It may seem like setting up a website is a paint-by-numbers situation, however, unlike art, a website can have make-or-break elements to it. There is definitely a line between the good, the bad, and the ugly, which can potentially bury your site into the big-bad internet abyss.
All of us naturally have an opinion of the websites we visit. Some we love and spend endless hours on and some we bounce off of immediately. No one can completely agree on what determines our feelings when it comes to the factors of a good website, but we can all agree on what can absolutely turn something good to bad.
Here is a look at 7 things that can influence your website for better or for worse:
Why does your website exist? You may know it’s purpose, but your visitors may need more clarity on why they should care. E-commerce sites need to clarify what is available for purchase through their site, blogs need to clearly communicate what type of content they are offering, and service providers need to be sure that their visitors know the details of the service provided.
The mistake of setting up a website in a rush happens all too often, and the true purpose is overlooked. Lacking direction will lead you down a path of scattered choices, and the impact you create with your site will be far from awesome when you feel rushed.
Think of your purpose like a mission statement, this is what sets the tone for your business and gives context to decision making.
An accessible website is one that does not force your visitors to use one specific browser or one specific monitor. You want your visitors to be able to access your site from all browsers and all devices.
Your domain name also plays a major role in the accessibility of your website. Stick to something that is simple and as close to your business name as possible. Steer clear of numbers or signs. If your business is all about “FancyPants” your best bet is to find the domain name fancypants.com. Adding symbols and numbers will make it harder for your customers to find your website.
Any successful website needs to be usable to all walks of life. From different devices to handicapped users, your website needs to be available to everyone. Without usability, visitors will struggle with staying on your site and, even worse, won’t become repeat visitors.
Achieving this means you must have an attractive and widely accessible website.
This is affected by both the usability and the accessibility of your website. Navigation should be a major part of your website concern. The end goal is to encourage you visitors to visit more than one page on your site by making it easy for them to find what they are looking for.
Navigation provides designers with a way to create visually-appealing websites, but the attractiveness of a website should be a second thought to the usability and accessibility. When developing the navigation to your website you should think about which pages are most likely to be appealing to visitors. Keep in mind the amount of links it will take for a visitor to get from your homepage to the end goal (most likely a sale).
Your visitors will determine the success of your website, and this should be a focus during development. Don’t get distracted by your own wants and needs, focus on the “who’s” that are gracing your website and what their needs are. A website (or blog) should build content that interests and helps users.
We would truly not be human if we didn’t judge “everything” on appearance, websites are no different. But keep in mind when you are designing your website that it should appeal to your target audience. Keep it positive and keep it professional, but keep in mind that those that you are hoping to visit your site may be more of a “blonde” over a “brunette” fan… know your audience.
Keep these simple and straight-forward tips in mind when you build your mind-blowing website and you’ll see how building a user-friendly site is the key to success. Keep it friendly, easy to understand, and pleasing to the eyes… you’ll be reaping the benefits in no time.