What makes a good website?

Web Design and Development
 

What makes browsing a website a pleasant experience? What would make you revisit the same site again and again? Am I the only one who doesn’t like loading screens? There are a lot of important factors that need to come together in order to create a good website. Some of these are:

  • Design
  • Functionality
  • Security
  • Speed
  • Content
  • Usability
  • Accessibility

Design:
This is crucial. Would you stay on a website that is giving you a headache with all the colors? A rainbow isn’t as pleasant on a website. Users will make their first impression based on what your website looks like. They will also associate the website they see with the company that it is representing. It’s useless to have the tidiest office on the planet if your website is a cluttered mess. Colors should be concise and match together in harmony. Avoid using too many colors as this will make the site seem less professional and more like a colorful salad. 2 to 3 main colors is all you should need in order to create a good design based on your brand.

Readability is important

Remember a user does not want to go blind while browsing your website. Use an appropriate font size as well as line spacing. It is not a good idea to put yellow text on a white background unless you want to start receiving eye bills in the mail. Potential customers need to have a positive experience in order to come back as well as view your website as a ‘good website’. So be sure to take your time and make your website appearance pixel perfect.

 
Functionality:
A broken website represents a broken company. Users do not want to wait for a loading screen only to receive a message that the page does not exist. Ensure that all the website’s navigation functions correctly and as intended.Try not to use plugins such as javascript. A user will not like having to download multiple plugins to view a simple page. Also make sure that the information on your website is correct and that all links within the text are appropriate and error free.

Optimize your html as much as possible and keep the use of javascript and other languages to a minimum. Also try to optimize any graphics by reducing image sizes and making use of sprites. Keep loading times to a minimum. A user should not have finished his coffee before the website has even loaded. Interactivity is a good aspect to keep in mind as well since a user will feel more at home as well as know what to do next. Searches and database entries/logins should all work perfectly.

Remember that all these aspects will affect other parts of the website discussed later on such as security and accessibility… So take your time and fix everything up :)

 
Security:
Make sure that your website is secure. A user is more likely to return if he is sure that he can trust the website and that his data is safe. Would you give your credit card information to a company that was previously hacked? A good website allows the user to browse while having peace of mind that there is some form of security and protection if he is to save his own data.

While this section may not apply so much to information based websites, it is still important to have some level of security as you don’t want someone snooping around and changing your website and all your hard work!

 
Content:
This might be the most important factor of all as this is the primary reason of why the user is visiting your website. It is to see what your company has to offer or to get some information out of the website.

Content should be:

  • Short. (Keep it simple. Do not use large chunks of text and information)
  • Facts. (Ensure that the user can trust your company and that the information is valid)
  • Scannable (The user should spot what he needs immediately)
  • Straight to the point (Give the users the information they need without a lot of extra useless words)
  • Valuable (The content has to be of some use to the user in order for him to stay)
  • Timely (Ensure that the content is currently valid)
  • Specific (The content should target a main area)
  • One-to-One (Make the content as user specific as possible i.e target a particular range of users)

 

All the content should be Updated Regularly. A good website is one that remains valid even when times change. This is very important since inconsistent information also means that the company is not as serious as it should be. This would reduce trust ability. Do not overuse fancy animations and graphics within your site. An animation here and there improves the user’s experience but a lot of them just increase loading times and make it harder to focus on specific content.

Be Original. Ensure that all the content is original and that there are no typos or grammatical errors. Would you trust a company that can’t even spell its own motto? Allow the user to take some information with him if possible. Remember that some users might be in a hurry. Allow for content to be downloaded or exported to pdf or other formats to allow users to take the website with them.

 
Usability:
This essentially means how usable and effective your website is. A good website is easily readable, understandable and simple to navigate trough. Try to keep needless scrolling to a minimum and keep the website as fast and efficient as possible. Keep a consistent layout throughout the site and all menus should be logical and as needed. A menu should not have more than 15 items at maximum.

Ensure that the website is cross compatible with other devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops etc and that it works correctly on different screen resolutions and also different browsers on the same device. Finally make use of meaningful backlinks and ensure that all of these point to trustworthy sites and that they all function correctly.

 
Accessibility:
This means how your clients will learn about your site and how they will get to it. It is not as simple as hosting it on a web server. Some options available today are SEO (search engine optimization), PPC (Pay Per Click), SMM (Social media marketing) together with traditional marketing such as radio, tv, Etc

SEO is how high your website ranks on search engines such as google. The more optimized the site, the higher the rank and the higher the views. A good website that is optimized should use plenty of html and makes use of a lot of keywords. Table use should be kept to a minimum and css should be used.

PPC is a service provided by multiple websites. this service allows you to host ads on other websites. You do not pay for hosting the advert itself but pay when a user clicks on the ad itself. You should be careful though. Ensure that you can get back the money spent on ppc. It is useless to spend more on the ad than the product you are actually selling!

Social media is also a great way to market your website. Adverts on websites such as facebook reach thousands of viewers every day. However one must keep in mind his budget on how much he is willing to spend each day on this advertising.

 

As seen, a good website does not come from thin air. It is made from hard work and all the above factors need to be kept in mind. Remember, the Eiffel tower wasn’t built overnight so you shouldn’t expect to spend a day on a website and expect it to return a profit. Dedicate yourself to it and you will immediately see the results.

 

Should you require further consultation do not hesitate to contact us at info@icarus.com.mt or visit our page at www.icarus.com.mt

 

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