Your website has a purpose. It might be to inform or solve a problem. Maybe it entertains the visitor. Whatever your site's purpose, the design must support that purpose.
Many websites exist to sell something to the visitor directly online. Ease of use is critical for this website. Visitors need to be able to navigate to the product or solution quickly, get necessary product information, and easily make the purchase. Sounds easy, but it can be hard to do. Large product lines that are purchased by a diverse customer base can create complexity. Additionally, the customer must be confident that the website transaction is secure; if not, the customer will just leave.
Some websites help the visitor solve problems. Driven by a need to fix a problem or learn something, this visitor is motivated by pain or need and is often very impatient. This visitor might be quicker to buy a solution. Layout of the home page is critical for this visitor; they need to be able find what they need quickly.
Visitors can come to a website for information. Downloads, newsletters, alerts, and blogs help give the visitor what they want. Obtaining this desired information can be a necessary step in the "pre-purchase due diligence" that some buyers must do. Some visitors may have to visit a website many times before they are comfortable in making a purchase decision. These visitors need to be nurtured through the buying process.
Great websites have the following common elements:
- Original content- Google rewards sites with lots of original content.
- Color- People will respond positively to balanced colors combinations.
- Font- Simple and readable 12 point fonts such as serif or sans are best.
- Usability- Great sites have simple layouts so the visitor does not get lost.
- Clicking- People prefer to click instead of scroll. Shorter pages are better.
- Updates- Google loves sites that are updated frequently. Consider a blog.
- Images- High-resolution images help communicate a theme for the site.
- Text- Google loves text with keywords and lots of it.