What makes a website a little more than good/average?
What makes a website a little more than good/average? What are the elements that make a website worth remembering or revisiting?
If we could see the future, most people would probably predict a digital world in which much of our lives and business were digitized. But we would think 8 to 10 years from now. Guess again, in the blink of an eye we are attending webinars, Zoom’s and off-site meetings….onsite work and physical events feel ‘so last year’!
Many industries became irrelevant, not fit for this particular climate, leaving people to think out of the box and adapt to the digital shift very quickly.
Having a digital presence is now more important than ever. Our lives are transitioning more and more online. School, studies, work, shopping even Friday pub nights are now online most popular is the app called “houseparty” developed 4 years ago and suddenly they are booming. This is only the beginning of this digital trend.
This leaves me with a great opportunity to share my thoughts on what makes a website ideal… My experience with digital marketing rooted in the ‘dial-up connection’ era, I have seen a fair amount succeed and fail…
(Oops, I think I just gave away my age…) yet still today, one of the biggest focus points are getting a Google ranking – no rank = no traffic
Keep Google happy to gain traffic then also ensure your visitor is happy and stay on your site for longer.
My 14 tips for a great website:
- A well-rounded combination of visuals and great content:
Industries differ, understandably what you expect to see when you visit the website of an online electronics store and an architectural firm is not the same.
What doesn’t change is the fact that you like to see an aesthetically pleasing and well-written website. Not riddled with spelling and grammar mistakes or waffling on without coming to the point. Google understands the quality of copy so for a good ranking on Google and quality branding, invest in a good designer and a good copywriter. (Yes, they are two different humans with two different skill sets.)
- Decide what you want from your website:
What are your objectives? Do you want sales, showroom visits, or quote requests? Or is the site an information hub providing an overview and description of the technical detail for your products/services. You can also decide to have a website that demonstrates your credibility to new and existing clients.
I see many sites that look like they didn’t give this enough thought before they started the design process. Get your strategy ready to hit the mark.
- Make it easy to navigate (user experience): Just keep it simple and make it easy to find the things that are most important like contact us, buy buttons, request a quote. People think it is cool and quirky to have other names for sections on the website and might stand out and elevate their brand thinking, but if people can’t find what they are looking for in 2 – 3 seconds, all your sophistication flies out the window. Stick to what people know and often simplicity sells.
- Optimise for mobile:
What do you do when you wait? You browse on your mobile device. What do you do when you quickly want to fact check? You browse on your mobile device. Mobile traffic is increasing daily. Make 200% sure your site looks good on the small screen and desktop. Test it, be critical, and see if you will spend more than 3 seconds on your own site. If your visitor wants to buy, they don’t want to go on a hunt for the buy/add button. I find many sites are great on a desktop but the moment you switch to a mobile device the user experience is out the window; I don’t want to struggle to buy on my phone, please!
- Tell people what you want and expect from them:
Very strange and often missed, a clear ‘call to action’. It seems obvious, yet often forgotten: If you don’t tell people what you expect them to do once on the site you will miss inquiries, requests for quotes, and sales. Google also prefers a site that describes the page, even ‘contact us’ pages should have a paragraph describing the page and what you prefer the visitors do once they are on the page.
- Stay away from fonts you develop yourself:
Anything too fancy is difficult to read and more so, if Google can’t read it, your site will not rank on Google or any other Search Engines at all.
- Duplicate text:
The website copy should be authentic and unique. If you copy content from another site and commit plagiarism, you will be penalized and will never rank on Page 1.
- Content is king, quality is queen!
Google loves good copy, this will help you rank higher and faster. Ensure that your content is simple and to the point, leading the visitor to get to the call to action faster, but enough copy to get a good rank. It is a fine balance between just enough, the right words, and not too much beating around the bush. Avoid keyword stuffing and repeating words for ranking on Google, you will be penalised for this. Sentences and copy should make 100% sense and read well, the better the copy the more rewards from Google.
- Alt text for Images:
“Alt text” is the action of naming an image correctly when it is saved before loading it onto the website. This implies logical naming without repeating words or naming 5 images that mean the same thing to rank under a variety of words. Avoid the old hack of repeating words behind an image in the same colour as you will be penalised!
- Load speed:
This is growing in importance! We all hate that little spinning icon or ‘Throbber’(yes, it has a name), that keeps on thinking while you wait for a site to download. You just move on to the next one, right? Google gives priority to websites that load as fast as possible! Test the loading speed of your website.
Make sure all images are as small as possible without pixelating. Small PNG is a great program to ensure the above is optimised.
- Up to date and constant changes:
Google loves a site that has activity and regular new additions. One way is to add at least two blogs and news articles per month on the site.
- Google Analytics and Console:
Register your website on Console and run a basic test to spot errors unused URL’s. Console will spot what is not right according to what Google prefers. Analytics will show the performance of the website and it comes with great tools to enhance user experience and track conversions/call to action.
This is necessary on every site, if you don’t have standard privacy and terms we can send this on. A small yet easy win to acquire a higher ranking on Google.
- Google places listing:
Once your website is ready to go live, it pays to have a good, well-structured Google Places listing! Often your listing can rank on the first page of Google before your website does. Then chase good reviews from your customers on Google and on your Facebook page! Reviews do wonders for your ranking and for clients to choose you over a competitor.
Hope this was worth the read and we added some thought around your digital presence. Remember if something doesn’t work it is still relevant “to go back to basics”!
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Jenny | Evolv