If you are considering creating a website for your small business this year, or even giving your current website a makeover, then this is the time to do it! According to AT&T Small Business Technology Poll 2013, 67% of small businesses are marketing their products or services by using a website. Furthermore, Google data shows small businesses with websites grow 40% faster than those without.
The first question you should ask yourself is what makes a good website? What characteristics does your website need to have to be effective in marketing your small business?
It may be easy to jump to all the things you like and want to include them all in your website (you know… the pink ponies and shooting stars or animatronics and animated cars racing across the screen) but the best rule of thumb is to first consider what your user/customer needs and what they are trying to accomplish on your site. Try to keep these questions top of mind: What makes a good website for someone who has never been to your website before and what makes it easy for them to become a customer?
Here are 11 things to consider when asking what makes a good website?
- Professional look and feel-Choose your website design and layout wisely. Choose a template or a design that has a professional look and feel that reflects your small business.
- Consistency throughout the site- Keep a consistent template throughout your website so that no matter which page visitors go to, they can find what they are looking for and don’t feel like they have left your website.
- Engaging/relevant images-Images can bring life to your website and engage your visitors, but only if they are relevant and look professional. Using clip art or other outdated images can make your business look unprofessional and outdated.
- Loading speed- Loading speed is a factor that can make or break a good website. Since we are becoming more and more accustomed to fast connections and immediate response, we expect websites to load very quickly. Make sure your images are sized for the web so that they don’t slow your website down and turn visitors away.
- Ease of navigation- Designing a website that is easy for visitors to navigate is key to what makes a good website. If visitors cannot find what they are looking for, they will leave. Make the navigation easy to find, with clear labeling and not too many layers to dive into. Read More: 3 Examples of Companies That Understand Easy Navigation is What Makes a Good Website
- Use color with care- The use of color is an important factor in making a good website. Adding just the right amount of color contrast can give a nice feel to your website, but too much of a good thing can turn bad. Make sure you have the right amount of contrast and the right amount of colors. Read More: Increase Website Conversion with the Right Colors
- Helpful quality content- Although the first impression of a website is the layout and design, the second (and in my opinion, the more important) is the content provided. Your content should be inviting, personal, informative and of high quality. Without it, your website is not very useful. Read More: Internet Marketing Tips: Content is King
- A takeaway- One easy way to make a good website great, is to give your visitors something of value that they can take away. Whether it is a tip to make life easier, a coupon, a downloadable checklist or even a 20 page eBook on a subject they want to know more about, giving your visitors something of value that they can take away with them makes a good website one that they will want to come back to for more.
- Engaging Video- Although words are very important, a well placed video engages your visitors and can provide helpful information, tell a story, and delight your visitors all in a quick minute. But be careful, don't use videos that pop up in your visitor's face or go on and on and on. Make them fun, engaging and helpful and you will find they may even be shared or promoted by your viewers! Read more: What Makes A Good Website You Ask? Awesome Videos of Course!
- Mobile responsiveness- As we use mobile devices more and more, our websites need to be responsive to the devices they are being viewed on. If a website is too hard to navigate on a mobile device, those users are likely to leave and not stay on your site.
- A blog- One aspect that is not mentioned very often as to what makes a good website is including a blog. A critical part of your website's effectiveness in attracting visitors and bringing them back to your site is adding new and relevant content on a consistent basis. The best way to do this is to add a blog to your website and consistently add new content that directly answers the questions your visitors have or brings new information, tips or ideas that they want. Read more: Why Blog? 4 Simple Reasons You Should Be Blogging