Technology, design trends, software and your website audience is constantly evolving. It's important to stay focused on the factors that make a website great. Here's our list of the key elements for 2016.
Responsive, Engaging Design is a Must
Your website MUST be mobile friendly in 2016. Not only will you lose viewers who are on a mobile device, Google will also punish non-mobile friendly website in their search rankings. It goes without saying that the design should reflect your brand in an engaging and professional way.
A Clear Message
A clear outline of what you or your company does is very important. Who you are, what you do and what services you provide should be very prominent in the messaging of your website.
Clean, Effective Navigation
Your navigation is also part of the overall message of your website. Users should be able to find the information that they need immediately without hunting for it. Keep it as simple as possible and remember that your users should never be more than 1 click away from the main sections of your site.
Content is King | Quality
Use professional, short and simple copywriting. If you’re not a strong writer, hire a pro. This is the core of your website and needs to be done correctly. The right keywords should be used throughout your content. Also ensure pages are named clearly and descriptively.
Content is King | Freshness
Frequently update your content. Make sure that it’s original and related to your business. A blog is one of the best ways to accomplish this. Social media integration and engagement is also very important. The goal is to give your website users a reason to return.
Effortless Contact Information
Your contact information should be easy to find and easy to use. Don’t overcomplicate contact forms. Maps should be clearly marked. Only use the contact information that you need. Don’t list the entire company directory on your contact page.
Beyond a catching, professional design, the layout of your content is very important. Website users have a VERY short attention span so your key messages need to be highlighted. Headlines should be used judiciously to focus on main items. Use short paragraphs, bullet points and space out your content with quality images. Don't be afraid of white space.
Great Website Hosting
There’s no use in spending money building a fantastic website when your hosting environment is slow, insecure and unreliable. You get what you pay for with website hosting.
Use original photos only if they are great quality. Hire a photographer if necessary. Stock photographs are great but stay away from the cheesy, generic ones. Focus on an authentic imagery whenever possible.
Current coding standards should always be followed. These days, your website is likely built on a content management platform like WordPress or Drupal. Ensure that you’re using the latest software releases for your site.
Customer Testimonials or Product Reviews
Use genuine, appropriate customer testimonials or product reviews that are fresh and up-to-date. This is a great way to provide credibility to your products or services.
Memorable Domain Name
A domain name won’t do a lot for search engine optimization (SEO) but it will help your customers remember how to find you. Your domain should be easy to remember and something that you can tell people over the phone without confusion.
Google Webmaster Tools
Take advantage of Google Webmaster Tools to help you with SEO, and to a lesser degree, website security.
A Social Media Presence
An effective social media strategy goes hand in hand with your website. It takes some effort to engage with your audience on social media but it WILL help your business. Integrating social media with your website is also a great way to feed fresh content to your site.