What Makes a Great Website?
Graphics Design by Frank Cadag
If you are looking for ideas on how to create a great business or corporate website, chances are you are searching for tips on how to make sure it becomes successful. Well, you have landed at the right place and we hope these points can help you out.
A business or corporate website, in most cases, do not serve just to provide information to browsers. Most websites act as the first point of contact for their potential customers and serve as the silent “salesman” that meet and greet all your new potential clients. As such, we believe that a great website should be able to attract, retain and sell to the browsers, converting them to enquiries, and eventually to customers.
What are the key attributes that can help a website convert browsers into enquiries? In what we believe as the Verz Standards in making an excellent website, there are three important attributes – Awesome Design, Compelling Contents and Qualified Traffic.
Let us explore in detail these three attributes of designing web excellence.
1st Criteria of a Great Website – Awesome Design
First things first, the site must encompass an awesome design that attracts.
“Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent.” – Joe Sparano
The first thing that a visitor will notice when it comes to a website is its appearance. In fostering a positive impression, visuals are paramount and influential because it’s the first thing that catches the eyes.
✔ Custom Layout
Designs are cultivated from scratch. Templates are not advisable as such, an analysis and study of the business is carefully done in order to implement a proper and suitable design proposal for the client.
The custom lay-out will depend on the contents of each client and the approved sitemap. Similar to a tailor-made suit where you can ask to draw attention on your best assets as compared to a ready-to-wear outfit, a custom layout can highlight the best parts of the website that the business owners would want to emphasize on.
A good designer understands the content and figures out a way to make it stand out in the website.
✔ Colour Scheme
Colours used should be appropriate with the line of business and set up a proper tone that follows the branding. We don’t simply pick out a colour that we like and blindly use this for any brand; there’s a psychological process to this that needs to be taken into great consideration.
A website with an awesome design shouldn’t look like a collage as well. Everything should fit perfectly and blend nicely with each other. The colour scheme sets up the tone for the website, hence, photos and texts should coincide and go well together without clashing with the backdrop.
If the brand has a fun and outgoing personality, colours like yellow and blue are appropriate; if it’s a sophisticated and mysterious brand, maybe shades of gray and black are more suitable.
To know more about colour schemes in websites, check out this article by Nayomi Chibana in visme.
✔ Captivating Banner
The banner of a website is akin to the face of a person. It possesses the highest heat map for your browsers. As such, it’s important to spend quality time in coming up with high-quality banners.
In most websites for business or corporate use, it’s common to have a navigation effect on the banners, which allows for multiple banners to be displayed. As the banner is the first thing a browser sees on a website, taglines can be modified and designed to drive browsers into other important pages in the site.
✔ Quality Photos
Photos make a great impact on a design so it’s essential to use images of high quality. It’s no longer necessary to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to engage a professional photographer if you’re looking to use high-quality photos.
Most reputable web agencies will be able to purchase and download royalty-free images from stock banks such as 123RF, Shutterstock, iStock Photo and many more. These stock banks work just like how Uber works, but in the photography industry.
To see more stock photo banks, read this article.
✔ Use of Infographics
In this era, it’s a well-known fact that there’s no lack of information on the web; in fact, the problem is the overload of information. Because of this, it becomes a struggle to know and understand which are the important ones that are relevant.
As such, a fun way to present your contents is through the use of engaging infographics. This is a mixture of visuals and copy, designed together to visually communicate your idea. It’s also an efficient way to present complex information, altogether making it easily understood by viewers.
“Design is not just what it looks and feels like. Design is how it works.” – Steve Jobs
In the above segment, we merely covered the “aesthetics” of how the website is supposed to look. As Steve Jobs say it best, we have to ensure that the website works well too. That means all components including hyperlinks, buttons, contact form, enquiry form and the thank you page should work correctly, with no errors.
✔ Fast Loading Site
The site must load quickly so avoid auto-play of videos and audios, especially the ones supported by Flash. You only have 8 seconds or less to convince a visitor to stay, so make sure that counts; don’t make them wait.
There should be no room for errors with the website’s functionality because a link that doesn’t work properly or a site that takes too long to load will cause visitors to turn away, leaving them a negative impression of not only your site, but your company altogether. Such mistakes must be kept to a minimum, if not none, because little details can provoke bigger issues.
Know your website speed with Google’s Page Speed Test.
✔ Responsive Web Design
Websites should also adapt a responsive lay-out as most internet users are now on their phones and tablets more often than they are on their laptops. This framework approach uses multiple grid lay-outs that respond to the environment of the device – so the responsive website you view will adjust according to the gadget you use.
Check out this useful tool from Google to know if your website is mobile-friendly.
✔ Menu Bar and Site Footer
For an effective website, the menu bar exists to ease the site navigation of the visitor where all the links to the important pages are there including the contact information. There are different ways to design a menu bar where it can get creative depending on the design and the company industry. What is most essential is that its position, as well as orientation, is clear and easy to understand.
If strategically designed, a good menu bar can eventually lead to more traffic and a pleasant visit for the browsers.
As for the site footer, this is similar to a menu bar but is found at the bottom part of your website. What highly differentiates this from a menu bar is that it contains the most important links that you would look for in the website, including contact information and copyright. Just when the browser arrives at the bottom part of the page, it leads visitors back up to view the other important contents of the website.
✔ Customised Thank You Page
Right before your visitor sends an enquiry or submits an order, they land into a designated ‘Thank You page’ that acknowledges the conversion they just made.
Since this is the parting image, make sure to create a good lasting impression on your visitor and make the most of this opportunity by customising the Thank You page with related promotions, encouraging them to sign up, showing customer feedback or directing them to your other services they might find interesting. Design and customize according to your contents and conversion goal.
✔ User Experience
When designing websites, one must highly prioritise its usability. A great design encapsulates user experience seamlessly. This is about making it user-friendly and easy to navigate with from top to bottom. There needs to be a deep understanding of what a viewer cruising through your site expects and to design from their perspective.
This is an overall sum up of the elements needed to achieve a design that interacts and helps with the sales funnel, including smart integrated hyperlinks, clever use of white space, uncomplicated sitemap, responsive site – which all leads down to an effective and engaging user interface.
2nd Criteria of a Great Website – Compelling Contents
“Content precedes design. Design in the absence of content is not design, it’s decoration.” – Jeffrezy Zeldman
Design is essential because this is the element that attracts visitors, but compelling contents make them stay. This is the substance you need to convince your visitor that what they’re looking for can be found in your site and that your company is credible and superior amongst your competitors.
✔ Clever Slogans for Banners
Ensure to use clever or relatable slogans that can resonate with your viewers’ interest and emotions. We’ve already established the need to have an attractive banner, but the slogan must fulfill its purpose too.
Banners can be customised to direct readers to specific pages through call-to-actions and hyperlinks. Since this is the first thing they’ll read in your site, it’s paramount to make it interesting and impactful – to eventually lead browsers to convert into enquiries.
✔ Unique Selling Proposition
It’s important to identify the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of your brand first and to go from there in selling what sets you apart from your competitors. This is your elevator pitch and your million-dollar idea that will determine how you affect visitors and turn them into customers.
The purpose of your site should be clear enough as well – is it to sell a product? to offer services? to inform? The USP can vary and its purpose goes beyond website development, for it plays a big part in how you articulate branding in different platforms and applications.
Determine your brand’s Unique Selling Proposition with this useful article.
✔ Original Contents
The use of your own content is mandatory when it comes to websites, flyers, brochures, or any other type of marketing collateral. It should come without saying that this not only shows professionalism, but also elevates the credibility of the company.
There are several consequences of plagiarism which is why this should be taken seriously. Aside from copyright infringement, search engine results can detect duplicated content on the web, subsequently leading to a lower rank on Google.
It is highly advisable to engage a professional copywriter for projects like these because they know best how to effectively do web copywriting. If you already have your original contents, the copywriter may copyedit these to fine tune them for your own website.
There are many popular plagiarism checker sites on the web such as Copyscape that you may use to check if your contents have been plagiarized.
✔ Writing Style
Writing with the brand in mind is an effective practice that personifies with the identity of the company. It’s not the same style for everyone as it will depend on your brand personality and brand approach. If it’s a corporate website, then it should be a direct-to-the-point and informative writing style; if it’s a fashion or lifestyle brand, then tone can be casual and creative.
This is fairly important because you need to adjust to how your audience speak and perceive things. Mimic how they interact and speak and work your way around that.
3rd Criteria of a Great Website – Qualified Traffic
You have your awesome designs and compelling content, but if people aren’t coming to your site, then the effort is lost – this is where qualified traffic comes in the picture.
SEO & SEM
Be there when your customers are searching. There are two marketing tactics that can drive traffic to your site – SEO and SEM.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an effort that grows the visibility of your website through organic means (non-paid) in search engine results. On the other hand, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is paid internet marketing.
The difference between the two is that SEM gathers immediate and specific traffic and impressions to your site, while SEO is free, but it takes a while and a lot of research and knowledge to get the results that you want. Both methods are equally important in driving qualified traffic to your website.
If you want to know more about the differences between SEO and SEM, read more here.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is an innovative and powerful strategy that is greatly relevant for businesses, especially start-up companies. It has the makings of reaching new prospects and a wider target audience, due to people who are more active nowadays in social media. It’s the perfect leverage to interact, share and converse directly with your audience through social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more.
The use of such can help boost your website and your brand itself, especially since many people perform searches on these platforms. Social media marketing can garner qualified traffic that supports your SEO efforts – driving leads, sales, and success to your brand.
We believe that in creating an excellent website, these three important attributes must be present to guarantee quality, credibility and return on investment. As the website acts as a “salesman”, this is a process that continuously requires a lot of thought, effort, strategy and creative methods.
We have built our business on this belief and formula, giving the equal amount of “Excellent” treatment to our over 2000 accomplished websites.
Interested in having your own website or are you looking to revamp?
Give us a call at 6841 1680 or send us an email at [email protected] for a free consultation!