In this article I’m going to focus on what makes a good business website. The kind of website local businesses need (but many of the features described are relevant to most websites).
The aim of asking ‘What makes a good website’ is highlight some of the features that can help local business websites to generate more sales , a good website makes this as easy as possible for a potential customer to see the information they need (be it products, phone number , location , type of service etc ) , to make a purchase.
Make it device friendly (Responsive Web Design)
Your website should look good ( easily viewable ) , in most devices that could be a smart phones, tablets, laptops or desktop computers. Responsive web design means your website responds to the particular device that the viewer is using. For example your website might be 3 columns on desktop computer and it changes to 1 column on a mobile phone (which makes it much easier to view on a mobile). A good website to test out how your website looks on different devices is http://www.responsinator.com/ just go there and enter your website address.
A handy feature to have on a website being viewed on a mobile phone is a ‘click to ring’ telephone button. This allows you to quickly be talking to a prospective customer about your product or service. For example if this website is viewed on a mobile you see it like this (notice telephone in top left).
Make it simple for your customers to get to what they need quickly. This might be a product page, a services page or a contact page. Most of the time its best to place navigation either at the top of the page or on the left of the page.
A Good Contact Page
Display all the vital information Telephone, email and postal address clearly and prominently. A map and a contact form are also very useful.
Call to Action
A call to action is marketing jargon for getting the viewer/customer to do something. This can be many things such as capture the users email address with a form or display a special offer to entice the customer. A special offer could be highlighted with a banner near the top of the page something like this.
Good Simple Design
Some designers have a tendency to make designs over complicated ( especially true of some the interior designers I see on the telly). Don’t use too many different fonts and loads of different colours. Some of the best websites have very simple designs. Look at some of these to see what i mean:
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
All good websites need good onsite SEO for their keywords to be found. Its important that keywords and phrases are researched before doing the content for websites, this way good words and phrases can be choosen to ensure good Search Engine placement. For more on onsite SEO read my previous post on SEO. The other important factor is offsite SEO which is basically links to your website, however its very important that the links are good quality and relevant. Google has started to mark down websites on bad quality links. So now more than ever its vital that your SEO is done by someone who knows what they are doing.
If you use social media to promote your business ( a great marketing tool that allows you to engage with your customers), then make sure you have your social media icons shown so customers can easily choose to follow you. This way you can market to them by publicising offers and deals via twitter etc.
Cookie Message (for EU websites)
The EU passed a new law on cookies in 2011 now all EU websites must carry a message informing website users about them. Websites that don’t comply with this can be fined see this.
In this article about what makes a good website , I hope I’ve shown some of the features that are important to make good business websites, that allow leads and purchases to be generated by your website.