In the last blog post, we shared the web design trends to watch for this year (bonus points if you remember, but here’s a refresher in case you don’t). However, there’s much more to a beautiful and effective website than simply plastering it with all the shiny new trends (which, by the way, we don’t really recommend doing).
With that in mind, we wanted to put together this handy checklist for anyone considering a redesign―or a brand new site―this year. Here are PMD’s top 10 essentials for an effective, well-designed website:
- User-friendly ― The first half of this word says it all: it’s about the user and his experience. Try looking at your site through the lenses of a potential customer. It should be fast, functional, and easy to navigate.
- Readable – Piggybacking off of the user-friendly aspect, a website’s readability is oh-so-important. In addition to well-formatted content that’s easy to scan, the colors of background and text should have good contrast. It’s a basic design principle, but one that still gets overlooked!
- Responsive ― Since mobile viewing has now surpassed desktop viewing, it’s more crucial than ever to have a responsive web design that offers an optimal experience across a range of devices.
- Simplistic ― If you overwhelm viewers with a complicated or cluttered design, they will get frustrated and leave your website. It’s as simple as that!
- Purposeful ― Your overall site design and every element within it should serve a purpose: to keep your message in front of the viewer and ultimately convert them into a customer with clear calls to action.
- Quality content ― High-quality, original content not only engages your audience, but also has far-reaching benefits including higher search engine rankings. Here’s a helpful blog from Kissmetrics about creating great content. Also, triple-check for correct spelling and grammar―or have someone else help if that’s not your strong suit.
- Clear contact info ― This one may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many business websites are lacking in this area! In addition to an actual Contact page, the phone number, email, etc. should also be included in the header and/or footer of your website template.
- Optimized ― If you want your website to show up on Google search results (and who doesn’t?) Search Engine Optimization is critical. Here’s the kicker: SEO is ideally built into your site’s infrastructure and should be taken into consideration early in the design process. (If this wasn’t the case for you, don’t worry, there’s still hope!) Check out Google’s SEO Starter Guide to learn more.
- Sharable ― Include social sharing buttons on relevant pages throughout your website to encourage people to share your products, blog posts, videos, or other interesting content. Social media can drive a large volume of traffic―and if you have a large social media reach it can even have a positive impact on your search engine rankings!
- Tracking analytics ― One of the most powerful tools you can have is the ability to track website statistics. We use Google Analytics and can also help connect our clients’ sites to this valuable (and free!) tool. Check out our post on finding your comfort zone with web analytics.
What do YOU think is the most important characteristic of a great website? Share your comments below!