When it comes to creating a ‘good’ website it can be difficult to give a definitive answer. As is often the case when it comes to web development, the truth is that it all depends on what you’re trying to achieve.
Every website has a different purpose, which has a huge influence on what you need your website to do, and who you need your website to target. However, there are still some fundamental factors that you want your website to achieve in terms of technicality, functionality, visuals and the overall user experience.
These all work holistically to create a website that will serve the user, rank well in search engines and retain traffic.
Here’s what we at Browndog believe to be the key criteria for creating a good website in 6 bitesize pieces.
1. Your website is aimed at your audience
Arguably the most important aspect of a website is that it does what it’s supposed to and provides what it needs to, to who needs it. Whether it be providing information or selling a product, the primary purpose of having a website is to deliver to your consumers effectively, efficiently and reliably.
The best way to ensure that your website is right for your audience is by conducting research into your particular market. You can look at what your competitors are providing, as well as what they’re missing, to build a website that not only answers the current queries of your audience, but preempts their future requirements.
Think carefully about the entire process from beginning to end, and cover every base that may need to be covered. Once you know what content or functionality you need to provide you can then begin to think strategically about how it will be accessed and in what order.
You can check out our guide on how to create a content strategy, or speak to us directly if you need support with finding the relevant information.
2. Your website is fast loading
This may seem like a given, but it has become even more important to make sure that your website is fast loading and easy to access. Pages should load quickly, from anywhere around the globe.
Google is constantly trying to improve user experience by ranking websites according to their functionality and trustworthiness, amongst other things. When your website loads slowly, it encourages users to exit the page, which in turn increases your bounce rate. A high bounce rate suggests to search engines that your website is offering a poor user experience, and may negatively impact your traffic generating potential.
Choosing a reliable hosting company will help your website to function as it should so that you don’t lose traffic due to technical errors or poor load times. You’ll also want to ensure you’re using code minification and image compression where possible across your site. Depending on your choice of CMS (content management system), you may also want to consider a site speed plugin. At Browndog we use WP-Rocket to help your website load as fast as possible.
3. Your website is mobile friendly
Now that everybody has the web at their fingertips or in their back pocket, the majority of online traffic comes from mobile phones. If your website is not mobile friendly you are putting yourself at an immediate disadvantage; users will have a bad experience when browsing your site and search engines will prioritise your mobile friendly competitors.
You should be building and developing your websites with a mobile-first approach, meaning they are designed from the outset with mobile users in mind. Sites that are not developed with this ethos are not optimised for how most users will access their content.
Always keep in mind how your users are accessing information and make sure that it is accessible to them. You can speak to our team if you have any concerns on how to create your websites with the user in mind to increase traffic and profitability.
4. Your website is safe, secure and resilient
Websites need to be trustworthy and secure to ensure users and their data are safe when visiting your website.
You can take many steps to enhance the security of your site. First, you can make sure your website is using HTTPS rather than HTTP to ensure all data is protected by SSL encryption. You also don’t want to leave yourself open to a cyber attack, so using an additional security service like Cloudflare can make sure your site is secure as well as reliable and fast.
It would be a shame for you to create a beautiful website that is working perfectly and pulling in loads of traffic, for it to crumble and crash. Research your hosting provider thoroughly to ensure their servers can handle large spikes and high volumes of traffic.
Ensuring your website’s security is also critical when it comes to Google rankings. If you want to be featured in search engine rankings, you need to make sure your users’ information is protected.
5. Your website is user friendly and accessible
Every website needs to prioritise users when it comes to their functionality. Experience has a huge impact on the actions of your users, it can determine whether or not they wish to stay on your website, and whether or not they buy your product or your service, or fulfil whatever it is that you need from them.
Your website should be simple to use and intuitive so that users can easily find the information they need. You have to consider the user journey from start to finish; navigation is easiest when everything can be accessed just a few clicks from your homepage. Make sure that any product filters are well thought out and logical if you’re running an eCommerce site.
You’ll want to make sure that links and pages all work correctly. Links that lead to dead pages (404 error pages) can provoke frustration which has a negative effect on users’ interaction that will ultimately impact the popularity of your website with users and search engines.
Another important thing to consider is accessibility. This means giving careful consideration to colour palettes, image alt tags, wording, clarity, etc. It is important that anybody can have access to the information that you’re providing, and no one feels discriminated against.
At Browndog we understand the importance of inclusivity and have an extensive knowledge base of user experience; so we can make sure that your theme, branding, colour scheme, content, etc., works with accessibility and user experience in mind to make sure you reach your target audience and offer them what they need.
6. Your website looks the part
We all know that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but sadly we can’t always help ourselves. Personal preference differs from one user to the next, but there are certain things that indicate to us whether or not we trust a source of information.
Websites with a nice, clean, modern design demonstrate a business’ understanding of the consumer. It shows that you are willing to dedicate time and resources to learning about your audience, and using that information to enhance their experiences. Websites that are up-to-date instil a feeling of trust within the user.
It is important to check that your content is well-written and free from grammatical errors. An easy way to increase your ranking is to check that your content is correct, in regard to both relevance and technicality.
We have a dedicated team, with a combined experience of over 100 years, who can help you with your website design and content. Speak to our team with any concerns and see how we can help you to produce a well-designed, well-written website that targets your desired audience.
So what makes a good website?
There are many things you need to consider in order to create a good website. If you think about each of these elements you will be giving your website a holistic approach, which happens to be the best approach.
These are the sort of questions you need to ask yourself when you create your website. You can use them to create a tick list so that you don’t miss any of the elements.
Content; is your content tailored to your audience? Does it offer them the relevant information? Does it answer their questions?
Technical; are you using a safe host for your website? Is your software up to date? Is your information encrypted?
Functional; is your website easy to navigate? Does it work for mobile users? Do your pages load quickly?
Visual; does your website look professional? Is your information grammatically correct? Is your brand clear?
User experience; is your website accessible? Do your links work correctly? Can you find the relevant information easily?
Using WordPress to create your website
We love using WordPress to build our clients’ websites at Browndog Agency. WordPress is an effective tool as it ensures fast, reliable websites that work for SEO. Its plugin architecture and template system called ‘Themes’ makes it easy to create well-designed websites with the user experience in mind, and the plethora of available plugins means that whatever you desire for your website, WordPress can work effectively for you.