For small businesses, having a good website that helps them serve their customers and generate new leads and sales is essential. However, if you’re designing your website or you have a website that isn’t performing how you’d like it to, you may be wondering – what makes a good website?
Well, the truth is, there are a lot of different elements and features that come together to make up a good website. In this article, we’ll cover 11 essential features of what makes a good website, to help guide you on your web design journey.
Ready? Let’s jump into the list.
1. A Clear Goal
Before you dive into the finer details of your site design, you should first decide on a clear goal. Without a clear goal, your site might have a cobbled-together feel, and this may make it less user-friendly and attractive to your customers.
Discuss with your web design team, SEO team, and your marketing managers what exactly you want your site to achieve. Will it be used to generate leads and make sales? Maybe it will be an information hub for your existing customers.
Whatever your goal is, you should design your site with it in mind. Then you’ll be more likely to achieve your goals and see the results you’re looking for.
Tips for Establishing Your Website Goals
- Create a customer persona – Put yourself in the shoes of your target customers, and consider what they would use your website for. Are they in search of information, products, or contact details? You can use this customer persona to guide your website layout and design.
- Choose the main focus – You may want your website to be a one-stop-shop for your business with sales pages, information pages, and maybe even a blog. However, to guide your website design and make it more user-friendly, you should select which one of these is going to be the main focus of your web design.
2. A User-Friendly Layout
You can hire the best site designers globally and have the most elaborate design elements and features, but if your site isn’t easy for your users to navigate, you’re going to struggle to achieve your goals. User-friendliness should form the basis of every website, and if your web designer is worth their salt, they’ll tell you this too.
The layout of your site should be intuitive, so even beginner web users can navigate it easily. It should also have easy-to-read text and professional and attractive color schemes.
If you’re not working with a web designer and you’re building your website from scratch, we highly suggest using templates. Site building tools like Wix and Squarespace offer tons of user-friendly templates that can be customized to suit your business needs.
Most site-building tools have easy-to-use drag and drop interfaces so that you can create new, user-friendly pages and sites in just a few clicks.
By using templates, you can be sure that your site is optimized to make your user experience as efficient and simple as possible, which allows you to focus on other important elements such as written content and images.
3. Effective SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Unfortunately for businesses, creating a website and listing your business on Google My Business is no longer enough to make your site discoverable in 2024.
The internet is vast, and Google has an extremely complicated algorithm that determines whether or not your pages will rank for your desired search term. That’s why it’s essential to follow SEO best practices on your website to give your pages a better chance of ranking.
When designing your site, you should ensure that all of your content is optimized around your target keywords and that you follow best practices like adding alt texts, meta tags, and more to give your pages the best chance of ranking high in the SERPs.
In addition to this, your site needs to give off the right signals to Google’s algorithm, and this means acquiring links from other high-ranking sites, submitting sitemaps to Google, and a whole host of other tasks.
The best thing you can do is get help from SEO experts when it comes to SEO. It will help save your business time and ensure that you don’t lose the money you spent on web design and site maintenance due to your pages not ranking.
How to Nail SEO On Your Website
Use SEO tools – SEO is not an easy beast to tame, but thankfully, there are some tools out there that can help you improve your content and make it more optimized for search engines. Try using tools like Yoast and Surfer SEO to check your content before it goes live on your site.
Get professional help – SEO is extremely important, and if you don’t get it right, your site pages could get lost in the search engines and fail to generate any leads or sales. However, SEO best practices are complicated and ever-changing. That’s why it’s a good idea to outsource your SEO to a company like Instinct Marketing, who are experts in improving SEO and are up to date with current SEO practices.
4. CTA’s in Key Positions
CTA stands for calls to action, and this is how you can turn passing visitors into new leads and customers. Your site design should center around putting key CTA’s in prominent positions so that visitors always know how to move the next step of your sales funnel.
For example, if you run a landscaping business and want site visitors to get in touch for a quote, consider placing a CTA reading ‘get a quote in a prominent position on your website.
Additionally, you should feature CTA’s on every page and within your content so that customers can always see a way to progress through your sales funnel.
Tips For Adding CTA’s To Your Pages
- Use Heatmapping tools – Heatmapping tools like HotJar will show you exactly what areas your visitors spend the most time looking at. This can help you determine where to place your CTA’s for maximum exposure.
- Place CTA’s on the left – Studies have shown that the web page’s most viewed area is the left-hand side, above the fold. Therefore, it’s a good idea to put your CTA in this area.
5. Reviews and Testimonials
When new customers visit your site, they will be looking for signs of trustworthiness and credibility. One of the easiest ways to portray an air of credibility on your website is to feature reviews and testimonials from previous customers or clients.
This is something that businesses large and small do. Here at Instinct, we also feature reviews and testimonials on our website.
It’s a great way to show new and existing customers that you are trustworthy and transparent and that your business takes pride in offering a good customer experience.
When it comes to placing your reviews and testimonials, you should pick a prominent position on your homepage. Still, it shouldn’t overshadow other important information, such as sales details or product descriptions. A good placement for testimonials is at the bottom of your homepage or somewhere in the middle to break up big blocks of information.
How To Get Testimonials for Your Website
- Take reviews from your Google listing – If your business is listed on Google, you may already have some customer reviews. Select the best ones and feature them in the testimonials section of your website.
- Just ask! – If you’ve worked with a particularly high-profile business or client, and you think their testimonial would be a big seller on your website, reach out to them and ask. Be polite and humble, and most people will be happy to spare a few minutes to write on for you.
6. Good Branding
Your website is often the first place new customers interact with your business, so it’s important to feature professional and consistent branding throughout your web designs. Think of your website as an introduction to what your business is and what it stands for.
In addition to the obvious essentials like high-quality logos and slogans, your website and all its copy should also reflect your brand. For example, if your business is aimed at young people and you want to create a friendly and personable brand image, then the tone of your content should reflect this.
Also, it’s a good idea to dedicate one page of your website to your brand story. This way, new customers can learn more about who you are, what your brand does, and what values you hold in high regard. Consumers are very interested in businesses’ values and ethical considerations in the current climate, so it’s a good idea to ensure that your brand message shines through on your site.
7. Easy to Find Contact Information
For small businesses, your website will often act as the first point of contact for potential customers. If you don’t have advanced elements that allow your customers to live chat or make purchases on your site, you should make sure that it’s super easy for them to find ways to get in touch.
Depending on your business model, you may want to feature a contact form and your phone number on the homepage of your site.
Another good option is to include contact details in the header of your site so that users can see it no matter which page they land on. Most businesses will also have a dedicated contact page linked to from both the navigation bar and the footer of the site. This is a good idea, as it gives your visitors a range of different options to find your contact information.
8. Mobile Responsiveness
In 2024, around half of all websites visited came from mobile devices. What does that mean to you? Well, that means as much as 50% of your site visitors could be using a mobile device to access your site. Therefore, it’s extremely important to ensure that your site is mobile responsive and easy for users to navigate on devices of any shape and size.
9. Good Load Speeds
According to statistics, 83% of web users expect websites to load in less than 3 seconds. On top of that, if your site takes between 3 and 5 seconds to load, your bounce rate could increase by as much as 90%.
With these figures in mind, it’s safe to say that load speed is a big deal. Not only does it affect how your users interact with your site, but it can also have an impact on SEO and could affect where your pages rank in the SERPs.
To improve your user experience and your sales and conversion rates, you should try to do what you can to reduce load speeds to a minimum. Below are some easy ways to do this.
Ways to Improve Website Load Speeds
- Compress images – If the images on your website are too large, this can affect how fast your site loads. Use an image compression tool such as Smush or TinyJPG to reduce the file sizes to a minimum.
- Change hosting provider – Some hosting providers offer performance-optimized packages that heavily focus on page load speeds. If you’re experiencing issues with load speeds, consider switching to a new provider.
10. Professional Color Schemes and Fonts
Choosing professional fonts and color schemes is extremely important when designing your website. You want to consider two things; your business brand colors and color psychology when it comes to colors.
It’s a little more complicated than simply choosing your favorite color. You need to consider what effect the colors you choose will have on your site visitors and what sort of message they portray. For example, some colors, such as blue, evoke trust, reliability, and dependability.
Similarly, green evokes balance and a feeling of nature and can also be linked to money and wealth. Try to select cohesive color schemes according to what best encapsulates your business type and website goals.
Also, when it comes to selecting fonts, don’t just choose the first one you see. Fonts should always be easy to read and match your site’s overall aesthetic. It’s also a good idea to pick 1-2 fonts and use them consistently throughout your website. Using many different fonts can make your site look ill-designed and unprofessional. It may also have an impact on usability.
Pro Tip For Choosing Fonts and Color Schemes
- Use a color scheme generator – Read up a little about color psychology and select a base color that might work for your website. Then use a color palette generator such as Coolors.co to generate a cohesive set of colors that you can use across your site.
- Use a font pair generator – Try a pairing tool such as Fontjoy to select two professional fonts that will work together well on your site. Then stick with them throughout your designs and avoid using any other contrasting fonts.
11. Good Security
Cybercrime is a very real threat, and internet users are becoming increasingly concerned with keeping their data safe and secure when browsing the web.
Therefore, it’s super important to make sure that your site is secure and that this is clear to your visitors. The first thing you need to do is make sure you have an SSL certificate. Having this will keep your site safe and mean that the safety padlock will be displayed next to your URL when visitors enter your site.
However, an SSL certificate is a bare minimum when it comes to security, so you should look into performing regular scans and backups on your site to keep you and your users safe from cyber threats. You can use tools and plugins like Securi and Jetpack to enhance your site’s security protocols in just a few clicks.
Still Not Sure Exactly What Elements Make A Good Website?
As you can see, creating a good website that ticks all the boxes for both your customers and Google’s algorithm isn’t always easy. However, the tips in this article should help you to make some improvements.
However, if you’re a newbie in the world of web design and SEO, then getting to grips with what makes a good website and making the necessary changes to your site may feel overwhelming. But don’t worry – we can do the hard work for you.
Here at Instinct Marketing, we’re experts in optimizing websites for small businesses, and we can help you turn your site into a lead generation and sales machine. We can help your pages get more clicks and rank higher in the SERPs.