A website is an important asset to an online business, so much so that it can make or break your business. If you are facing conversion problems, a drop in search ranking and high bounce rate, it’s probably a sign that your website is not doing well.
Here’s the thing, visitors like you and me are impatient and most of the times, we judge a site quickly. Because of that, your website needs to load fast to reduce the users’ waiting time. Not only that, if you want to increase the click-through rate, you need a good headline to capture the users’ attention AND your website also needs to be in good shape if you want it to rank higher on the search engine.
Still, all these are just parts of the criteria for a good website.
The real question here is, what makes a website good?
Well, if you are just planning for a website or want to revamp it, here are the two key elements you should focus on to make a good website.
How Your Website Looks Matter
Your website appearance is often the first impression your visitors get of your brand. You have less than 3 seconds to keep them on your website when they first landed. Which is why it’s important to make the best first impression possible.
But how do you make your website attractive to the right audiences? Well, let’s break it down.
Choose the right theme
You need the right theme for your website to represent what your brand is about and what you do. With the right theme, your website will increase its trust and credibility towards potential clients and visitors. It’s recommended to use popular web designs like the ones we’re using. Clear images, thin fonts, and a lot of white space. When it comes to web design, try to keep your approach simple.
If you don’t know how to design a theme, not to worry. There are plenty of places that offer awesome themes. You can look for the latest website themes from marketplaces like Elegant Themes and Envato Market.
When you are picking a theme, make sure you look for a responsive theme that looks great on both desktop and mobile. As mobile users continue to increase year after year, it’s probably a good idea to have a website that caters that mobile users as well.
In addition to that, Google started to roll out the mobile-first indexing which prioritizes those that have a mobile-friendly website. This means that the mobile version will be considered as the main version of your website. If your website looks good on both desktop and mobile versions, you may not have to do anything. Otherwise, you should consider getting a new theme.
Use images that make an impact
The images you use on your website say a lot about your business. Believe it or not, the right image can determine the overall success of your website, including an increase in sales. For example, if you want to buy flowers from an eCommerce website, which of these flowers would you prefer (source)?
The flower on the right? Odds are you’ll just click X and leave the website immediately. The middle image is better but it’s still not enough to convince most people to buy. The flower on the left, on the other hand, definitely gives you a sense of trust and confidence about the website and makes you more likely to buy from them.
Bottom line, make sure you use the right images for your website as bad images will reduce your readership.
Use Web Safe Fonts
Besides images, your website content also needs to be viewable at all time, regardless of the type of devices or browsers your users are using. Which is why you need to have the right font type for your site.
Let’s say, you have used a fancy designed font for your website. Now, you might think that everyone will see the same things as you do. Well, not really. Here’s the thing, if your visitors don’t have the specific font installed on their computer, then all they will see is just a default font variation like Time New Roman.
When situations like the one above happen, not only will it affect the original font display, but it will also affect the overall website appearance. The image alignment may look different from the original or there may be awkward spacing between paragraphs and headlines, all because the font was different.
To prevent this from happening to your website, you should consider using the font that is available on all devices – the web safe fonts.
The fonts found in both circles are the web safe fonts (source). Although you may find them to be limited in terms of design, using the web-safe font for your website will keep everything viewable across all platforms and browsers.
Along with a good appearance, your website must be also useful to your visitors. Can your website solve the users’ problems better compared to your competitors? What type of content resonates with your audience best?
Those questions and some of the thoughts below are things you should consider if you want to have a good website.
Create useful content
Don’t forget, the audience is looking for an answer when they go to your website. You must have a firm grasp on the topic to develop content that’s useful to them.
Fact is, content is still the king despite all other aspects. And, keyword research is often the first step to create a useful content.
Research your topic in details to look for potential traffic, search volume, keyword difficulty, and other important metrics before developing the content.
You can use the popular tools like Ahrefs Keyword Explorer, KWFinder and Keywordtool.io to help you with your keyword research.
Image above is the example of Ahrefs keyword explorer. More details about using Ahrefs keyword research guide here.
If you need more, here are some alternatives keyword tools you can explore.
To increase your website usefulness, it’s okay to include a call to action on your page to tell visitors what to do next. With a call to action, you can lead them to perform actions such as downloading your guide, subscribe to your newsletter, filling up a form or to buy your products.
Increase website speed
What’s the point of having good content when your website is slow? Like it or not, website speed matters a lot and nobody likes a slow website, especially your visitors.
Amazon conducted a test and the results showed that if their website slowed down by just one second, they would lose $1.6 billion every year. If you are experiencing a drop in sales, it could be due to the speed of your online store.
So, how do you check if your website is loading fast enough? TTFB is commonly used for checking a website speed.
TTFB (Time To First Byte) is the time it takes for a browser to receive the first byte of the response from your web server.
Image above is an example of the test result from WebPageTest.
The TTFB results above > 700ms indicate that the website needs improvement in speed. The high waiting time also sends a bad signal to Google, which is something you do not want. Currently, Google recommends that you keep your site response time under 200ms.
Here are a few quick fixes you can try to improve your speed if it’s lagging:
- Switch to a better web host
- Optimize the images on your website
- Use a CDN
- Implement website cache
Remember, visitors will always abandon a slow website AND your website ranking can suffer when you have a slow website. So make sure that your website is always fast.
Good Site Navigation
When a visitor lands on your site, you want them to figure out how to navigate around it quickly. A good site navigation will help users to easily find the content they are looking for, as soon as they load up your page.
Some of the popular site navigation that you can find are:
- Single-bar navigation
- Double-bar navigation
- Drop-down menu
- Flyout menu
- Sidebar navigation
- Breadcrumb navigation
Can you imagine Amazon without the flyout menu item?
Generally, you should design your site architecture to look like this:
There is a theory that visitors will become frustrated and leave the site if they can’t find the information they want within three clicks. Although the three-click-rule is an unofficial web design rule for providing the best user experience, it’s definitely a good rule to follow.
There’s no one-size-fits-all navigation structure. But, it’s just the basic common sense that you shouldn’t keep the most important pages for away or hidden from your homepage.
As the site navigation also contains links to other pages with your site; having a good site navigation will help web crawlers like Googlebot to discover and index the content faster.
By keeping your website in good shape, you ensure your visitors view your business as trustworthy and professional. And most importantly, be a website that’s worth their time.
Plus, a good website will rank higher on Google search results, so it doesn’t hurt to keep it in tiptop condition!