An effective website is a perfect storm. It combines engaging content with a smooth user experience to deliver a pleasant and sometimes addictive experience. All of your favourite sites are a combination of technical skill, creativity and understanding of what people want.
If that all sounds a little vague, fear not! Because we have a list of some very specific elements that make an appealing website.
Twelve tips for making a good website
When you build your first website, or indeed, your first web page, your focus should always be on the end-user. There are a number of things that you have to plan out in advance of making a great website. You need to focus on certain areas to make sure your site is as accessible as possible. Below is a list of areas that need to be mapped out.
- The website must serve a purpose
First and foremost, if you want to make a great website, it must serve a purpose. Whether you’re making a site purely for personal use, or if you’re trying to build the next Amazon, your website must be there for a reason. As mentioned, even if it’s just a hobby site that you don’t intend on getting any visitors on, if it doesn’t serve the purpose you’ve built it for, then it’s not a great website.
- The site must be responsive
We now live in an age where people are glued to screens everywhere. Many of these screens are of different sizes. Your website should be accessible and built for every kind of device – whether it’s a smartphone, a tablet, or a desktop. It’s a developer’s job to make sure that the website is working no matter how large or small the screen is. A good site is also responsive to people’s needs. For example, it images should contain good metadata that can assist people who might be visually impaired.
- Must look good
A good website is generally visually appealing. Sure, some websites might get away with a bad looking interface, but generally, that’s compensated with an excellent user experience. Most consumers want to look at clear and well laid-out web pages that make it easy to consume the information they are looking for on the page.
- Good User Experience (UX)
Before developing a good website, it’s hugely beneficial to understand what the user experience will be like. Effectively, you want all of your users to have an easy and clear experience through your website. Many companies employ UX designers whose job is to ensure the best user journey possible.
- Good User Interface (UI)
Apart from looking good, the user interface needs to function perfectly. A UI designer takes the learnings from the UX designer and implements that information into actions for the user to enjoy on the site. So – the job here is for the site to look great, but work brilliantly as well. Make sure all of those call-to-action buttons and forms are working perfectly!
- Easy to navigate
Of course, a good user experience, and therefore, a good user interface, must be easy to navigate – otherwise, it’s just not that good! A good website will have buttons to other pages, forms, email addresses all in the right places. There will also be a clear site map available to users.
- Easy to read
Effective content is fresh, engaging or useful. A bus timetable app, for instance, is not an entertaining mobile website, but it’s a hugely useful one. Apart from the content being clear and concise, that content also needs to be laid out well on a page. Lists should be implemented when they need to be, as should line breaks, paragraphs, etc.
- Clear headings
A good website will have clear titles and headings that describe what is actually available on the said web page. Developers should learn how to effectively use headings and subheadings using <h1>to <h6> tags within their code – or if you’re using something like WordPress, they can be selected without having to work on HTML.
- Easy to find – Good SEO
If you’ve built your website to be viewed by the masses, then it will contain good, clear, and constructive content. The content should be searchable and apply to good SEO practices. Good SEO is what will get you landing on searches in Google, Bing, etc. All of the points above will contribute to good SEO on your site.
- Regular maintenance
Maintaining your website regularly is of utmost importance for many reasons. Firstly, technology is changing all of the time, and to ensure the best user experience, there might be something new out there that can make the experience even better. Apart from that, regular maintenance is a must to ensure none of your links is broken, or that your images are displaying correctly.
- Stay up to date with Google updates
Staying up to date with Google search engine updates is very important for maintaining a good website. This is especially true for businesses that rely on organic traffic to connect with new customers. Google search engine updates can often impact your search ranking and staying abreast of these changes can help keep your website searchable.
- Use third-party tools
Third-party tools like Moz or SEMrush can be invaluable for making sure your website is getting the traffic it deserves. These third-party tools will help you keep an eye on your search rankings, your backlinks, your domain authority score and more. Many of these tools will also tell you if you have any broken links and what pages they are on.
This list is by no means exhaustive. There are certainly other aspects that help make a good website, but if you have a tick beside most of the things on this list, then you’re on your way to building a good website.
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