When creating your own website, there are a number of factors that you need to take into account to make sure it’s fit for purpose. Regardless of whether your site is for your business or for personal use, you will most likely have considered the same key elements. No doubt, you’ll have been specified in the web design and made sure that your site visually reflects you or your brand.
But what other qualities should a website have that make it stand out above its competitors? Here are our picks for what features we think make a good website.
A good user experience on a website is vital for its performance and success; therefore, all good websites are easy to navigate. You want a website that offers a seamless, user-friendly experience, so don’t make your audience work for information – provide features that encourage them to engage and to stay on the site.
A good website is useful to both visitors who are searching for specific information, as well as those who are merely browsing. There should be a clear hierarchy in menus, logical navigation, and a consistent theme and layout throughout all pages. Keep in mind that the average online user is more likely to skim through content, so try to avoid posting in-depth text in large, unbroken blocks. Format your website in such a way that makes it easier for readers to scan through. Make use of headings and subheadings, and experiment with different fonts to determine what’s most legible. Also consider bullet points, lists, and pull quotes to help break up large blocks of text.
A good website should ideally take no more than six seconds to load. Slow-loading sites are not only frustrating for users, they can negatively affect the website itself – for instance, if an e-commerce site takes too long to load, customers are more likely to leave and shop elsewhere. Furthermore, sites that are sluggish in loading time are also negatively impacted in their search engine ranking. If your website could do with some help in loading efficiently, think about limiting the use of third-party website plug-ins that could be affecting it.
2. Regular unique content
A good website produces regular content that’s high-quality and unique. Therefore, when creating content for your own website, remember to use language that connects with your audience and you know they’ll respond to it. For instance, if your website is a chatty magazine blog, you’ll want to avoid corporate jargon; meanwhile, if your site is dedicated to a specialist or niche hobby, make sure that you understand and use all the relevant associated terms.
Regardless of what purpose your website serves, your content should be succinct and straight to the point, whilst getting its key message across.
Something that will make your website really stand out from the crowd and increase your reach is to make it accessible to all. Making your site easily accessible to people who are visually or hearing impaired, or who are living with sensory conditions and other impairments is actually relatively simple. There are numerous accessible website tools, such as on-screen readers and subtitle software, that can be applied to your website. Not only does being inclusive enable your website to reach more people, but it also shows that you have moral values and will go towards establishing a good reputation for your website.
4. Optimised for mobile
Never has there been a more important time for your website to be mobile-friendly. With more people using their phones for shopping, gaming, banking, listening to music, and so many other activities in their everyday lives, it’s vital that your website is accessible to mobile devices. Not only will optimising your site for mobile use improve the user experience, but it will also help improve your SEO rankings.
If you have the resources, you could create a downloadable mobile app to complement your website. If not, and if your site is not mobile-compatible, then there is a large selection of mobile website builders you can find online.
5. Optimised for search engines
It’s all very well creating an awesome looking and user-friendly website, but it needs to attract traffic. This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in. Ideally, you want your website to rank as high as possible in search engine results, so make sure you’re clued up on SEO strategies.
Use titles, meta tags, and alt tags on every page and image, and ensure that keywords are used appropriately in all content and links. Take the time to research the relevant keywords you need to use in your website to maximize its visibility. The content on your website – whether that be blog articles, titles from drop-down menus, image captions, or any other written content – should be optimized to align with the key terms that your visitors are likely to search for.
Five features that determine a good website are that it’s user-friendly, posts regular and unique content, is optimized for mobile devices and for search engine results, and is inclusive. If you manage to incorporate these elements into your website, you’re on the right track.
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