What makes a good website?
The internet is a constantly evolving beast. If your website was built in 2014 to please the search engines of yesteryear, it’s probably not up to scratch any more. That’s because in internet years, 5 years is an eternity.
As a business owner, you know that your website has to please the search engines enough to show your website in top results. Your sales success relies on it!
But with constant changes to must-have website features, how do you keep up?
To help you out, here’s a checklist we’ve compiled of what makes a good website in 2019:
- Mobile responsive design
- SSL certificate
- eCommerce built in to your website (plus: maximise sales with abandoned cart emails)
- RECAPTCHA security
- Memorable logo design
How does your website score?
And what about your competitors?
A lot of small business websites don’t have all these critical features, which is great news for you. If your business can nail this essential list, you’ll already be miles ahead of your competitors.
Let’s dive into why these features are so important.
Mobile responsive design
Our smartphones live in our pockets and they’re the first thing we reach for when we want information. So if your website is hard to use on a mobile, you’re annoying your customers and probably losing sales.
That’s why mobile responsive design is the number one must-have website feature in 2019.
If you’re not sure if your website is mobile responsive, you can check on Google’s Mobile Friendly Test. It’ll give your website a rating and suggest areas for improvement like page load speed, button spacing and text size.
How did your website perform?
If your website design scored well, congratulations!
If it scored poorly, you absolutely must make your website easy to use on a mobile device.
A mobile responsive website adapts its design to suit the device, which could be a mobile or a tablet:
- graphics change position to suit the screen size and orientation
- text size is readable on a small screen
- buttons are easy to click with a finger
Google knows that most people are now using their mobiles to search, so they’ve implemented Mobile-First Indexing. This means mobile-friendly websites get a big boost up the search rankings, which is great for your website traffic.
Read more about why your website should be mobile responsive here.
When your customers fill in a contact form or buy something through your website, they’re trusting you with personal data, and that data is enticing to hackers to try to steal.
To keep your customers’ data safe while they’re using your website, install an SSL certificate. In 2019, this is not negotiable.
The SSL certificate encrypts data as it travels between your website and the server. Encrypted data is harder for hackers to steal, so SSL encryption gives you and your customers peace of mind.
Chrome browsers now show a big warning of “Not Secure” on any website without an SSL certificate. This sends a strong message to customers that your website can’t be trusted. What’s more, Google is starting to penalise unsecured websites by pushing them down the search rankings.
With these two negative factors affecting your website traffic and sales rate, SSL encryption is a definite must-have in 2019.
Learn more about the importance of SSL certificates here.
eCommerce built in to your website
Every time you ask your customers to take an action, there’s a chance you could lose them in the sales process.
If your business is using eBay or other external websites to manage your eCommerce, there’s a chance you’re losing sales.
Why? Because there are extra steps in the process and people get distracted.
When a customer is ready to buy your product and they click through to your eBay store to make the purchase, sometimes it’s simply too much hassle to wait 5 seconds for a new page to load. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s true.
If they make it to your eBay sales page, there’s a chance they’ll think “Ooh, eBay, I didn’t think of searching on eBay!” and next moment, they’re off on a tangent looking at your competitors.
The best practice is to keep customers on your website until they’ve completed the sale. You’ll increase your sales conversion rate by adding eCommerce features to your own website.
By keeping the entire sales process on your own site, you’ll also benefit from rich customer data.
You can use Google Analytics to understand your eCommerce sales conversion rate. That’s valuable information about your customers:
That’s valuable information about your customers:
- their location and demographics
- how much time they’re spending on your site
- how they found your site (such as social media or Google search rankings)
- where customers drop off if they don’t buy (perhaps your shipping prices are too high if customers drop off after the shipping calculation)
Pro tip: Start using abandoned cart emails
Keeping customers on your own website also lets you add reminder emails for abandoned shopping carts. That’s when a customer gets part way through checking out, then stops buying.
Did you know that up to 67% of online shopping carts are abandoned before the customer completes the sale? Common reasons include high shipping costs, a confusing checkout process, low trust in the website’s security, or the website crashed.
If your website has asked the customer to enter their contact details in the first step, you’ve got their email address. That way you can send your customers a friendly reminder saying:
“Hey, we noticed you didn’t finish checking out these items. We’ve saved your shopping cart for you.”
Include pictures of the items in their cart, plus reviews or testimonials from other customers, and – here’s the critical part - ask the customer to continue their purchase with a click, which takes them right back to their cart. If they have to mess around logging in again, the game is over.
Then you have to get the timing right. Companies who send abandoned cart emails within 20 minutes had an average conversion rate of 5.2%. Email sent within an hour had a conversion rate of 4.5%, and 24 hours later the conversion rate was 2.6%.
RECAPTCHA is a system designed to protect your website from abuse by bots. At the time a customer wants to submit a form or check out online, RECAPTCHA asks the customer to confirm they are a human and not a bot.
Earlier versions of RECAPTCHA asked users to type the words shown in a box, or click images that include common objects. These versions were difficult for people with low-vision or dyslexia, and caused customers plenty of frustration.
Luckily, the current version of RECAPTCHA asks for a single mouse click in the “I’m not a robot” box. It cleverly analyses the user’s mouse-movement patterns and decides whether the user is a human or a robot.
Memorable logo design
As your business grows and matures - particularly if you’ve been in business for a while - your logo can start to look tired.
Each year, it’s worth considering if your business branding and logo design are still relevant to your business now and in the near future.
Take an objective look at your logo:
- Does the logo design suit my future business plans?
- Is this logo appealing to my target customers?
- Are the colours or fonts looking dated?
- Are the digital files high quality, or is the logo fuzzy and pixelated?
If you’re planning to invest in a new website design this year, it’s worth updating your logo as well. You might not have to change it completely. It might need minor changes, such as brighter colours or a more simple design. Or it may stay the same, while asking a graphic designer to rebuild it into a high resolution file for greater clarity.
Take a look at some of these famous examples of recently updated logos. Most companies changed one major element such as font, position of graphic elements, or colours, while keeping a similar theme to the original. Something like the new Netflix logo – it loses the box, keeps the same colour and curved underside of the text, and makes the logo stand out on plain backgrounds:
Check out this article on some of the best and worst logo redesigns, plus some ideas on how to redesign your own logo.
Top tips include:
- Keep the memorable elements
- Make it simple and readable (especially in a small size, like on mobiles)
- Choose the most important colours for your brand
Updating your logo will give your new website design better longevity, which is a sensible move for the long term.
Get started on your new website
To get all these must-have features on your website, give us a call on 1300 367 009 and talk to our Australian based design team. By getting your website into great shape, your business can skyrocket in 2019.