Essential Elements of a Great Website

Essential Elements of a Great Website

1. Have a Clear Purpose

Make the purpose of your business clear from the beginning. You only have seconds to retain someone’s attention. If they can’t figure out what you do in the first 5-15 seconds, they will most likely leave frustrated and confused. Your homepage should concisely state who you are and what you do. Ideally, you state this briefly towards the top of your homepage.

2. Simple Navigation

Keep your navigation simple and easy to understand. You don’t want to have every topic in your navigation. Your navigation can only handle so many items before it doesn’t fit on the screen. If you have multiple pages on a related topic, make one main menu item that summarizes the topic, and add these multiple pages as submenu items. An ideal navigation menu has between 4-7 items.

3. Structure Your Content

Structure your content to be easy to read and follow along. If you have what looks like an essay of content for each page, try to break it up into individual topics. Add a heading (and an optional subheading) at the top of each topic that summarizes what the block of text is about. You want to make sure your website is easily scannable so people can find the information they’re looking for quickly.

4. Include Enough Content

Make sure there is enough content for your target audience to read and have an understanding of what you do. I suggest having at least 400+ words on your primary pages. This will give you the opportunity to talk about what you offer well enough for people to understand your services. It will also help Google understand what you do and how to rank you in its search engine.

5. Use Headings Properly

Understand your h (heading) tags and their purpose within web design. This not only helps your readers understand your information quickly, but it helps with your SEO! For each individual page, you should have only one h1 heading tag that summarizes the entire page content. You can have multiple h2 heading tags to distinguish the most important topics within the page. Technically there are 6 heading tags (H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6), but I mostly only use the first three (H1, H2, H3).

Example Page:
H1: Butte Website Design
-H2: Web Development Services
—H3: Learn about the services we offer.
-H2: Our Web Design Process
—H3: Learn about how we will design your website.
-H2: Web Development Pricing
—H3: Learn what’s included for each web design package and our packaged pricing.

6. Include Calls To Action

Have multiple clear CTA’s contributing to the main goal of your website. Is your goal to get customers to contact you? Shop your e-commerce website? Sign up for a mailing list? Make sure you include CTA’s (Call to Actions) throughout your site prompting people to follow through with what you are trying to get your target audience to do.

Some example CTA’s are:
‘Contact Us’ – Either use these words in a button directing people to your contact page or have the text as a heading with contact information and/or a form directly underneath.
‘Shop Our Products’ – Use this as a button to easily direct people to your store.
‘Sign-Up’ – Either use these words in a button directing people to a sign-up page or have the text as a heading with a sign-up form directly underneath.

7. Mobile Friendly

Make sure your website is mobile friendly. This is standard for all modern website design. As an estimate, you can expect 40-50% of your online traffic coming from people on mobile devices. It’s almost a 50/50 chance that your online first impression will be made through a smartphone – make sure your website accommodates your audience on the go.

Unfortunately, there are still some non-mobile friendly websites out there. If anything, it hurts your business by making you appear unprofessional and lacking in customer service. If you plan on managing your own website, you will want to check any pages you’ve made major changes to on your mobile device.

8. Link Internally

Have internal links to other pages of your website that are related to what’s on the current page. It easily provides them with more information and direction after reading something they are already interested in. This will help them quickly find relevant info they want to learn more about your business.

9. Use Images, Videos, and Color

Include images, use background images, and background colors to retain interest. No one wants to click on a page to see 6 paragraphs of only small body text. Particularly if it doesn’t have any structure to it. You can easily liven up a page by tastefully adding images and switching up backgrounds.

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