Before we get started, I promise we’re not throwing shade. We love designers, and we know that a beautiful website goes a long way to establishing authority and building trust in any business. That said, what makes a good website is not design.
What makes a good website is functionality.
When it comes to digital marketing (which is what you’re doing if you’re building a website) your website is a tool. It matters that it looks good, but what’s more important is that it functions as a tool — driving new traffic and leads to your company, and helping your sales and marketing teams close new deals.
So, if your website is a digital market tool, then what makes a good website? Here are a few of the key components that add up to a quality website that will work for you, even when you’re off the clock:
If you learn only one thing from this blog, please let it be this: DO NOT have a developer custom-build you a website from the ground up.
Yes, they can do it. And yes, it might be a wonderful website.
It will never compete with the searchability and support that a more traditional CMS (Content Management System) can offer.
A developer might be able to design you a fantastic custom website. The problem is that if it’s custom-built, and doesn’t make use of a convenient, sustainable CMS, when that developer leaves for a new job, retires, or wins the lottery, it will be very difficult to change or update your website. With a custom-built site, only the developer will know how the site works, is built, and how changes can be made, which means your site is now effectively dead in the water.
Beyond that, CMSs offer some very attractive benefits, like SEO ranking power, immediate translation, security, and more.
Let’s back up for one second — what is a CMS?
A CMS or content management system is an application that allows you to publish and manage content on the web.
You’ve heard of WordPress? What about Joomla or Drupal?
All are very famous CMS platforms. We use WordPress, for a lot of key reasons.
You don’t have to choose WordPress, but you should use a reputable CMS to build and manage your website. Why?
A CMS supports a variety of website templates, it should include intuitive publishing and content management options, it allows you to easily format your website content however you please, and it’s customizable. Essentially, it’s the first building block of a quality website. It’s the foundation that your excellent website will be built on, which is why you need to choose a quality one to start with.We cannot stress enough the importance of using a quality CMS to support your website. Click To Tweet
A CMS helps you keep your website secure, and it makes it sustainable. Choosing a reputable CMS is investing in the future of your website. The CMS will always be there, and it will always be simple to update, change, and alter as your business grows and changes too.
Mobile Responsive and Quick Load Time
Your website has to keep up. If users have to wait for your site to load, or if they can’t view it on their phones while they’re in line at the sandwich shop, you don’t have a good website.
Start by choosing a website theme that’s mobile responsive. Mobile traffic makes up more than half of all the internet traffic around the world. Believe us when we say it’s important.
If your website automatically resizes to fit any screen, seamlessly, you never lose a potential client for something as silly as, “I couldn’t read your site.”
In the same vein, your website has to load quickly. More than 50% of web browsers will abandon a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load the landing page. That means, no matter how beautiful your website is, if your consumer can’t see it in 3 seconds or less, they’ll never see it.
It’s easier than you’d think to improve load time. One simple solution is to just minimize image sizes on your site. We use a plugin called Smush to optimize and compress all of the images on our site, ensuring that our site both looks good and loads quickly too.
We’ve gotten through most of the technical aspects of what makes a good website. For all intents and purposes, the thing is built. But now you have to get people to come to your website. Blogging is the first, easiest way to do that.
Any good website should have blogging capability. When you can publish blogs to your website, you can create a steady stream of content to draw new traffic in. A blog is important for a number of reasons:
- Regular posts help you rank for strategic keywords
- You can share your content on social media platforms, engaging more potential leads
- Blog posts help you teach and delight new leads with quality, relevant content that draws them through the buyer’s funnel.
The more regularly you blog, and the more regularly you share those blogs, the more traffic your site will see. Click To Tweet The more traffic your site has, the greater its opportunity to live up to its potential as a digital marketing tool for your company.
When your site is seeing regular, qualified traffic, you can convert that traffic with great content offers and landing pages, collecting contact information and helping your sales and marketing teams close new deals. That all starts with your website’s blogging capability.
So, we’re making a good website that functions as a tool to convert leads and close deals, right? Right.
Well, SEO, or search engine optimization, is a key factor for any good website’s functionality.
Search engine optimization is the process of, well, optimizing, your website to attract the right attention from search engines like Google. When Google knows your site exists, then it will share you with potential leads who have a relevant interest in what you’re selling.
A website that is SEO-friendly has:
- Content that’s written for target keywords. (You should do some keyword research to figure out what those keywords are first)
- On-page SEO, like site titles, title tags, social media sharing buttons, and more.
- Relevant, keyword-optimized alt tags.
This is a very paired-down explanation of SEO, so if you want to know more about how to actually optimize your site, head here.
The point, for the purpose of this blog, is that SEO is another way to make sure your site is getting plenty of the right traffic. The more optimized your site, the more likely you are to see high-converting traffic that cares about what you have to say.
A Digital Marketing Platform
In the end, a good website is one that functions as your company’s digital marketing platform. It should be the hub for any digital marketing effort you make:
- Digital ads should lead back to a landing page on your website
- Social media posts encourage followers to check out your blog
- SEO efforts bring new, qualified traffic into your website
- Your blog converts new visitors into leads
- Content offers convert those leads into sales opportunities
And that’s why we say that what makes a good website isn’t design, it’s functionality. While a great website will also feature quality design, what your website looks like shouldn't be your top priority. Click To TweetInstead, focus on how your website can help your company close more deals, and grow overall. If it can do that, then you know you’ve made a good website.
And if you’re looking for a little help building a website that delivers leads? Get in touch with the HA Digital Marketing team! We live and breathe website design for inbound marketing, and we’d be happy to offer up a few pointers to help you improve your site for better performance.