Web design is somewhat of a niche skill in today’s world. Sure, there are plenty of designers out there that can create beautiful and functional websites using the latest technologies, design sensibilities and graphical prowess. However, what really sets apart a good website apart from a great website is in how it’s used.

So in this post, we’re going to talk about the characteristics of an effective business website and how you can transform yours to be more effective at informing customers, selling products and creating engagement to help promote your brand.

Effective search engine optimization to make your website easier to find

Between paid methods of SEO such as PPC to having great content on your site, there are plenty of ways to improve your search engine optimization. SEO can be a struggle to implement especially if you’re not very tech-savvy. Of course, you could always hire an agency to give you a hand with search engine optimization, but being able to understand SEO and how it works can still be a huge advantage.

We can explain SEO in one simple sentence; it’s the concept of turning your website into an authority.

This can mean a number of things such as:

Creating authoritative content that web users and other websites use or refer to
Having a well-designed website that is easy to navigate and find information on
By listing useful information such as contact details so you’re easier to reach
Adding useful keywords that can help enhance the content and make it easier for people to find things instead of just trying to appeal to Google’s search engine bots
Having useful and informative content that will help users understand your products or services

Effective SEO involves many different concepts and technologies in order to take full advantage of. However, the baseline fundamental is still the same; SEO is used as a way to turn your website into an authoritative source of content, services or products. The more people that link to your website, discuss your products and services or simply talk about you, the more likely that you’re going to shoot up in search rankings so that you’re easier to find.

We would definitely recommend hiring an agency or a reputable freelance consultant to help you develop good SEO practices. However, grasping the basics of SEO can also help you understand the decisions being made and will give you a holistic understanding of the characteristics of an effective business website.

A website suitable for all platforms so that all users are included in your audience

Another important thing to consider when creating an effective business website is to make it suitable for all platforms. Roughly half of all internet users now access the web with mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, meaning that there’s an incredible number of people that won’t get the full experience unless you adapt your website to work on a smaller screen or format.

This ultimately forces you to create either a second version of your website or use a responsive design that automatically adjusts to the size of the screen it’s being viewed on, yet doesn’t change any of the basic functionality or services offered by your website. This is also a huge component of good SEO since Google can tell if your website is optimized to be viewed on a smaller format display.

Even if you believe that your audience primarily consists of desktop users, it’s vital that you adjust your website design so that it’s suitable for both desktop and mobile users. If you fail to do this, then you risk alienating a large portion of your audience. With a professional web designer working together with you, it’s easy to create a responsive website design that will fit both mobile and desktop users.

Understanding what value your website provides to the customer

Ask yourself this question; what value does your website provide to the customer? Is it a place to easily purchase your goods, is it the gateway to the cloud-based services you offer or is it a place for information and the latest updates on your brand products?

There are plenty of different purposes for a website, but without a clearly-defined goal for your website, you’ll find that it’s difficult to make the right investments and adjustments. Before you set out to change or develop a website, it’s vital that you have a goal in mind that aligns with your business needs. Simply having a website for the sake of it isn’t going to give you any more customers and it’s not going to be very helpful. If all you want is an online presence, then having a boring website with just your contact information isn’t going to be helpful at all. You need to provide some value for your customers in order for them to save your website in their bookmarks and also regularly visit.

Some examples of value include:

Having an online store where your customers can purchase products
An online booking system so that they can get a table at your restaurant
A blog to help them keep up-to-date with the latest advances in your business or industry
A community forum where your customers can interact with each other and engage with your representatives
Offering an online service that your business is known for, such as cloud-based services or a dashboard for your outsourced services.

At the end of the day, your website is an investment in your business and much like any other investment, you need it to have good returns. Hopefully, this article has shown you some of the most important characteristics of an effective business website so that you can translate these elements to your own. Whether it’s having a good talk with your current web designer or hiring a freelancer that can offer these advantages, we believe that it’s essential to take your web design into your own hands and start making design decisions that can benefit your business. After all, your website is the virtual storefront of your business and it’s vital that you improve its appearance.