5 Points to Building a Great Website

There are a lot of websites out there, heck you’re on one now but what makes a website great? Great meaning it’s useful, and an enjoyable experience for users and search engines. Here’s my top 5 pieces that I believe every website should have to ensure a great website.

1. Proper Code.

Your site will not be viewable if it’s not coded, or coded correctly. There’s a lot of options out there that programmers will talk circles about from Flash, Ajax, Jquery, HTML5 and many other buzz words but whichever road, make sure that the code on your website is compliant and viewable to users, all devices including mobile and (most importantly) search engines. Do your own research and know that Flash isn’t viewable on Apple devices or indexed (very well) by the search engines. Also know that any text put in images won’t be seen by search engines or text-browsers so there are other ways to ensure that every device will know what the image is. Any good web developer will know the technology they’re working with and if they don’t? Seriously, find a new developer.

2. Proper Content.

Content is great and what you’re reading right now, essential to any website. Have you ever heard the expression that “content is king”? I don’t believe it’s necessarily the king but it sure is essential in conveying your message, including your keywords, and speaking directly to your audience. Websites need content and your content should be written for your audience. There are different words used for different industries and levels of industries viewing the website. Properly formatting your content for the level and industry viewing your website will help the search engines to know who your content is written for. These days, search engines are intelligent enough to not only read, but interpret your content, filter through for keywords and understand what you’re saying. Not sure what good content looks like? Start reading CopyBlogger, learn from them.

3. Correct Images + Branding.

So now you’ve got your content down the the website coded correctly, you can move onto images and design. Just plain text on a page is nice, but won’t set you apart from anyone unless it’s been designed with images and branding. Design is captivating and holds users in, sometimes grabbing with eye candy if you’re good enough. Steve Jobs’ said, “People think it’s this veneer — that the designers are handed this box and told, ‘Make it look good!’ That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” That’s exactly how I feel about design, anyone can make a pretty picture but a web designer is a special mix of pretty + usability. Ensure that your design not only looks amazing but works amazing too. Remember design is the first impression of your brand so make it a good one.

4. Links.

Think of your website like an island, out in the middle of the ocean surrounded with water. Your website when you first start out is much like that. No one knows your island exists or how to get to it so you tell a few friends how to take their boat to your island/plane/swim etc. and they tell their friends, word grows and soon every weekend is a party on your island. Links are the same way. Make sure to tell everyone you know about your website and how to get to it and ask them to link to it. Find any associations you’re affiliated with and have them link to you and so on. Don’t stop after the first week as well, you need to grow your website and links are a great way to consitently grow it by slowly having more links directed at you.
Tip! Links also include social media (Facebook, Twitter etc.). With social media other people are doing the work of linking to you & if they’re talking about you, that’s a huge help!

5. Tracking/Goals.

These days if you don’t know how many people have gone to your site, you’re at a severe loss. With Google Analytics alone you can pinpoint where the most users are coming from, how long they are spending on specific pages or your whole site, how they navigated to your site and much much more. If you’re not tracking your site and setting up goals for it, then how do you know the value you may or may not be getting out of it? Google Analytics doesn’t have to be the solution either, there are many other tracking programs that provide different features out there. I personally enjoy Google Analytics but the point is make sure you’re tracking how your website is doing. So in closing, there are a lot of other pieces and elements you can work on when putting a website together but I find these the most important today to start you on the right foot. Ensure all 5 of these are properly implemented and you’re on the way to making sure your website is the favourite island hangout 🙂
PS. Thanks for reading. This is my first go at this. I'm on Twitter posting awesome links from other folks and hope by sharing information instead I can help others the way all the information I've gained has helped me :)