9 Elements All Great Websites Should Possess
Whether you’re running a web site for your business or yourself, there are certain elements that all web sites should possess if they are to succeed. In this article, we look at nine of the most important, from excellent visual design to personal or enterprise content management.
1. Excellent visual design
Ever been through a town and found yourself attracted to the clean, well-presented cafe instead of a run-down takeaway? Well, the same principle applies to web design. Great visual design on your web site establishes professionalism and trust from the moment the user arrives.
2. Intuitive user interface
Your web site also needs to be easy to navigate. Users need to get an immediate sense that finding the information they’re after will be easy, otherwise they are likely to move on to another web site. Positive features include elements such as having navigation “above the fold” — that is, all the relevant links the user might need should be seen as soon as they open the window. You don’t want them to have to scroll down.
3. Well-written content
In some ways, writing well for the Web is an art unto itself. However, the basic principles of writing still apply — well-written, relevant content is always going to perform better in search engines than poorly-constructed alternatives. One important thing to keep in mind is that your content should utilise keywords that you wish to rank well for in search engines.
4. Plenty of white space
It might sound trivial, but white space is one of the most important elements you’ll find on any good web site. Nothing will deter a user faster than a cluttered web page with too much information. Clean and easy-to-read is the standard you should go for, so providing plenty of white space on your page is the best way to achieve this.
5. Calls to action
Getting the user to your web site is only half the battle. Once they’re there, you’ll want to turn that clickthrough into a conversion. A great way to achieve this is by using calls to action such as “Call today for a free quote!” or “Sign up for access to our free newsletter!” in order to get users to leave their contact information.
6. A blog
In terms of search engine optimisation — that is, ranking well on search engines such as Google — one of the most important things is that you have fresh, relevant content. By keeping a blog that is updated on a regular basis, you’ll be able to achieve this goal.
7. Social media integration
Social media web sites such as Facebook and Twitter are becoming increasingly important as an alternative means of disseminating information on the Web. If you’re keeping a Facebook or Twitter account of your own, these should be integrated into your web site with links both ways.
8. A great web server
You might have the best-looking, most easily navigable, search-engine-optimised web site in the world, but you’ll also need a good web server to deliver this to users if you want your web site to succeed. Web servers that are too slow or have excess down-time can severely harm your web site’s chances of succeeding.
9. An easy-to-use back-end
If you’re not a programming expert, then it’s important to have a great content management system to ensure that maintaining your web site is easy. Whether it’s an enterprise content management system for businesses or a freely available content management system such as WordPress, a CMS allows anyone to contribute to the Web.