Good websites are characterized by a number of factors that influence a variety of aspects from general appearance to user experience. It is important to do research, evaluate the purpose of the website, the competition, current trends and most importantly determining a good web design company that will help you to achieve your goals.
Below are some of the factors that I feel should be considered before getting a website:
1. Purpose / Goals
The most important factor to consider is the purpose of the website. What sort of message do you want to communicate to your audience, do you intend to sell a product or service, Advertise or provide information to your customers and prospects? Being clear about your intentions will help you establish a clear road map towards a successful website.
With this in Mind your web designer will be able to understand what you need and can easily work backwards to establish factors such as; how the site will be managed, what functionality will improve the user experience, what messages to communicate, how content can be easily managed by the site owner and so much more.
2. Navigation System
The overall website should be easy to navigate. Users visiting the website should be able to easily locate the content they are looking for, so the fewer the links to the relevant content the better and the lesser the frustration for your users.
Most website today use a common standard of navigation that users have come to expect. Usually there is the main menu that leads to the main pages for the most important content then there are smaller links that are equally important such as FAQ, Knowledge base, Terms and conditions and so on.
The use of related links on a side bar or within the content also improves the navigation of the website by allowing the users to easily access the next content that is related to the main subject. When developing related links think of the pages which users are likely to visit once they've finished with the page and how many clicks it will take move from one page to the next.
3. User Experience
Every site user visiting your website is looking for some sort of information and depending on how that information is organized determines how long your visitors will stick around. Many businesses want to convert these users into buying customers or simply enhance customer service satisfaction therefore the information on the website has to be organized and presentable. For instance a shopping cart can have products that are grouped into categories and sub categories that are easy to navigate and the fewer steps it takes to check out and purchase selected items the better. In the case of those redesigning or improving their website, a good way to evaluate user experience is to conduct a survey that will sample a number of users who will be willing to assist you with the process of web redesign.
4. General Appearance
A good website should be simple attractive and visually appealing (simple is more). In most cases the design and color scheme of the website represents the company's corporate appeal. In the process of determining which colors or design to implement it is important to consider the targeted demographics. Success of the chosen design will most likely be based on this factor. Today, overall design seems to be overtaken many other factors that influence a good website but in my opinion a good designer maintains a balance as once people have feasted on the design they will look to the content of the site and if its not relevant then they might lose their audience.
5. Content Relevancy
Many web experts have said and continue to state that content is King. Users will visit your website because they are looking for some information or products or services. Keeping you content relevant is important in satisfying your customers and chances are that they will revisit your website or blog.
For instance, take time to do a full description of your offering, the benefits and why users should choose your products and services over others. Content may range from textual information, images or audio content. This content not only serves your audience or users but also helps impacts search engine ranking.
6. Fast Loading
A heavy web page adversely affects loading time and for many people using a slow internet connection in Kenya are bound to give up and move on to other website. Slow loading mainly occurs when you have heavy content on a single page such as (images, video, flash gallery). If it is necessary to have the content, then it is important to optimize your content and ensure their sizes are within acceptable limits.
7. Reliable Web Hosting
A good web hosting company will not only provide a safe place to store your website but also a reliable place where your website will be viewed by your audience without interruptions. Recent trends show that unlimited hosting plans are the way to go. Such a service offers; unlimited Disk space (where the website is stored), Unlimited Bandwidth (Data transfer) and Unlimited Emails. This has its own benefits entirely as many companies in Kenya are facing downtime, bouncing emails due limited bandwidth and limited number of emails set for their accounts.
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