There are already over 2 billion websites on the internet and the numbers are rising by the day. With so many websites it can be difficult, if not impossible, for your website to stand out.
There are a number of challenges to being discovered. Firstly, you need to ensure that your website is seen through a faultless SEO strategy. Then, once someone has found your website, you need to make sure that they stay, and are then encouraged to take action.
So, what makes a good website?
Four principles of good website design
There are countless ways that a website can fail, but by bearing in mind a number of key principles you can improve the chances of your website being successful. Broadly speaking, there are four key principles when it comes to good website design that it’s important to bear in mind when approaching your website design project.
Define the purpose of your website
The first principle to incorporate into your website design process is to consider the purpose of your website. What do you want to accomplish with the website overall and with the particular contents of each page? If a page doesn’t have a clear purpose then it perhaps doesn’t need to be included.
The clearer you are about what you want your website to achieve the more likely your website is to be focused and fit-for-purpose. Ask what you want from your website overall. Is it to sell products directly, to be a source of information or perhaps to serve as a shop window? Then, once you have a clear sense of what the website is for, you can think about the specific role of each page.
It’s a good idea to get some input from different people at this stage. If you’re working with a website design service then they will help you clarify your thoughts. Your purpose needs to be clearer than merely ‘selling our products’. Try to be as specific as possible.
Strong visual impact
Secondly, you need to think about the visual appearance of your website. Aesthetically pleasing visual design is all-important. Your website needs to look good, engage with the user and draw them in. It should broadly reflect industry trends and best practice. What are some of the websites in your industry that you like and can you identify what it is that you like about them? How do you think they’re perceived by the customers?
Good design is important, but make sure you keep your overall purpose in mind. Don’t incorporate stylish visuals and the latest design innovations merely for the sake of it. Your design is there to serve your purpose, not the other way round.
Design trends evolve all the time so staying up to date is important. Take a look at one of the surviving websites from the late nineties and compare it to a contemporary design from a leading brand. If a website doesn’t look current it can sow doubts in a customer’s mind about whether or not your business is up to the task.
Make sure your content is relevant
Content really is crucial when it comes to the overall success of your website. Your purpose will help inform what you include in your content, and your design will support it, but the content itself will be what drives customers to your website.
Your content needs to be original, engaging and in support of your overall purpose. It should reflect your brand values and lead them towards taking the action you want them to take.
Content should include all the information that a customer is looking for. It also provides a great opportunity to incorporate internal links that connect with products and services on your website.
Content should also reflect your keyword strategy including the keywords you wish to be found for in a natural, informative way. It should also incorporate meaningful calls to action.
Content isn’t something you take care of once and then forget. You have to regularly update it, making sure you answer the questions that your customers are asking.
Regularly updating your content is one of easiest ways to ensure your website features highly in search engine results.
How often should you keep on top of your website?
As well as an ongoing content strategy you should regularly keep track of how your website is performing. Is it attracting the number of visitors that you expected and are those visitors becoming customers?
You should also regularly audit your website, for speed, loading issues, broken links and any other technical glitches. Ideally, this should be carried out several times a year.
What is the lifespan of a website?
Many businesses leave their websites allowing them to become redundant. Neglected websites will gradually slip down the Google search results into obscurity. Websites that aren’t regularly updated with regard to content, functionality and visual impact can look out of date within three years.
Your website is your shop window but a website that isn’t monitored and updated will gradually feel that the blinds are being closed.
When should you consider creating a new website?
If your website looks and feels outdated, is difficult to navigate, and is slow, unresponsive and glitch-ridden, then it’s probably time to think about creating a new one. Sometimes, a brand new website is a smarter option than updating an old one, particularly if your website isn’t attracting anywhere near enough visitors.
Creating a new website gives you the opportunity to rethink what the purpose is of your website and how it fits into your overall brand strategy.
If you’re considering creating a new website for your business then Dawn Creative can help you get it right the first time.