What makes a good website
In this article, I am going to talk about the "anatomy of a good website" and important points to consider when thinking of designing a website for your online business!
There are a number of critical points to consider when developing or redesigning your website. No matter what type of business or organization the site is representing, a well designed site will meet all of these points in order to bring the right targeted traffic to your site and drive sales, subscriptions, etc for your organization.
When we talk about the anatomy of a well designed website, we are referring to the following four most important considerations: website hosting, SEO friendly design, user friendly design and great content. Missing the mark on any of these will reduce the impact and success of your site.
There is a seemingly endless list of website hosts available for website developers. Some are cheap, some are not. Sometimes you get what you pay for so before signing up with the first deal that you find, it will pay off in the long run to do some research. Depending on the purpose of your site, some features to look for are: e-commerce/shopping carts, site designers/templates, and support for PHP, MySQL, Drupal, etc which can drive full-featured online community sites.
You should also look at reviews for the sites to gauge how the user experiences have been. Are the servers up consistently or do they seem to go down more often that not? Do users have high lag times or are the servers fast to respond? Does the website hosting company update their servers and software regularly? Though it may seem easy to go with the cheapest host, you want to be sure your host is reliable and will be for the future.
SEO Friendly Design
Aside from the search engine considerations of key words and phrasing to use in your site, there are several technical details that can make your site easier for a search engine to understand. A very important detail is making your site W3C Compliant. This means ensuring that you follow the standards set by the World Wide Web Consortium. These standards themselves are not a high priority for the search engines but pages that comply with W3C standards are much easier for search engines to crawl and read so the pages are read more often and in the long run can achieve better search engine rankings.
If you design your site using a template, the ideal template will be light, source-ordered, responsive and both HTML5 and CSS compliant. Templates often have optional modules that can be used to give your site extra features but a light template will collapse unused modules instead of loading them on every page. This results in faster loading and less for search engines to read on each page. Responsive templates recognize the device a user is using to view the site and adjust images, layout, fonts, etc to optimize viewing on that device. Source ordered templates are designed so that the main content or body of the site is loaded first. In this setup, search engines will read this critical information first instead of something less important for SEO like your menu text.
Finally, HTML5 and CSS3 are the future of web design languages and make development much more efficient than the prior languages. A template that uses these and can be confirmed using a W3C validator is going to help search engines read and process the contents of your site more effectively.
Another factor to consider when thinking about search engine friendly design avoiding tables or using them very carefully. In particular, understand which part of your table will be seen first by search engines so that that cell contains keywords that you want the engine to see first.
User Friendly Design
As you are designing the actual appearance of your site, look at some other well-designed sites to see what is pleasing to read. Avoid using too many different or wild fonts and colors as these are not easy for everyone to read. Users will find your site easier to use if you include intuitive navigation menus with clear wording. Elements that seem creative might slow the page down for users making them leave the site earlier than they would otherwise. Unless they are critical to the site, extras such as music, animations, etc should be kept to a minimum if included at all.
Last, but no less important, is the content of your site. The key to getting users to stay on your site longer, come back more often, and actually engage with the site is content. Specifically, great content. Users want writing to be done well, and they want the content to benefit them in some way whether that be teaching them, entertaining them, or helping them purchase something.
Make sure information on your site is current and relevant to the site purpose. Users will find your site reliable for what it does and return more often when they are satisfied with each visit.
If you want to have a well design and successful website, we recommend that you follow our below 'anatomy of a good website' important recommendations;
- Research the hosting company you are planning to use
- Check reviews about the hosting company and read most of them if you can
- If you will be using a CMS - Content Management System, check whether their servers are optimized for the one you are planning to use
- Make sure that the hosting company updates their software, such as PHP, MySQL as soon as they are released
- Ask the web hosting company about the hardware used on their servers and how many websites they host per a shared server
- Check what type of security they have implemented on their server or they include with their package
- Test their support (phone, email and chat support) to find out how long it will take get a support person when you need help
- Also, check whether they offer free CDN (Content Delivery Network)or not.
- SEO friendly design (technical)
- If using a template, make sure that it is light (not bloated), search engines friendly, has collapsible modules, responsive, source ordered, tableless, HTML and CSS W3C compliant
- If you are designing a template, try to avoid using any graphic for your background and such, but instead, use colors because doing so will reduce the amount of HTTP calls.
- User friendly design (esthetic)
- Make your design is clean, lean and minimalist by eliminating anything that you don't use or serves no purpose
- Use a good blend of colors to make the over all website pleasing to look at and easy to the eyes
- Design the menu using only CSS, if possible, and make it user friendly, simple to use with the ability to navigate your site using a single click
- If you are a web designer(developer), ask for feedback on the actually layout from a designer
- Content - Only good content is King! The content of each page should be relevant to user's query and free of keyword spamming
- Your page should have 'call to action' placed strategically on the page to help convert your visitors into buyers
- When writing content, make sure that you write for your visitors and not for the bots!
You are welcome to comment on this article and add anything else I missed for I am only human:)