Many elements are deemed important to make a good website but these elements are more often than not difficult to quantify. For instance, there is always a lot of talk about quality in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). For years, Google has given focus on quality of your website and it’s content. After every change or update to Google’s algorithms and your website ends up losing ranking, the answer may be it is not your fault because other websites may fit the specific query better.
Work on improving the quality of the overall website content should never end.
User intent and the behaviour of potential customers should looked at frequently. Redo your keyword research periodically and check what is happening in your market. By re-evaluating your SEO, you will have a better grip on the changing market and find new opportunities.
User intent is satisfied and the website has a clear goal
Why should anyone come to your website and do business with you? Do you know your audience? Do you know your own business and what it can offer? An awesome product does not cut the mustard anymore. ‘Build it and they will come’ is not how it works any longer. You website needs a clear mission and goal.
To succeed, you need to know your audience. You have uncover everything about them. What they say they want, may not be necessarily what they need. Does your product or service merely offer a solution or does it really make your customer’s life better.
Your website has to tell the story correctly aligning to peoples wants and needs. This means you should pick out the user intent for your website. Find out all the numerous ways of how people end up on your website pages and tailor these to answer their questions. Map out your customers user journey and place your content in strategic spots.
A website that is easily crawlable and indicates to search engines what can and what cannot be indexed is a good start. Also, a good website does not have a huge amount of errors and loads quickly for anywhere in the world. Ensure you do everything you can to get your website pages loading as quickly as you can.
Technical SEO is very important but you can get ahead of the curve by getting the basics right from the start. Think about what Content Management System (CMS) you are going to use and how you are going to run it. WordPress is a solid and flexible platform and has a huge community following (but other CMS’s are available). Also, WordPress is pretty SEO-friendly so you can get the SEO up and running in no time. Be sure to pick the correct technical assistance either via an digital agency or a web host.
Your website is secure, safe and trustworthy
Both user and search engines look for signals that indicate trust. Why should your website content be trusted? Regular downtime may be down to sloppy maintenance or incompetent hosting. Missing the green padlock then your website security cannot be taken seriously.
Search engines want to give their users the best possible results. If a search engine doubts the claims you make or if you use dubious ‘experts’ to validate your content, search engine will elect not to show that content. Instead, a result that has been proven to be trustworthy will be shown. Work on your website’s trustworthiness, both technical and within your content should be undertaken regularly.
Your website should be safe too so you need to have your website’s security in good order. A website that is regularly hacked will not get you going anywhere. More often that not, prevention is better than the cure. Ensure both the CMS and any plugins are up to date, the SSL is installed and valid, use strong passwords and use services such as Cloudflare to mitigate against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.
Your website has a great user experience and good design
To be honest, the design of any website is subjective. What is deemed a good design to one person will differ to the next person. However, the design of the website needs to help fulfils the goals of the website. Your message should come across clearly. Additionally, the design should be on brand and well thought out. More importantly, the website should be clear and easy to use by everybody. Accessibility should not be an afterthought.
User experience (UX) should also be considered. It is not how something looks but how something feels. It is about giving user an enjoyable experience, something they would likely remember. UX is not about letting your users wait for a page to load, getting them frustrated because they cannot read the text on your website due to the colour scheme used or because they cannot press the buttons on the mobile website. Turn any possible frustration into happiness.
Happy users just might have a stronger buying intent so ensure your call to actions (CTAs) are implemented well.
Don’t be company-centred, but user-centred. Good content helps your user fulfil their goals and you will want to offer this content up at the right moment. You will need to know your users inside out to accomplish this. Understand them, understand their behaviour and focus your content on that. The content you offer should be clear and easy to understand. Try and be unique so do the research.
Your website is optimised for mobile
Mobile traffic is growing and growing. If your website is not mobile friendly, it really should be by now so make that your first port of call. If your website has been mobile friendly for awhile then look to build the next website from a mobile-first perspective.
Mobile-first is not a new concept but most new websites are still being developed from a desktop-first standpoint. After designing the desktop layout, the content is then crammed into smaller screen widths losing its authenticity and freshness along the way. Going for a mobile-first strategy helps you focus on what task your users should be able to perform on a mobile device. It helps clean up the clutter and minimises but focuses the design. Less is more.
Your website talks directly to search engines
Search engines try and read the page content on the website to determine what that page is about. They use that content to match a search query with indexed page that best answers that query. However, truly understanding what something on a page means is hard, more so for machines. So, search engines need a little guidance to discover the true meaning of elements on a page. This is where ‘structured data in Schema format’ comes in.
Schema is like a translator for a search engine. It describes the elements on a page so search engines can say with a degree of certainly that a review is a review or a map is a map. This means marking up these elements can return rich results in the search engine results pages. This can include carousels, star ratings, dropdowns and much more. Structured data is an area where many search engines spend a lot of resource so getting on board with structured data will certainly help your website’s rankings.
There is a lot that goes into building a good website. Simply buying a domain, getting a host, installing WordPress and then picking a theme that looks decent is not going to cut it anymore. In fact, leave it as is and you are setting yourself up for failure. You need to plan, you need a strategy which is the most important element of a website.
If your business or organisation wants help in creating a website strategy, mapping your user journeys or refreshing your website both technically and with it’s design, we would love to hear from you.