There are good websites, and then there are great websites. There are sites that get the job done, and then there are sites that make you pause for a moment and whisper, simply, “cool.” As the digital ambassador of your business, it’s best if your website falls into the latter category. But what is it, exactly, that separates a great website from a merely good one? Here are 8 ingredients that make the difference.
1. Eye-catching first impression
An average visitor will spend less than 10 seconds on any given website. That’s 10 seconds you’ve got to make an impression on a potential customer, and get him or her to engage. Your website should be designed with this in mind. It should offer a clean, vibrant snapshot of who you are as a company and the unique value proposition you provide as a brand.
2. Clean, uncomplicated design
Design and layout shape user experience. Uncomplicated design and efficient layout are much easier for our brains to process, making for a comfortable user experience. And the more comfortable a user is, the more likely he or she is to engage with your site. The best designers know how to use empty space to their advantage, and don’t rely on unnecessary bells and whistles.
3. Clear and intuitive information architecture
When a user comes to your website, he or she is looking to solve a problem. The route to their solution should be obvious. Intuitive information architecture arranges pages in a logical hierarchy—a sensible road map from one end of the site to the other. Each page within the hierarchy is designed with user experience as its top priority. The easier a site is for users to navigate, the more likely they are to find what they’re looking for.
4. Unique and compelling content
Crisp design and an intuitive framework are only half the battle, of course. Even the most aesthetically stunning site is nothing without strong content in the form of first-rate copywriting. One of the best ways to differentiate yourself from the competition is with a unique and compelling brand voice. The information presented on your website should be relevant, useful, and engaging. Good copy is fun to read, tells a story, and reveals a distinctive brand personality.
5. Robust and reliable backend
Behind the scenes is where the functionality of your website is put to the test. Whether your site is a fully functioning e-commerce platform or a one-page description of services, it should be developed to load quickly without bugs or quirks. Customers should feel assured that any sensitive information they provide is protected by top-notch security measures. And it’s critical that you have a support team at the ready in the event that any significant backend problems emerge.
6. SEO and digital marketing strategy
This is something we hit on a lot around here, but it really can’t be said enough. It doesn’t matter how beautiful or inspiring your website is if nobody can find it. These days digital marketing isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. Without search engine optimization, your site might as well live locally on your developer’s desktop. When seeking out an agency to bring your business to life online, make sure they offer comprehensive SEO and other digital marketing solutions.
7. Mobile responsiveness
It’s official. In 2015, the majority of digital media consumption now takes place on mobile devices. That means that more than half of your customers are accessing your website on their phones, tablets or other devices. Mobile responsiveness is essential to your site’s success. It’s not enough for your site to look the same on a smaller screens. It has to perform the same as well. Customers expect a seamless online experience, regardless of which device they’re using.
8. A reliable team who knows your company
At the end of the day, a website is only as good as the people behind it. Having a dedicated web design team on hand to manage site maintenance and ensure round-the-clock optimization is indispensable. What’s more, working with an agency who knows your company inside and out, and who can provide everything from logo design to social media management will ensure a cohesive brand experience for your customer base, online and off.