What makes a Great Website?

November 13, 2015

Great Websites

When you stop and think about it, what do the best websites on the internet look like? Perhaps more importantly, how is the user experience different from other low quality sites? While many of us consider aesthetic qualities such as sharp graphics and dynamic user interaction to be determining factors, they are only a few of the components that work together to create a truly great website. Let’s take a look at a broad range of features that need to be taken into consideration when building a well-rounded, terrific website.

1. Hosting

In order for a modern website to work properly, it needs to be hosted by an online service. Unfortunately, not all hosting services are created equal. Many of these providers only offer minimal features and charge you more for additional services and access. At Get Found, we recommend time tested registrars such as Host Gator. They offer exceptional customer service and create automated back ups of your website should anything ever go wrong. *A good website is hosted by a quality internet registrar that provides a wide variety of features and services with no concealed costs.

2. Framework and Programming Practices

As websites evolved from simple static HTML pages, dozens of online platforms emerged that enable people to quickly set up websites without any knowledge of HTML. These include open source content management systems such as WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla as well as online proprietary systems like SquareSpace, Wix and Weebly. However, these systems are all built using programming languages that follow a specific set of best practices unique to each framework. For many websites, proper programming conventions allow you to update your website with new software releases without breaking anything. *A good website uses the right framework for the job and is programmed according to the framework’s best practices.

3. PageSpeed, Load Time

If you’ve ever been waiting to pull up a website for what seems like an eternity, you understand the importance of PageSpeed. As a factor in Google’s PageRank algorithm, a website’s PageSpeed has some effect on your website’s search engine rankings. However, Google’s PageSpeed calculations only consider the front end rendering and execution of HTML, CSS and Javascript in browsers. The quality of server side code is mostly ignored although it plays a critical role in the overall performance of your website. *A good website is optimized on both the server and client side to minimize page load time.

4. Security

Again, with the exception of HTML sites, nearly all modern websites are susceptible to hacking. Protecting your website and data requires knowledge of security protocols, proper naming conventions, and often the use of a website security system. Most web application frameworks have security features that are either built in or available for download. Website security may also involve spam filtering, running security scans and scheduling routine back ups. *A good website uses necessary security features that prevent unwanted intrusion without interrupting the user experience.

5. On-Page Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

In order for a website to be effective, it must rank high in search engine result pages. This can be accomplished by performing on-page SEO for each page that you want indexed by Google. The actual work of on-page SEO involves writing descriptive tags at a specific points in the HTML page. *A good website uses keyword rich and well targeted on-page SEO practices that allow them to rank well in search engines.

6. Aesthetics and Good Design Principles

*A good website makes proper use of space, color and form. These factors work together to reinforce the customer’s brand identity. Contrasting colors are used to guide the eye to focal points of interaction and to make the page’s text readable. A well designed site also makes effective use of symmetry to balance the content of the page along with plenty of space. In fact, many designers suggest that good web pages should consist of 2/3 empty space, and 1/3 of actual content to be most effective. As internet usage moves more and more from desktop to mobile devices, mobile design is becoming an integral part of professional web design. Good websites properly scale appropriately across different devices to make the user experience most effective.

Conclusion

This was a rather broad view of the features of a great website. However, considering each of these factors is essential to building an effective website. If you have any questions about our web design process, please feel free to contact us today.