On Good Websites
In today’s digital age, your customers are expecting a website, for branding’s sake! (pun intended). We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: a website can make or break your brand.
So, what makes a good website?
Funny you ask—we were just getting to that. Of course, what makes a website great depends partly on what it will be used for. A school’s site, a personal webpage or blog, an e-commerce site — the quality is defined by different characteristics. Below you’ll find a little insight from some of Strategis’ marketing and media mavericks on what they think makes a worthy website, regardless of the purpose it serves:
Design, meet Content. Content, meet Design. Marrying aesthetically pleasing, yet functional design to engaging content rife with the appropriate copywriting is no task for the lighthearted, but as our graphic designer, Randi, put it: “content informs design.” A good website knows that and isn’t afraid to shout it from the rooftop. Consider implementing this content-before-design strategy for all of your online marketing efforts.
Remember, you’re not creating a website for you, but for your audience. You might have thought that a scrolling feature would keep all the important information on one page, you might have thought that that snappy video was absolutely necessary, and you might not mind stretching your fingers over your smartphone screen in order to read the text clearly.
However, I’m with Creative Director, Juli, when she says “usability comes before design.” We love sites that are easy-to-read, easy-to-navigate, and easy-to-understand.
We know – there are some really well-designed and inspirational websites out there; but, we’re more interested in what your site says about your brand. Maybe you prefer light colors and straight lines, or maybe you want vibrant patterns or interesting fonts. Clean and simple does not have to be boring, nor does colorful and patterned have to be cluttered. Account Manager, Lindsay, stresses that “your website should tell your story,” and most importantly, “your website should be cohesive with your brand.” From the get-go, a well-designed website is more than a mere appendage of your brand, it is your brand.
Has anyone ever told you to stick to the point? Well, we’ll try saying it in a nicer way:
Your website ultimately serves a lot of functions from product or service information, questions and answers, and creative portfolio, to enrollment, transactions, and contact information…the list is long, however, while a website shouldn’t be ambiguous, Randi also suggests that a website shouldn’t have frivolous information, either. If you want them to purchase something, provide a checkout page. If you want them to learn more, give them thorough product descriptions. If you’re aiming for brand awareness, consider including an RSS feed or links to your social media accounts. Establish your purpose and make sure that your content and design support it.
Now, did you double check those links? Are all forms error-free? Have any facts or statistics changed over time? Have you tested the site on other browsers? Does everything function? Our advice: stay fresh to keep frustration to a minimum.
There will never be a “perfect” website. There will be, however, well-designed and well-built websites that combine visuals, functionality, usability and act as a great support system for your business. For some more insights on web design and development, marketing, success, or maverick/ninja tactics, find us here!