What makes a great website? 18 must-have website qualities.

Craig Greenup 31/10/23, 12:07

What makes a great website? 18 must-have website qualities

The best websites create a lasting impression. They cut through the noise and – in a crowded marketplace – help a brand to stand out. But what makes a great website? What website qualities transform an ordinary site into a spectacular one?

We’ll let you in on a little secret. You don’t need anything overly fancy or complex. A great website simply combines the essential website ingredients listed below.

In doing so, it attracts website visitors. It introduces users to your brand and products. And it then creates conversions by convincing those website visitors to buy, download or get in touch.

Want this kind of web design for your business? Then read on! We’ll be covering:

  • What makes a great website?
  • 18 must-have website qualities
    • A memorable domain name
    • Easy navigation
    • Trust signals
    • Clear CTAs
    • Accessibility
    • Strong UX
    • Top-notch security
    • Responsive design
    • Fast loading speeds
    • Eye-catching images
    • Branded design
    • Contrasting colours
    • Easy-to-read fonts
    • Minimal design
    • SEO design
    • Killer copy
    • Quality content
    • Regular updates and improvements

What makes a great website?

A great website doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel. It just needs to tick a couple of important boxes for you and your website visitors.

Great websites are:

  • Easy to find: A short and snappy domain name makes it easy for users to type your URL into their browser. SEO design ensures that users can find you via search engines.
  • User-friendly: A great website is easy to use. Visitors to your site will only stick around if it offers easy navigation, good UX and responsive design.
  • Memorable: Users remember websites that give them a unique experience. Sites that use colours, images, content and copy to create a strong sense of brand personality are more memorable. Exceptional UX also tends to stick in the memory.
  • Built to convert: A great website helps turn website visitors into buyers. With the help of trust signals, clear CTAs and solid security, it moves users further down the website conversion funnel and closer to a sale.

18 must-have website qualities

Incorporate these 18 website qualities into your company website and you’ll find it much easier to achieve your goals.

1. A memorable domain name

Your domain name is your company’s address on the internet. It’s a unique name that users can type into their browser search bar to bring up your website.

The best domain names are easy to remember and spell. And they take SEO (search engine optimisation) into consideration by including keywords where it’s natural to do so.

2. Easy navigation

Another feature of great websites is easy website navigation. When a user lands on your site, it should be easy for them to find everything they need.

Product information? An about page? Your contact details? It should all be at their fingertips. And users should never run into a dead end. Some website features that aid navigation include:

  • A clear, uncluttered navigation bar
  • A search bar and good search functions
  • A custom 404 page
  • Good internal linking
  • An informative header and footer
  • Breadcrumbs

If you have a large ecommerce website, good product filter options also help users find what they’re looking for.

3. Trust signals

A good company website convinces site visitors that you’re a reliable brand to do business with. In an online world where scams are commonplace, it’s important to show wary website users that they can trust your website.

That’s why one of the most important qualities of a great website is trust signals. These signals act as proof. They show that your business is trusted by other people – and that your products and services live up to expectations.

Product reviews from past customers. Client testimonials. A selection of past client logos. A Trustpilot or Google review rating. These trust signals help website visitors go from browsers to buyers.

But it’s not just social proof that gets people over the line. Easy-to-find contact information and a clear privacy policy also show people that you take your responsibilities seriously – and will be there to support them when needed.

4. Clear CTAs (Calls to action)

Great websites have clear calls to action. These tell a website visitor what to do next. And they help move visitors further into your website and your customer funnel.

Clear CTAs catch the eye. They stand out from the rest of the content on a web page. Using colour, typography and compelling copy they’re great at getting customers to do whatever it is you want them to do.

Whether you want website users to shop your products, browse your services, sign up for your emails or get in touch with your team, clear CTAs persuade them to act.

5. Accessibility

Accessibility means that your website can be used by anyone. This includes people with limited vision or blindness, limited hearing or deafness, speech disabilities, learning disabilities or physical disabilities.

Great websites stick to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. They make their site available in various formats to account for the different ways people choose to access it.

The best sites work with screen reader software. Users can navigate the site using a keyboard. Colour schemes are designed with colour blind users in mind. And website additions like image alt text, audio transcripts and video captions are included as standard.

6. Strong UX

UX stands for user experience. And user experience design is another of the website qualities that takes your site from average to amazing.

When a website is designed with UX in mind, it puts your users at the centre of the process. A website provides users with all of the information and functionality they need.

This means that there are no points of friction. A user never feels frustrated because they can’t do what they want to do. They find it easy to navigate and use your site. From home page to contact forms to a check-out process, everything is simple and streamlined.

Next-level UX goes further. It delights users with unexpected and exciting design features. This really helps your website and company stand out from the competition.

Want a website that offers the very best UX? We can help! Take a look at some of our past web design and development projects to get a feel for what we do.

7. Top-notch security

Security is one of the website qualities that you can’t neglect. It helps to keep your business and customer data safe. And it’s also a key factor for SEO. If your site isn’t secure enough it won’t reach the Google search top spots.

To protect your site against cyber-attacks and preserve your SEO rankings, you need to use HTTPS protocol and an SSL certificate. This makes it harder for would-be hackers to interfere with the information travelling between a user and your website server.

Your web host also makes a difference. Shared servers are most vulnerable to attack. Great websites often use a dedicated server as this offers the best security for them and their website visitors.

8. Responsive design

People use desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones to access websites. And each device has a unique screen size.

People also use a variety of browsers to access the internet. Chrome and Safari are the most popular. But there are at least 8 other browsers in use in the UK today.

Responsive design ensures that your website looks beautiful and functions perfectly across all devices and browsers. This is key to ensuring good UX and getting your site seen by search engines.

9. Fast loading speeds

A great website loads quickly. The ideal website speed sees pages loading in 2 to 3 seconds. And speedy websites have a couple of key advantages.

First, website visitors are more likely to stick around on your site. When pages load quickly, users don’t loop back to search results to find an alternative site.

Second, this type of user activity sends all the right signals to Google. Fast speeds and a low bounce rate show Google that your site provides good UX. So you’re more likely to see your site in the top spots of SERPs (search engine results pages).

10. Branded design

Your website should feel like yours. Not like one of the many template websites currently crowding the internet. It should tell website visitors who you are and what you stand for. And it should make a lasting impression.

To achieve this, you need branded website design. This means designing your website – choosing colours, fonts, images and more – with a clear brand identity in mind.

When you communicate your brand identity via your website you’ll find it easier to build an emotional connection with website users. This translates into trust, loyalty and better brand recognition.

11. Eye-catching visuals

A website full of text isn’t particularly engaging. So great websites use visual elements to catch the eye and add variety.

A hero image at the top of a landing page grabs the attention of users. Animation, video and photographs used throughout your website encourage users to scroll and explore.

But the quality of your visuals is important. Use stock images or photos you’ve taken yourself and your website will suffer. To make a great website, invest in professional photography, animation, videography and graphic design.

12. Contrasting colours

When selecting the colour theme of your website, branding has a big part to play. Different colours have different associations. And they can affect the way that website users feel about your brand.

For example, some shades of green are associated with the environment, nature and growth. Dark blue can convey trustworthiness and reliability. Bright yellow can be joyful and energising.

So when choosing website colours, you need to consider how they relate to your brand and the feelings they evoke in your audience.

You also need to pick a colour scheme that combines at least three contrasting (but not clashing) colours. This helps you to create contrast between different web page elements, drawing the attention of website users to what’s important.

13. Easy-to-read fonts

Website typography is the art of arranging and styling text on a web page. Good website typography makes text look visually impressive and ensures it’s easy to read. And this is another of the essential website qualities your site needs to include.

As we mentioned in the last point, the colours you use are important. Copy has to stand out from the background and hyperlinked text needs to stand out from both the background and surrounding text. Copy that blends into the background is less readable.

But fonts themselves are important too. Simple, sans serif fonts make digital content easier to read. Serif fonts (the style of text you usually see in newspapers) work beautifully for website headings. But for readable main body text, sans serif is a website user’s favourite.

14. Minimal design

Less is more web design is all about making life easy for your website visitors. It doesn’t mean you have to pick a monochrome colour scheme. Or a sparse design. But it does mean that you think carefully about what you do and don’t need to include on every page.

When there are too many page elements competing for the attention of a website user, it gets confusing. Users don’t know where to click or where to find the info they’re looking for. And they’re likely to leave your site without having taken the time to work those things out.

Minimal design ensures the right number of page elements and enough white space around them. The user’s eye is drawn to what’s important and they never feel overwhelmed by your website.

15. SEO design

One of the most important website qualities is SEO website design. If you want your company website to appear in SERPs, you need to include a range of SEO-friendly website features.

SEO design uses website architecture (or structure) to support your SEO efforts. It includes lots of internal links, a shallow site hierarchy and schema markup to help search engines trawl your website more effectively.

It also uses URLs, sitemaps, UX, mobile responsiveness, optimised content and images. This makes it easier for your site to rank for your chosen search terms.

16. Killer copy

Your website may look amazing. But you’ll find it easier to engage and persuade users if your site features polished, professional copy.

Great website copy combines SEO, your brand tone of voice and good old-fashioned persuasion.

It’s short, simple and snappy – because website visitors tend to scan and skim online content. And it focuses on customer benefits rather than product or service features – because this is a more effective way to get people to buy.

17. Quality content

As well as having compelling copy on your main web pages, high quality content is another key feature of great websites.

By maintaining your blog, you provide website visitors with lots of interesting and valuable content, suited to their stage in the buyer journey. And it’s great for your site’s SEO too.

Quality blog content, optimised for SEO, helps your site to rank for a wide selection of keywords. You don’t just rely on your primary web pages to pull in website traffic. Also, when people see value in your content and link to it, this gives your SEO efforts another boost.

You don’t have to limit yourself to blog content either. Videos, infographics, quizzes, audio, ebooks and case studies can all engage website visitors and boost your SEO. You can even use content as a lead magnet to support your email marketing strategy.

18. Regular updates and improvements

A great website is always improving.

With the help of analytics, you can find ways to improve the user experience. With maintenance, you keep on top of security and functionality. And by regularly posting new content, you show Google that your site is fresh and relevant, which means you’re more likely to nab SERP top spots.

Keeping on top of website updates, web maintenance and improvements helps to ensure that your site meets the needs and expectations of your audience.

In summary

So now you know what makes a great website. It’s a combination of great design, functionality, branding, SEO and UX elements

Mix these essential website qualities into your company website and you’ll create something with the power to drive your business forward. You’ll get more traffic and make more sales.

Want to achieve your business goals with a website you can be proud of? Then get in touch to chat about your web design project with the Radical Web Design team.