What Makes a Good Website?
A good website is built for the target audience. This means you should not choose colours, layout, and design based on your preferences - you must stay focused on your ideal website visitor. It should also be easy to navigate and find essential information and pages on the site.
In an ideal world, a website should also be built with SEO in mind, making the website drive traffic and rank well on search engines.
So, what does it take to create a good website? Let's go through these key features one by one:
1. Nailing Your Target Audience
The first step is to know your audience. What problems or questions do they have? Why did they land on your website in the first place?
Knowing your target audience (potential new customers or clients) will lead you in the right direction when designing and adding content to your site. If your ideal visitor is impressed and satisfied by your website, they are more likely to take action, convert and stay on your site for longer. To fully meet their needs, you must know what they are seeking.
Target Personas - Identifying Your Ideal User
Before you begin to design your new website, set aside time to identify your target audience by creating a couple of personas likely to seek your product or services.
Target personas are fictional characters that represent your ideal website users or customers. They're created based on research and analysis of your target audience to help you understand and design for their specific needs, preferences, and behaviours. The more accurate and detailed the personas, the better you can tailor your website design to meet the needs and expectations of your target users.
So, how do you create a target persona? Picture him or her right in front of you. What is their gender, age, interests, and socio-economic background? What are their pain points and goals? You can go into details and give them names, write a little background story, and even create avatars to represent them. Keep them in front of you to stay focussed throughout the design process.
Journey Mapping - Outlining The User Journey
The next step is to consider what your target personas will likely do or seek on your website. It is like creating a visual story of how users interact with a website. It helps us understand their experience by mapping out the different steps, actions, and emotions they go through.
If you've got a restaurant, your ideal website visitor har likely landed on your website because they are looking for the menu or the directions to your venue. To make their journey smooth, add a clear link to your menu on the home page. Display your address, contact details, and directions in a visible section of your site and in the footer.
For any service-based businesses, your new potential clients may be interested in your fees - add a link to the price list where it is easily found. Is your number easy to find on your site, and is it clickable?
How to create a Website Journey Map:
- Picture one of your ideal users (see target personas above)
- Divide the user's journey into stages - landing on the website, looking for service x, finding the right page in the menu, scrolling through the page, taking action
- Identify potential pain points where the user may get stuck
- Work your way through the journey, ensuring it's a smooth and easy ride
2. Key Design Elements
When you have mapped out your target audience, it is time to design the website. Keeping your target personas in mind, what fonts, colours, vibes and images would appeal to them? No matter how easy it is to navigate your website, you must also ensure it's appealing - the visual design is a deal breaker.
When designing your website, it is crucial to keep in line with your branding but remember whose attention you are trying to grab. A well-designed website is more likely to be recognised by visitors, and they will be more likely to return!
Use Consistent Branding Elements
In general, a good website design is consistent - when moving from one page to another, one should still be able to tell that it's the same site. Consistency helps establish your brand and makes it easier for visitors to remember you.
How to create a consistent web design:
Use the same colour palette, fonts, and style across all pages. Your design should reflect your brand and industry as a whole. The colours, images, layout, and fonts must be carefully selected, in line with your brand and pleasing to the eye.
Creating a Mood Board, a colour palette, and a website design mock-up is incredibly helpful and valuable when designing and setting the tone for a website.
Choosing Website Colours
One of the first, and maybe hardest things, when creating a website is to select what colours to use. First of all - do you have to use the colours from your logo? How many colours should you go for? How do the different colours and combinations affect the user and the experience of the website?
First of all - you do not need to limit your colour selection based on your logo. You can if you wish, but you can also consider using complementary colours. You can also play around with different shades and tones of the same colour.
When choosing website colours, consider your brand identity, what emotions you want to evoke in the user and what industry you are in. Keep an eye on trends but choose colours that will stand the test of time. Learn more by reading our full post on how to select a colour palette for your website.
Make your site recognisable
When a user lands on your website, you'll want them to know that they are in the right place. Creating a visual identity that reflects your brand and industry will make it easier for your website visitor to get an idea of what you are all about at first glance.
Choose colours, fonts, and graphics that capture the essence of your brand and make it memorable.
Keep Paragraphs Short
Stick with short paragraphs and stay away from big blocks of text. People tend to scroll through a website without reading every word, so you are better off adding text in bite-sized chunks.
In addition, short paragraphs are easier to read and comprehend. They help break down the content into digestible chunks, making it more accessible to users. Breaking your content into short paragraphs will also make the text more visually appealing and less overwhelming. Users will appreciate the breathing space and find it easier to read.
What About Outdated Branding?
Many website designers are incredibly talented at creating layouts and colour palettes that are in line with your branding. However, if your branding is out of style and in need of a touch-up, your web designer may suggest some tweaks to your logo, style or colour selection.
An overall update may be just what you and your business need, especially if you have changed direction or niche since first launching your brand.
3. User Experience
To keep your visitors on your site longer, it is essential to make it user-friendly. This includes easy navigation, fast loading speed (just a second of extra loading will put a lot of people off!), mobile-friendly design, and all links and pages working. An easy-to-use website will guide visitors to take action.
Test & Review Your Site
To further test your site's usability and quality, you should have it reviewed. Someone other than you might be the best person to check your site as you already know the intention of it. Ask a friend (or even better - a potential customer) to go through your website, see if they understand the meaning of the site and ask about their experience and honest opinion. Did she find your contact information quickly? Did you notice the call to action buttons?
Free Tools: Check Links & Site Speed
You should run your site through testing tools to ensure everything works. By entering your URL into Broken Link Checker you can find out if there are any broken links. You'll want to ensure the user ends up at the correct landing page when clicking on a link, or they won't be very impressed. You can also test your website speed easily at gtmetrix.com.
4. Add Valuable Content
Adding new, relevant and high-quality content is great from an SEO perspective and from a user experience point of view. Your visitors won't be impressed by outdated information, irrelevant blog posts or poor grammar. Interesting and user-centered content will keep your visitors on your site for longer, your bounce rate will drop, and you will rank for more keywords.
Blog Articles / Resources
Uploading high-quality blog posts or articles will contribute to your site's user experience - your visitors will be able to find the information they need. By using internal linking (liking from one blog post to another), you are also likely to increase the time spent on your site, the Dwell Time. By optimising your blog posts for search engines you will be able to drive even more traffic and rank even higher.
Your customers have questions they want answered and will be pleased if you give them to them. Adding frequently asked questions can improve the user journey and save you from having to reply to these common questions in emails. One way is to add FAQ sections to your service pages, Home or About Page.
When To Consider Professional Copywriting
Don’t feel confident enough to write your own content? Get in touch with a website copywriter - they are trained to do this. A talented copywriter knows exactly how to pursue your target audience, lead them through your site and drive them to take action. Most copywriters offer the option of crafting tailored copy for a selected number of pages of your website, your entire website or blog posts on a frequent basis.
5. Optimised for Search Engines
SEO is a way of structuring your data in a format that search engines can understand. It is a way for your website to communicate straight to search engines and tell Google, for example, what's on your page - what the headlines, images, and structure is all about. This, in return, can give your website a great ranking on searches. When Google knows about your site's content, they will match it with people who are looking for that specific content and voila - we have a match!
Can I do SEO Myself?
If you feel confident about writing title tags and meta descriptions and clearly understand which keywords and phrases your ideal clients are using to find what you offer, and if you keep up to date with the latest SEO strategies, then you can definitely give it a go! If it's above your head, then you should get in touch with an SEO specialist.
When To Consider Hiring an SEO Specialist
Hiring an SEO Specialist or a Website Designer with skills in Search Engine Optimisation will ensure that your website is SEO-friendly from the get-go. An SEO-friendly structure with correct heading hierarchy, valid URLs and added structured data will make it easier for search engines to crawl and rank your website.
An SEO-friendly website will drive more organic traffic, make your site easier to find Online and help you outrank your competitors on search engines.
6. Keep Up With Technology
If your current website was built a few years back, the design is potentially not responsive, meaning it is not optimised for mobiles or other devices. Today's websites are built 'mobile-first' since that's where you will find the majority of website visitors. Updating your website regularly means that you will stay on top of the latest technology and make the experience of visiting your website even better for your audience.
How Do I Find the Latest Widgets?
If you are not happy with your current widgets or apps then take a look at what else is out there. You can start by looking at what's available on the website platform you are using, whether it be Rocketspark, Wordpress, Shopify, Wix or something else. The second thing you can do is look at what your competitors are using - does it seem better than what you use on your site?
Other Benefits of Updating Your Website
Increased Brand Credibility
A well-designed website that looks professional shows that you have invested in your business and that your brand is valuable. On the opposite - an outdated website with poor design and a bad user experience can severely harm your brand.
Quick tip: Gain Brand Credibility
Publishing reviews and testimonials on your website is a quick and easy way of gaining more brand credibility
Display any relevant certificates
Have you received any industry awards? Show them off!
Case studies can be used to prove what you have achieved for other clients
Build Brand Awareness
The look and feel of your website will reflect what kind of brand you are and who you are turning to. Capturing the essence of your business and adding sections about your mission and values will increase the awareness of your brand. A new and SEO-friendly website is more likely to rank well on search engines, and more traffic equals an increased awareness of your brand.
Already Got A Website?
A new look can make any brand come to life again. A refreshed look can spark new interest and curiosity for your brand and ensure you keep up with the latest technology. If you want to make the most out of the investment in a new website, there are a few factors you should focus on throughout the process.
What Makes A Good Website: Checklist
Nail the target audience
Ensure a well balanced and appealing design
Hold an excellent user experience and easy navigation
Use valuable and updated content
Make it SEO friendly
Review and update the website regularly
SEO Specialist & Web Designer