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Before starting to enumare what are the factors that make a website good I should tell you that all succesful websites have 2 things in common: they are enjoyable (beautiful colors, great templates that make users to like or love them) and they are (in some degree) simple (the users don’t have to think hard how to browse the site and what are the meaning of every section on the page). The content is varies from one website to another – it’s what you put online – and it’s a completely different story.
As you already know, websites are powerful marketing tools in promoting any business. I’ve already said it a few times so far, I am not going to repeat it. But there are a few factors that improves the quality of your website: visual appealing, accesibility, user friendly and functionality. And it all starts from the homepage, the very first page most of the users usually land when visiting a new website they did not hear about before. If they find your website using the search engines and land on any of your posts, sooner or later they will get to your homepage, the root of your website.
This is why your first page is very important and it needs to be done in a manner to make it simple and very easy to use. Any of your visitors should understand quickly (most of) the structure of your website from your homepage.
Plan your website structure and homepage before you start creating them
When you are having a custom website you can ask for the web designer’s advice, his experience will help you decide the best way your first page should look. If you are getting a free CMS (there are a lot over the internet like joomla, wordpress, drupal and many others) you will have availabe some options about how your homepage should look, but it’s better to ask for advice in this case also.
As you already know (if you don’t know it yet, you better find out before it’s too late) your website is your “face” on the internet, they way to present yourself (as person and/or as business) on the world wide web and it’s going to say a lot about what kind of person are and what kind of business you run. If it’s a good website it will definetly draw attention of your potential customers. If it’s a bad website it will draw attention away from them. It can become a very important piece in your marketing campaign, so its design must be treated with a lot of attention.
When creating a new website you have 2 options: you can get a template from the internet (free or paid) for any of the current free CMS (like joomla, drupal, wordpress and all the others) or you can get some to design it from scratch. Each option has good and bad things, pros and cons that you should consider when choosing the best way for you.
Pros of custom website design
It reflects your ideas
All the existing free CMS on the market are limited in some way or another. Of course, you can add a lot of plugins, components and modules to customize the as you want, but, even so, the final version can be different that you intended it to be. It may not reflect your ideas about what you want to present on Internet.
It’s not a secret that most users judge websites by their appearance (first) and their content (second). It’s true that your content it’s the most important thing in getting new visitors, but the aspect of the website is the second main reason those visitors will return to read more. Allong with great content, getting your site (or sites if you have more than one) visually appealing will assure the flow the visitors, and in order to be appealing it has (they have) to be user friendly (the most important thing), navigable, attractive and organized.
There are some web designers or website owners that do not care about how their websites looks (not enough or not at all), they are interested mainly in designing and developing websited that function properly.
There are a few tips about how to make you website(s) to be visually appealing:
To start with the basics, consistency makes a website easier to use, to learn and to remember. Every successful website have a great consistency across all it’s web pages, it’s every easy to browse and to find what you want because every user is able to use and understand it. It is often said that consistency provides a balance between accessibility and usability in designing websites.
On the other hand, every web site should be accessible on all the devices with internet connection (that means smartphones, tables, iPads – not only personal computers and laptops). So, besides the standard rules that have applied until just a few years ago (about the browser compatibility), there are new rules a web designer must apply. Their ment is to get a consistent design and to help users to find the website accessible and usable.
Every good and experienced web designer knows that there are 2 layers in design a website: the core content or service (let’s call it the structure of the site) and the display layer (what every users sees). The core of the website should not change from device to device and from browser to browser, it must deliver a consistent content. On the other hand, let’s say a user browse your website using a smartphone and they get a piece of content they want to read or they want to wathc (an article or a video you posted), but they don’t have the time and/or the best connection to do so. Later they can try to finish reading the article or watching the video using a tablet or a laptop – the visual elements of design will be in some parts different (by necessity), but the routes the user tooks to find that specific content must be exactly the same.
I often noticed that a lot of web pages (especially the Romanian ones, the area we have the most activity) have a poor content or almont none content. Their search engine optimization on site and off site may be good or even excelent, but the lack of content is a step backward, especially when search engines like Google put accent on the uniqueness of the content.
It’s not a new practice to improve your page with unique content, but a lot of people still don’t know about that: they consider that creating a web page is enough, and with little maintenance and updating information on it they will be the first on Google, Yahoo and Bing in the results list. That’s wrong, and the maintenance/updating the site and it’s content must be continuous in order to be and to remain on the first page of the results list.
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Do you want a web page or a web application? Excelent. Do you have a webdesigner or a web company to create your application? Good. Use them. What about the promotions of your product on the internet after delivery? Usually, the page is realease and that’s all, the webdesigner’s job is done and it is your bussiness to get somebody to promote your page or application and to get it well-known.
It’s the year 2011 Christian era and I started creating pages (professionaly speaking) about 7 years ago. I’ve picked up some stuff about search engine optimization in the last several years, but only lately, since the beginning of the last year, I have started to give it the necessary attention. Several weeks ago I had to make some minor improvements in one older page and I was a little ashamed… it was very poorly optimized for the search engines.
We are offering these services, but I am not going to convince you in any way to come to us… all I want is to give you some piece of advice: the web designing and the seo always work great together. The best pages are the ones that promote theirselves, in the matter of their content, how they looks (the design) and, the most important, their structure. The content and the design will make the people talk about the web page or the web application, but it will not bring it in the first 10 results of the search engines.
There still are companies and webdesigners that offer web development services and seo services, I know at least a few of them. It’s a good way to make some extra money from some clients that have no idea about what is a web page and how the search engines works: to create a web page with a minimum optimization on site and to offer that optimization as an auxiliary service. This works more often than you might think, but the client will always lose something: time, money or both.
So, when you decide to get a web site or a web application put the condition when picking up somebody to work on it: that the product must contain the basics or extended optimization for the search engines on site (integrated in the application).