Websites are a lot like people. Good looks are nice, but that’s just the icing on the cake—an optional ‘plus’ that makes the overall package that much more appealing. But just like with people, good looks don’t amount to much if that’s all there is on offer.
So what makes a ‘good’ website good? Let’s find out!
A Good Website Must Do Something
As the old adage states: ‘Handsome is as handsome does’ and this remains true of websites, also.
A website must serve at least one primary purpose. What that is, will depend on the industry and the aims of the owner. But generally, a website must do what it was designed to do, and do it well:
- If it’s an online shop, it must do a good job of selling products.
- If it is a blog, it must help readers to solve their problems, and also help the blogger to grow an audience and connect with it.
- If it is a corporate website, the site must present the brand well. This means telling the story of who they are, what they do and the value they provide to their customers and the wider community.
- In each of the above examples, it is also usual for the website to help visitors get in touch with the business that owns it.
When reading the rest of this post, you will notice that more or less all of the other points which follow contribute to serving this main purpose.
It Must Be Easy to Use
Visitors are the only reason that websites exist, and so, a website must cater heavily to the needs of its users. The site should be designed and built in a way that makes using it a pleasure:
- The site’s layout should be clear and the information should be organised in a logical manner.
- The site must be easy to navigate—users should be able to move from one page to another with ease.
- The content must be clear and easy to read and understand.
- The content must be relevant and focussed on the subject at hand.
- There should be clear instructions or ‘calls to action’ prompting the visitor to take the desired actions (For example, buttons encouraging the visitor to ‘shop now’, ‘add to cart’, ‘sign up for updates’, or ‘get in touch’ etc. should feature prominently across the site.)
- The site should work equally well across platforms (different operating systems and devices) as well as performing well on different web browsers.
It Must Have Good Content
People tend to visit websites because of what is on them.
Website visitors will excuse bad design or even put up with a slow-loading site (see below) as long as the content is good. But the opposite is never true.
So a site’s content matters much more than any other thing.
It Must Load Fast
A slow website provides for a poor user experience and so, a good website must load quickly—even on a mobile device operating on mobile data. (Read my post ‘Why Speed Matters and How to Make Your Website Load Faster‘ to learn more.)
It Must Be Easy to Find on the Internet
The site should be easy to find online. This usually means having a short and memorable web address (or URL), and that it must be easily discoverable via a search engine such as Google. (More on this in a later post.)
It Must Be Secure
Visitors would not want to have their personal data falling into the wrong hands. Similarly, you, the owner, would not want your site to be hacked or infected with malware. So your site should be made as secure as possible.
This includes, but is not limited to the following:
- Routing information securely to and from your site with encryption.
- Having a valid SSL certificate in place.
- Installing malware protection.
- Hosting the site with a reliable and trustworthy web host.
It Must Look Attractive
I placed this attribute at the very bottom because it matters the least, when compared to the previous ones, but it matters nevertheless.
First impressions last and people do judge a book by its cover. So, there is no denying that aesthetics matter.
Beauty is still very much in the eyes of the beholder. So what we consider good-looking will depend on our individual tastes. But if you’re ever in doubt, you can always fall back on good old simplicity. In fact, the most beautiful website I have yet seen on the Internet, is Leo Babauta’s blog, Zen Habits. To me, its beauty lies in its simplicity. But again, this is a matter of taste and personal preference, and you will have to decide on what works best for your website.
Ultimately then, what we need to aim for is a site that is both beautiful and functional. This is a site that is sure to wow its visitors and keep them coming back for more!
So these are just some of the attributes that go to making a website a ‘good’ one. Do you agree? And have I left out anything you think is important? Let me know by leaving a comment.
Please feel free to share this post with anyone you know who might be interested—it will help me a lot in getting the word out about my services. Thank you!
Don’t forget to get in touch with me if you need any help with building or upgrading your website.