There are millions of web designers, developers and agencies out there, all of which will likely claim to be very good at what they do.
But what is great web design? What makes an awesome website?
The problem is, most people only rate a website based on what they can see. In other words, how nice does the site look to that person. In actual fact, the aesthetics of a website are only one element of many that make a great website.
We recently completed the development of a new website for local ale blenders, Loddon Brewery. Naturally, we think the site does look great and we’re not the only ones either! loddonbrewery.com has been nominated for the prestigious ‘Site of the Day’ award at awwwards.com – ‘The awards that recognize the talent and effort of the best web designers, developers and agencies in the world.’
We are obviously delighted to be nominated for such an honourable award but it’s not actually the design of this website that we are most proud of.
At Ri Web, we work extremely hard to create websites that will deliver results for our clients. This means our development process goes way past the general look and feel. This is why when we saw a vast improvement in Loddon’s website traffic data, we got really excited!
Comparison between the last 31 days of the old website and the first 31 days of the new website, built by Ri Web
So what does the above tell you about the new website that’s so much better than the old?
First off, let’s look at the number of visits. The raw data shows that traffic more than doubled once the new site went live. But that’s only the start of it. The 541 hits the old website received included a whopping 90% of spam referral visits. Compare this to the 9% of spam hits the new website has received and you’ll uncover the first hidden gem of a quality website build. Not only has Google Analytics been properly installed and access provided to the client but numerous filters have also been put in place to block spam referrals. At Ri Web, we don’t offer Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) services. So why is the new site receiving so much more traffic than the old one?
While we don’t offer such services, we do, with every single project we undertake, optimise each page of a website for it’s content. Adding relevant page titles and descriptions, working only in clean, well structured code and correctly labelling images are all things that make up a quality website, not just for the sake of Google. – Notice how there was no mention of keywords here.
An awesome website is built for the client’s target audience, not for the client and certainly not for Google. But guess what? Both Google and clients love relevant websites!
Finally, our personal favourite of the stats above, bounce rate – generally regarded as how relevant a website is to its visitors.
None of the written content provided by the client was changed from the old website, only the design and layout. So why is there an increase of almost 50% in the number of visitors browsing further than the page they entered the website on? The answer is in the relevance of the design and it’s usability.
There is literally no point in having a website that you think is beautiful but doesn’t speak to your target audience.
But what if the website is relevant to any potential customers but is hard to navigate? What if a potential customer likes the look of the website but can’t find what they’re looking for? Both are examples of poor usability and both will likely result in a higher bounce rate.
In summary, a number of factors make up an awesome website. Quality design is key but more importantly, quality design that is relevant to the target audience.
When creating a new website or working with a website designer the following elements are the start of an awesome website:
Design that appeals to the client’s target audience, not necessarily the client
Clean, well structured code
Pages correctly optimised for their content
Data collection and statistics that empower the client to make informed decisions on future amendments
Have anything to add to this? Let us know in the comments below!
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