It’s simply not enough just to have a website – these days you need a well-built website in order to keep up with your competitors. What constitutes a well-built website changes according to the specific requirements of each business. Since the criteria can vary so much, it is difficult to say that one website is truly better than the other. For the business owner, you just need to determine if your website delivered on the objectives upon which it was built.
Even though there are so many variables, there are certain specific features that websites should have so that we can tell if they are well-built. There is almost no excuse for a website not having these important features in 2019.
Clear Navigation & Site Architecture
One of the most annoying things you can encounter on a website is mystery meat navigation. That refers to one of those sites where the navigation is not in the header, and is not immediately obvious to website visitors.
Your navigation is not where you want to be overly creative. You want visitors to be able to quickly find what they are looking for. Each link to any of the internal pages of your site needs to be clearly labelled and your calls-to-action needs to be obvious to the visitor. It should direct them to the pages that they need.
Blazing Fast Website Speed
A modern website experience needs to be blazing fast. This is especially true in the age of the mobile web as people are becoming increasingly impatient with online experiences that are slow and laggy. You need to ensure that each visitor is able to find what they need quickly if not they will bounce from your site and start visiting your competitors’ sites.
Search Engine Friendly
Search engines such as Google are one of the most important traffic sources for all types of websites. You need to ensure that your website is search engine friendly. This means that the crawlers or bots from major search engines such as Yahoo, Google, Bing or DuckDuckGo are able to properly crawl, index and return your website in their search engine results page.
There are several aspects to this, but generally this involves on-page optimisation and off-page optimisation. On-page optimisation means that you need to ensure that your website is crawlable and has great content. Off-page optimisation refers to activities such as linkbuilding where you need other authoritative and trustworthy websites to start linking back to you. This will help ensure that your website will start moving up the search engine rankings over time.
HTTPS Website Security
Website security is a huge concern these days, not only for major sites but for every company. These days there are no excuses for not having a secure HTTPS connection. There are free services such as Let’s Encrypt that will allow you to employ encryption for free. High profile hacks such as the Panana Papers have placed website security in the forefront.
In the last few years, mobile searches have exceeded those of desktop searches. This means that there are more people using mobile devices to access the Internet than there are those using their desktops. This makes it imperative that you develop your website in a way that makes it condusive for your mobile visitor.
Google has a mobile-friendliness test that you can use to check if it complies with Google’s definition of mobile-friendly. However, do conduct your own user testing as Google’s app may not be the most accurate. Remember that your goal is to ensure that your mobile visitors have just as good experience on their mobiles as they would on their desktops.
What other features do you think are critical for websites in 2019 and beyond? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!