Does your business have a website? Does it help you generate sales and revenue for your business? Or, is it a deserted town that no one visits? We explore how to create a good and effective website.
Just a few days ago, we came across a question in one of the Facebook groups we’re a part of. Nina Worsley asks:
“What are the components of a good and effective website? Currently revamping mine.”
It was followed up with a few comments about design, hosting, and even a passing comment about SEO as seen above.
But do those things really mean an effective website? What does “effective” mean anyway?
You Need To Lay Out The Objective Of Your Website
A website is just a website. There is no such thing as effective or ineffective if you don’t have an objective that you want to achieve.
To paraphrase the Cheshire cat in Lewis Carroll’s, Alice in Wonderland,
“If you don’t know where you’re going then it doesn’t matter what path you take.”
Likewise, if you don’t know what you want your website to do, then it doesn’t matter what the design is like and what hosting server you use.
So, before you go into what makes an effective website, it’s important to first write out several things:
- What is your brand personality?
- What do you want your website to achieve?
- What will you be putting on the website?
Once you have these things written out, then you can look into the specifics of how to make it effective. Let’s take a look.
Here’s A Checklist To Create An Effective Website
To make it simple for you, here’s a checklist that we use at Elevattic to help evaluate websites.
We use this during our free consultation to help you create a more effective website that can help to generate traffic, leads, and sales.
1. Your URL
If your URL is your company’s name, then it’s quite straightforward. The best top-level domains to use are .com, .net, .org, .io (for tech companies). They are the most widely used and therefore create a sense of trust (even though it’s unfounded).
However, there are some suggestions for a good domain name.
- SEO friendly
- Easy to spell and understand when said verbally
- No numbers
- No dashes
- If there are multiple words, then no repeated letters (e.g., theecstaticcat.com)
- No alternate spellings (e.g., supasalezdiscountz.com, dawgphanatiks.com)
- Not generic (e.g., pets.com, dogs.com, hotels.com are considered bad domain names for branding)
- 2-3 syllables or 2 words max
2. Professional and Clean
Gone are the days of packed website with a lot of words on the home page. Most people skim through homepages, so if you have too many words and sections all over the place, it can be distracting.
You can also be sure most of it will be overlooked or ignored.
So, keep it clean and minimal. Say what you have to say in a few words. Put your big idea that captures their attention up front and above the fold (the top area of the site before scrolling)
And make sure it’s professional. Not in the sense that it has to be serious and humorless. But if you are running a business, you have to be trustworthy.
That means your website shouldn’t look like a high school kid designed it in his free time. A good website costs money. But it is a long-term investment that will do your brand good.
Think of it like your office space. It can be casual like Google headquarters, with their slides and bean bag chairs. But it still looks clean and professional.
Likewise, your online real estate should give the same effect.
3. Complement your Brand Identity
This is where the stuff the guys mentioned come in. Your logo, your typeface choice, the words and language you use, your visual creatives, your color scheme.
Do these reflect your brand identity in a way that is congruent?
Using the same office space example, these things are the things that fill your office space. The color of the walls, the furniture you use, the interior design elements. They all convey a certain emotion and feeling when you step into the place.
Similarly, the interior design of your website should create a specific emotion. Warmth? Trustworthiness? Fun? Once you have your brand positioning, these things should come to you quite naturally.
Again, a good designer would have a good eye for these sorts of things. So it’s important for your brand that you get a designer who knows a thing or two about how to convey your brand personality visually.
4. Easy to Navigate & Intuitive
This one is simple. The trend these days is to have a single scroll page. That means what the term implies, you navgiate the page by scrolling down. No side bars to distract the user. Kind of like a sales page design.
Also, having a clear menu is useful to link to all the important pages within your site.
In general, the standard pages are your home page, about page, what services you offer, a blog or news page, and a contact page. That is for the top menu
At the footer you can add other sites like your legal pages, and other miscellaneous pages that may not be as important.
It can be useful to add a search function for some websites if yours is a resource-based website like blogs and such.
For SEO purposes, you can also add other pages like categories, top posts, individual pages for your services and products, and many more depending on the needs and type of your site.
A good gauge is to ask someone to navigate your page and watch how they navigate. Or, you can install a heatmap tracker like HotJar, which records and tracks how users use your website.
Softwares like this can give you a better understanding of how users navigate through your site and what draws their attention and what they tend to overlook or ignore.
5. Easy to Find Contact Details
This is one of the most important aspects of any business or brand website. Or, any website in general. Can your audience easily find how to contact you?
We’ve seen websites where they don’t clearly put the contact page in the top menu. Instead, burying it at the bottom in the footer. It is a trend which we find is not user-friendly, especially if you offer support services.
Put all the ways they can contact you on your contact page, and put a link in the header navigation. You can also use plugins or codes to put a messenger window that sticks at the bottom of your screen. That’s the best option.
Also, you can put a contact form where viewers can send you messages if you don’t want to put your email or phone number on the site. Just make sure the form works, and you respond to them. Using an autoresponder can help make things easier.
It’s 2018. If your site is not mobile friendly, then you’re losing out. Statistics show that up to 80% of website audiences are from mobile devices.
That’s why single-scroll pages are so popular. Because mobile sites are generally single scroll to fit within the viewport.
It’s important when designing your site on desktop to also think about the order of things as they would appear on mobile. Check your website on mobile often when you make changes to make sure they display properly.
The good thing about mobile-friendly sites is that you can add a “tel:(your number here)” or a whatsapp link which will immediately open up the phone app or WhatsApp so they can contact you more easily just by clicking the link.
If you’re building a site on WordPress, make sure your theme is mobile responsive. That means that the layout of the site adjusts according to the viewport size. That’s if you want to have a site that is mobile-friendly without having to create an entire new mobile site (e.g., “m.yourdomain.com”)
7. Fast Loading Speed
Lastly, and one of the most overlooked things is your site loading speed. Most websites load at a decent speed.
According to several reports, majority of users expect a site to load in 2 seconds. And a maximum 3 seconds before they leave.
Remember, keep it clean.
If you want to know exactly how to improve site speed, go to gtmetrix.com and run a diagnostics. There, they will show you the problems with your site so you can improve.
Google penalizes sites that load too slow in search rankings. So this is one of the things you have to take note of.
Just because it loads fast on your browser doesn’t mean it’s fast. It just means your browser may have cached the site resources to make it load faster for you.
There’s Much More To It…
But these are the basic things that you can apply to create a good and effective website. At Elevattic we have a 30-step checklist to diagnose whether a website is good or not.
But if we included everything it will become a 10,000-word article. These are just the 7 key things that you need to know up front.
If you want to know how you can improve your website’s conversion and make it more effective…
We can meet you for a free diagnostic session. Simply go to this page (Contact) and schedule a consultation with us.
We’ll be glad to give you some in-depth insights into how you can generate more traffic, collect leads, and get more sales on your website.