digital composite of business graphics with office background

Elements of a Top-Notch Website

Avatar for Matthew Matthew 6th September 2019 0 Comments

When leads are dwindling and business is not-so-booming, the last place business owners look for blame is their website. This is often because many business owners believe a website is a one-time investment; a marketing asset that they invest in once and then leave to its own devices, in the hope that it will continue to reap the same benefits that it always did.

A website is the face of a brand and it’s what gives a brand’s customers and potential customers that ‘first impression’. In order to make that first impression count, there are certain essential design and development elements that every website must possess in order to succeed in 2019.

As the world of web is constantly evolving and social trends are continuously changing, we believe that a website should be regularly reviewed and developed in order to continue performing well.  Here we highlight the elements that we believe make a great website.

 

The Right CMS

A CMS (or Content Management System) is the backend infrastructure of a website that helps users create, manage, and modify the content, without the need for specialist technical knowledge.

Using the right CMS can be the difference between success and failure for businesses, as the CMS used, fundamentally determines the functionality and potential capabilities of a website.

The most commonly used (and our personal favourite) CMS, is WordPress, which powers over 75 million websites worldwide. WordPress is a free and open-source CMS with over 30,000 themes and 55,000 plugins available; allowing for simplified website customisation.

 

A Reliable Website Host

A website host is a remote server where a website’s files, content, and information are stored.

A successful business will always use a reliable and reputable hosting service for their website. Doing so ensures:

  • Optimal website performance
  • Technical Support
  • Regular site backups
  • Minimal downtime

Did you know that we offer hosting services from as little as £20 per month? Find out more about our hosting services here.

 

A Valid SSL Certificate

An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is a digital certificate that creates a secure layer between a website and a user’s browser; enabling an encrypted (secure) connection.

Having an SSL certificate can help prevent hackers from stealing sensitive information, such as credit card details by using encryption methods. Not only does a website with an SSL certificate provide an element of trust for users, but it can also have SEO benefits as Google will more often than not, prioritise secure sites over insecure sites in its search rankings.

Wondering how to identify a website with an SSL certificate? Take a look at the website URL; if it starts with HTTPS rather than HTTP it means it means the site is secure and using an SSL certificate (the additional ‘S’ standing for secure).

Did you know that if you have your website hosted by us, we will include an SSL certificate as standard?

 

A Clean and Professional Design

A well-designed website should be simple, yet professional and should always compliment the content rather than distract from it.

We believe the following makes for a clean and professional looking website:

  • A strong but limited colour palette
  • Consistency with fonts for all headings, subheadings and body text
  • Ample white (or negative) space
  • High-quality images, placed consistently across the site
  • Clear and concise content

 

The SEO Basics

We believe that every website should be fully optimised with SEO best practices in mind, as standard, however, we also understand that for many this either isn’t possible, within budget or just isn’t a priority.

That said, we do maintain that every website should at least include the SEO basics, such as:

  • High-quality content that is relevant and unique
  • Good loading speed
  • Optimised for relevant keywords
  • High-quality backlink profile
  • Mobile responsiveness

 

Mobile-Friendly / Responsiveness

A website that is mobile-friendly, is a website that is responsive (and works) on all mobile devices and screen sizes.

A website can be designed by the best web designer in the world, but if it isn’t optimised for mobile devices, it’s pretty much pointless, now that over 51% of Google searches come from mobile devices.

These days, any reputable web design agency will create mobile responsive websites as standard practice.

 

Straightforward Navigation

We don’t want to struggle to find what we are looking for on a website; we want to be able to navigate our way through without being overwhelmed with unnecessary content.

Having an easy to use and intuitive navigation on a website helps to guide users through the website and to the next stage of their journey.

A website with simple navigation will usually include:

  • A prominent or easy to find menu
  • Limited menu items
  • Clear navigation back to the homepage from any location on the site
  • Clear navigation to contact page from any location on the site
  • Search bar functionality

A site that includes a search bar feature allows users to take control of their experience on the site by giving them the ability to find exactly what they are looking for, straight away.

 

High-Quality Images

Webpages that rank the highest in search results have on average 7 images included on the page that they rank highly for.

Using high quality and eye-catching images help to convey messages and break up content, whilst also improving the sites overall appearance.

 

A 404 page

A 404 page is a page that appears when a user attempts to access or manages to find a page that no longer exists.

It’s inevitable that this will occur on occasion, and the best way to deal with, or prepare for this eventuality, is to create a smashing 404 page.

We believe that if your 404 page is to include nothing else – ensure that at the very least – it includes the following:

  • A sentence to explain that they have encountered an error
  • An apology
  • A clear option to navigate back to your homepage

*Bonus points for including humour.

 

Strong Call to Actions

A call to action is a piece content (such as a button) on a website that created that encourages a user to perform a specific action such as signing up to a newsletter, providing contact details or signing up to a free trial.

A great call to action is one of the most important website components for successful businesses; it’s what encourages their users to do what they want them to do once they have landed on their website.

 

Reviews and Testimonials

A website is a great start for providing users with information about a business and also creating that all-important first impression. But, there’s nothing that will demonstrate social proof and create trust more than splashing good reviews and testimonials across a website.

We love finding websites that shout about their happy customers and backing it up with genuine reviews and testimonials.

 

Conclusion

Looking to improve your website’s usability? Or maybe just think it’s time for a tidy up here and there?

If you’re feeling like your website isn’t performing as well as it used to, is no longer gaining the traffic that it used to, or needs a refresh, get in touch with us. Not only are we experts in all things web design and development but we are also skilled with the knowledge and experience to help market your website.

Try Square Media as your outsourced marketing team today!

Wait.. Before you go…

We're Crunching the Numbers on the 2021 Budget in our next Webinar!

Interested?

FREE Social Media Calendar

Writing Social Media posts and blogs can often seem like a mountainous task - our free Calendar will help you to take the first steps.

With our Calendar, you'll be writing Social Media posts like a pro in no time! Plus, check out our blog for monthly tips & Social Ideas.

DOWNLOAD NOW

FREE Marketing Consultation

Our clients tell us that their number one headache isn’t in selling their products or services, recruiting staff or keeping up to date with their industry; it’s the age-old problem of marketing their business!

Whether you need help with marketing planning, web/graphic design, content writing, blogs and social media help, SEO & PPC reviewing or a combination of all of the above, book your FREE no-obligation marketing consultation with Steve now!

BOOK NOW

Our FREE Secret Links

Most agencies won't tell you, but a lot of the tools they use on a day to day basis are actually FREE!

We've put together a handy guide to the free tools we use every day to make our lives easier - and we're giving it to you!

DOWNLOAD NOW

FREE SEO Audit

If you looked at yesterday's SEO Guide and wondered where to begin, our FREE SEO Audit will help you to establish a baseline starting point by pointing out the areas that need to be worked upon.

We'll tell you the areas of your site that are underperforming and those that are doing well!

GET YOUR SEO AUDIT NOW

1 Page SEO Tips Guide

SEO can be a minefield for many businesses, but as long as you follow a logical process for each and every page of your website, things don't have to be such a slog.

Our FREE SEO Tips Guide gives a simple, bullet-pointed guide to the basic SEO necessities to make your site perform well in Google and other search engines.

DOWNLOAD NOW

FREE HubSpot Consultation

At Square Media we specialise in helping businesses to make the most of their inbound and outbound promotional opportunities – working as a HubSpot CRM Partner we can help you to automate and analyse your business to the nth degree.

Why not let one of our HubSpot experts have a quick chat with you and get you started with a FREE account – no obligation, no pressure and no hard sell tactics (it’s not our style).

BOOK NOW

Image Size Cheat Sheet

When it comes to Social Media, visual content always works better than just text. But it's a bit of a headache keeping on top of all of the sizes you need to use to get the best from each channel.

Download or print our handy Image Size Cheat Sheet and keep it by your keyboard, so you know what size image to use whatever the situation.

DOWNLOAD NOW

Perfect Blog Post Template

A frequently updated Blog is one of the best ways to create extra content for your website; it also keeps your visitors coming back regularly, attracts new visitors and Google loves fresh content!

But did you know that how you structure your blog post can make all the difference?

Download our FREE Blog Post Template to see how to make your content stand out from the crowd!

DOWNLOAD NOW

Get your Guide to Google Ads!

Everyone knows that SEO is important to any website, but often we forget about the power of paid Google Ads.

It needn't cost the earth, can be targeted well and can bring in business easily from Day 1!

Our FREE downloadable Google Ads Guide will help you to hit the ground running.

DOWNLOAD NOW

5 Killer Marketing Emails!

One of the most valuable tools in your online arsenal is your email/newsletter subscription list, yet it’s one of the ones that is most easy to ignore.

Simply put, if someone has signed up to your email list, they have given you permission to contact them, and how you use the first few emails that you send can be the deciding factor in whether they stay on your list and eventually become a customer, or hit the unsubscribe button so fast that you never get a chance to pitch your business.

So let’s look at 5 killer e-marketing email types, what they do and how to use them!

DOWNLOAD NOW

Start 2021 as you mean to go on!

Every great marketing campaign starts with the basics of getting your brand focused and clear.

Use our free brand guideline template to ensure that your brand is consistent across all of your content!

DOWNLOAD NOW

Happy Christmas from Flappy Santa!

It's Christmas Day so let's start with some fun - can you guide our intrepid Santa through the Christmas obstacles?

Don't forget to share your score at the end with the hashtag #SquareSanta

PLAY NOW