The Internet experiences rapid changes in the last 20 years but some things have never changed if we talk about what a successful website should be. These crucial things are content, design, functionality, and hosting. Due to all these changes on the Internet, the average website lifetime is only a couple of years before it needs to be remodeled. However, some basic requirements for any website remain the same:
- Quality content – to make sense, that is, to be useful or interesting to the desired audience
- Quality visual appeal – to make the impression you want
- Quality programming – to be functional, that is, easy to use
- Quality maintaining – to be visible all the time
1. Web Producer
Whoever dealt with creating a website at least once or was involved in any of the stages of making a website knows that these requirements aren’t so clearly separated but are intertwined and have need of the coordinated work of developers, designers, copywriters, and system administrators who are all under the watchful eye of web producers. Knowing that they have knowledge of writing, SEO, designing, and marketing, their job is to oversee the making of a website.
In order to have a quality website, the following steps got to be followed: the concept, the content, design, programming, update and maintenance, and promotion. By hiring a web producer before you start designing a website, many of your concerns, especially those regarding the costs, can be solved and many problems can be reduced.
2. Website Concept
A successful website must have several basic features that are important from the perspective of the website owner and which apply to potential visitors.
- They must easily and quickly find website addresses either directly by typing it or through organic search (using keywords), social networks, referrals (links from other websites), and paid channels (Internet advertising)
- They must easily and quickly get the information they want while browsing the website (good user experience that comes from easy navigation by sections, logical order of entities, highlighted elements, application of call-to-action buttons, etc.)
- They should come back to a website and recommend it to others
As for website owners, they should be able to receive the desired feedback on website traffic through web analytics tools and have the projected business or other effects from a website (sales, promotion, traffic, influence, etc.).
Good website concept has an impact on all of its constituent elements (content, design, and technology), so this initial step must be done by someone with serious experience, which means that developers and designers must consider the required functionality of the website.
Choosing a domain name and hosting service, either national or offshore, is also a part of the process, very often a part of the process that comes first. Reasons for taking your hosting offshore may vary.
One of the main reasons is to get pass DMCA notices. In other words, if web developers or website owners want to avoid a shutdown of a website due to content that might possibly violate some copyright law and potentially could be a subject of a DMCA notice, they should choose hosting services outside of the respective country, a list of such hosting providers is here. Sometimes, even respectable websites with unique and creative content might unfairly receive a DMCA infringement notice. Choosing a right hosting protects you from such surprises altogether.
3. Website Content
The essence of a quality website is visitor-friendly content, a content that is logically structured and regularly updated. Content is why people come to a website, why they return, and why they recommend it to their friends. Content is highly important because of one more thing without which your website will be practically invisible on the Internet despite being live – search engines.
Content is what Google sees and assesses, starting with the domain, followed by the text, photos, multimedia, documents, etc. An essential element of website content is SEO and it’s mostly based on the optimization of the website content for Google. It’s reflected in professionally written articles that further affect the technical aspects of a website. That’s because, for a good ranking in Google search results, very important are the URL, page titles, subtitles and inter-headings, linked sections of the text, website description in the meta description tag, and navigation.
4. Responsive Web Design
What a quality website design should look like? Appropriate, functional and original. However, responsive web design is a key for classy website design. It’s a design that adapts to the width and mode of display on desktop computers, tablets, and smartphones. Knowing that a year ago, 58% of website visits were from mobile phones, while mobile devices made up 42% of total time spent online, creating non-RWD websites is bad. Also, Google ranks websites without RWD low in search results.
When designing a website, the graphic standards of the brand that it represents must be respected and the navigation of the website must be consistent with the structure and content of the website. Small businesses and tech startups can, usually, only afford to purchase template solutions to design their websites like WordPress templates. However, for serious players, the only real solution is a website tailored specifically to visually reflect the identity of the brand.
5. Web Programming
Choosing between WordPress and static HTML to build your website has been a dilemma for a while. WordPress based websites are getting increased popularity (it now powers 34% of all websites). They’re based on open source software called Content Management System in which you can edit things on your website without having knowledge of HTML coding whatsoever. There other open source solutions besides WordPress such as Joomla or Drupal.
Still, WordPress and similar websites load slower than static HTML websites. So, the web developer must explain to the client all the advantages and disadvantages of each of the solution offered as well as to provide the client with some of the essential functionalities on the website:
- Optimization for accessing and browsing from commonly used web browsers (Firefox, Internet Explorer, Edge, Safari, Opera, Chrome)
- SEO-friendly URL addresses
- Responsive web page design
- Multi-language content
- Various image formats to use (JPG, PNG, GIF), audio formats (MP3), video formats (AVI, FLV, MP4, WMV), as well as embedding video and other content from YouTube, SlideShare and other multimedia locations
- Website content search by keywords
- Working with users and user groups with adequate allocation of privileges
- Social bookmarking functions for social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn…) with the option of selecting a picture for sharing that exists on the website itself or some default images if there are no pictures on the website
- Website analytics and statistics (Google Analytics or other)
- RSS feature for the news section
- Creation of surveys and viewing survey results
- Collecting data from a website through web forms
6. Website Update and Maintenance
It’s often forgotten that a website starts doing its job only when it gets live and visible to everyone on the Internet. Therefore, the contract for maintaining and updating the website must contain the following elements:
- Internet consulting (training the client’s employees on how to use CMS, consulting on how to prepare content for putting it on a website, consulting on ways to promote website both offline and online, consulting related to the use of social networks in order to increase website traffic, and monitoring the work of client’s employees on updating website text, pointing out work failures and, if necessary, remedying them)
- Website update (develop a plan for publishing new content and sharing it through social networks, regularly posting new content, regularly update an existing content, work on specific sections of the website with copyrighted content, changes to the structure and content of the site based on web analytics, visitor’s comments and trends on the Internet, take care of SEO through optimizing the content and linking it to other credible internet sites)
- Website maintenance (regular – secures continuous functionality, intervening – done in extraordinary circumstances, when there are unauthorized intrusions or server and infrastructure issues, and additional – realization of additional requests of the client for improvement or modification)
To conclude, before getting a website live on the web (after testing all website functionalities, removal of unnecessary elements, protection from unwanted access, and moving website to main hosting location), web developer needs to do two things: to develop it (to integrate web design into CMS if WordPress is used, to develop common functionality and special requirements) and make corrections (if problems were spotted while entering content, if design problems were noted, subsequent wishes of the client, and removing developer’s omissions).
If you are interested in even more technology-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels, then we have a lot to choose from.