The elements of a good website vary, and there isn’t one size fits all answer to this. In this article, we will answer the question of what makes a good website by listing 7 essential elements of good website design and usability that every website design agency and website owner should consider when building or improving their websites.
What Makes a Good Website? 7 Essential Elements of a Good Website
1. Website has a clear goal.
2. Website is technically optimized and error free.
3. Website is safe, secure and trustworthy.
4. Website design is optimized, structured and organized.
5. Website has a well written user-centered content.
6. Website is mobile-friendly.
7. Website is optimized for search engines.
Now, let’s have a closer look at each point.
1. Website Has a Clear Goal
Before building or re-designing your website, you should have a clear idea on what you want to achieve with your new website, who is your audience and what is your target market. It’s difficult to build an optimized website without having a specific goal in mind. You can ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you know your business well?
- What do you want to achieve with your new website?
- Do you know your audience?
- What is your target market?
- Do you want to generate leads?
- Do you want to drive revenue?
- Why should people do business with you?
- Does your service offer a solution to a specific problem?
- Does your service make your customers’ life better?
When you have specific answers to these questions, it’s easier for you to structure the website and map out the user journey from A-Z. Your website should have clear and simple intentions on all pages; hence your services, products and content should be placed in strategic spots to encourage your website visitors to interact with what you offer and take action.
2. Website is Technically Optimized and Error Free
A good website should load fast, perform well, and is easy to use and navigate. Not only your content, your website design, code, images, user experience and navigation should be optimized to target customer needs and make it easy for them to interact with your products and services.
How fast is your website and how long does it take to load?
Typical users expects your website pages to load in 3-6 seconds or less. Having a slow load time will affect user experience and search engines ranking and will for sure increase your website bounce rate (The percentage of visitors who enter the site and then leave rather than viewing other pages)
Does your website support different browsers?
Browser compatibility is important, especially with the number of different browsers people use these days. Reputable companies suffer from this due to neglect, which is bad for branding and website usability. Website owners and developers should ensure that the website behave consistently across all major browsers (Firefox, Safari, Edge, Chrome, and Internet Explorer)
How easy is it to navigate your website?
Good website navigation is one of the most important aspects of website usability and performance. Website navigation is the structure between internal links within your website that connect your pages. The primary goal of website navigation is to help users easily find information, products or services on your website, which leads to higher conversion rate.
Search engines use these internal linking to crawl and index new pages in your website. Good website navigation is great for SEO performance and helps search engines understand the content and context of your pages and the relationships between these pages, which means greater search visibility.
There is more to website navigation than menu. Consider optimizing the following aspects of navigation and usability in your website:
- Website internal linking
- Good and quick search feature.
- Custom 404 redirect page.
- Informative and simple header and footer.
- Use multiple ways to explore website content.
In short, for better user experience and search visibility, plan and optimize your website navigation.
How does your website handle errors?
For better user experience, when there is an error, your website should display the right error messages. Good error handling and the right description and instruction on screen is very important for website usability and makes easier for users to take actions.
Is your website code and functionalities optimized?
You need to keep in mind that optimizing your website code and functionalities is important factor that affects your website pages load time and navigation speed. When you follow and adhere to the relevant responsive web design and development best practices and code standards, your website should load faster and look consistent across web browsers and devices.
3. Website is Safe, Secure and Trustworthy.
Websites all over the world are target for hackers’ attacks. You will be shocked by the number of daily attempts and the tools they use to get to your website. To minimize the risk and to prevent such attacks, website owners, developers and designers must follow and implement the best security practices and guidelines. A hacked website isn’t getting you anywhere. It’s easier and less expensive to prevent hacking than fixing a hacked site.
Moreover, both search engines and users will look for signals to make sure that your website is trusted and secure. Search engines like Google will display the results that have proven to be good and secure first. If they have doubts about your website security and content, they will not show your content in search results. That’s why you need to work on website trustworthiness, both technical and content.
Important security and maintenance practices:
Here are some of the security and maintenance practices to ensure your website less vulnerable to hacking and cyber-attacks:
- Use strong passwords.
- Install SSL Certificate.
- Install web application firewall to monitor your website.
- Use secure and trusted hosting.
- Backup your website.
- Update Themes and Plugins regularly (WordPress CMS).
Maintain your website and keep it secure to prevent hacking and to ensure that your visitors have the best possible user experience. You need to have your website security in order and make sure you have SSL certificate installed (It shows the green lock icon that both user and search engines trust).
4. Website Design is Optimized, Structured and Organized
The way you organize and present your content and website elements is one of the important aspects of good website design and usability. Design your website and present your content and information in a way that makes it easy for users to find what they want and take action. When designing your website and user journey, think from the perspective and point of view of your website visitors and potential target audience.
The average internet user scroll and scan the content instead of reading each and every word. They tend to scan through the key parts of your pages quickly to see if the content is relevant to their needs. Your content should be written and placed in such a way that makes it easier for the reader to scan.
Essential web design and usability elements:
Consider the below 7 essential elements of good website design and usability:
- Strong visual style and branding.
- Consistent and integrated use of branding elements.
- Well organized content.
- Simplified navigation and menu.
- Strong visual structure and easy to use forms.
- Effective use of typography and images.
- Clear and consistent use of call to action elements.
Your business or brand needs an outstanding website design to distinguish itself from the competitors and stand out in this crowded online market.
Your responsive website should also have a room for expansion and improvement when needed, and it should be able to accommodate additional features and functionalities as technology evolves. This will save you time and money in the long term!
In web design, user experience is crucial for your website success! Basically most of what we covered in this article so far is all about providing seamless user experience. Both design and technical side of your website should be well structured and organized for the best user experience and website usability.
5. Website Has a Well Written User-Centered Content
Your content and graphic elements have to be right, and they should be aligned with your existing and potential future audience or customers’ needs. Have you defined your potentials users’ or clients’ needs? Your website content will depend on your target audience and what kind of answers, services and products they’re looking for.
When writing web content, keep the following questions in mind:
- Do your clients search online for solutions to their problems?
- How should your potential clients find you online?
- How does your services help your potential clients?
- What search terms clients might use to find you online?
Well written and clear content helps website users understand your content, services and products and will encourage them to take action. Your content should be user-centered not company-centered while keeping your business goals firmly in sight.
To increase website traffic, you have to keep customers’ search intent (needs) in mind while writing your content to cover all the different ways people can find you to provide them with the answers they are looking for. This will increase your chances of conversion! Think about your website as a go-to for your prospects to find solutions to their problems, and the right information regarding your products and services. Your website should showcase your expertise and show authority and develop trust with your audience.
6. Website is Mobile-Friendly.
In today’s day and age, mobile devices are the primary tool of customers worldwide. Responsive web design is not only about adjustable screen resolutions and automatically resizable images, but rather about a whole new design experience. It has become a necessity to have a mobile optimized and responsive website to reach a wider range of audience anytime while they use their mobile of any screen size.
Search engines take website mobile friendliness in consideration when ranking your website content as well.
Responsive web design is the use of CSS and HTML to resize, hide, shrink, enlarge, or move the content in your website to make it look good and functional on any device and screen size.
7. Website is Optimized for Search Engines (SEO)
You’re done and you’ve designed and developed an outstanding website! What’s next? How should search engines get to your website pages and show it in search results?
The key to drive organic traffic and get a higher ranking in search engine results is your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. For years, search engines work by reading website pages content to be able to match the search query (search terms) with the indexed pages to provide the best results to that search query. But this reading and indexing process wasn’t easy for search engines, and they needed some guidance from websites to understand the meaning and elements of each page.
Your SEO strategy will help search engines index and crawl websites to show the most relevant pages in search results. The main factors of SEO ranking is the way you write your content, the keywords you use and the structure of your website (Navigation and internal linking).
What to consider when writing SEO content?
- Write for people not search engines.
- Choose interesting and appealing topics.
- Brainstorm and research keywords.
- Check and analyze your competition.
- Choose clear and unique titles
- Write accurate description and page headers.
- Structure and organize your website content for usability
- Create a site map and submit it to search engines.
SEO is important and encouraged by search engines. It will improve your rank, which means attracting more visitors and driving more organic traffic.
Now, what makes a good website
In short, set your website goal, make sure it’s secure, well-designed, mobile friendly, and optimized for search engines, and provide a well written user-centered content and seamless user experience
Now, we’ve covered the 7 essential elements of a good website design and usability. You need to know that your website is your greatest asset online! Lay the right foundations and implement the best practices in terms of content, design, development and security, and you will be able to improve your website as your business grows.