Currently, there are over 1.5 billion websites and that number is constantly growing.
So many websites, we hear you exclaim.
It’s understandably hard to stand out from the competition if you’re not applying the right practices to make your website distinctive.
But what makes a good website that stands out and converts traffic to actual sales?
In this article, we’ll explore why having a website is essential for your business in the modern economy and the factors that contribute to an effective and thriving website.
15 features of a great website
It’s hard to stay relevant with thousands of competitors and beautiful websites out there. Make your website truly stand out by:
- Having a clear site hierarchy
- Keeping your navigation simple
- Boasting appealing visuals
- Sharing original content
- Making your site mobile-friendly
- Paying attention to fast load time
- Having robust security
- Opting for a good domain name
- Optimizing on and off-page SEO
- Going with reputable web hosting
- Keeping your contact details updated
- Linking to your social media accounts
- Building your website to fit your niche
- Including testimonials and reviews from your customers
Creating a good website is pretty easy thanks to website builders and web hosting providers that make the process fast and accessible to anyone and everyone.
1. Clear page hierarchy
Good website design and site hierarchy are the top things that make a good website. Search engines, as well as users, find a site that’s easy to use a real treat.
Editor’s note 📝 – Page hierarchy refers to the arrangement and order of the web pages within a site – a homepage might branch off towards sub-pages, which themselves might also branch.
These are called parent and child pages, and their structure is called a site hierarchy.
Visiting a site with a confusing web design can lead to frustration and dissatisfaction. You should aim to have an intuitive site that can be navigated through without much, if any, thinking.
Poor structuring will increase your bounce rate, negatively affecting your brand. The bounce rate is the percentage of people that leave your website after only viewing a single page.
Put your customer first and ensure that this does not happen.
2. Simple navigation
A well-designed website should be easy to navigate. After all, your main job is to guide visitors down your sales funnel and get them to take a desired action.
Sounds complicated? It’s really not – basically, the menu, CTA buttons, and onsite search bars need to be easily found and relevant to the content around it.
Most sites have their menu buttons on the upper or bottom sections. Following a predictable structure will improve your user experience and sets the groundwork for a great website.
To get started, list down websites that you personally like to navigate through. Think about the features that are shared between all the websites that you find intuitive to use.
There’s no shame in borrowing good ideas from others, as long as you’re not blatantly copying anyone.
One of the common solutions many businesses love is to have a responsive, multi-level menu bar, well-structured content with a clear style, white space, and pictures, rather than a single wall of text.
Focus on simple site navigation: your users should not have to think twice when checking out your site. Don’t make them guess what will happen if they click on a particular menu item.
3. Visually appealing
It doesn’t take long for users to form an opinion about a website, so having an attractive web design is a top priority.
Considering the color scheme and overall look and feel of your brand will help to make a good website a great one.
Most website builders have a vast library of website templates, so understanding your website’s needs will help to pick a template with a great design.
Starting out with a better template means fewer problems down the line, saving you time and frustration.
And what’s more, an economical website template decreases its bounce rate and increases the loading speed of your pages. So don’t go all out on huge files or complicated design features.
Other than choosing a template with an appealing and clear design, you have to make sure to opt for one that won’t be distracting your visitors from the content of your site.
If your blog posts are your main selling point, picking a photography portfolio template might not be the best way to get your target audience to focus on your writing.
4. Original content
It’s safe to say that good high-quality content is half of what makes a good website.
Be ready to provide fresh and original content regularly to boost your search engine optimization, and eventually rank higher in Search Engine Results Pages.
Ranking higher in SERPs means increasing the chances of getting discovered by potential clients and partners. It also helps your site to stay relevant.
Good websites focus on customers’ needs, so make sure your content is relevant and contains the information they seek.
It may sound tedious, and you may be tempted to take a shortcut and copy content from other sites, however, plagiarism is not only illegal but also harms your SEO.
One useful tip for high-quality content is to have a blog section on your site and hire professional content writers, or editors with SEO knowledge, to provide unique copies for you.
5. Make it mobile-friendly
It’s also important to make sure your website is compatible with all browsers and devices.
Keep in mind, that the average website takes 87% longer to load on mobile. Have you ever closed a tab because the website took too long to load? If you’ve done it, chances are that people visiting your website will do so too.
Use tools like Google Analytics to check how much of your overall site traffic is coming from mobile devices.
Knowing more about your audience and their preferences helps you to provide your visitors with a seamless customer experience.
Plus, having a mobile-friendly website design makes it easier for you to make use of mobile-specific marketing strategies, like push notifications or text messages in retaining visitors on your site for longer.
In other words, making your site aesthetically pleasing for mobile users is an essential part of inclusive and consistent branding.
6. Fast load times
If you’ve ever visited a slow-loading website, you are most likely familiar with the feeling of frustration that comes with it.
The truth is that 40% of visitors would rather leave than wait for a site to load for longer than 3 seconds. So, an unresponsive and slow website means a loss of revenue.
Luckily, there are precautions you can take to prevent page load time issues from happening to your site.
Picking an optimized, fast website template, compressing images, fixing any broken links – that’s just some of the few actions you can take.
Tip 💁 – Partnering up with a reliable web hosting provider or a website builder can also be a good way to tackle any site speed issues. Check that they are offering high loading speeds and you know your website will be in good hands.
7. Robust security
One of the top priorities of a good website is security. Good security protects the content of your site, as well as your visitors’ privacy.
This is especially important if you’re running a site that deals with users’ sensitive information, such as credit card numbers or personal data.
Make sure to always implement the right security measures, such as keeping your software up to date to avert hacking attempts, and backing up your website regularly in case of data loss.
Web hosting choices also play a big role in your security. Always choose a secure and reputable web hosting provider.
Another way to be sure that your website is safe is by installing an SSL certificate that encrypts your internet connection and protects any data transferred to and from your site.
Having that green padlock visible in your address bar builds trust, signals the visitors that you’re serious about what you do, and also helps you boost your SEO ranking.
8. Effective domain name
Before you create a website, one of the most important steps is to choose the right domain name.
It sounds simple but if it’s not done right, it could be an issue in the future, as it directly relates to your brand awareness.
Let’s say that your company deals with IT scrap and metal recycling. While it might be tempting to call your domain by your small business name ‘IT Scrap’, think twice about how this translates into a domain.
Because will itscrap.com really reflect your business in the best way possible?
When choosing a domain you should try to follow domain name best practices. The best tip is to keep your domain name short, unique, and memorable.
The perfect domain should pass the Bar Test. This means that your domain should be easy enough to understand if told to a friend across a table in a bar. Avoid a domain name that’s long or has difficult words in it, or is hard to spell.
Try to also avoid using hyphens or numbers in order to seem more professional and come up with something you can use for years on end as well.
Taking the time to think about your domain will make it easier to grow your small business and brand in the future. You don’t want to end up on this list, do you?
If you’re in the process of choosing one, consider using the Zyro domain name checker to check the domain’s availability along with its price.
Once you have your domain name sorted, the next steps to success are a little bit easier.
9. Focus on off-page SEO
The importance of search engine optimization for a website’s ranking in SERPs (the search results pages) is well known to most website owners.
To fully utilize off-page SEO, focus on understanding what these external optimization practices are and how website owners employ them outside of their websites.
Back-linking is one of the best examples. It builds your brand reputation and lets the search engines know you have a quality site.
You can improve your backlink percentage with guest posts, or simply create relevant content people want to link to.
Editor’s note 📝 – Think about how your content answers particular search queries that people might ask Google. If you have an online shoe store, maybe you could write in-depth articles on the best features of winter boots for particular weather conditions.
You could also consider using affiliate marketing to boost your off-page SEO. Partnering up with affiliate partners who create rankings for particular products or review products in a particular niche can be a great way to boost the reputation of your website.
10. Don’t neglect local SEO
On-page or local SEO is the practice of optimizing your website from the web page itself.
This includes keyword research and optimization, content optimization, title tag description, SEO-friendly URL, image alt text, and so on.
Nowadays, many websites use different tools and services to help them maximize their on-page SEO.
What is more, the clearer your website’s structure is, the better your chance of optimizing your website’s on-page SEO.
Crawling bots are attracted to websites with a clear structure, as it’s easier to crawl and index your content for search engines.
Keep your site structure tidy and ensure that each page has a true purpose on your site.
11. Reputable web hosting
Choosing the right hosting provider is core to creating a fully functioning and efficient site.
A good web hosting provider correlates to how secure your site is, and also how easy it is to maintain.
Since web hosting is essentially the basic foundation of a site, make sure you choose one with good server uptime, robust security, and reliable live support that will be ready to help you out any time of the day.
With Zyro, free cloud hosting is included in all plans, allowing users to publish great websites without having to purchase a separate hosting plan.
Part of what makes a good website is related to how easy the management side of it is.
That’s why, especially if you’re a novice, we recommend opting for an all-inclusive platform that covers your web hosting and the site-building process.
12. Up-to-date contact information
If your contact information is not up to date on your website, you might as well not have a site.
The best website design makes it easy to include all the essential contact details on the bottom of all pages in the site footer.
Including a dedicated contacts page is also a great website design choice for most websites.
Having a separate page that details how to get in touch with your business make it really easy and intuitive for your visitors to reach out to you.
13. Links to your social media accounts
Your online presence is more than just your website.
Great websites not only link to multiple social media accounts but also pay attention to detail.
To build a successful brand, you should consider using your domain as your social media handle whenever you can.
You should also base your website design on an overall visual brand guide.
This way your website and your social media accounts look and feel the same, and visitors get a smooth experience when checking your Facebook page out, for example.
If you have an online store, for example, consider integrating social media into your website, too.
Adding an Instagram feed and Facebook chat to your website makes it easy for potential customers to ask you questions and get to know you as a brand better.
Don’t let the amazing Instagram collages of your products go unnoticed.
14. Purpose-built for your niche
Another thing that makes up a good website is its functionality. No matter what’s the niche of your site, it’s important to make sure it serves its purpose.
If you’re creating an eCommerce site, then it should have built-in payment processing, a check-out cart, marketing integrations, and appropriate security measures for safe payment.
And on the flip side, if you’re mainly using your site to create content for your blog, you want a platform with a good text editor, support for serif fonts, and robust publishing options.
Similarly, a small business website wants to communicate the available services, testimonials, and contact information easily to potential new clients, and have clear calls to action across the site.
Start by thinking about the core features and functions that your site needs, and build your masterpiece around that.
Don’t forget to use analytics tools like Google Analytics to understand your target audience better (who they are, where they come from, and so on).
15. Include testimonials and reviews
Nothing builds trust between you and potential new customers than social proof and heartfelt testimonials from your existing customers.
Gathering honest and real reviews from your customers is easier than you might think. Offer a small perk, like free shipping or discount on their next order, and before you know it, you’ll have lots of valuable feedback.
Depending on your business and the services you offer, you could dedicate a whole page for case studies or success stories of your customers.
With an eCommerce business, most platforms let users leave reviews of the products on the actual product pages. This simplifies the shopping process for potential customers.
Tip 💁 – Don’t forget to also encourage reviews and feedback for your products on social media.
Why is having a website important?
Owning a website as a brand or an individual brings advantages such as the potential to reach a wider audience, ease of engagement, more opportunities for marketing and sales, and increased brand recognition.
It’s reported that less than two-thirds of small businesses have websites.
That may seem like a big fraction, but in the context of the fact that 89% of purchase decisions made by customers rely on search engines, that statistic seems small.
If you’re running a store for selling products or services, not having a website can limit your chances to expand your business, enjoy increased conversions, and generate sales.
Regardless of whether you’re running an online business or not, having a site serving as a solid foundation for you and your brand can benefit you greatly.
Having a site for your business makes sense for various reasons:
- Establishing an online presence. It gives your brand more exposure, increasing its chance to compete.
- It’s cost-effective. Running and maintaining a site is affordable, especially when you consider the financially beneficial opportunities you gain.
- Reach a wider audience through advertising. Advertising products and services online expose you to a much wider audience. Plus, you can collect data and benefit from data-driven decision-making in your marketing.
- Accessibility by eliminating geographical and time zone boundaries. A site allows you to be accessible worldwide, as your success is not limited by geography.
- Building a community. A website allows simple communication through forums and message boards, which establishes trust between the customer and the brand.
- Opening new opportunities. Having a site opens you up to new opportunities such as partnerships, sponsorships, job offers, and online marketing opportunities.
- Medium for your own creativity. On your own site, you design and write each article. So, if you’re a creative person, you can put your passion to use when it comes to your content.