information on our web design services email [email protected] or call 01779 478064.