What Makes a Great Website

Designing UI-UX Webpage

Your website is the foundation of your online presence. No matter what other marketing strategies you’re using to generate traffic — SEO, paid ads, social media, etc. — all roads lead back to your website. That’s where your target audience will go to learn more about your business and decide whether or not to make a transaction.

Even if people can find you easily online, it’s important to think about what happens when they get to your website. Does it leave a great impression and compel them to learn more? Or does it leave them with a bad impression and cause them to quickly leave?

Research at Stanford showed that 75% of people judge a business based on the quality of its website. So it’s important to assess whether your website is working for or against your business. At a basic level, it should look great, read well, and function properly.

There are dozens of factors that go into what makes a great website. But for the purposes of this article, we’ll keep it simple and focus on six main factors. Understanding and applying these keys will help you create a better website experience for your visitors.

6 Keys to a Better Website Experience

Quality Design

You know a well-designed website when you see one. It uses a nice blend of colors and fonts that complement each other. Your fonts should be properly sized and easy to read. It also has a clean structure and layout that makes it easy to search and navigate. And it utilizes proper spacing so that different sections have room to breathe and aren’t overcrowded.

The good news is that you don’t have to become a design expert or build your website from scratch in order to make it look professional.

Use other websites as guidance and inspiration. Keep a running list of websites that you come across and really like. You can also browse tons of different preset themes and templates on marketplaces such as ThemeForest.

Additionally, there are a number of free online tools you can use to experiment with colors and fonts. Try Colormind for website color palettes and FontJoy to generate font pairings.

Fast Load Time

Let’s face it… No one likes a slow website. Every second left waiting is an opportunity for visitors to leave your site and go to a competitor.

But site speed doesn’t just affect user experience. As of summer 2021, Google now considers site speed as a ranking factor that can affect your SEO.

Obviously you can get a sense of your website’s load speed just by looking at it manually. But for a more technical report of what’s affecting load time, use free tools like Google Pagespeed Insights and GT Metrix. If you’re not tech savvy, it may require the help of a web developer to resolve some of these issues.

However, there are a few simple best practices you can follow to ensure your website loads faster. First, always compress images before uploading them to your site. You can use a tool like TinyPNG to quickly compress images without degrading quality.

Second, utilize lazy loading for embedded media and web elements. Essentially, this means resource-heavy items on the page won’t load until the user scrolls down to it. Only the critical elements will load initially, leading to a faster overall page load time.

Third, make sure you’re using high quality, reliable web hosting. If you’re on WordPress, use a managed hosting service like WPX (which we use here at Layer Digital Solutions) or WPEngine. These hosting providers also utilize their own built-in technology to optimize your site for speed and keep it secure.

Responsive

Data from StatCounter shows that over half of all global web traffic is on mobile devices. That’s why it’s critical that your website looks great and functions properly on all types of devices.

Most modern website builders allow you to create three different versions of your web pages: desktop, tablet and mobile. This is referred to as responsive design, where elements of your website shift and adjust depending on what type of device you’re browsing on.

If you’re not sure how responsive your website is, simply plug your website URL into the Google Mobile-Friendly Test to get a report. Another simple way to check your website responsiveness is to manually resize your browser window and see how it looks.

Effective Copywriting

What your website says is as important as how it looks and functions.

We’ve all come across websites with poor copywriting. Whether it’s over complex and confusing, has a lot of technical jargon, or just wasn’t proofread and has lots of spelling and grammar errors, it instantly leaves a bad impression.

Always strive to use clear and simple messaging that resonates with your target audience. It should speak directly to their pain points and desires. Emphasize tangible benefits and results over features and technical jargon.

Last but not least, make sure to use catchy and compelling headlines and calls-to-action to highlight your offers. Strategically place them in a way that flows with the overall look and feel of your website and also gets visitors to take action. If you need help with writing great headlines, check out CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer tool.

Valuable Offers

Speaking of offers, people rarely buy on the first visit to your website. While it may happen occasionally, it’s not the norm. Utilizing marketing funnels will allow you to provide value to your audience and build a relationship with them over time. It will help you generate a more consistent and sustainable flow of inbound leads and clients.

You should have at least one or two valuable introductory offers that visitors can claim on your website. These offers should provide tangible value for your target audience by solving a specific problem or helping them achieve a desired result. It should also demonstrate your authority and specific area of expertise.

Create landing pages to present your offers in a professional and compelling manner. This is also where the previous point on effective copywriting comes into play. Use great headlines, highlight the benefits, and include media assets and social proof to increase conversions.

Optimized for SEO

While not as critical from a user experience standpoint, optimizing your site for SEO is a must. Proper SEO will help you increase your online visibility and rank higher in search engines. It will also help drive more clicks and traffic to your website.

There are a number of factors that affect SEO, which we’ll cover in more detail in another article. For now, we’ll just review a few best practices to focus on.

As an initial first step, do thorough keyword research and competitor analysis. This will help you see how your site and your competitors are ranking. It will also help you figure out what keywords to target. Ideally, it’s best to target keywords with higher search volume and lower competitiveness, which will be easier to rank.

Once you’ve compiled a list of your target keywords, you’ll want to optimize your core website pages. This includes adding or updating title tags and meta descriptions for each page to include your target keyword. And then going through the headings and main content on each page to focus on your target keyword and related keywords.

Lastly, once your core site pages are updated, it’s good practice to publish new blog content on a regular basis. This will allow you to target additional new keywords and boost your rankings, while also sharing your expertise. Blog posts tend to act as a funnel, as they provide valuable information on a topic that people are searching.

Having high quality content will increase the likelihood of people sharing your content, coming back to your site, exploring other areas of your site, and potentially taking a next step to inquire or purchase from you.

Improving Your Website is a Process

Your website is the foundation of your online presence and the face of your brand. So it’s important that you prioritize this asset and make sure it looks, reads, and functions at its best.

A poor website can instantly leave a bad impression with visitors and negatively affect your ability to get new business. On the other hand, a great website helps you demonstrate credibility and professionalism, and will work wonders for growing your business.

While there are additional factors to consider when building or optimizing your website, nailing down these six keys will give you a strong advantage.

It should have a quality visual design with compatible colors and fonts, and a clean layout that’s easy to navigate. From a technical standpoint, it should load quickly and be responsive on all devices. Your copywriting should be simple yet effective, in a way that resonates with your target market and inspires action.

You should also have introductory offers that provide value and move prospects closer to a buying decision. Lastly, you should optimize your website for SEO so you rank higher for your target keywords and get found more easily.

Optimizing your website does require some degree of ongoing maintenance. It’s a continuous process. Monitor your analytics to spot potential weaknesses and make adjustments as needed. Continue adding new content to your website, and experiment with new offers.

Not sure if your website is working for or against you? Then book a free marketing consultation to get an expert analysis and learn how we can help you create an awesome website to showcase your business.

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About The Author

Mike Layer is a digital marketing strategist and the founder and CEO of Layer Digital Solutions.

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