With the rapid expansion of the internet, and the exponential increase in the number of websites in operation, with new ones coming up by the dozens on a daily basis, it is becoming important for business websites to stand apart. For that matter, it is equally important for personal websites to stay a cut above the internet fluff. A professionally designed website can prove immensely helpful in achieving the primary objective of any website, that is to attract visitors. For business websites, it is also important to convert these readers into customers.
A professionally designed website is also very important to create a lasting impression in the minds of visitors as this helps in the branding efforts of a website. The most critical characteristics and attributes of a professionally designed website are:
Good Content – It is needless to say that good content is the primary determinant of a professional website. By good content, it is meant that the content should be relevant, in sufficient quantity, suitable to the user query, readable and usable, visually appealing and free of grammatical and typographical errors.
Easily Accessible – The website and all of its webpages should be easily accessible to the users. For example, a lot of users search for a website name without typing the prefix ‘www’ before the name. Care should be taken that the website is accessible any which way the user types the domain name in the browser. The error pages should also be customized to help the user to discover what he/she is looking for.
Easy, Intuitive Navigation – The navigation of the website should be easy, intuitive and accessible. The navigation menu should be displayed prominently on all the webpages. In addition, ‘breadcrumbs’ should also be provided for easy navigation within the website.
Logical and Clear Structure – The website and its webpages should be structured in a clear and logical manner. All the information and content should be properly categorized and classified, and at every point, the website should offer users the most relevant webpages.
Cross-Browser Compatible – A website is likely to be visited and read by a number of visitors from across the world, and who would be using different browsers. It is a common problem with most websites that they do no resolve well in all browsers, or at least, a wide variety of browsers. Care should be taken at the early stages of website designing to ensure that the website is properly visible in a wide variety of browsers. Even within the same browser, different screen resolutions may affect the visibility of website.
Easy to Maintain – A professionally designed website should be easy to maintain. Of course, ‘easy’ is a relative term – the ease of maintenance will greatly depend on the type of website – a small personal website will cost significantly less in maintenance when compared to a e-commerce website, and much easier. In some cases, the webmaster may need to seek professional help for regular maintenance activities also.
Search Engine Optimized – The most important attribute of a professionally designed website is its ability to attract good traffic. This means that a website should be search engine optimized. This is a regular process, and includes a number of activities such as adding relevant content regularly, using meta tags, good use of primary and long tail keywords, backlinking, and optimizing for the social media.