We all know how important a good website is for a business. It acts as a calling card for the company and provides information about the brand. It also offers a wide range of possibilities as a marketing and sales tool.
Most companies today have their own website - you probably do too. The question is, how do you know if your website is good? To help you find out, we've put together a list of what we think are the most important questions to ask.
Who do you want to attract and what do you want to achieve with your website? Should it show the most important information about your brand or products? Do you want it to help you increase sales, build an expert image, develop employer branding activities, attract potential employees or create a community around your brand?
Choosing the right solution depends on the type of business and its main objectives. How well do the features available on my site meet the needs of the people I want to reach? The design and features will differ depending on the target group and the strategy you want to follow. This seems obvious, but it’s not so simple. Defining your website's purpose and target audience can be challenging. This is especially true in large organisations, where there are many stakeholders with different expectations and points of view.
Big differences of opinion can lead to a situation where you add more and more features that do not bring real value to your business. In fact, they can make your website too complex and chaotic - both in terms of providing information to users and maintaining its back-end operations.
If you are not yet clear about your goals, it might be a good idea to take a step back and evaluate the key principles that your website should follow. At this point, it is worth remembering who your website is for. Looking at it from the end user's perspective will give you invaluable insight into what's important and what's not. Our workshops are an ideal tool for you and your team to analyse your site from the perspective of your target audience.
The design of your website shapes the impression it makes on its users. For example, we would use a different colour scheme when designing a website for a law firm than for a toy shop. Adding lots of interactive elements may give you a very modern look, but users will have trouble finding the right content if you overdo it.
When designing the visuals for your website, it is good practice to take inspiration from those who are more skilled than you. Before you sit down to discuss the look and feel of your platform, check out what the competition has to offer. See what you like about the solutions and features other brands are already using. Of course, you don't want to just copy what's already on the market because your brand won’t stand out. However, it is a good idea to have a few projects up your sleeve so that you can quickly and easily show the agency what you like. Of course, solutions that work for another company may not meet the needs of your recipients. In that case we go back to point 1 :)
Text composition is another key element to consider. Font type and size, text length and spacing should reflect the overall style of your platform. Comic Sans wouldn't look right on the website of a charity for sick children and we wouldn't recommend it for a global corporation either. Also, text should be sized according to its function. For example, using 12px for the header and 24px for the body will make the page hard to read. Finally, you need to make sure that your design does not contain too many different fonts. For more tips on choosing appropriate fonts and arranging them effectively read this article.
Another important element in the design of your website's architecture is meeting User Experience requirements. Analysing the functionality of your platform from a user's perspective should be an integral part of your design process.
Before you start creating/rebuilding a website, it is useful to map it out. The most important information should be easily available. This topic is closely related to site navigation, which should also meet the needs of your business. For example, in the case of an e-commerce website, it is important that a user can easily move from the navigation panel to specific product or category pages. At this stage, it is best to use layouts that are popular and commonly used. If the menu is at the top of the page, the shopping basket is on the right and so on, visitors will know where to look. The point is to put elements that appear on most pages in the same places to give users a more seamless experience. The ease and convenience of placing orders is particularly important for online retailers. Focusing on spectacular looks rather than functionality can lead to an unintuitive interface which, in turn, can discourage people from completing their purchase and result in lost revenue.
The overall responsiveness of the website is also a factor, along with a mobile-friendly design. People browse the web more and more often using their mobile devices in different situations. They expect to be able to access information 'here and now'. https://www.browserstack.com/ is a great tool that you can use to launch your website on different devices and see how well it performs in these formats.
If you already have a website, it is worth testing it. You can do this on your own - go through all the different views and simply check if it is easy to use. If you have a very specific target audience, for example in terms of age, ask a person with a similar background to perform sample actions on the website (e.g. make a purchase) and assess whether the process was user-friendly and provided all the necessary information.
It is also impossible to ignore site speed - a slow service will definitely discourage users and often lead them to leave your platform. The easiest way to check your site's performance is to use Google Page Speed. There's a lot more to know about optimising your page speed. If you're interested, we have a separate article dedicated to this topic.
Website management is an important topic for the owner or content manager. It is worth considering which potential changes to the site you will be able to make yourself and which will require the assistance of a developer. If you plan to publish blog posts regularly, this process needs to be fast and intuitive. The right CMS (Content Management System) will allow you to edit content yourself, even if you don’t have any programming skills. In practice, you will be able to add, modify and delete texts, tables, graphics, photos, videos, and even entire sub-pages or sections. Everything is done through an intuitive administration panel.
One of the most popular platforms of this type at the moment is WordPress. It is very intuitive, so changing the content yourself is a quick and easy process. Another advantage of WordPress is that it offers a wide range of options for managing the structure of the administration panel. This is particularly important if there is more than one “manager” of the site. It comes in handy if the technology you choose allows you to assign specific roles to people, especially in terms of security and organising the process of publishing content.
Once you have decided on a CMS, the next step is to choose the right hosting. It needs to meet your needs, for example, in terms of the number and location of users who will visit your website. Choosing the wrong hosting service can lead to the site being overloaded, causing it to slow down or fail. And as we already know, page speed matters.
Nowadays, the vast majority of Internet users (thankfully!) check the credibility of the websites they use on a daily basis. Potential security issues can affect your site's search engine rankings because their algorithms often reject results they find questionable. If a visitor has doubts about the safety of using your website, they will leave immediately. This will give the impression that your brand is not trustworthy and, unfortunately, the consequences can be very serious.
Issues such as a messy visual layout, poorly aligned text or buttons that do not work properly can have a big impact on the website's credibility. If the topic of security isn't your speciality, consider consulting a professional who can help you choose the best solution. Many agencies (including Osom Studio) not only create your website but also offer maintenance packages that will help you sleep well at night :)
Having a valid SSL certificate that encrypts communications between the user and the server is critical, especially for e-commerce businesses. If a user comes to your website and sees a padlock with a red line through it or a security warning instead of content, they are not likely to return. If you have a WordPress site and you'd like to know more about the security measures you can take to protect your business go to this article.
You can have a website that meets all the requirements in terms of visual layout, content and usability, but if it is not well positioned in the search engines, your target user may never find it. That is why the final ingredient in our recipe for a successful website is the right SEO strategy. WordPress is a powerful CMS that has a lot to offer in this area, especially from a technical perspective.
Search engine positioning is a key element in the success of your website, so it’s best to use the services of an experienced specialist who will help you choose the right keywords to represent your business. It is also good practice to review and analyse the results of your optimisation efforts on a regular basis. Start by setting clear expectations about the frequency of reporting.
Can you answer "Yes" to all 6 questions? If not, consider working on these elements with an experienced agency. How can you help them (and yourself)? Firstly, prioritise communication and collaboration. Dialogue is an integral part of any successful project. Your opinion is very important to the agency's staff, so be open to discussing your ideas or implemented solutions. Analyse and test the consistency of assumptions from your own point of view. After all, you know your customers best :-). On the other hand, listen to the agency’s observations and suggestions - they have the experience to know what works. Secondly, be patient - designing, coding, testing, optimising… Building a well-functioning website requires time for developers, graphic designers and other specialists to do what they do best.
If you want to benefit from our experience, contact us - we will help you work on your website.