There are currently 1.94 billion websites. That’s a lot of choice for your audience and a lot of competition for your own site.
If success is measured in visitors (and it has to be one of the key factors) then you need your audience to be able to find your site, like it, use it, and get what they want from it. From having a user-friendly interface to creating optimized content, this is how to give your audience a website they’ll keep coming back to.
A user-friendly interface that makes your site easy to navigate
The best user interfaces are intuitive, appealing, and allow users to get what they want as easily as possible. To have a successful website, you need user-friendly navigation that lets your visitors find what they need in the smallest possible number of clicks.
While the concept of having a user-friendly interface for your website is simple, putting it into practice requires a more in-depth understanding of UI design. The video below is an excellent beginner's guide to the principles of using UI design to create a successful website:
Once you’ve picked up the principles of UI design and created your website with them in mind, it’s important that you have your site tested by various people to get an objective view.
Your first step is to use alpha testing, and your second is to use beta testing. Use the results of these tests to establish if your website has a user-friendly interface and implement any suggestions for improvements.
Good hosting that keeps your website open for business
Hosting gives your website a space to operate in and opens it up for business, and the better the hosting, the stronger that presence will be. Choosing poorly will result in a lot of downtimes, preventing people from visiting your site and completing the actions you wish to be completed.
When you run your site on Joomla, a self-hosted CMS, you’ll need to arrange to host manually. There are many hosting providers that are great for Joomla: here’s a selection to consider, so review them all and pick whichever one seems best suited to your needs.
Mobile-responsive design that doesn’t distract your visitors
It’s old news that more people use their phones than desktop PCs to connect to the internet, so why am I talking about mobile-responsive design? Because even now there are websites that aren’t mobile-responsive – and if your website isn't, then it might as well not exist.
A major part of having a mobile-responsive website is about making the right choices with your CMS: the aforementioned Joomla is mobile-responsive, but some older platforms are not, which means a historic site may not be fit for purpose.
If you’ve yet to build your website, then simply choose a CMS that’s mobile-responsive. If you’ve already built your site, you can use Google’s free testing service to see how it rates. Before you get too comfortable, though, having a site that works on smartphones isn’t only about picking the right CMS. To have a mobile-responsive site, you need to invest in the following:
- Reducing distractions for your users.
- Making any links easy to spot.
- Keeping navigation to an absolute minimum.
- Including a space of 30x30 pixels to allow tap points for touch screen.
- Having a continuous integrated experience between desktop and mobile views.
Having a mobile-responsive site is an ongoing process that requires regular testing. This means constant management of your on-page elements, i.e:
- Ensuring video sizes are optimized.
- Having the right button sizes.
- Compressing your images.
- Using the right font sizes.
Optimized content that adds value to your users & sounds human
For all the technical and design facets you need to get right, the success of your website often boils down to one thing: content. Your site visitors will be looking for content that’s visually pleasing, well-written, and useful for achieving their purposes.
Striking the right tone and selecting the right format for your content is a tricky skill to master. It’s easy to fall into the trap of writing in bullet points and reeling off product descriptions, but your content needs to sound human and speak to your users if you want them to engage with it.
A simple way of tackling this is to ask yourself how you feel when reading through it – does it come across as warm and precise, or is it cold and sales-focused? It may take a few drafts to get there, but once you have the right tone and format, your content will be an asset that persuades people to buy your goods/services.
But writing content that’s warm, engaging, precise, and human isn’t enough. In order to have a successful website, your visitors need to find it, and that means its content must help it to rank well: in other words, your content must be written with SEO in mind (that means including the right keywords: here are some tips for finding relevant keywords).
Creating SEO-friendly content is an art as much as it is a science, one that requires practice and refinement. This has been covered extensively across the web, so rather than bore you with a lengthy run-through, I’ll point you to the video below to find out what you need to do to create content that adds value to your audience and search engines:
A successful website is the foundation of every modern business. While it's easy to set up a website, it’s also easy to build a bad one if you get the essentials wrong. By having a user-friendly interface, good hosting, mobile responsive design, and optimized content, you’ll give yourself the basis of a website that lets you achieve its goals.