7 Key Elements of Every Website
Your website is a showcase for your business brand, products and services. Here are 7 key things to consider when your website is being developed.
Often misunderstood and generally overlooked, usability refers to how easy it is for your website users to use your site. So what should you look out for?
- Look for a design that is uncluttered with well labelled sections.
- Look for a good use of whitespace, your content needs room to breathe.
- Look for a design with a clearly labelled and short navigation menu.
- Look for a site with well labelled links that are easy to click.
- Look for a site that is easy to understand so that the first time visitor knows the purpose of the website within a few seconds.
- Look for consistency from page to page i.e. the navigation menu should be the same and in the same place on every page.
For more information about website usability see W3.org.
While I’d probably rate this towards the lower end of the website usability scale it is very important in terms of brand awareness. Your website should match your corporate colours and tie in with your business brand. It is important that your site design is consistent from page to page and that the brand is strong throughout. Colour is just one element of this. Typography and imagery are important also. The text you choose will have a personality (serious, playful, positive etc.) and so will the images that you choose. Ensure that the type and images chosen match your brands personality.
I cannot stress this enough, images will make or break your site. A beautiful theme will fail if it is filled with poor images. You don’t need to be a professional photographer to take a good photo, its OK to use your camera phone. Of course a professional will always be that bit better. Here are some key tips for taking photos:
- The light should be focusing on the subject, clearly lighting it up. This is even more essential for taking photos of people.
- Keep the camera steady to avoid blur and take sharp photos.
- Avoid shooting in low light, both indoors and out.
- The subject should be in the centre of the photo but leave some space to show the background also.
- Consider where you are going to use the image in the website. If it is going to be in a slideshow then it should probably be a landscape photo (wider than it is tall) rather than portrait.
Essential and growing more important every day, the security of your website cannot be overlooked. There are many types of attack on your website from hackers trying to take your website down, infiltrating your website content with theirs in order to hijack your site, Sending spam emails from your website, spamming your comment forms. All of these can be prevented with a managed hosting system. Cheap hosting systems can be infected by other website on the same server. Don’t place your site at risk. Most hosting companies will expect you to keep all site software and plugins updated. If you are not technically minded this can be a very difficult task.
As a small business you want to keep your costs low. Hiring a web developer for updating and editing your website can be costly. A content management system allows you to take control over site content, adding and editing text, images and video as you wish. We code and customise the WordPress CMS to make it even easier for you to control your website content.
Speed is now a factor in search rankings. It’s also one of the main reasons that your site visitors will leave your site and go to your competitors. The main factors affecting site speed are
- Your site content – websites with large images and video will take longer to load.
- Bloated code can be tricky for a browser to understand, increasing the time taken to load your page
- Cheap shared hosting comes at a cost – your website will take longer to load than a managed environment hosted on dedicated servers.
Getting found in the search engines is vital. For a new website this can range in difficulty from the easy to almost impossible, depending on the competition in your business sector. Before you write content for your website you should consider the keywords that your customers will search for in Google. Then you should have a landing page for each of these terms.
We include a search engine writing tool in our CMs. We also ensure that every time you update your website Google is notified so that content can be added to the search listings. Otherwise Google may never know about your website.
We include a blogging system to make it easy for you to update your site and add new searchable keyword rich content.
At WebHQ.ie we consider all of these factors, and many more when developing our websites. We have 15 years’ experience in web design. Let us create a great site for you.