WHAT MAKES A GREAT WEBSITE?

Websites, they run the world. We use them multiple times a day, to shop, make enquiries, learn, communicate and investigate. They are one of the most important aspects of modern day technology, but they aren’t all great. For something so useful for day to day life, it is key to ensure that websites provide an amazing user experience and that they give the user the answers they are looking for.

‘What makes a great website’ is a complex and loaded question, there are so many facets to a website that can affect how great or bad it is, and there isn’t always a clear cut answer. But there are however certain factors that do help to ensure a website is of a great standard. 

How Does Having A Great Website Help Your Business?

Positive User Experience

User experience is crucial in the creation of several products, not only those that are on the web, it should be at the forefront of any creation process. It takes around ‘50 milliseconds for users to form an opinion about your website’ (Sweor) during those 0.05 seconds they will form an opinion on your site.  When it comes to user experience and websites you need to consider more than just the visuals and content. First and foremost you need to consider how users will interact with a website and what journey they will go through to reach their end goal.

Structured User Journey

The first step in considering how a user will interact with a website is to think about their user journey. To plan out a user journey you must think about the experience your users will have when interacting with your site. It is crucial to consider the path a user will take from the second they reach your site to the moment they reach their end destination. A poor user flow will result in the user having to spend more time on the site than necessary which can lead to frustration.

Simple & Clear Navigation

A website’s navigation is perhaps one of the most important factors and can affect both the user’s experience and journey. If a website has an overly complicated or confusing navigation users will struggle to find what they are looking for quickly and efficiently. A navigation needs to be clear, concise and easy to use to ensure that your users can interact with your site without even needing to think.

Understandable Content

The next step in creating a great website is ensuring that you have clear, easy to read and understandable content. If a user doesn’t understand the services you provide or can’t find what they were looking for the likelihood is that your website will leave them feeling confused, this could then result in them going elsewhere. Content needs to be written well to grab the users attention and provide them with answers quickly.

Aesthetically Pleasing Visuals

Along with good content, visuals are also hugely important, with first impressions being ‘95% design-related’ (Sweor). Visuals help to ensure your site isn’t dry and boring and help to make a website more visually appealing. Visuals can tell a story and help to show users what you do and help them to recognise your company and brand.

Fully Device Optimised

With an endless amount of screen sizes and various devices it is crucial to ensure that a website performs well on a variety of devices, with more than half of all web traffic coming from mobiles (Statista). If a user can’t access your website on their chosen device they may become frustrated and either have to change device or leave your site and give up.

Sustainable Design

A less discussed but equally important factor is creating a website that is sustainable. The internet consumes a large amount of electricity at 416.2TWh per year (Website Carbon Calculator), which contributes to climate change. By following the steps laid out here you can create a sustainable website that provides users with a great, efficient and user friendly experience.

Fast loading Times

Website speed is also key to having a great website, websites need to be efficient. Nowadays users know how fast technology can be, they won’t wait around for your website to load, they expect it to load quickly and give them the answer they need in as little time as possible. If your website takes too long to load the likelihood is that the user will give up, close the site and go elsewhere.

Well Structured Code

It is key to ensure that your website has been developed to the best standard, this includes the quality of the code. Clean and well structured code has various benefits, it often ensures your website is more compatible, it helps with search engine visibility and it is easier to troubleshoot. A poorly coded website will often result in a poor user experience.

Detailed SEO

Not all aspects of making a great website are elements that can be seen by a user. Another key factor is SEO, this will impact the performance of your website and affect the user experience. When making a website great from an SEO perspective, every page of your site should have a clear goal, with good content and keywords that are exclusive to that page. It is also crucial to create a site that is trustworthy through https, and good reviews on-site or through Google and social media. It must also be technically optimised to ensure Google and other search engines can find all of the content within the site.

Conclusion

Nowadays we all rely on websites to give us answers without complications, it is crucial to ensure that your website meets your users needs. A website can define how your users see you and your products, with ‘75% of consumers’ (Sweor) admitting to making ‘judgements on a company’s credibility’ based on their website, a bad website will greatly affect how your users perceive your brand.

There may not be a definitive answer to the question of ‘what makes a great website’ but by following these 10 core factors you can ensure that your website is providing the best possible user experience and is performing to a high standard.