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What makes a successful website?

Purpose

Understanding the business objectives for the website should be the first thing to consider and analyse. You may be building a website to attract new customers or provide an online experience for your existing customers, perhaps both. Whatever the purpose of your site, you must plan everything around it. For example, if you were going to start selling your clothing range online your site must clearly portray itself as a website where you can buy clothes. This can be achieved with good design and appropriate content. Also choosing a suitable domain name that will help people find your website is a wise idea. An online clothes store with the domain name “sophies.store.com” gives no indication that its purpose is selling clothes. Unless you are a well-known company already like river-island, it’s a sensible decision to use a domain name like “sophiesclothesstore.com” instead.

Design

How your site appears visually to your audience has a lot of influence on their opinion and trust in your company. A badly designed site will not induce confidence in your website and potentially lose you custom.

One of the most important parts of effective design is to not over complicate it so it appears to busy. If there is too much going on people will turn away from the site because they simply can’t be bothered to go through so much information. The design should help people effortlessly navigate around the site without feeling overwhelmed.

The design must compliment your branding too. If your brand colours are blue, white and black then your website should be designed with them colours in mind. You must consider where your logo will appear and on what colour background it will sit on etc. The headings, text, pictures, menus and everything else cannot be overlooked. Each component of the website has equal responsibility in the visual presence of the website and how it influences customer’s judgements. Therefore you can never be too particular when it comes to design.

Usability

You could have all the other ingredients for a great website but if this key element is missing you don’t have a chance of achieving your goals. People expect to be able to browse around a website with ease. Therefore if you are not providing a user friendly experience for your audience they are not likely to be friendly in return by leaving your website.

To ensure that your site is user friendly just ask yourself these questions:

  • Have you used web safe fonts?
  • Does your website work correctly in all browsers?
  • Is the navigation bar in a suitable position with clear page titles?
  • Have you formatted the content so that people can easily access information?
  • Have you uploaded images that are optimised for web?
  • Have you used words that the user will understand?
  • Have you been consistent throughout your website to avoid confusion?

SEO

If you want to be visible to search engines and be on the first page of Google then Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is vital.

There are two types of search engine optimisation practices, on-page and off page. They are essential for a website to perform well in ‘organic’ search results generated by search engines.

On-page SEO is the process of inserting your chosen keywords in the correct places on your web pages. On-page SEO involves altering page titles, headings, content, and URLs to improve search engine rankings.

Off-Page SEO is defined by everything you do to promote your website without editing the website itself. Getting more inbound links to your site, registering with directories appropriate to your industry, and getting more pages into the search engine indexes are examples of Off-Page SEO.

Content

It all comes down to your content. It is primarily what your audience are coming to your website for. Providing content that your customers want will bring them to the site. Keeping the content fresh and regularly updated will bring those customers back again. Make sure your content is unique and is not from other websites. This will not help you rank higher in search engines but more importantly you could be violating copyright laws and get yourself into trouble.

If you’d like some help designing your website please email us or call on 01992 582 824.

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