Website Features That Rock

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Worried about the website you’re planning to build? Interested in how you can increase traffic on your currently active website? Not sure what’s the difference between a good website and a bad one?

Understanding the following five facts will help you learn to differentiate, so you can hopefully create something that’s going to be successful! Read on to find out the five key facts you need to know!

In a Nutshell

First off, be honest with yourself. Does your website currently meet with each of these statements?

  1. Its appearance is clean and inviting?
  2. Its content is concise but significant?
  3. Its hyperlinks and buttons are completely functional?
  4. Its user interface is complimentary to the content?
  5. It has completely been SEOed (Search Engine Optimized)?

When you look at any examples of successful websites, you can find these five website features in all of them. If yours doesn’t, then read on and take notes.

Looks: First Impression is Everything

In the same way every new person you meet makes a first impression on you within the first minute of you meeting, when you visit a website, your first visit to it is just as important. If that first impression of a website is bad, that could ruin the chances of you ever returning to that website. Your website should have a professional look, however its pages must be clean and inviting for visitors.

For a large proportion of your customer-base, your website is the face of your company. A potential customer would create their opinion on the quality of your products or services from your website’s design. So, its looks are very important.

We can safely say websites that look nice will receive more traffic. And these days, businesses of any size now maintain their size over the internet, so it’s your responsibility to make a website that would have a leading edge over your competitors.

So, here are some key points that need to be considered when understanding what makes a ‘good looking’ website design.

  • Color – Be careful when choosing the color scheme for your website. Each color we see evokes certain emotions. Every company in the world will use certain colors to subliminally emphasize traits of their company such as trust, quality, energy, fun, professionalism, and so on. Think about the amount of companies that use red to draw your attention to deals and offers? Red evoke alertness. See the connection now?
  • Text – Content is the backbone of any website! Always use black and white as the main font colors of your text. It’s widely accepted, so do not try to experiment much with the font style and size. Follow your ancestors in this. When choosing font style for a logo or headers, the limit of how many different fonts you should use on any one website (or any product for that matter) is two. No more. One must be completely original and represent the company, the other must be very traditional. This font will be what the majority of the text is written in, as it will be easy to read and look professional.
  • Graphics – It’s also important that your website looks interesting, and that is possible with appropriate graphics. By maintaining a balance between written text and graphics that represent what the text is trying to say, a lot more people will take interest in the content. Take for example Wikipedia. If there were never any graphics in the entire website the whole thing would be an endless stream of information. No-one would read it? Adding simple and carefully placed graphics helps the reader visualize the information.
  • Images – Make sure that the images you use in your website have not been used by others before. Stick away from the free stock-photos. Use images with the best resolution and always keep them in line with the text. Incorrectly choosing poor images and placing them weirdly on your website can make your visitors feel like the website is not finished, and unprofessional.
  • Simplicity – As we always say here at Houston Websites; less is more. Make a simple, yet informative website. Your visitors should not have to wander throughout your website in search of something they want. Make its layout simple and easy to navigate. Take for example a booking website. The first thing you will find is a search bar with the ability to search for whatever the company specializes in booking (hotel rooms, coach trips etc.). This will appear much more inviting than simply a long list of events that the visitors has to aimlessly scroll through until they find an event they like.

Content: Text Copy Must Express Your Views

After the first impression is made, people will begin reading the content that is relevant to them. Is your content good enough to express your views? Does it engage the visitor to go on reading? The answer has to be yes! Depending on the type of website you are launching, your content must be tailored to this, and your users must be able to get what they are looking for; And Easily! Be precise, informative, and relevant when you present any information or put in any content. Your content should follow these tips:

  • Short – No one loves to read more than they need. And research suggests most people scan-read when they browse the internet. So those essays you wrote in your biography? No one’s going to read every word. Get to the point and be concise. Being precise while writing up your content will impress your visitors during the only 15 seconds they may spend on your website, even if they do choose to leave!
  • Up-to-Date – Always make sure your website contains the most up-to-date information. Back dated information may make your website obsolete, and visitors will go else where.
  • Active – Make your words talk with your visitors. Avoid using self-centered words like “I”; “we” and “us” will be perceived better. Not only this, switching out “I” for “we” gives the impression your company and its website are maintained by a body of individuals rather than one person. An organization will be more trusted if its users feel its website represented by more than a single individual like a paid web designer.
  • Professional – Hiring a good content-writer can be helpful. They may write and modify content of your website. Not essential, but this can help for some more serious web design!

However, do not forget to make the website look great. It should be designed with catchy graphics and some relevant animation for grabbing attention of your visitors, but do not over-do it!

Functionality: Be Careful With This One

How does it feel when you click on some link of a website and there comes an error?! Your visitors must not experience the same and so make sure that all the components are functioning properly. Things like missing links, misleading quotes, doubtful contents and partially constructed components would chase away your visitors. Thus, before you launch your website, check every component properly. Everything must be in the way you have planned; it should include everything, from links, to forms, to content.

Also along with the technical functionalities, try to keep an eye on the content. Your website must provide relevant and correct information about your niche. Grammar is very important. No one would read anything on your website if it’s full of grammatical and typographical errors.

User Friendly: Develop a Thoughtful User Interface

It’s very important that your website is user-friendly. What that means is the content must be easy to read and the pages must be easy to navigate between. Key points to consider include:

  • Simplicity – As said very often; less is more. Pages that are simple and clean will encourage visitors to stay on your website for as long as possible. Cluttering a page can reduce its chances of being read, especially an over-busy landing page!
  • Loading Times – The time it takes a web page to load must be quick! It should not take more than 2 to 4 seconds. People become more and more impatient the longer they wait, and this can often lead to a potential customer leaving your website and clicking on someone else’s web link. You don’t want this!
  • Navigation – The way to navigate through a website has always remained very much the same. Menu bars and buttons. However the structures and positions of these continue to change. Make sure the navigation you implement into your website is easy to use but suitable for the content too. Also, consider mobile optimization! The navigation will be different on a smart phone than a desktop. You may want to look into “Responsive Web Design”.
  • Links – Remember the last time you clicked on a link, eager to get to its contents and instead you were greeted with a 404 Error? Make sure every
    link is live and working properly. Both internally across pages of your website, but also externally to video sources & reading references.
  • Compatibility – Always remember, visitors can view your website from any browser and on any device! From Firefox on iPad to Opera on Windows 8! Make sure your HTML5 & fancy animations will work properly in any browser, and make sure the layout of your pages correctly adapts to the screen sizes of any device. These compatibilities will make your company look a lot more professional!

SEO: Have a Search Engine Optimized Website

Search Engine Optimization is a huge topic and this article is too small to discuss all its aspects. So let’s just go over some of simple tips that will give you edge over competitors in becoming the first listing on search engine results:

  • It’s better using HTML-based content to design the pages and avoid Flash and Javascript. Flash makes the websites too heavy & not all browsers support it fully.
  • Customers who are looking for something in your niche of business will search using some keywords. So litter your website appropriately with appropriate keywords. This will help your potential customers get to you quickly.
  • The links should be descriptive, so that users find what they’re looking for easily.

More about Search Engine Optimization can be learned from the online tutorials. There are different branches of this topic that can be useful while setting up SEO for your website.

After reading this, hopefully you’ll understand a bit more about what makes a website great. Think about your website and how you could improve it with these tips, or if you’re still building one, try to implement these suggestions into your designs. Be on the right track by using the right tools. Good luck!

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