While the internet has existed for a long time, most people have never purchased a website and do not know what to look for.
To find the right developer, you have to browse portfolios and agency websites based solely on visual styles and price. It isn’t enough to consider those things when making an important decision for your business.
In this article, we’ll go over the factors that make a website successful as well as what you need to look for when hiring a developer.
Understanding The Purpose of Your Website
The ideal scenario is that your website provides value to your visitors and supports your business’s future goals. But, the question is, who are the visitors to your website and what are your business goals moving forward?
You may have an e-commerce goal to sell directly to your customers. How about a brochure site showcasing your product and services? A website can have so many different purposes that make a business successful.
It is precisely for this reason that so many “template” websites fail. It’s simple. A template provides a full website that you customize how you think best fits your business. You customize in the order the template was built, most likely in an order that really isn’t best for your business goals. This is a recipe for failure.
If you want success and not failure, you need to ask yourself this. Who do you think your website is for? What are the goals you are trying to achieve?
Answering those two questions with realistic answers will help put you on the right path on how the website should look and function. The ultimate goal here is profit. Build the site so you can make money.
Who is your website for?
This is extremely important. If you don’t know who your website is for, you run the risk of failure. Let’s look at all these DIY services like Wix, Squarespace, Webflow etc. You use boilerplate templates, and build a site to fit your very own taste blah blah… Here is the problem, the site should be built for your visitors, not you. It needs to tailor to them, to get them to do business with you.
The most important thing here is that your website should be built to serve your visitors’ and prospects’ needs. Do this, and your website will be successful.
How do you identify who your visitors are? Think about the following questions;
- Who are your current customers?
- What makes them visit you online?
- What do you think they want to accomplish when visiting your website?
- What is important to them?
What goals do you have?
This is another important factor. In business, it’s all about that ROI, return on investment. You are building a website to help you make money. So, what do visitors on your website need to do in order to make you money?
Here are some examples of goals;
- Lead generation: Collecting contact information from visitors
- Sales: Selling directly to visitors from the website
- Brochure: Showcasing your product/services on an informational site.
Think of it this way. A “Good” website should always provide the visitors exactly what they came for, all while accomplishing the business objectives the website was built for.
Consistency is key
When it comes to design, especially website design, trends are king. But like any trend, they come and go. The key here is to make sure the website is consistent.
Consistency is professional. Like your brand, a website should have several key elements to make sure things flow well together.
Why should you be consistent? Well, if you have business cards, billboard ads, online ads, storefronts, etc and they all look different, you are going to confuse the hell out of your customers and prospects. They won’t know what to think. They will most likely have a difficult time remembering you and your business.
Look at the professional brands in the world. You can probably name a ton of businesses just by looking at their logo. I mean let’s face it, you can look at the Toyota logo and know it’s Toyota. Or hell, even the Golden arches and know it’s McDonald’s.
So the lesson here? A consistent website is important. Keep spacing the same, fonts, and color schemes based on your brand, image style, etc. If this stuff gets messed up, it will kill your site pretty fast. Remember, even a simple design can be hugely successful and bring a company a ton of profit if it is consistent with its design.
Website Ease of Use
Websites should be easy for visitors to use. If it’s complicated or confusing, trust me, your visitors will bounce and go somewhere else. Remember the old saying “Less is more” – Yea, that plays a massive role in website design.
Your visitors will come to your website, look for what they need, and take the next step, as fast as possible. Although you and your developer may have gone through the website space by space, pixel by pixel, your visitors surely will not. They want the info and how to move to the next step as fast as they can.
Websites, whether some, believe it or not, have a standard that should be followed. For instance, a brand logo is in the top left corner of the website. This is a standard most people know. They know that logo being clicked brings them to the homepage. It’s just something that has always been in practice. If things like this are changed, your visitors will likely not hang around and bounce. Don’t fix it if it isn’t broken.
Einstein was smart. One of his quotes fits website design perfectly “Everything should be made as simple as possible but not simpler”.
So to sum it up, the easier it is to use your website, the increased probability of you making more money. I mean it really is as simple as that.
This is my favorite part of the web business, website performance, and optimization. Do you love waiting years for a website to load? What about visiting a website on your mobile device and then the page opens all messed up or full of ads? Let’s face it, the web is full of shit websites. I really dislike slow websites, just like everyone else out there.
Do you know who else dislikes slow websites? Google. Did you know back in June of 2021, Google made website performance a ranking factor? Yep, you got a slow website, you run the risk of getting knocked down the search engine ladder.
You have to weigh the impatience of web surfers, especially those who visit your website. If you have a website that takes forever to load, let’s say around 4 seconds. Guess what, most people won’t wait around, about 90% most likely. That lonely 10% have more patience than most.
So as you may or may not know, the two biggest ranking factors for your website’s success are search engine optimization and the performance of your website.
Now that you know some basic stats, can you believe most websites on the internet still don’t load within a 2 – 3 second timeframe? Do you know why this is? It’s mostly due to DIY tools and services. Yes, they make building boilerplate websites easy, but your site will suffer in performance and originality.
Here, you can try something and see how a site performs. The link provided here will show you the performance of our website, CastleWeb.design. The resulting performance test will give grades between 0-100. These scores are color-coded red (Bad), orange (Eh, Average), and green (Smokin Hot, Really Good). Obviously, you want to be smoking hot in the green.
Most websites on the internet won’t pass this test with a green score. Don’t let yours be one of those that fail.
Look, having a sexy fast website is ideal nowadays, especially when its performance has drastic effects on the value of your website. There are a lot of factors that go into optimizing a website for performance. A simple plugin here and there just doesn’t cut it. Things like hosting, scripting language, and more all affect performance. The best results come from developers who understand the intricate details and needs for website performance optimization.
This is something a lot of business and website owners don’t know too much about. It’s often an overlooked topic because they just really haven’t dealt with it before. Whether you know it or not, websites have to comply with certain laws around the world. Failure to comply will result in hefty fines and lawsuits.
Here is something you may not have known. An EU court has found Google Analytics in violation of the GDPR, which can result in up to $20mil in fines. This is massive as Google Analytics is found on about 80% of all websites today.
Website content, written for humans and optimized for bots
Content is the meat and potatoes of your website. It’s everything visitors need. Things like text, images, videos, graphs, documents, price guides etc. Website content is THE MOST important part of the site. Bad content gets you bad search rankings.
The goal of the content is to draw in your visitors and convert them into customers. It’s really that simple. Turn a visitor into a customer and you get paid.
A lot of businesses tend to write their own copy. This is necessarily not bad, but it does have problems. A majority of the time, the copy is not optimized for bots in order to rank your website well on the search engines. Most of the time, businesses write their own copy for budgetary reasons. However, writing copy that reads well for humans and is optimized for bots is truly an art form that just can’t be replicated by experienced copywriters.
Strategic planning is required when writing copy for your website. Writing copy based on keyphrases and keywords is a big challenge. Mixing that writing with a properly structured design can make all the difference in your website showing up in search engines. But all in all, the copy should always be easy for humans to read and understand, yet still attract the bots to rank you well on the search engines.
Works with all devices
In the early days of the internet, websites could be a single standard size. Not anymore, there are lots of screen sizes to please. Now, more than ever, mobile devices top the charts in how people view websites. Mobile devices have taken over as the primary way people surf the internet.
Responsive design is the answer. No matter the screen size, your website will conform automatically to give the visitor the best viewing experience possible.
Luckily, even DIY services provide responsive designs as a standard. But, even a standard responsive design will not show correctly automatically. A lot of the time, manual tweaking needs to be done to the mobile version of your website in order for it to flow and look correct.
All in all, a well-built website will not only look great on all devices but also perform well also. All while providing a great visitor experience.
Security and Maintenance
Here is the reality, once you put up a website, it’s open season for hackers and other malware attacks. Without knowing how to properly secure your website, that sucker won’t last long at all. It’s a constant battle to keep a website secure and safe. The servers get bombarded with fake, malicious bots trying to gain access to the admin panels, inject malicious SQL code etc, it never stops.
What do these hackers want? Well, for e-commerce, they will want to try and steal credit cards, and personal user data. For smaller websites, they want to steal your traffic. For example, a hacked website can place redirects from your website to theirs. When this happens, your visitors are now open to malware attacks. As you can see this is bad and a huge liability for you. They want to infect as many websites as possible.
When a website is infected, it is very difficult and expensive to clean it. So having proper security is an absolute MUST. What can you do to help mitigate these problems? Well, there are things like security software, daily backups, firewalls, DNS mitigation tactics, software updates and so much more. A website that has a proper security plan in place can prevent most attacks.
In website design, you are never finished. When a website is launched, it is simply the beginning of its life. Now, it is time to constantly make improvements to the website over time. Things like new content, pages, and features are just some of the many things that can be improved. And to top it all off, websites can measure traffic and other analytics in order to make strategic decisions on how to move forward.
Having new content on your website is not only good for your visitors, but for Google and other search engines as well. If you have old content, Google sees this and could penalize the website. So continued improvement of the website should be a priority for any business looking to bring in fresh new customers.
Easy to update is essential
There are a lot of ways to make a website nowadays. Some easy, some a pain in the ass. WordPress is a popular choice as it is a powerful platform. It is the very platform we use here at Castle Web. When a client needs us to make an update to their website, we jump in, make the update and it’s done.
Don’t get me wrong, while WordPress is easy to use for some, it can be daunting for those without a lot of experience. It takes a lot of work to make sure things continue to run smoothly on a custom-built website.
I hope this article helps you understand what makes a good website. As you can see, looking at a website from only the front end doesn’t really show you how well a website was constructed and maintained. The backend is where all the magic happens with important things like security, performance, metadata, coding etc. All these things are just some of the factors that make a website successful.
All websites are different from one another, each has its own platforms and goals. A “good” website for any business is one that is fast loading and provides engaging information in a beautiful, consistent, and structured way. All while guiding your visitors to your goals, turning them into customers.
If you are interested in creating a website with all of these great things, then please contact me today, and let’s discuss the project. We have a project inquiry form that can be filled out and sent to us. Once received, we will make contact with you and chat about your new project.