What Makes a Good Website?
This question has been asked by every single person who has ever been serious about getting a professional web presence.
After spending almost a decade building hundreds of websites for business owners in Lubbock and West Texas, as well as analyzing thousands of websites that operate from around the world, we’ve learned a few things about what separate the good ones from the bad ones.
Here are five important questions you should ask yourself about your current or future website.
1. Does It Look Attractive?
Most people know they shouldn’t do it, but they still judge a book by its cover anyway. The bottom line? Presentation matters. First impressions matter. Looking good matters.
If your website doesn’t look attractive, viewers are much less likely to become readers, and readers are much less likely to become buyers. An aesthetically pleasing website is the first step to having a successful website.
Yes, there are exceptions. Craigslist won’t be winning any awards for their website design any time soon. Google’s home page is about as simple as it gets. But generally speaking, looking good pays off.
2. Is It Optimized for Search Engines?
These days everyone uses search engines — usually Google — to find what they want on the internet (or to find what they want in real life, and they simply need to get information or directions on the internet). This is wonderful news… if your business is the one that is found.
If someone is looking to get a professional massage in Lubbock, the licensed massage therapists who made search engine optimization (SEO) a priority will be most likely the be found when that potential client searches for “massage therapist lubbock tx” on his or her smartphone.
It’s important for your website to look nice and professional. But it’s equally important for it to be visible; otherwise, no one will even know you exist. A perfectly designed billboard in the middle of an empty desert isn’t going to be very useful.
3. Is It User-Friendly?
Is your website easy to navigate? Is the layout consistent? Is the text easy to read? Do all the links work properly? Is it mobile-friendly? Do your potential customers know exactly where to go, or who to contact, when they need specific information?
Some of these questions can fall under the design category, and some can fall under the SEO category. Ultimately, though, they all fall under the umbrella of the “User Experience” — after all, the reason why your website exists is for people to use it, learn more, and do business with you.
If reading and working their way around your website is easy for your users/readers/potential customers, the chances of earning their business goes up tremendously. If they have trouble reading your website, or get lost in the process of navigating it — maybe due to poor overall structure or broken links — they will likely leave and do business with a competitor whose website is easier to use and understand.
4. Does It Connect with Your Prospects?
This could probably be considered as an extension of being user-friendly, but it’s so important that I thought I’d give it its own section. Your website must absolutely connect with your prospects and potential customers.
Remember: people want to do business with other people, not faceless corporations. Think about some of the big insurance companies that advertise on TV all the time. Allstate, Progressive, and Geico, to name a few. These companies have advertising budgets in the hundreds of millions of dollars per year, and how do they spend it?
They hire people with personalities to represent their companies on their TV commercials. This helps viewers feel as if they are connecting with human beings, not just giving money to multi-billion dollar mega-corporations.
The bottom line: share some of your personality with your potential customers. Write your website content as if you were writing to a friend, just make sure your content is relevant to the business and is reasonably professional-sounding (i.e., stay on topic, use proper grammar, and don’t curse).
5. Does It Generate Revenue?
Last and definitely not least, we get to the money question — literally. Does your website make you money? That’s why you got it in the first place. Most people don’t set websites up strictly for fun.
If your website (1) looks attractive, (2) is optimized for search engines, (3) is user-friendly, and (4) connects with your prospects, then monetizing your website should almost come as a natural result. With that being said, however, there are some other steps you can take to increase its earning ability.
If you sell tangible products, it would be an excellent idea to be able to offer them on your website as well via an ecommerce platform. If you sell services or consulting, you can take those payments online as well. Prospects shouldn’t just have to call or email you to set up appointments; this can all be done through the website (as an additional option), and they can pay through the website as well.
Your website will showcase your products or explain your services, your prospects can order and pay online through a merchant account, and the merchant account will transfer the money into your bank account. It’s a pretty simple process. And it’s like having an employee that takes orders for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. (This employee also doesn’t get sick, doesn’t require overtime compensation, doesn’t need health insurance, and never goes on vacation.)
So What Is a Good Website, Exactly?
For business owners, a good website is a website that makes them money. And if you follow the five general principles listed above, your website should do exactly that.