What features makes a website good can be a really subjective thing. What works for one might be complete poison for another.
Regardless, there are certain general traits that the vast majority of websites require in order to be efficient, hassle free and good at what they do. These features can be aspects of the site that make the administrator/owner’s life easy, or they can be functional design features that make life easy for users.
Either way, if you haven’t got great features… get them!
I’ve tried not to focus on redundant things like, say, a domain name. However, where I have listed things that might seem obvious I’ve also tried to explain specific nuances or differences that might give you an edge when designing a new website or upgrading an existing one.
Regardless of what your site does, it should make it abundantly clear what a visitor can expect, and meet those expectations precisely. This can be harder to achieve than you think – generally, because you understand what your website is about so it seems obvious to you.
Not so for a complete stranger.
One of the best ways to construct an intuitive site is to think about who your users are and what they want. Knowing who is visiting your site (and their intent) means you are able to build elegant sales funnels that help them convert easily and maximize your own profits.
I have seen this work first hand on a company I worked on a few years ago, where a relatively quick and easy change had a profound impact.More intuitive Web design that accounted for “user intent” improved conversions by 200%.
Remember that not every visitor will have precisely the same intent when they land on a given page so your design needs to cater for a range of needs. People who know what they want and are ready to convert (i.e. buy a product, sign up to your service, subscribe, etc) should be able to do so, whereas people who want to learn a bit more before taking action should also be able to find information that helps them take another step towards converting.
2. Optimized for Search
There are plenty of different ways to drive traffic to your website – like social media marketing, influencer marketing, email marketing, and so on. However, organic search traffic remains arguably the single most important source of high value traffic.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a really broad topic that encompasses things like Web design and server performance all the way through to blogging, content, keywords and competitor analysis.
If you haven’t yet created a site, I strongly recommend using a leading website builder to ensure great SEO features come baked into your website. If you already have a website you can learn everything you need to know about what keywords and phrases your site is ranking for and how it competes with similar sites in Google for free right now using SEMRush (although you will need to pay a bit in order to get the most value from the service).
Use search analytics data to help guide your content creation, capture more valuable keywords and, ultimately, make more money.
3. Easy to Use
The Internet has brought a far more stringent meaning to the phrase fool proof. With so many people of differing abilities, comprehension and willingness to learn you have to make sure that your offering is as simple as possible.
For example, if there’s a five step process to achieve something on your site, work hard to see if you can cut this number down.Internet users have notoriously short attention spans and even less patience for slow, complicated tasks.
This is especially important for eCommerce sites as cart abandonment is a serious issue and is often the result of complicated checkout procedures.
A website is perpetually a work in progress. It must adapt to changing demands and perceptions and leverage new technologies in order to remain secure and competitive.
In order to keep up it should be easy for you, the webmaster/owner, to implement changes as you see fit. This could be anything from adding new features to modifying or removing existing ones. This means your Web platform need to have a vibrant and active development community behind it so that updates and development happen constantly.A flexible website must be easy to extend and easy to update.
Ideally, you want updates to happen without any intervention from you.
CMS systems do have active, ongoing development but this often leads to difficult situations when there are major updates. A good example comes from Drupal 6, which offered no responsive Web design (something that is on our list of important features). Webmasters making use of Drupal 6 had no option but to upgrade to the new version, Drupal 7, but this was extremely difficult because there were significant under the hood changes to the platform that lead to a difficult, complex migration.
Check out how the popularity of online website builders has grown, while popular CMs systems have declined. One of the reasons is because online website builders require almost no technical, manual maintenance making it easy for small business owners to operate cutting edge websites.
I don’t think it’s entirely necessary to plaster your entire site with Twitter, Facebook, buzz, RSS, LinkedIn, blah blah all tightly woven into the fabric of your site. But I do think a website should be designed in such a way that when you choose to put in an RSS feed, or send postings to Twitter, it can be accomplished quickly and easily.
There are more and more integrations that offer streamlined, elegant solutions to common website requirements.
Here’s a quick list of some of the more popular ones you should consider:
Source: SME Pals