what makes a good website?

Perception is reality. Customer perception is the cornerstone of marketing. With 79 percent of U.S. consumers making purchases online, it is definitely an interest of businesses to have a well-designed website. But what makes a good website?

Here are 7 qualities every effective website should have.

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It is a forefront concern for your business to have a visually appealing layout. Your website is a representative of your brand.

It is scientifically proven that viewers pay attention to these 6 things:

  1. The businesses logo. Users spent about 6.48 seconds focused on this area before moving on.
  2. The main navigation menu. Almost as popular as the logo, subjects spent an average of 6.44 seconds viewing the menu.
  3. The search box, where users focused for just over 6 seconds.
  4. The site’s main image, where users’ eyes fixated for an average of 5.94 seconds.
  5. The site’s written content, where users spent about 5.59 seconds.
  6. The bottom of a website, where users spent about 5.25 seconds.

Each of these features needs to be displayed in a visually appealing manner. The design of your logo and main image are especially pivotal because they represent your brand.

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It takes 2.6 seconds for users to determine their impression. Therefore, layouts should be simple and easy to navigate. 

According to Forrester Research 50% of potential sales are lost because users can’t find information, and 40% of users never return to a site when their first visit is a negative experience. Having information displayed clearly is a top priority to retain customers. Considering the fact that most users don’t read they scan it is especially important to have clear displays, minimal text, and simplicity.

When sites are crowded, distracting, or overwhelming customers become frustrated.       A good first impression leads to longer visit duration, which means more sales for you. 

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When customers search for a product, Google displays website results based on relevance and the fastest user experience. If you don’t have fast speeds, your competition will be ranked over above you by Google. Research from Doubleclick published in September 2016 suggests sites that load in 5 seconds vs 19 seconds observed: 25% higher ad viewability (and) 70% longer average sessions (and) 35% lower bounce rates’.

This goes to show that load time can have a big impact on your business. In addition load time can also gain or lose you sales.The Trainline reduced latency by 0.3s across their funnel and revenue increased by an extra £8 million a year.

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Go Mobile. Almost half of the searches for businesses and brands are done through mobile devices. Do not be left behind.

Keys for a good mobile layout are decluttered pages, bite-sized content, and a menu in clear sight. Your site should completely navigatable by a thumb or index finger.

Enlarge important buttons to save mobile consumers the well-known frustration of tapping the wrong button. Reduce text and make it easy to find your phone number, location and contact info.  Keep content short and sweet.

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Researchers studying eye movement found that the better the first impression, the longer participants stayed on the page. The design in some cases was more important than usability from a user perception.

A study examined the effects of design found that first impressions are 94% design-related. Creating a killer design will be a big advantage to increase customer retention.

Visually separated icons and don’t make design texts the same color, font, and size as your body text – design text should always stand out. For menu buttons, it’s advised to use high-contrast colors and very legible text. Great web design instills trust in your business. According to web credibility research from Stanford, 75% of users admit to making judgments about a company’s credibility based on their website’s design.

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Inspiration drives better first impression. Inspiration is different from design and visual appeal in that it is directed to get the consumer to be inspired. Feel some emotion or connection to your brand. If you have a shoe company a picture of all the shoes you have donated or a picture of something awesome that your company has done will be the perfect fit here.

A study looking into the role of first impressions in tourism websites found that inspiration-related elements had the greatest impact on first-impression formation. This suggests that visually appealing stimuli is a very important tool for getting people to stay longer on the site and thus converting more visitors into buyers.

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Clear, descriptive, concise.

People’s attention is highest for things that appear at the beginning and at the end. Plan your navigation along with website information architecture. You need to figure out what key features the website offers, what’s most important and what’s less important, what could be placed at lower levels in the information hierarchy. Put most important items first in the navigation and the least important items in the middle.

Avoid auto-play as a general rule, it annoys customers and makes their experience generally unpleasant. When I say this I speak from experience.

I took my metric and analyzed 6 websites to determine if they met my metric and if they could make any improvement. The following are 6 clothing sites.

On every site I’m looking for the same thing; a hoodie. Here are the results:

 

 The entire process of creating my own metric and then testing it on websites resulted in a great learning experience. Knowing what makes a good website will continue to increase in value during this digital age.
 
 
 
 
 

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