14 main characteristics and qualities of a good and effective website

Posted on January 27, 2016

14 main characteristics and qualities of a good and effective website

Your website is the digital storefront of your business and represents the first contact point for many prospective clients. As it is said the first impression is the last impression, the first experience of a user with your website makes a first and important impression of your business, quality, and brand. A website can make or break the effectiveness of your online investment. Thus, the designer and developer should strive to make it as user-friendly as possible and worth visiting. When you're building a new website, or working to make your existing site the best that it can be, use this checklist of 14 Qualities of a Good Website to ensure your site will be attractive, solid, and visible :

1. Has short but descriptive domain name

A domain name is the name you type in the address bar of your browser to visit a certain website such as www.thecodepot.com. A good domain name should be short, descriptive, and easy to spell, easy to remember, have a keyword of what your website is all about, and have a good extension especially a .com.

Short domain names – Are clear, easy to spell and easy to understand and remember. Think of the domain names of the most popular websites in the world like google.com, facebook.com, youtube.com, Wikipedia.org, amazon.com, etc. If we continue the list you will just discover the same. NONE of them is too long. People easily forget long domain names.

Descriptive with a keyword- There should be a connection between the domain name and the brand of a website. The domain name should let people guess what your website is all about even before visiting it. This is a great determinant, especially where there are many businesses competing for the same niche.

Good web extension- Always try a .com extension first before trying any other because it is the most popular and competitive. Competition for good domain names is getting fierce. So, be flexible, but use good sense when choosing a domain. If your “.com” the address is already taken, resist the urge to go with the “.net” version. In the end, you’ll lose visitors with these options, so take a little extra time to get creative and find the perfect “.com.”

A website with a good domain name will always outer perform a competitor with a bad or average domain name.

2. Responsive / mobile friendly

As more and more people use their mobile phones to access the Internet, creating a mobile optimized website has become a necessity. Over the past few years, mobile browsing has finally surpassed desktop browsing in the total volume of searches. If you have been putting off optimization for mobile traffic, you are already behind the curve. Every single website needs to be optimized for mobile visitors in 2014 and beyond. Responsive websites detects the screen resolution of the device loading the website, and “respond” by resizing or reflowing the content to best fit those dimensions. It is a good and accepted practice that even Google came out and publicly recommended it.

3. Simple, attractive, and appealing

The first thing that most people if not all, notice immediately after landing on your website is the design. An aesthetically pleasing website will not only satisfy overanalysis by internal teams but also woo visitors when they land on the website itself. An unattractive or poorly built site will do more to hurt your business than to help it. A site must be visually appealing, polished, and professional. It should have few but relevant colors as having too many colors distract the users’ attention from the contents of the page and brands you unprofessional. Be sure the colors used should contrast well and your text doesn't require a magnifying glass to read. With every design element added, take a step back and make sure it serves a purpose and does not detract from the usability of the site. Breaking up text into subheads and bullet points will improve the layout of the page and make the text more scannable.

4. Have a way of feedback/communication to the owner/company

For any website to be effective, it needs to have a way of communicating with the owner. This helps to increase the interactivity between the user and the web owner such as in seeking a quotation of services and products among other reasons which may include commenting on the way services are provided. Avoid restricting mode of communication to form alone but also include other contact information such as email address, phone number, postal address, and your location on the contact us page.

5. Fast loading speed

Nothing is more annoying for website visitors than a website that takes long to load. In fact, the biggest single reason visitors do not stay at a Website is that it takes too long to load – that is the time it takes for the page to appear on the computer screen. As it is said “Time is money”, most visitors may not consider waiting 30 seconds for your web page to load in order to view your content. Too many/large graphics, the server speed, third-party website plugins, less website bandwidth, and the capabilities of a user's computer are some of the factors that slow the loading speed. Try as much as possible in your position to reduce the loading time.

6. Functionality

All the elements of your site should work quickly and seamlessly. Broken or poorly constructed components will severely affect negatively to the performance of your business and only leave your visitors frustrated and disillusioned with your company. Across the spectrum, everything should work as expected, including hyperlinks, contact forms, site search, event registration, and so on. You need to fix all the page errors and poorly constructed website elements.

7. Good Search Engine Optimization(SEO)

A website is like a large shopping mall. It is of no use if no one goes there to buy stuff regardless of how big it may be and the many products it contains. This applies also to websites. A website may have high-quality content and offering outstanding services but if no one visits it and this is normally what happens to many websites, no profit will be made and the owner will in no way benefit from it. Hence it is vital to ensure people visit your web. SEO is one of the greatest ways to accomplish this. Search Engine Optimization is the process of affecting visibility and improving ranking of a website or web page by search engines such as Google, yahoo, bing etc. As an internet and inbound marketing professionals, Search Engine Optimization is something that we take very seriously. Always put SEO in mind while developing a website to make sure your website is top-ranked and rendered in the first search engine results page.

8. Easy to navigate

Web content is very important and nothing should be able to hinder users from viewing it. To reach all the contents there should be nice navigation that allows visitors to move from one page to another. It is preferred that links to other pages be in a position where they are easily seen especially at the top of the page. They should be easily identifiable and look different from other texts to avoid clicking them by mistake and also not to miss them when required. Use mostly text for navigation with descriptive anchor texts. For large websites, provide a search box to aid easily locate content. For navigation, the focus should be on simplicity and ease of use.

9. Uniformity of pages

A good website should have a general layout on all pages to look consistent and maintain the identity. This is to avoid confusion to the visitors as they may get confused and think they have moved to a different website when they navigate between two pages that look completely different.

10. High quality, original and unique content

A good website should have enough and high-quality content worth searching for. It should also be well organized in a readable manner that visitors won’t strain viewing. It should be in a language that the target audience will well understand with no grammatical errors or excessive use of vocabularies that would necessitate the use of a dictionary. The content should be original (avoid copy-pasting from other websites because this leads to failure of indexing by search engines), unique  and fresh(updated regularly) to improve ranking by search engines during searches.

11.   Good error handling

It is usually very annoying when a visitor tries to perform a particular activity on your website only to receive an error which he or she doesn’t understand. This scares the users and makes them leave your website and never return. Errors must occur in many scenarios such as when a user enters wrong data in a form input box etc. but should be handled efficiently in a way that the user will understand and know what is wrong.

12. Clear Calls to Action Across the Site

Do you know what the purpose of your website is? Do you make that clear to readers?

If your website simply pitches product but never asks the reader to do anything, they may do what you ask – nothing. Make sure you have clear calls to action (CTAs) on the site.

End every page of content with a “what’s next” – maybe request a quote, download a white paper, or share the content they are reading. To increase conversion of website visitors into customers, every single page or post you publish should have a CTA. Otherwise, you are voluntarily overlooking the opportunity to increase engagement, build your visibility online, and engage with a new customer. Don’t do that.

13. Secure

Security is a major concern to today’s web visitors. You need to make sure that your website follows industry standards and guidelines. For example, if you have a user registration feature, you want to make sure that user passwords are encrypted and not displayed in plain text. You also want to ensure that the website is secure and uses SSL encryption. If you’ve "forgot password" feature, you do not want to provide a reset password feature without verifying the authenticity of the user. Also, if your site is built on a CMS platform like WordPress, be sure to always keep the platform updated.

14. Cross-browser compatible

A good website should work properly on all popular web browsers like Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, Opera, and Internet Explorer. Old versions of Internet Explorer (like IE7, IE8) are considered a headache for a developer as they behave abnormally for the normal code. A good website also gives a consistent experience on all the above-listed browsers.

With this said and done, your website is good to go. We offer Quality and professional web design services that follows all the mentioned characteristics. Feel free to contact us for the services or request for a FREE quote at any time.