What Makes A Good Versus Bad Website

Introduction 

Successful websites require individuals, businesses and organisations to respond to an evolving internet by ensuring that their website is leading edge, competitive and lucrative.

In general, good websites meet internet industry standards and benchmarks in terms of technology,design, development, content strategy and marketing, search engine optimisation (SEO), social media marketing (SMM) and online marketing.
The promotion of a website and its content is just as important as the manner in which it looks,behaves and functions. This article outlines the important aspects to consider within each section to ensure that your website is great.

WEBSITE TECHNOLOGY

good website

The technology used to build your websites should be robust, scalable, extensible and well supported.

There are a wide range of technologies available with which to develop websites. Examples include HTML5, Javascript, Microsoft ASP.NET, PHP and many more.

If you need to manage your own content (e.g. webpage content, news articles, blogs, testimonials,case studies etc.) then your website will need to be built with a Content Management System (CMS). Examples of CMS include Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal, Umbraco and many more.

It is important to choose the correct technology and CMS and ensure that it is robust, scalable,extensible and well supported. The chosen technology should have the capability to handle future growth of the website as new features and functionality are required. It is far more beneficial to choose the correct technology upfront rather than being forced to change technology once the
website is up and running due to insufficiencies in the chosen technology.

Good website:

• Developed in a popular technology or powerful CMS with a clear appreciation of current and future requirements.

Bad website:

• Chosen with short sightedness and without clearly thinking through the requirements.
Useful information:
• Web Development - http://liketohelp.com/development-overview.html

WEBSITE DESIGN

Website Design
Design and layout should be modern, appealing, engaging and accessible to people with diverse abilities.

The quality of your website design and layout should be modern, appealing, engaging and accessible to people with diverse abilities. Your brand should be portrayed in a manner to allow your business online to convert your website visitors’ into sales, leads and opportunities.

The most important factor nowadays is that your website provides an optimal viewing experience with easy reading and navigation, across a wide range of screen resolutions and mobile devices including desktops, laptops, smart TVs, tablets, phablets, smart phones and forthcoming devices. Responsive websites are a great option as the internet and digital devices evolve. As the number of different devices and screen resolutions continues to grow, websites need to ensure that visitors are provided with the same great experience in a device agnostic manner.

Designs need to include clear and logical navigation of content and web pages to make it easy for your website visitors to find the content they are looking for.

Good website:

• Seamlessly provides a great user experience across screen resolutions and mobile devices.
• Includes clear and logical navigation.
• Focus’ on portraying content in the best possible manner centred on user behaviour, driven from analysis of user personas and usage patterns (using Google Analytics).

Bad website: 

• A desktop only design forcing visitors to pinch and zoom to read and navigate on mobile devices.• Unclear and confusing navigation.
• Not designed around user personas and usage patterns due to insufficient research.

Useful information:

• Responsive Web Design - http://liketohelp.com/responsive-web-design.html
• Introduction to User Centred Design -
http://www.slideshare.net/rohansandeep/anintroductiontoucd

WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT

entrepreneur
Websites should be high quality, adhere to web standards, be free from errors and be accessible to all people. Website features should be appropriate and relevant to visitors.

Quality and Standards

The structure and quality of your website code should satisfy web standards and be free from errors.

This is important for:

• Website visitors – if your website code has errors then your website may not be properly displayed for visitors when using particular web browsers (e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari) or mobile devices. This negative user experience may make your website visitors leave and they may never return resulting in the loss of a potential customer.
• Search engines – search engine robots regularly scan websites to gain information to include in their search engine indexes so that it can be used when listing websites in search engine result pages (e.g. Google, Bing and Yahoo search listings). If your website code has errors then search engine robots may not be able to successfully crawl your entire website and this may affect the quality and position of your search engine rankings.

Accessibility

Web accessibility means that people with disabilities and older people with changing abilities due to aging can use the internet. Accessibility is essential for businesses and organisations that want to create high quality websites and not exclude people from using their products and services. Case studies show that accessible websites have better search results, reduced maintenance costs, and increased audience reach, among other benefits.

Features 

There are a myriad of online features that can be added to websites to portray your business information and services in the most engaging manner and best user experience. It’s not the amount of features that is important, it’s choosing the most appropriate features to make the visitors experience enjoyable and informative.

Good website:

• Developed to web standards and be free from errors.
• Accessible to people of all abilities to ensure no one is excluded.
• Includes only the most appropriate features and functionality to portray information in thebest possible manner for visitors.

Bad website:

• Does not adhere to web standards and contains errors.
• Built without web accessibility in mind and so excludes people of certain abilities.
• Includes too many, not enough or inappropriate features so doesn’t portray information in the best possible manner for visitors.
• Poor functionality that delivers a negative user experience.

Useful information:

• Web Development - http://liketohelp.com/development-overview.html

CONTENT STRATEGY AND MARKETING

content marketing
The biggest challenge with your website is not the design – it's getting the visitor to STOP and begin a relationship with you.

And this is down to your content. In today’s online world, marketing your content is the key to a successful website. Your content needs to satisfy people’s need for curiosity and inspiration, to feel smart and entertained. Your visitors should feel inspired to like, share and discuss your content.
More than ever, the content you portray online for your business is the key to success and what will give your business a strong chance to capture sales, leads and customers.

Content Marketing, also known as Inbound Marketing, changes the traditional manner of Outbound Marketing (cold calling, paper advertising, radio, TV advertisements, sales fliers, email marketing and telemarketing) with a process of advertising a business through its content. Content Marketing earns the attentions of consumers and draws visitors to business sites by producing engaging and interesting content.

Case studies have shown that businesses that have created a content creation culture online have increased engagement and ultimately sales, leads and customers.

Good website:

• Developed with a focus on appropriate content for the consumer.
• Provides a variety of useful content to consumers.
• Has a culture of content additions to keep visitors interested and engaged.
• Targets user personas through careful research and analysis.
• Has an authoritative, compelling, unique selling proposition on the homepage.
• Includes video marketing.
• Constant updates of news/blogs for the benefit of visitors and search engines.
• At least one Call To Action (CTA) per web page.
• Contact information (telephone, email) on every page.
• Contact page with full contact details, email capture form (optional) and strong CTA.

Bad website:

• Does not focus on content that is useful and appropriate for consumers.
• A lack of content creation culture resulting in stale content, little consumer engagement and low search engine rankings.
• Does not have an authoritative, compelling, unique selling proposition on the homepage.
• Poor contact information.
• No Call To Actions (CTA)

Useful information:

• Inbound Marketing - http://liketohelp.com/inbound-marketing.html

SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION

web
Your website's prominent position in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS) contributes to the recognition of your brand and name. Targeted visitors to your website can provide the publicity and exposure you need to generate interest and revenue.

Investing in successful SEO can provide an
exceptional return on investment. SEO is an ongoing effort and the SEO landscape is constantly changing e.g. Google algorithm updates. SEO needs to be constantly monitored and respond to ensure SERPS are performing. Successful websites have a solid SEO foundation including optimised keyphrases, page copy, page titles, meta description, meta keywords, title tags, internal links, image tags and sitemaps.
Off-site SEO is also beneficial including Google Places For Business, Google Sitemap and Google+.

Good website:

• Has identified and implemented targeted keyphrases across page copy, page titles, meta description, meta keywords, title tags, internal links, image tags and sitemaps.
• Implements Rich Snippets – a new feature of SEO that improves SERP results.
• Successful off-site SEO.

Bad website:

• Poor use of targeted keyphrases resulting in wasted SEO opportunities in page copy, page titles, meta description, meta keywords, title tags, internal links, image tags and sitemaps.
• No implementation of any off-site SEO.

Useful information:

• Search Engine Optimisation - http://liketohelp.com/search-engine-optimisation.html
• Rich Snippets - https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/99170?hl=en

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING (SMM)

social media marketing
The alternative to search engines where people look to find businesses to engage with is social media. Successful social media marketing of your business, website and its content can substantially increase website visitors, sales, leads and customers.

To maximise the potential of social media takes careful planning, time and effort. Your social mediastrategy should define clear goals, target audiences, activities and timescales. Performance should be monitored and measured to ensure that your social reputation and retention delivers the best ROI. The strategy should include plans for engagement, expansion and growth.

Good website:

• Contains an embedded Twitter feed on the website.
• Links to social media channels e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest etc.
• Has a clear website promotion strategy on social media.
• Monitors and measures social media performance to get the best ROI.
• Links to supporting social media channels that post ongoing scheduled content, campaigns and promotions.

Bad website:

• No social media presence or links to social media channels from its website.
• Ignores the power of social media to attract more visitors, sales, leads and customers.
• No social media strategy and infrequent and insufficient content posted/ tweeted.
• Doesn’t monitor, measure or respond to social media performance results.

Useful information:

• Social Media Marketing - http://liketohelp.com/social-media-marketing.html
• Social Media Management - http://liketohelp.com/social-media-management.html
• Social Media Promotions - http://liketohelp.com/social-media-promotions.html

ONLINE MARKETING

online marketing

Online marketing solutions are designed to increase brand awareness, help drive more visitors to your online sites, stay engaged with your consumers and convert visitors into potential customers.Using a combination of popular, tried and tested techniques you can improve and increase the reach and impact of your online sites in order to grow a more competitive and lucrative business online.

There are many options including PPC (Google Adwords, Twitter Promotions, Facebook Advertising), Email Marketing, Retargeting and many more.

Good website:

• Employs appropriate online marketing solutions and techniques to improve brand
awareness and drive visitors.

Bad website:

• Ignores online marketing solutions and techniques resulting in missed opportunities.
Useful information:
• Online Marketing Solutions - http://liketohelp.com/online-marketing-solutions.html

 

This guid is sponsored by Like To Help Limited who offer a range of digital services. We are delighted to work in partnership with them to offer you as a Mum Plus Business member discounts on Social Media Management, Online Marketing and Business Websites. Click here to find out more about the special offers.