Five Ingredients to Create Kick-Ass Websites

In working with a client recently to re-launch their Web site, I have been reminded about the challenges in making sure the right things happen to make the final product as good and effective as possible.

There are many variables that go into developing a Website, highlighted by the importance of having it serve the target audiences. At the end of the day, a Website needs to meet the needs of the people visiting it – a simple proposition but not always easy to do.

When it comes to putting together a Website, there are five key elements (in no particular order).

1. Clear Messaging: According to a Missouri University of Science and Technology study, Website visitors take less than two-tenths of a second to form a first impression. It means that messaging needs to be tight, focused and easy to grasp. As well, everything on the Website has to quick and simple to grasp.

2. Good design: First impressions are important, which makes design a crucial element for a Website. The challenge is design is so subjective so it’s not a black and white proposition. A Website that is well designed supports and enhances all the other elements, and makes everything accessible.

3. Easy, intuitive Navigation: Truth be told, people are lazy. Unless you tell them what to do, it’s unlikely they will do anything other than click away. This means navigation has to be obvious, intuitive and simple. If you make someone work to find information, there is a good chance they will quickly get frustrated or give up.

4. Strong Calls-to-Action: Tapping into the “lazy” reality, it is important to make the next steps clear. If you want someone to install, buy, download, register, join, etc., you need to do it in an obvious and strong way. It could be a shiny, colourful box that says “Install Now”, which strike you as over-the-top but works because it is front and centre.

5. Strong content: Playing off the content is king philosophy, strong content is important to provide visitors with the information that is engaging, educational or entertaining. Whether it’s words, photos or videos, content helps to make your Website do its job – whatever the job may be.

What are the other important elements in developing a Website? What have been some of the more important things to do to build something really good?


- Nine steps to create the “ultimate” home page headline (KissMetrics)

- 19 things to learn from heat map tests (Conversion XL)

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  • Ruth Zive

    A few other key considerations – opt-in functionality (for lead capture and audience cultivation), consideration of User Experience (beyond just intuitive design and easy navigation), well optimized content (different with Google’s penguin update, but still critical), social media integration (increasingly important), and responsive to mobile. I think those round out your list :-).