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What is Good Website Design?

man in museum comparing desktop vs mobile versions of a website

At Joe Web, our definition of a 'successful website' is one that 1) achieves the site owner's goals (such as increasing company sales) and 2) engages its visitors and encourages them to interact with its content. Ultimately, the site should deliver a positive Return on Investment (ROI) for the site's owner.

So, a 'good design' is one that smartly incorporates every element that contributes to a site's success while avoiding anything that may detract.

"When you look at the most popular and profitable websites, rarely are they the prettiest or most flashy."

Unfortunately, many small business owners may think they know what makes a website successful. Studies show, however, that many of the most commonly requested features are either irrelevant or detrimental to a website's success.

5 Common mistakes when designing a website

1. Overemphasis on visuals

While aesthetics are certainly important, colors, graphics, popups, and animation are only important as long as they help to communicate the site's primary message. In reality, it's the basics, like easy navigation, intuitive site design, usability, and functionality, that will determine whether or not a site is likely to successfully achieve its purpose.

2. Mistaking complexity for quality

Complex, intricate layouts that contain animations, sliders, and other flashy features are much more likely to slow down a page and confuse and frustrate visitors, rather than impress them. Almost every user study shows that visitors and shoppers appreciate sites that are simple, fast-loading, and easy to use.

3. Minimizing the importance of how a site looks, works, and loads on phones and tablets

According to MobiLoud, a mobile app development firm, approximately 60% of web traffic is coming from phones and just 40% from desktops.

4. Undervaluing the importance of a site's wording

Every site owner seems to see value in visual appeal. But it's the mundane wording used in your body copy, product details, descriptions, and other content that's more likely to engage visitors and convert them into customers.

5.Viewing SEO as separate from (or contrary to) a pleasing customer experience

Fortunately, web pages that load quickly, are well organized to be simple and clear, easy to navigate, display well on all devices, contain no broken links, and provide content that appeals to visitors are the sites that tend to rank highly among visitor satisfaction and search engine rankings. Thankfully, the days of hiding content and implementing mysterious secrets to achieve good SEO are long gone.

What, then, does a well designed website look like?

Here are the design aspects to focus your efforts on:

1. Define a clear goal and purpose for your site.

Is your site intended to share ideas, sell products, drive customers to your showroom, entertain, etc.? This purpose should define the direction of the content and design.

2. Focus on the user experience (UX).

The site should be quick-loading, look good on all devices and screen sizes, be intuitive to navigate, visually appealing, and accessible.

3. The content should be engaging.

Your wording, visuals, videos, etc. should be relevant, cohesive, speak the language of your target market, provide the information that visitors need, be easy to read and understand, and motivate them to act (if that's the intended purpose).

4. Branding and identity should be consistent.

The logo, colors, fonts, and messaging should all fit together and work together to establish professionalism, credibility, and trust.

5. Search engine ranking (SEO) should figure into every element on the site.

If no one will find your site, then nothing else matters. Fortunately, good SEO practices can be made to align with a good visitor experience.

6. Prioritize page loading speed and performance reliability across all devices and browsers.

According to WebFX studies, if a page longer than 3 seconds to load, 53% of visitors will abandon the site and move on. Unfortunately, they find that the average website takes 22 seconds to load. And keep in mind that this applies even to users who may have slow internet access.

7. Provide tools for measuring the website's success.

If you have no analytics or performance metrics tracking on your site, it's impossible to know if the site is accomplishing its goals. The site may be driving traffic, only to have visitors leave if the pricing isn't competitive, the products are inferior, or customer service is lacking. And, if the site is not driving traffic, it is important to know that as well. Then start evaluating all elements of the site, looking for ways to improve them.

Examples of metrics to measure may include search engine rankings for important keywords, number and quality of visitors, average time on page, bounce rate, lead generation, newsletter signups, conversions, social sharing, etc.

8. A site should be easy to update and modify as needed.

If customer demands or the objective of the site changes, hopefully the site can be modified to evolve accordingly.

Summary

Good website design involves so much more than simply visual appeal or including fancy features. Sites must be designed with a focus on the site's objectives, the visitors' experience, and how to assure a meaningful outcome for both.

Here's a quick checklist for evaluating almost any website:

  • Clear and intuitive navigation.
  • Responsive design.
  • Fast loading times.
  • Cohesive and visually appealing design, graphics, and typography.
  • Inviting, clear, and easily readable text with the use of headings, subheadings, and bullet points.
  • Accessible to all users.
  • A call to action (CTA) should be strategically placed and clearly visible.
  • Multimedia on the site should enhance the customer experience and support the site's purpose.
  • Optimized for SEO, including elements such as rich markup schema, Facebook OG tags, Twitter cards, and user-friendly URLs.
  • Contact information should be consistent and clearly visible.

Contact Joe Web site design in Asheville

At Joe Web Site Design, we make the web design process easy and stress-free. Our team is friendly, supportive, and dedicated to helping your business succeed online.

To learn more about us and discuss your website needs and goals, call us today at 828-242-5994.

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