Everyone has been to a great website that is easy to spend a lot of time on. But what really makes a site “great"? What makes you want to stay on a website and browse, when you could just as easily navigate away with the click of a button? Let’s explore 11 aspects of a “great” website, and how you can apply these tips to your own site.
1. Who is your audience?
Ultimately what do you want your viewer to do? Do you want them to buy something, read an article, or give you a call? This should always be the first question you ask yourself when you decide to build a site. You want your site to subconsciously direct the user to a goal, and you don’t want the viewer to scroll through miles of text if you’re goal is to get them to pick up the phone.
2. How quickly does your site load?
Unfortunately, people will only take note of this when speed is absent. As Internet connections get faster and faster, there is more and more content, images, and data for users to view and download. Everyone has been to one of those sites where you seem to sit there FOREVER to see your content or download your file. This by itself can be a major turn-off for people visiting your site. With a site that responds quickly, you’ll ensure that your viewers will stay longer and potentially return again in the future.
3. Navigation is essential.
If your user can’t easily get to where they want to be and get the information they want, they probably won’t stay terribly long on your site. Page navigation should be clear in the way it’s laid out and use a font that’s easily legible. If you have a very long page, it’s helpful if the navigation is either anchored in place or you have a “Back to Top” button of some sort to avoid unnecessary scrolling.
4. All of your links should work.
Broken links are a huge turn-off for users and search engines alike. It can be perceived that your site is not well maintained and question the integrity of your business. Who wants to hang around on a site that doesn’t work? Having multiple broken links can severely hurt your search engine rankings as well, creating a domino effect that could potentially impact your overall business.
5. Optimize Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Search Engine Optimization is the process of affecting the visibility of a website in a search engine such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing. Optimizing a site for SEO involves editing a site’s HTML content, headings, and metadata to increase a site’s relevance to specific keywords. Increasing the amount of inbound links or backlinks is another tactic to promote a site and increase search engine optimization.
6. A contact form of some sort should be easily accessible to the user.
Your site may be absolutely stunning, but if a method of contacting you is unclear, then that pretty site really won’t help you much. Again, ask yourself what is your ultimate goal? If the purpose of the site is to get the customer in front of you face to face, you need to spend some time thinking about the visibility and accessibility of your contact form.
7. Use appropriate colors for your business.
- Red – Is a common color in the food industry. It’s attention grabbing, aggressive, and evokes a call to action. It’s also been scientifically proven to increase appetite. However, it’s also a color that can easily be overused. Too much red creates a kind of mental shutdown and nothing will stand out. Try pairing red with cooler colors to tone it down a bit and really make it pop.
- Blue – A very calm, reliable color. Evokes of sense of trustworthiness and reliability. Companies use blue to let you know you can stand by them, and they will be there for you.
- Brown – Brown is a common color for stability. This company is well rooted and very reliable. It’s also very earthy and is a good color for representing organic-type products.
- Green – Green, like blue is a cooler color that evokes feelings of trust. It’s a very common color in the tech industry due it being reminiscent of green type on a black screen. It’s also very common in industries that want to represent a feeling of soothing calm.
- Yellow – A very cheerful and energetic color. Like red, it’s often used to draw attention and can easily be overused if you’re not careful.
- Black – Black pairs well with any color. It’s classic and elegant. A very common color in the financial industry, black evokes a sense of power and boldness.
- White – White, like black is very versatile and can be paired with any color. It’s simple, clean, and elegant. More whitespace is always a good thing.
Of course you can use many combinations of multiple colors to fit your needs and evoke desired feelings. Yellow and black may be an excellent choice for a successful construction business, but if you take that same yellow and pair it with orange and blue it takes on a lighter, more playful quality. Choose color combinations that make sense for your business. If your logo is red and orange, blasting your site with too much of these colors is overwhelming. Find colors that will compliment your brand so your logo pops and is easily visible.
8. Spell everything correctly.
People are very critical of spelling and grammatical errors. Misspellings can come across as a business that lacks a sense of detail. Have multiple people proofread your content to ensure that everything is correct and makes sense to the user.
9. Don't over-explain the content.
Writing for web is a little different than writing for print. There is such an over abundance of information online, so people usually skim through the content instead of taking time to read big blocks of text. So if you’re taking the time to read this, great! Many readers are probably just skimming the headlines, and they will do this on your site too. If your goal is get the viewer to actually contact you, don’t overload them with so much content that they don’t feel they have to.
10. Include a purposeful footer.
Many people will look for contact information or an extension of the navigation in the footer area of the website. This is also a great spot to place social icons, or even a sign up for a newsletter or blog. Make sure the footer is purposeful and contains relevant information for you site. If you have a great deal of scrolling on your website, a “Back to Top” link above the footer is very user-friendly option to include as well.
11. Make your website mobile friendly.
In today’s busy society, there’s a good chance people are going to be looking at your site on a phone or tablet. The NCI Interactive Services team always designs sites to be responsive and can be viewed consistently across any number of devices.
These are just a few helpful pointers to help you improve or create your new website. The Interactive Services team at Network Center can help guide you through this process. Don’t hesitate to give us a call today to let us help you make the most out of your company’s web experience!