Websites, arguably, are one of the most essential marketing methods for businesses these days.

It’s more critical than ever before to have a website that conveys professionalism and engages your target audience.

Your organization’s website should give your visitors what they need quickly and with minimal effort on their part.

We are asked often what makes up a good website. While specific elements can vary from industry to industry, several things ring true across all sectors regarding what an effective website should have to make it stand out from its competitors.

Well thought out structure and organization.

One of the most significant problems with many websites is that the business owner, or their marketing team, didn’t plan out the structure of the website in advance.

Good websites should be organized and consistent, and make it easy for site visitors to find what they are looking for quickly.

Many times this simple mistake shows up in “home built” websites where the company has used SquareSpace or WIX to build their own site to try to save money.

One of the advantages of working with a professional website designer is they have experience, knowledge, and know how, when it comes to structuring a website. Often, someone who is not working directly in the industry of website development full time may not have these sort of skills.

Easy to use and simple navigation.

Navigation that doesn’t make sense is another area where do-it-yourself website designers can fall flat.

The best websites offer user-friendly navigation, that isn’t layered too deeply, to help the audience find what they are looking for quickly and easily.

The last thing a website owner wants to do is frustrate visitors who can’t find what they are looking for on their site.

Original and fresh content that visitors want to read.

The best websites offer content that isn’t recycled or ripped off from other sites, and they make sure that the content they do put out caters to their target audience. This is one reason why it’s essential to determine exactly who your audience is before you build your website.

Your website shouldn’t be stagnant. It should always be changing and growing. You should continuously be adding new content, whether by publishing new pages, writing articles of interest to your audience, or blogging. Doing this helps to keep your visitors coming back to your website for more.

It’s more critical than ever before to have a website that conveys professionalism and engages your target audience.

Fast loading web pages.

The last thing a website visitor wants to do is wait for a page to load. Make sure your images and graphics are sized correctly and optimized, and your video and audio are hosted with fast third-party solutions, if possible.

Customers who have to wait for slow pages to load generally won’t stick around. Don’t give them a reason to leave your site. Speed those pages up!

Easy to read and skim-able pages.

Keep in mind that most website users don’t actually read pages they land on, they skim them. That means hierarchy and contrast are essential when you put your site’s text up.

Having defined headers, subheaders, bullets, lists, and other items on the page to help break up long paragraphs of text will engage more readers. They will be able to quickly skim the page and identify important sections to them, instead of getting fatigued trying to find things on a cluttered and text-heavy page.

Your pages should be optimized for search engines.

Remember, a website that has no visitors is an invisible website. SEO, or search engine optimization, will help bring an audience to your site.

Attracting new and relevant users plays an important role in the growth of your website. And, keep in mind, it’s not just about establishing any old audience, it is about bringing potential customers and clients that will appreciate and pay for your services or goods.

Clean and uncluttered back-end coding.

Bad, outdated, or unvalidated code can hurt your site’s visibility in search engines. Depreciated coding can cause browser-rendering issues that will slow down your website. Slower sites don’t do as well in search engine placement as faster loading sites.

It’s important that your site follow the current standards for coding to ensure that it will have a higher chance of displaying correctly across all browsers and devices, and won’t suffer from slow page load speeds.

Google Analytics or tracking installed.

It’s important to have metrics and site analysis so you know what is going on with your website.

Time and time again we run into clients who used other website developers that never bothered to install the proper Google Analytics tracking codes on their website. Or, even worse, installed it and then wouldn’t give the client access to the results or to an Analytics account.

The best sites measure their traffic, where their visitors are coming from, what type of devices are being used to view their site, and more, in order to get a full understanding of how people use their website. This type of information is important for future marketing planning and to measure your site conversions.

Outstanding design work.

The best websites are designed with the company’s brand in mind.  Beautiful, robust, and contemporary design, that matches your other marketing materials and brand, makes your site memorable and helps you to stand out from the crowd.

Generally the best choice for making sure you have a perfectly on-brand website is a professional website designer. Keep in mind, while there are many website developers out there, many of them have no background in graphic design and branding.

Just because someone says they can build a website, it doesn’t mean they are a graphic designer and can handle building the front-end of a site well. When you hire a developer or designer for your website, be sure to look at their portfolio to understand they quality of work they do.

If you are looking for a website designer that can also develop the back-end equally well, feel free to contact us for more information on how we can help your business get a fresh new website.

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Nora Kramer
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Nora Kramer

Designer + Brand Strategist at Nora Kramer Designs
Nora Kramer is a graphic designer, website developer, and online marketing consultant, based in the Tampa Bay, Florida area, with over two decades of experience in graphic design, website development and company branding. She also has a passion for photography and writing. Nora received the Charlie Award (1st Place) in 2002 for "Best Magazine Feature Article of the Year" from the Florida Magazine Association for a cover feature article she wrote for "Create," a graphic design magazine. You can follow all of her social media channels at about.me/norakramer.
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