What makes a good website? Planning!
If you don’t have a website or are thinking about having your own redesigned, what do you need to consider to make it a ‘good website’?
It is really important to do some research before you decide what you want and need. It’s a bit like decorating a room – you need to do get some inspiration, look around at ideas, and decide what you like, as well as what you don’t. As well as the emotional side of what you are drawn to or not, you also need to consider what you actually need. What is essential to include? What is a ‘nice to have’? And what could be a future development?
Creating a website takes time and costs money if you are getting someone else to do it – so take the time to consider your brief and truly get to grips with what is essential to best show off your business, give your website visitor a great ‘user experience’ and be a future proof and effective marketing tool.
8 things to help you plan a good website
Here are eight things to think about…
1. Key details checklist
What is the absolute ‘must have information’ on your website and what do you need your website to ‘do’?
Write everything down and then prioristise them.
2. Call to action
For every ‘detail’ or element of your website (you can do this by page if easier), consider what is the purpose of its inclusion on your site and consequently what should the ‘call to action’ be. Importantly, it’s not about you – What do you want the visitor to a page to actually DO? And, importantly, how are you going to make them do that?
3. Number of pages
How many pages do you need for your website? Are you going to put lots of information on one page or have lots of individual pages? Are you going to have ‘Parent pages’ and then subpages? Have you considered just a single landing page?
Start to create a menu (or site map) to see where everything would fit and then…and this is really important…consider how you would link to individual pages, to encourage interlinking and for visitors to skip from one page to the next on a nice logicial journey.
Ensure every page remains easy to find. Adding and taking away pages is quite straight forward on a website, but if you have a true sense of how all the pages link together you won’t end up with unnecessary pages or lots of extra clicks to get to a specific page. It is called a ‘web’ site after all!
Consider what want your website visitors to be able to achieve on your website.
Do you want to sell products directly through your website? Do you want to share videos? Do you want clients to book appointments? Are you going to upload lots of high resolution photos? Do you want a contact form?
All of these things need extra ‘technical’ elements behind the scenes, so decide what you need and also if there are things you may need in the future too.
Every website needs to be updated. It is great to do all of the preparation we have been discussing above, but once the website is built that is not the end of it!
Think about what you will want to update, how regularly and what you are able to do yourself.
Some website designers and developers will charge for future changes, edits and updates, so make sure you investigate how much control you will have over your website once it is built and if you will have the training and support to do regular updates and changes.
Data protection and the proper protection of people’s personal details remains paramount.
When someone visits your website, data is collected. In most cases, it is anonymous, as such, however, as soon as you add a contact form, ask people to subscribe to your newsletter or run some deeper levels of analytics you may be collecting personal data, so be aware of what you will do with this information and how you will store it securely and in line with data protection and GDPR rules.
You should also have ‘legal’ policies and notices too …don’t ask me for more details…ask the experts.
And finally, you may want to include your standard terms and conditions, so that you can direct clients to this online.
7. Multi-device friendly
Now, you have a good sense of what you want on your website – have you thought about the effect of your decisions when you view your website on a mobile phone or tablet, as well as on a laptop or desk top screen?
Any website design or template will automatically reflow on to a smaller screen, but remember what looks like not a lot of content on a desktop can lead to a substantial amount of scrolling on a mobile device. So, evaluate again the amount of content, the size of images and text, etc., if you think your website will be viewed on a phone regularly.
Think about the viewing habits of your target audience. Are you ideal clients more likely to visit your website via a phone or via a computer (i.e. on their commute vs sat at their work desk)?
I truly believe with websites that you get with you pay for. I am a big supporter of DIY websites as I think it is a great way for someone to take control when they start out, but I also believe a brilliant website designer can make your life much easier and provide solutions you will not have thought of, regardless of your planning and research.
Ultimately, you need to compare: what you can afford vs what you need vs the ultimate return on investment.
And then, there’s at least 8 more…!
These eight things are certainly not the only considerations – you have keywords, SEO, load speed and a whole host of other technical elements…including hosting and, of course, the actual copy! But what is important about the above list of eight is that you can compare your competitors’ and other good websites with these considerations above, as well as start creating a plan for your website, which is detailed enough to have sensible conversation with a website designer. It can help you to decide if you have the technical expertise to do something yourself or get an accurate quote, if not.
I love being a ‘first time’ visitor to websites and assessing ease of navigation, as well as the power of the content in communicating your business, your USPs and what you want your clients ‘to do’.
Book a discovery call and let me tell you more about my website reviews (as well as the support I can offer with your website content writing and SEO).