There’s no such thing as a business website that finds success randomly…never has been and never will be. Instead, it’s a case of not only the vested efforts of the designer paying off, but also his or her in-depth knowledge of what it is that makes for a successful website.
While it’s fair to say that knowing how to code complex websites in your sleep is still an advantage, these days it’s of far more importance to understand the principles of strong website design. This is precisely the reason why so many amateurs with $50 WordPress sites are earning five-figure sums every month, while others investing huge sums of cash in complex sites end up folding in a matter of weeks.
Is there any rock-solid secret to success online? Sadly not, but until the elusive trade secret for getting rich overnight presents itself, keep tabs on the following five cornerstones of effective site design and chances are you won’t fare too badly:
1 – Functionality Comes First
Could it really be true that functionality is more important than both form and content combined? Of course it could – what good is a site that looks great and features world-class content if the damn thing doesn’t work?
Solid functionality means looking at everything from page loading times to the navigation system to the way each page flows into the next and so on and so forth. Of course it’s impossible to make this happen without any site content, but no matter what else you decided to focus on when designing your site, make sure it works as it should!
2 – Content is King God
Content used to be important and then it was crowned king of the web world. As of right now though, you’d be better off thinking of content more like the all-seeing God of the Internet. The quality of your site’s content will determine every aspect of its success. It will play a role in where your site gets indexed with Google and other major search engines, it will build your reputation with anyone that pays you a visit, it will determine whether or not you’re generally interpreted as a genuine authority and it will make a big difference to your conversion rates. Take any chances on content and you take a bold chance at blowing it with all of the above…it’s just not worth it.
3 – Form
The aesthetic value of your site comes in at number three as to make a crappy site look good is akin to polishing a…well, you know. And the thing to bear in mind more than ever before right now is the way in which understated and generally minimalist sites that cut the filler and focus on what matters are increasingly what the punters seem to be siding with. Don’t go mad with the garnish…focus on the meat.
4 – Compatibility
Design your site to work only with Firefox and you’ll exclude millions of potential customers. Don’t bother with responsive website design for the sake of mobile web users and you’ll immediately rule out about half of the world’s population. Get the picture? Compatibility is paramount and is only set to grow in importance as technology evolves.
5 – Focus
And finally, if you want to establish yourself and your brand as an authority in your particular niche or industry, do your best to focus on it near-exclusively. Keep things on-topic, relevant and as fresh and contemporary as possible if you’re to stand any chance of building a real name for yourself in your niche.