Websites are common interaction features today. According to a Statista report in 2019, there were 1.72 billion websites in the world, a fairly constant number since a major surge in the number back in 2016. Regardless of their popularity, plenty of people and businesses who own or plan to own a website don’t know the essential features their website should have.
Alluding to this lack of knowledge is the fact that there are only a meagre 200 million active websites out of the many available websites in the world today. According to the internet live stats, the unaccounted domains are either inactive or duplicated website domains.
This level of ignorance has allowed several unprofessional web designers to profit off their less than optimal skills. In a bid to solve this problem, professional web services such as Smartly Done Websites provide solutions for professional and personal websites.
1. A Domain Name And Host
There aren’t any websites without a domain name. The domain name is the address that all users of your website need to have before they can access it. It’s then by hosting on a monthly or yearly basis you can keep your domain name active.
The choice of a domain name is important for the easy recall and success of a website. Hence, web designers are advised to select a name that best represents the identity of the company or person the website is being created for. Some of the most popular websites are simple and mostly one-word domain names. Think Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter and Forbes.
Another rule of thumb is to choose the ‘.com’ option for your website instead of the other options like ‘.net’, ‘.co.location’, and ‘.live’. The other options are considerably less popular due to the wide acclaim of .com by many other huge companies to date.
Availability is a big issue in the selection of a domain name. Considering there are already 1.72 billion websites with different domain names, chances are your domain name and its ‘.com’ version won’t be available. You can either try to buy off the name from the current user of the domain name you want or create a closely related domain name in place of that one.
Also, your selected domain name will need hosting. There are varying domain host options which include shared servers, Virtual Private Servers (VPS) and dedicated hosting. Hosting choices are based on cost and the level of functionality desired for the website. The most preferred option is VPS because they don’t cost as much as dedicated servers while they’re an upgrade to basic shared servers. Always ensure to choose a recognized and verified domain host provider for your website.
2. Ease Of Navigation
Ease of Navigation is the next important thing your website should have. The navigation on a website is the compass for users to browse and open different pages of your website. Such pages include blog posts, products, business information, and subscription buttons. The ease of navigation can be facilitated by the following:
- Page titles on your website must be easy to understand.
- Create a site map to ease the site navigation process for users.
- Add a call to action to guide visitors to making priority decisions on your website.
- Clear menu icons that state various sections of a website.
- Avoid drop-down menus and sub-navigation by limiting the number of menus.
- Conspicuous logos and branding elements.
- Reduce the number of pages to accomplish tasks on a website to a maximum of three.
3. A Minimalist Design
A minimalist website design is important for your website design because it places a much-needed priority on the web content. This is achieved by eliminating complex and distractive design elements based on the core principle of minimalist design, “Less is More.”
Following this principle helps designers deliver a less clumsy website layout. Negative spaces, more commonly known as white spaces, are some of the key elements of this concept. It encompasses all empty spaces that are consciously left between the website elements such as images and text blocks.
Other key elements of a minimalist design include minimal use of graphics, monochromatic colors, and maximized use of few images. These combined features minimize the risk of losing the reader’s attention while they browse your website.
4. Robust CMS and Backend Infrastructure
The backend infrastructure of a website determines how well the website will run. They constitute a website’s aspect that isn’t seen by the website visitor but exists for easy customization of the front end which the visitor interacts with.
Backends are very complex structures where the database, servers and application all exist. Understandably, not all website owners don’t know their way around it hence the need for Content Management Systems (CMS). These were developed to make the backend structure of website simplified. Small and medium scale websites can effectively make use of CMS for their backend.
However, the effective use of a CMS is based on making the right choice of which one to use. The right backend infrastructure must have a functional server, relational and non-relational databases, server-side software and extensive programming languages and frameworks.
5. SEO-Friendly Code
Organic search results are the best and cheapest sources of traffic on a website. Websites must be optimized in a process called Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to rank in web search results. The two divisions of SEO are technical and non-technical SEO.
Technical SEO is the phase where website code is improved to allow search engine crawlers to find your website successfully and to clearly understand your site’s content. Making a website’s code SEO-friendly by a design team requires technical skill and time. However, CMS plugins require less time and money to achieve similar results.
6. Optimized Loading Speeds
Fast loading speeds are important in website design. It’s important because it helps visitors to stay on your page while waiting for content to load. The file sizes primarily determine the loading time on your website. Hence, the smaller the size of the files on a webpage, the better its loading time. Key areas to note to achieve better load speeds include:
- Compress Files: This feature helps reduce all code files to be within a specified boundary usually not more than 150 bytes. Compression also applies to images, but they’re to be treated differently on image processing software to maintain their quality as much as possible
- Make Full Use of Browser Cache: Caches are a common feature on most browsers. By enabling your website to cache information on a visitor’s device, then the cached information won’t have to be reloaded every time your website is visited. Hence, loading speeds will be faster.
- Check Your Server Response Time: Website designers should always check to know if their website servers are loading optimally. If not, then it’s best to look for points of failure in the design such as poor web hosting, exceeded bandwidth limits, and lack of caching.
- Reduce Redirects: Redirects considerably increase a website’s loading time. Wherever possible, website designers should avoid redirects. Where they’re necessary then the number must be limited to a single redirect.
7. Cross Accessibility And User-Friendly Features
Website designers can’t control the preferred browsers of their website’s future visitors. Therefore, the best approach is to create a website that works optimally on all major browsers in a process called cross-accessibility. Older versions of these browsers should also be compatible with your website as it’ll help accommodate as many website visitors as possible.
Cross-accessibility also helps website designers to accommodate people with disabilities in their designs. This group of people are in the minority but creating a platform they can use can add a boost to your website’s viability. These are some of the functionalities you can add to your website with codes:
- Screen readers for both blind and partially blind users.
- Alternate navigation for users with mobility problems.
- Audio and video contents should contain transcriptions and subtitles respectively.
- Use of graphical elements for individuals with learning disabilities.
8. Branding Elements
Websites should contain branding elements which help improve the brand retention of website visitors. The website branding must be consistent with the business brand across all platforms. Website designers can also choose to accommodate the views of users before making final decisions on branding elements. The important branding elements to include in a website design are:
- Logo: A logo is one of the most common elements of branding. It’s usually already in existence before a need to design a website. A well-presented digital logo can be done with the help of a graphic designer.
- Color Schemes: This is an important web design element because they can be used to trigger positive emotional responses from the website visitors. The color scheme should align with the branding elements of the company and the preferred colors of the website niche such as food, e-commerce and research.
- Images: Branded images are ideal for websites. They’re effective in creating brand awareness and uniqueness amidst the many generic images used on website. High quality images should always be used in website designs. These will attract more attention than otherwise dulled out ones.
9. Engaging Typography
Typography is an aspect of website design that’s considerably interwoven with branding. Texts are used to add the description on a website and to present the content in the most effective way. Most usable fonts are already a feature on several existing websites which website designers can choose to review while making a design also.
Some of the font rules to follow include:
- San Serif fonts are suitable for online content over Serif
- Limit your font sizes to be between 12-16 points.
- Use consistent fonts for the body text and header of your content.
- Keep your paragraphs as short and concise as possible.
- Use consistent and ideal line spacing.
10. Responsive Design
A responsive design helps ensure a website is fitted rightly on the screen of any device. The key reason for adopting this method of design is that the default interface of a website is optimized for computer screens.
However, an increasing number of website visitors access webpages on mobile devices including phones and tablets. The increased traffic from mobile devices has made it necessary to design a website for every device with an internet connection. Regardless of screen sizes, responsive designs adopt fluid widths which make a website layout adjustable to any screen it’s being presented on.
11. Proper Integration With Social Media
Social media is an indispensable part of website content sharing. Hence, every website needs to be integrated properly with all major social media platforms. Social media can provide your business with a slew of potential visitors.
It’s also a medium by which the existing users of your website can easily share a piece of content they enjoyed reading on your website easily. This is achieved by attaching social sharing buttons to your website.
Other benefits to social media integration on a website include improved non-technical SEO, increased social media presence, and an easy build of a social media following which leads to greater website traffic.
12. Effective Security Protocols
Security is important in website design to ensure your investment, data and content are kept safe. This is achieved via the implementation of security protocols during the process of designing the website. These protocols prevent security attacks such as malware, ransomware, spyware and viruses.
Here are some of the ways to keep your website secure:
- Use HTTPS Protocol: There’s the HTTP protocol, but the secure version is the HTTPS version. It depicts a website server is authentic, and third parties cannot access user information. This protects information such as passwords, user behavior, and other personal information.
- Update The Design Software And Plugins: Web design software and plugin providers are constantly upgrading their services to ensure that clients enjoy maximum safety. Without an update to the latest version designers risk losing out on these new security features.
- Automated Website Security: Several online tools can help prevent security attacks automatically. These tools are helpful in fighting attacks regardless of the time. They are capable of fighting a wide array of attacks successfully.
- Controlled User Access: Users sometimes compromise their safety by being loose with their account information. Hence, modern websites can employ security questions, time outs, and two-way verification processes to help further secure user accounts.
The vast number of websites in the world today makes it important for website designers to strive to make their websites as distinct as possible. Essential items every website should include are domain name, easy navigation, minimalist design practices, SEO friendly codes, optimized loading speeds, cross accessibility on all major browsers, branding elements, engaging typography, responsive designs, proper social media integration and effective security protocols.
If a website lacks any of these then it’s important for them to be properly integrated in the website design. New websites have the luxury of integrating the elements right from the starting point of design.