Of course, taste can be disputed and everyone has their own opinion. But according to research, a good website meets a number of important characteristics. I will describe and explain these features to you below. We build all our websites according to this blueprint.
The most important characteristic of a good website – and this characteristic is by far at the top of the list – is that it must have a purpose . The rest stands or falls with that. The purpose (and target group) of the website determines the content, structure and design of the website. If you have not set a clear goal with your website, then your visitors probably do not know what the intention is.
The goal gives direction to the texts, images, writing style, layout and everything else involved in building and managing a website.
What is the main purpose of your website now? Make a plan of what you want to achieve with your website. What kind of customers do you want to bring in and how do you want to do that? How are you going to convince them that you are the best choice? Make sure every page has a purpose. Some examples:
You have described a clear purpose of your website? Perfect! Now it is important to make sure that you send your visitors to that goal. Make sure that your website is set up in a way that your visitors will achieve the goal . Introduce clear paths, or marketing funnels , in the website. Tell them about your service first, then show them the price and then give them the opportunity to get in touch. Or write an article on your blog, then tell them about the free e-book and ask for contact details when downloading the e-book so they can give them a call.
Think about how your visitors move through your website and when which information is relevant to them. Make sure they never get to a dead end. Always take the next step. Place clear call to actions, and make your visitors curious . Take the worry out of your visitors where they have doubts. Make sure that all possible obstacles or objections that visitors may have are removed. We call this conversion optimization . In other words: “clear the way for your visitors to become a customer of yours”.
Find out what your visitor’s problem or biggest pain point is and show why your product or service will solve that problem. Don’t tell them about a solution right away, but let them feel the problem and the consequences first. Sounds harsh, but it works. So do not immediately dive into all kinds of boring specifications of your product or service, but stimulate the emotional side of the visitor.
So don’t say we sell the best electric bicycle. But first, let them feel the downsides of not having an electric bike.
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Convince your customers of your product or service by communicating the problem you are solving . Make them feel the problem and then offer a solution to that problem.
Also tell the benefits of the solution.
For example: With the time saved, you can spend more time with your kids .
Show why your company is unique . Why should customers be with you and what makes you different from all other (comparable) companies. Tell them what you do differently from the competition, give them a reason to choose you. You can do this by means of a text on the homepage or by showing a list of unique selling points , as you see at many online stores.
Always use concrete language to make this clear and no vague promises . For example, saying that your “fast shipping” is of course not interesting for a visitor. Saying that you deliver the products or services within 24 hours is.
Write texts that convince the visitor. Be clear and concrete, don’t sell nonsense . Don’t use vague marketing terms that no one understands or clichés that everyone immediately sees through. So no sentences like: “Providing creative solutions” or “Working on the world of tomorrow”, but “We build websites that generate more turnover”.
Don’t use boring terms like “we sell solutions” or “bring out the best in you”. Be specific about what you do or sell. Be stimulating and make your visitors curious.
In addition, there are many writing tips that can help you convince customers:
The appearance of a website is important and of course there is no arguing about taste. However, the appearance or design of a website may never take precedence over functionality and user-friendliness . A good design supports the content, but does not stand out. The content is the most important thing.
Good design accentuates the important things, but never distracts. Busy pages with dozens of buttons, images and striking colors will only distract your visitors. As a result, you will immediately miss out on customers.
An effective website is therefore always better than a beautiful website. It is often better not to be unique, but to stick to what your visitor is used to from other websites. Therefore, stick to certain conventions that prevail in the field of web design. Make sure that your visitor has to think as little as possible. A unique website is nice, but also consider whether it is practical for your visitors .
Some examples of conventions are:
An important reason for sticking to these conventions is that visitors often scan your website in an “F” shape. They view the top part of the page horizontally, from left to right (often the menu bar, first few lines of text or the header photo). As they scroll down, they look less and less from left to right, but more vertically.
Of course a good website is fully responsive , adapted to all screens and devices . Today, almost half of all internet traffic is already via mobile phones and this is only expected to increase. A good website is therefore suitable for telephone, tablet and computer.
Provide a clear visual hierarchy on the website. That is, there must be a distinction between the different pieces of content. Distinguish blocks of information with lines or other backgrounds.
Maintains a fixed color scheme that is reflected throughout the site. Choose a main color and one or two accent colors. Use as little hard black as possible , but keep a broken variant.
Make sure the website is readable. Choose a clear font with at most one or two variants. The text color should have a clear contrast to the background. In addition, make sure that texts are not too wide. Keep the number of characters per line at about 100 , otherwise it will be difficult for the reader to find the correct next line after reading one line.
Choose photos that fit the target audience of your website and make sure they convey the right feeling. Make sure that you don’t use so-called stock photos, or not too much. Your customers can easily see through that.
Don’t use too many moving elements. For a while, every website was equipped with a slider on the homepage. Research shows that sliders are not always effective and in some cases even disruptive. Sliders draw attention and distract visitors from other elements on the website. So pay attention when placing a slider whether it is functional and whether there is no possibility to use another solution.
Having a functional design ensures that the site is calm and well-arranged, but above all for good user-friendliness. And having a user-friendly website is of course important to provide your visitors with the right information.
Do you have a complicated website where they can’t find what they’re looking for, or where there are too many distractions? Then you have a good chance that they will be gone soon. It is important to ensure that your visitor has to think as little as possible. If that happens, they will experience choice stress and there is a chance that they will leave your site.
Make sure that your visitors understand within 3 seconds where they are, which services or products are sold and why they should purchase those services or products there . Does a visitor have to think too long or search for the right information? Then they are gone again.
Don’t let your visitors get lost and offer them the opportunity to find out where they are on the website. You can do this by, for example, giving the active menu item a different color. Another possibility is to display breadcrumbs, or breadcrumbs . Breadcrumbs are a visual trace of where you are currently on the website, so you can always go back to a parent page.
Make sure that the structure and content of your website is tailored to your target audience . Don’t make it too difficult for the visitor. Keep the main menu simple and clear and don’t take up too many pages, research shows that people can remember up to 7 different choices on average. So make sure there aren’t many more options in the main menu.
Some pages that you should almost always include are the about us page and of course a contact page . Show who you are on the about us page, this radiates confidence (we will come back to this in the next section). Your contact details must be clearly visible on the contact page. Never hide contact details . I recommend including your contact details in the footer, because that is a place where many people will search for that information.
People don’t read on the internet, they scan . Do not post long texts without a clear visual hierarchy. Use bold headings or different text colors to distinguish different paragraphs and elements. Use lists and bullet points to make important information manageable. Make sure that the texts are not too wide . Lines that are too long make it difficult for your readers to find the next line, which is very unpleasant to read.
Forms are often used to get in touch with your visitors. For example, contact forms, forms to register for a course or forms to pay for products, such as in a webshop. Make sure forms never contain more fields than are necessary . Every extra field is another reason to drop out . Moreover, people are reluctant to give out all kinds of information without knowing why. Do you actually need the place of residence of a visitor for your newsletter?
A search function is not necessarily a requirement for a small website. Do you have many pages, products or articles on your website? Then a search function can help your visitors find the right information.
Make sure that the search function is easy to find . If search is an important function of your website, always show the search field with a clear button next to it. Use the magnifying glass icon to indicate the search function. Always clearly describe in the text box of the search function what your visitor can search for .
For example: “ Search all products and categories ”.
Your website has a clear purpose, a good structure and content, a functional design, is suitable for all screen sizes and is also very user-friendly. However, as long as you do not provide proof of what you are claiming and selling, your visitors will not be so eager to do business with you. Show them why you are a good party, why they should do business with you and why they can trust you with confidence.
It’s nice what you say about yourself, but not everyone finds that interesting. What your customers say about you is what matters. Therefore, collect online reviews . You can do this through paid programs such as Kiyoh , Ekomi or Trustpilot . You can also easily collect reviews via Google or Facebook . Make sure the reviews are clearly visible on the website . Provide good, truthful reviews and ask visitors to leave one. They don’t always do this on their own.
Show the people behind the website . The entrepreneur is often the face of the company, especially in small businesses, sole traders or freelancers. Don’t play hide and seek, but post a picture of yourself or your team on the website. Visitors like to see who they are dealing with. You expect vulnerability from your customer when you ask him for his contact or payment details. So make yourself vulnerable by showing your face on the website. Moreover , write as you speak . Make sure you recognize yourself in your website.
Do you have a physical location ? Make sure it gets a prominent place on the website. Customers like it when they can go somewhere if there is something wrong with the ordered product or the service provided.
show that you are an authority in your field . Post logos, articles or other content about things such as one of the following:
You can also instill a lot of confidence by sharing your knowledge . Show that you are a real expert and not just shouting. By sharing your knowledge via a blog , whitepaper or e-book , you ensure that visitors to your website have the opportunity to actually see that you know your business.
Show your customers key figures or results . Have you already been able to help 100 customers this year? Do you have more than 100,000 followers on social media? Or do you have more than 20 years of experience? Show this. By showing important figures, you show new customers that other customers also trust you or your company.
The actions of other visitors also encourage visitors to take action. Think, for example, of Booking.com, which always show how often a room has been booked in a certain period, so that you get the feeling that this room is very popular. This creates a sense of scarcity and urgency, which makes you more likely to reserve this room.
Nobody likes to wait. Not you, not me and certainly not your visitors. Therefore, make sure that your website is as fast as a rocket. According to research, 47% of visitors expect a website to load within 2 seconds. Test the loading time of the website and see where it goes wrong. There are many useful tools for this such as Pingdom Tools or GT Metrix .
Do you have a good, user-friendly website? Then it is important to ensure that it is always easily accessible for your visitors. That your visitors can safely use your website and that you keep malicious people out.
Secure your website at all times with an SSL certificate and ensure that all connections to the website are made via https. With an SSL certificate, the connection between your website and a visitor’s device is encrypted, so that no one can read it. Especially if you receive passwords or other sensitive data from your customers (for example via a login form), an SSL certificate is mandatory.
Choose a good and reliable hosting party that gives you a good feeling. Good hosting is a bit more pricey than bulk hosting, but don’t skimp on this. The hosting is not only important for the speed of the website, but also for security. Do they always provide the latest (stable) updates to their servers? Do they automatically backup the data? There are also parties that automatically check your (WordPress) website for possible dangers.
Make sure your (WordPress) website is always up to date . WordPress itself and the themes and plugins used on your website receive regular updates. Of course, those updates are not for nothing. They often add new functionalities, but they also often close potential security holes . Therefore, always keep your website up to date. Of course you can also outsource this.
By default, WordPress is reasonably safe, but it could be better. Install a plugin that adds extra security. Make sure that the plugin contains a blacklist function and – preferably automatically – excludes malicious parties. Make sure the plugin limits the number of login attempts so that automated computer networks will struggle to get in. Of course it is important that you, your employees and other users always choose strong passwords for their accounts with which they can log in to the website.
A good website is visible and found by (potential) customers. This can be done in many ways. For example via search engines such as Google, Social media, paid advertisements, content or inbound marketing or via newsletters. In addition to being found, it is also important not to forget existing customers. Build a community and make your current customers come back more often. Provides real value to your visitors.
Make sure your website can be found by Google (and other search engines). Optimizing your website for search engines is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO) . Local SEO – becoming findable in Google’s local box – is also becoming increasingly important.
You can choose to pay per click and thus advertise in Google or other search engines, we call this SEA . The advantage of this is that you can literally reach the top of the search results within a few days. You can also advertise effectively via Facebook . The advantage of Facebook is that you can very well define a target group and therefore advertise very specifically.
Another way to bring in customers is through content, or inbound marketing . This means that you share your knowledge with the outside world via, for example, a blog. In this way – as discussed earlier – you radiate authority and therefore trust. Moreover, a well-filled knowledge base with valuable articles ensures that you will score better in the search engines.
A classic way to bind customers to your company is by sending “ newsletters ”. The parentheses are there because you should never call it a newsletter on your website. In these newsletters, don’t tell about the latest projects of your company (unless they are very special), but give them actual tips and knowledge. A good way to collect email addresses for your mailing lists is to give your visitors something in exchange for their email address . This giveaway can be, for example, a product demo, free trial or e-book.
Nowadays it can also be interesting not only to advertise via social media, but also to distribute valuable content via, for example, Facebook or Instagram . Just like on your blog or in your newsletter, share valuable information or useful tips that actually benefit your customers.
Finally, don’t lose sight of your existing customers. After all, you have already made an effort to persuade them to become a customer of yours. They already have experience with your company and a second time – provided they are satisfied with your products or services – it takes less effort to sell them something again. Make sure they join your newsletter and keep them informed of possible offers or new products. Make sure you don’t just send them advertising, but also offer them valuable information.
Also read the real price of a website.