ten key website elements; functionality and design

Are you planning or auditing your website? While there are a number of elements that great websites include, believe it or not, you can narrow down your basic list of what to look for. Below are ten key elements that every great business website should contain with regards to its user interface, functionality, and design. Check out part two of this series, Ten Key Elements for Marketing and Sales, on Friday.

Website Functionality

Excellent Usability and a Straightforward Navigation Bar

The success of both your business and your website depends on creating an excellent user experience, which involves careful user interface designOne way to do that right away is to make sure your customers don’t get lost on your website. Creating a straightforward, logical web structure with an easy, prominent navigation bar will keep customers coming back to your site.

A Site Map

     Customers aren’t the only ones who don’t want to get lost on your website. Search engines, too, need to be readily able to crawl your site and understand what it’s about. One way to do this is by creating a site map, or a structured list of every page in hierarchical format.

Fast-Loading Pages

This is huge. Customers have come to rely on receiving information in the timeliest fashion possible, and they’re not going to wait around for your web page to load. This means no fancy flash, no music, no unruly images, and no obnoxious entry-point videos. It’s good design and marketing practice not to do this stuff, anyway; nobody really enjoys it.

Simple Pages with Minimal Scroll

Nobody likes to scroll. If you’re trying to include so much information on one page that it needs a scroll bar, consider creating separate pages. If separate pages simply don’t make logical sense, there are other tricks to avoid the scroll: try including collapsible text in your on-page navigation.

Use of Both HTML and CSS (To Separate Design from Content)

A good web page will implement the use of both HTML (for content) and CSS (for design). These two types of code perform very different functions, yet are equally crucial in building a great website.

A Search Tool

If you perform an assessment of your favorite web pages, you’ll notice that most of them implement a search bar or other search function. Do not underestimate the power of this simple function!

Cross-Platform Capabilities

Your customers will be accessing your website from a variety of browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Explorer. Believe it or not, websites are not automatically compatible with all web browsers. Make sure yours is.

Your customers will be accessing your website from a variety of browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Explorer. Believe it or not, websites are not automatically compatible with all web browsers. Make sure yours is.

Website Design

An Attractive Color Scheme

The right colors can communicate your brand and your message faster than words. Choose wisely! Just remember to keep them consistent; and as tempting as it may be, don’t try to include too many colors.

A Consistent Theme

Just like your colors, the design of your website—including font and, to some extent, page layout—should be consistent. Remember, customers are most impressed by simplicity, readability, and usability.

Photos and Images

When used appropriately, photos or other images can make the difference for your business, and can break text up into more readable blocks. Don’t have any images from your own business? There are plenty of stock photo websites that can fulfill your business’s visual needs. Just think about the message you hope to project and choose your photos accordingly.

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