website design

7 tips for a successful website

What is it that makes a small number of websites successful and the other hundreds of millions just floating in cyber space?

What do the most successful websites do that the others don’t?

Read on to discover 7 tips that will give you a good insight into what makes a successful website.

Do Plan Beforehand

Planning your website beforehand can save you a lot of headaches and time in the long run. Sure, your plan doesn’t have to be to the “T” and can be a work in progress, but nailing down some key points such as the purpose of your website, your competitors, keywords, colour schemes, target market, designs you like & designs you don’t like, will help you prepare for when you start looking for a website designer/developer and also give you a better understanding of the market and demand out there.

Do Research Potential Web Design Suppliers

There are hundreds of thousands of web designers and web developers out there. Be sure to research them properly beforehand and have your expectations in check. If you are looking to create a website for example that is like amazon, which has had tens if not hundreds of millions invested into it then don’t expect to get something similar created for £500!

When researching your potential web design supplier be sure to check out their portfolio, Google reviews, testimonials and even contact their previous clients to get a better understanding of their level of service.

With your planning, beforehand you will be in a much better position to brief potential suppliers and get their input into your plan, which you can then improve upon.

Don’t Get Overwhelmed With Tech Talk

Web design and digital marketing contains a lot of buzzwords and acronyms – Do not feel confused or overwhelmed by them.

If your web designer tells you he’s going to deliver you a “responsive parallax website complete with WordPress CMS, SEO Plugins & PPC campaign” and you don’t understand – Then ask them to break it down into simple terms, if they can’t, then they probably aren’t the supplier for you!

Don’t feel embarrassed that you don’t now the tech talk and certainly do not feel confused, when broken down, web design is actually pretty simple and a great web designer will be able to convey that.

Do Be Clear On What You Will Be Receiving

Web Developers can have a tendency to think because they can understand it, that anyone can. Web Designers tend to want to create something beautiful and maybe not functional – That could leave you in the middle with a good-looking website that can be difficult to maintain.

There are tons of platforms out there that allow you to manage your website, WordPress being one of them. The best WordPress Developers will be able to give you simple 1-2-3 click control over every element of your website and not have you looking at any lines of code or be at risk of breaking your website in any way, shape or form.

Ask to try out the system before you receive it, ask for training, ask for documentation, ask what support they will have if you struggle to update your website.

Do Focus On Functionality Over Design

Some of the worlds biggest websites have some of the simplest web designs you will ever see.

Take Google as an example!

It’s easy for Web Designers to get carried away adding element after element into your design. When designing your website always keep in mind your original core purpose of your website.

Look at each element on each page and ask what purpose it serves – If it doesn’t serve one, then remove it.

You can use software such as usertesting.com and fivesecondtest.com to run tests on audience to see how well your elements are performing – If you set someone a task and they can’t complete it then you need to make that task far easier and obvious to do.

Do Get Educated On SEO!

SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimisation – This is basically the art form of getting your website to rank at the top of Google for your chosen search terms.

It is also one of the most confusing and sometimes shady elements of Web Design.

No one can guarantee to get your website to the #1 position in Google – It’s not possible. The way in which Google determines the #1 position consists of over 200 elements, many of them secret and is always changing, so for someone to guarantee they can get you to #1 is not really possible.

Follow the leading thought experts on SEO, such as Neil Patel who has a great educational blog over at neilpatel.com

SEO is a long-term burner, it will be 6-12 months before you start seeing any results so always keep that in mind. If you do somehow shoot from position 100 to position 1 in a matter of weeks, then be very careful as its very unnatural and will probably get you penalised by Google due to Black hat SEO.

Don’t Get Caught Out With Licensing Agreements

More common than you may think – Companies pay for a website, have it hosted with their chosen provider and when it comes to moving their website to another provider they find out that they have to pay a hefty fee to their provider to “release” their website.

These are known as severance fees and/or licensing fees – What it means in effect is that you don’t actually own the rights to your website that you just paid thousands and thousands of pounds for, your provider does.

These are often written into contracts, so before you sign anything ensure that there are no licensing fees and be clear who owns the design, code, intellectual property etc.