Most people today are regular online users and believe they can tell the difference between a good or bad website within seconds of looking at it. Although in certain cases this can be true there are many factors to consider when evaluating the components of a successful site. A good website will possess many, if not all, of the following traits . . .
Search Engine Friendly: The main purpose of a website is to bring visitors to your site, preferably those with an interest in your product or service. Without visibility in search engines your website may look great but do little else to help promote your business. It is critical customers are able to find you in sites like Google or Yahoo using keywords or phrases relating to your business. If you are unfamiliar with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) find a company who can help, the investment can be well worth it.
Quick Load Times & Minimal Distractions: There is nothing more frustrating than going to a website and waiting long periods of time to access its content. Whether it’s due to slow loading images or annoying popup ads these kind of annoyances can drive customers away in a hurry. Making sure visitors can use your website quickly and easily should always be a top priority. Avoid things such as excessive flash animations, large video clips, or music tracks without an off switch.
Clear Message or Purpose: What does your website do? Why is it actually there? If you sell vacuum cleaners how you present your site should make this fact clear instantly. This is done not only by your choice of text or wording but also your logo, images, slogan, and even colour scheme. It is possible for a website to look great visually but not properly convey the message you are trying to send to consumers. People’s attention span’s are short and not getting to the point quickly is an incentive for your users to look elsewhere.
Strong Call To Action: Once people have found your website and want to do business with you tell them what their next step should be with a strong “call to action”. Should they give you a call to schedule a meeting or appointment? Can they purchase your products or services online….how so? Don’t ever assume your customer knows what to do next, tell them how you want them to react to your website to prompt a quicker more impulsive response.
Easy To Use & Navigate: Making your website easy to use is crucial in visitors staying at your website once they find it. Key or important information should be easy to access within a couple of clicks and arranged in a way that is simple and logical to your user. Your customer shouldn’t have to “figure out” how to use your website, it is your job to make navigation easy. Also be sure to develop your website in a manner that keeps all demographics in mind, whether it be seniors, children or even those with disabilities.
Professional Design & Quality First Impression: The professionalism of your website is a key factor in establishing your company’s credibility and heavily influences a person’s decision to do business with your over a competitor . Although it may be tempting to cut costs by having a friend make your website or using a template you will get out or your website what you put into it. Your website is often your first point of contact with potential customers and must introduce your company in a way that inspires trust and confidence. A poor looking website may generate a lot of traffic but fail you in terms of creating business leads or increased sales.
Strong & Relevant Content : It’s often said in the web design industry that “content is king”. Although it is great to have all the other bells and whistles that come with a quality website what you actually say is as important as anything. Remember websites are primarily a READING tool so make sure your text is informative and has depth. If you were to try and make a book out of the written portion of your website alone how well would it hold up based on its own merits?
The Return Factor : Once you get someone to visit your website, what is their incentive to return in the future or come back regularly? Websites that garner a lot of traffic do so not only by reaching a large amount of new users but maintaining a healthy number or existing ones. Common examples to include could be a latest news and headlines section, free articles or resources, a community blog or anything keeps web surfers coming back.
Goal Orientated : In order to judge or measure the success of your website it is important to set goals or benchmarks. Everyone wants their website to bring in more business….but how often or how much? A large part of your website success is determined before it is ever designed or put together. Make sure you decide in advance what you want your website to accomplish in terms of results to understand if your site is performing up to the expectations you want or need.