As of June 18, 2021, there are currently over 1.86 billion websites online which means for your website to stand out it needs to achieve a number of criteria which I will go over later.

In addition to that your website needs to be found.  That means it needs to be seen by the search engines such as Google.  There are 56.5 billion web pages indexed through Google and only about 200 million active websites which means many people do not make their website search engine friendly and aware.  A great looking site that no-one can find is not going to help your business.

Below are the top 8 websites on the internet by popularity.  3 of the top 8 are search engines which highlights the importance of being search engine friendly.

Rank Website Category Avg. Visit Duration Pages / Visit Bounce Rate
1  Search Engines 00:11:07 8.65 27.97%
2 TV Movies and Streaming 00:21:46 11.40 20.96%
3 Social Networks and Online Communities 00:10:08 8.70 32.15%
4 Social Networks and Online Communities  00:10:44 11.50 29.81%
5 Social Networks and Online Communities  00:07:46 11.38 35.13%
6 Search Engines  00:06:07 7.99 20.52%
7 Dictionaries and Encyclopedias  00:03:47 3.06 56.70%
8 Search Engines  00:11:01 9.61 22.53%

So, here are the eight basic principles of what makes a good website to keep in mind before your redesign/launch:

  1. Purpose. Your website needs to have purpose, you need to ask your self “what do I want to achieve with this website?”  and then for every page “what does this page do?”.  If it is not clear why you have a page then you don’t need it.
  2. Technically Sound. Your website needs to be easily found and searched through by the search engine you want to be found on.  It is important to decide what search engine(s) your customers use and that determines which ones you need to focus on.  You need to make sure that your website is setup properly for your focus search engine.  Many people miss this step meaning their great site never shows up in search results. Search engines will rank your site higher if it has zero or only a small number of errors.  In addition to that it need to load fast and be available from anywhere in the world
  3. Trustworthy. Both search engines and users are looking to ensure your site is secure and trustworthy. To get trust your website should not be offline and should indicate maintenance if that is what you are doing.  A certificate indicating it is secure is essential for most search engines and users.
  4. Looks Good. Most importantly here is that your site is clear and easy to use for all.  Never skip on making sure the site does this.  A fancy site that is hard to navigate puts customers off and they will leave as quickly as they arrived.  You should design your website with your customers in mind.  Do not design for you, design for them.  The design should deliver on the goals you set earlier.  The design should also match your brand image and it should be modern, using latest styling.  No-one wants to see a site that looks 20 years old.
  5. Relevant and original content. You need to think what your customers want to read and then deliver content to match that.  Your content must be original as if you copy other peoples content Google will see that and penalise your site in the rankings.  Deliver content that is primarily informative and then some content that is more sales driven.  No-one wants to see sales content only.  For example if you are selling a product focus on the benefits and reviews of the product and later the sales aspect.
  6. Clear site navigation. Simple, simple, simple is the only way to go.  A site that seems simple and logical to you is often not simple and logical to your customers.  For example display your products by how a consumer may buy them not by how you store them in the warehouse.  Try to ensure that any page on your website can be accessed within 3 clicks from any other page on the sire.  And make the menus easy and clear to find and navigate.  This will all make like easier for Google to crawl your site and for users to navigate it.
  7. Mobile Friendly.  Make sure your website is designed such that it reads perfectly on mobile devices as well as desktop and laptops.  This is often called mobile first design which means you design it to work on mobile with all the most important goals delivered for easy use on mobile and then the website can be built out for laptop and desktop. This will probably mean the site will be responsive so it works for all screen formats.  Never underestimate the need for mobile functionality.
  8. Customer Focus.  The biggest mistake that most small companies make is designing a site that they like, that makes sense to them and works with their other systems to make they work easy.  This is a big error to make as the focus should be 110% on making a site for the customer.  Make sure it is easy for the customer to find, navigate, interact with and go back to.  What your customer wants is often different to what you want as a business and therefore the solution will be different.

If you deliver a site that achieves the above eight aspects then you give yourself the best chance of success.  If you need help with this then please reach out to FunctionEight for assistance.