In today’s world simply having a website is no longer impressive. Indeed having a bad website is distinctly unimpressive.
You need a high quality website. A website that people will want to visit again and again. Everyone wants a high quality, bespoke website that reflects their brand, their (unique) personality and their expertise.
But what makes a high quality website? Below I list the five main (and by no means all!) criteria to think about when building a website.
Content is King. Whenever someone comes to a website their primary reason for doing so is to find information. Your website needs to have this information for it to be of any use to the user. Your website could have a million pages all with a single line. This is less than useless. Every single webpage should serve a specific purpose and needs to have well written coherent information that your target audience will find invaluable. They will wonder how they lived their lives without it. The text should be unique. Don’t copy and paste and if you do reference where you got the text from don’t claim it as your own! To increase credibility check and check and check then check once more spelling: Nothing is worse than a spelling mistake or typo. Don’t rely solely on spell checker. A website will lose respectability as a whole if there is one spelling mistake on a single page.
Accessibility and Usability. It doesn't matter how good a website’s information is if the user cannot find it. Disorganized pages, too many links, pages that go nowhere all help destroy a website. Serious thought, best done in the design phase, should be given to how a websites information will be displayed. Will it be best to have a simple navigation bar at the top? Is more needed? How many pages are needed to best display the content?
Design. The look matters. Simplicity is key (usually). Think about the images you want to portray and design accordingly. Animation and fun graphics can work well but can also seem amateurish and unprofessional if not done well. On the other hand if you are aiming your website squarely at kids this might be exactly what you want. Every image and application on the website should serve a specific purpose. For example every image should enhance a website. Not just placed there to pad it out a bit. The website is now a huge marketing tool for companies and people will base their opinion on the organisation as a whole on what they see.
Domain name. It’s important. Is it easy to remember? The company name .com could be fine but double check that innocent words nested to together don’t make another word. For example the company “Who represents” decided a website was need. The obvious name would be www.whorepresents.com/. Do you see the confusion in a name?! This has been pointed out and a new address is being thought of but this link still works. It is worth double checking this pitfall. Generally, a shorter URL is better.
Focus. You can’t please everyone all the time so don’t even try to. You need to be clear on who you target audience is and cater for them. A detailed website with good information on a niche area (and this can be surprisingly narrow) is almost always better than a website with a lot of content but none of it detailed. It also runs the risk of being too vague and of no use to anybody.
Follow these rules and you will be on the right track. However it is important to remember that there are many other considerations that need to be taken into account when building a website. Today designing for the myriad of different devices mobile phones and tablets is a major factor in web design.