Websites today are the integral parts of our lives, no matter we have anything to do with computer science or not. When it comes to performance and likability of any website, several factors play a key role. Significant efforts are required in different areas, like usability, security, scalability, etc., to develop a gorgeous and eye-catching website.
Clearly, creating a good website, which can engage customers and receive good organic traffic, is not a piece of cake. Web designers and Web developers both have to work hard together for several days. This post is meant to guide both lay tech audience and high tech audience (web design professionals), about some basic things you must take care of when developing a website. We will briefly elaborate on the qualities of a professional website.
If you think of a website as a cake you are going to bake in your kitchen, we are going to describe the necessary ingredients. They will be useful for you, no matter you are building a website by yourself or have hired any web development services.
Good Domain Name & Hosting
Domain name and hosting are the rudimentary elements and compromising on their quality can even shut down your website. Domain names do not only serve as the first image of your website. Yes, the name has to be professional and relevant to your niche, but it should also be technically appropriate one from an SEO point of view. Searching for a good domain will not waste your time and money, but save both of them.
Hosting is the second major factor, which influences the performance of your website. Consider the nature of your website and the technical aspects you care about. Before choosing any hosting company, make sure to read the reviews of previous users. Select the hosting which best suits your needs. Try not to opt free or shared hosting, as they are very unreliable.
CMS (Content Management System)
There must be any good functional program to manage the backend of your website. Otherwise, chances of progress may reduce to zero. Perhaps the engine of your sports car is the best example. Strong backend service is vital for any web application. WordPress is a very good choice, if the nature of your website is informational, while Magento might be a better option if your site is e-commerce based.
Design Is Everything
Design needs to be professionally clean and amazingly appealing. Quality design is the design, which accurately conveys the message and value of your brand. Avoid a large amount of text and over colorful designing. The design is a broad term, and many factors fall under the category.
Color Scheme is a critical aspect of design. Different colors have the ability to stir up the human mind. Any color can arouse any specific feeling, like calmness, euphoria, frustration, fear, danger, love or melancholy. Keep in mind color psychology, niche of your site and branding requirements of your own business. Also, think about your target audience. What color can best allure them? Which color will make them think the way you want them to think?
The logo of your brand definitely contributes to the overall image. The logo should be designed professionally enough to convey the unique voice of your brand. Place the logo on your website, where it shines the most without interrupting with anything else. When you hire someone for Web Development services, make it clear that they will deliver the design or not. Because there is a difference in web design and web development.
The design would definitely help grab the attention of the viewer, but when it comes to keeping the customer around, the design might not turn out to be sufficient. What you need to retain the customer and not let him go is functionality.
Again, functionality is a broad term and many factors should be taken into account. The website should be 100% functional from a user’s perspective. There is no room for broken links, and errors. Contact forms, surveys and feedback areas must work properly. Any slight carelessness can make you lose subscribers.
Navigation is something user will deal with all the time when looking at your website. It should be functional and convenient. Review your navigation in depth and try to look from the enemy’s perspective of catching errors. Adding a sitemap is the best decision you can make. Remove underperforming and un-necessary pages.
The website should be very easy to use. Today’s customer generally does not like solving puzzles and leave, if he does not find the website usability good enough. Include all the features, which would make site fun to use and navigate. Your contact information should be well displayed and easy to find. If a user intends to subscribe after reading the post, subscribe option should be very near to him.
Call to Action buttons enhance the functionality of web application. Placing them on appropriate location inspires the viewer to contact you. A warm and friendly message like, “Give Us Call Now” makes the customer feel comfortable contacting you right now and boosts the likability. Make sure to add at least one call to action button at each page.
One of the most important key ingredients of successful and professional websites is speed. The user has very little time, and your site must be qualified enough to load quickly. Research suggests that if a website takes more than 3 seconds to load, the user will go to another link. Nothing annoys user more than slow loading pages. Wait feels like the agony of death, and nobody wants to die. Test your website and fix loading time issues, if you want to survive. Fix it before officially launching it. If you do not, the competitor will.
Active Blog is a must ingredient of every successful website. It keeps the customers well informed about the latest products, events and any kind of information relevant to the industry. It is a great way to connect with the audience. Importance of blog multiplies, if blog helps the promotion of your brand.
SEO Optimized & Clean Code
Well-written code is the blood that flows through any web-based application. If blood is not clean, the body has to face serious health issues. Clean and SEO friendly code is critical. It would increment overall return on investment and act as a good guide for search engines. Experts know very well, how important SEO is for the website.
You are never sure, which device and which browser your customers use. There would be Internet Explorer users, Google Chrome users or Opera users. In the same context, some will use desktop computers and many will be using mobile phones. Your website should be accessible from a maximum number of browsers. Moreover, do not forget that your website should be mobile friendly.
Social Media Integration
In the past, social media might have been a luxury, but now it is more than a necessity. It is a suitable platform for the customer to gain valuable insights into your brand and share their reviews. Social media can handle both written and visual content. Do embed social sharing buttons (Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and Instagram, etc) on your website. Place them tactfully enough that they do not interrupt any of the design elements.
Technology is two-fold. Good people use it for good purpose, but evil people can use them for destructive intentions. Unfortunately, the evolution of technology and the number of bad people are equally growing.
Every day we come across new and advanced security risk, haunting our websites. There are malware, viruses and malicious apps all around the web. Make sure to avoid security breaches from both front end and back end of your website.
Without proper measures of security, no website can survive. You are swimming in dangerous waters if your website is e-commerce based and your customers daily share their personal information. The more sensitive is the niche of your websites, the more hackers target you.
Make sure to add SSL certificates on your website. It encrypts the communication between browser and server.
Content & Stock Images
Content is King. Share high quality and original content relevant to your niche. Content has invisible powers of driving traffic. Everything influences the rankings of the website, be it the quality of content or keywords used.
Everything found on your website is considered intellectual property and falls under the category of copyright laws. Never compromise the originality of content. I repeat, never. Duplicate content can bring you to trial and steep penalties.
Just like the text, using copyrighted images can also lead to serious consequences. Make sure to obtain images from any website, which offers free-copyrighted images.
Tracking Your Website
There are many tools like Google Analytics and Google Webmaster tools, which provide a mechanism to accurately calculate ROI.
You can use these tools to monitor traffic, engagement and conversion rates. Hence, you can figure out which strategies worked best.
In The Nutshell
Therefore, we covered some very basic ingredients of web development. However, this is not the end; it is on the contrary beginning. We covered the main road, now it is on the reader to discover little streets out there. Web Development is one of the hottest careers of the modern era.