Designing a new website or optimizing your current one can seem like a daunting task. UDig Consultant and the designer of our own website, shares his perspective on the top 5 things every website needs.
A Unique Homepage
The homepage is by far and away the most viewed page you will ever have on your website. It has to make an impression immediately in two areas – design and content. This is the most crucial page to a websites’ success – it must have the “wow factor” to grab the visitor’s attention, while also being separate in design from all your other pages to make it unique.
Content strategy for a homepage is the second part of any great homepage. The visitor should know instantly who you are, and what it is you do. Draw them to other pages, such as your services and products, through the use of short descriptions and interactive features without replicating content.
Every day more and more users are using their tablets, phones, and other mobile devices to explore the internet. Your site needs to adequately respond to these devices in both orientations – landscape and portrait. Users should never have to scroll to the sides to see content, and content should shrink or change to ensure the user experience is as optimal as it is on a desktop.
These considerations should be thought out thoroughly when initially designing the site for look and feel as well as the content. Some content may need to be hidden, or completely adapted into another format to enhance your mobile optimization and user experience.
This one might seem obvious, but it’s generally the execution of this point that falters on most websites. At the very least there should be listed:
General contact email
Links to all social media accounts
Users have been conditioned to look for all of this information at the bottom of every page, and all grouped together. More modern designs will reserve a space at the top for some of this information, particularly the social media links. Social media links should be in the form of their respective logos for instant recognition and designed to be similar to each other to conform to similar shapes/colors used in your websites’ design.
Minimization / Content Delivery Network
In addition, your website should leverage a Content Delivery Network (CDN). A CDN is a system of servers that delivers webpages and other web content to a user based on their location, and the server location. What this means is that if you are in Richmond the website will load the site and its assets from the closest server to you rather than where it is hosted, which could be in another state or country. This helps limit the number of of times needed to transmit your website to the end users.
This is the feature that is most often overlooked, but is critical. It’s vastly important because many users of your site will have disabilities and need to use your site using a screen reader. Without your website being accessible, users with screen readers will not be able to fully use your site, leaving them to go to another option.
Some very simple things you can do are add alt text to images, and properly order the headers on your page. This allows screen readers to verbally say that text when a person rolls over the image or header text. There are many standards with which you can use to measure accessibility, such as 508 and WCAG. Government agencies in Virginia are required to have a minimum of 508 compliance, but you really should shoot for WCAG for maximum efficiency to these customers. For a jump start on WCAG guidelines, go here.
Want some help?
Have you read this article and aren’t sure how best to optimize your site? Or maybe you would like some further help in these areas? We would love to help you! Contact us today and our studio of experts can help you with all of these features and more to help create more business for you.