What Makes a Good Website? 17 Ways to Make Yours Stand Out
There are multiple aspects regarding what makes a good website, with strategy and the right platform at the foundation. It also needs valuable content, visual branding consistency, effective search optimization, and solid data and user security, and it must be easy to navigate. Ultimately, a good website is one that pulls in robust traffic and provides an excellent user experience (UX), provable through measurable goals and website data tracking.
In addition to learning how to make a good website, set yours up for success with our top-recommended website builder, Wix. It’s great for search engine optimization (SEO) and offers full site design freedom with an intuitive, no-code editor. Use the free version to build your site, and then launch it with a free custom domain in plans as low as $16 per month.
Follow the tips below for what makes a good website to help build your brand’s presence, generate leads, and produce sales:
1. Make a List of What Your Website Should Have
Before starting to build your website, make a list of all the information sections or pages it needs to have. Next, prioritize this content based on what your audience is most likely to want to see first.
For example, when creating a restaurant website, this might include your menu, online takeout ordering form, or your location’s address. If you are a blogger, you probably want to have a gallery featuring recent or essential articles on the main page of your website.
Sales-oriented companies might want to have a lead-generation form early in the content. Alternatively, an ecommerce store might have a link to their store or links to their most popular products at the forefront of the user experience (UX).
This also applies to the functionality you need for your site. As in the examples above, this could mean you need online ordering tools, web contact forms, blog functionality, portfolio or gallery display capabilities, ecommerce transactional tools, and so on.
It helps to structure all the information into an outline to properly see your website’s hierarchy of content. Other things you could also include in your website are an about page, a contact page, a client or project portfolio, an online store, or a forum. All of these depend on your business plan.
2. Choose the Right Platform for Your Website
Your choice of web hosting platforms is a key factor that goes into what makes a good website for your business. There are several exceptional small business website builders available based on what website features and functionality you need (e.g., ecommerce, lead generating, informational). It could also depend on what type of business you have.
When deciding which platform to use, outline your objectives in terms of the features you need and the results you hope your website will produce. For example, if your purpose is to publish articles regularly, two of the best blogging platforms are Wix and HubSpot.
Service-based businesses like salons or small sales teams often find GoDaddy’s online appointment booking system is an ideal fit (not to mention its availability in a free plan). Alternatively, if ecommerce is a major factor for your business, larger online sellers may find Shopify the best fit, while Weebly is a great way to start selling online for free.
For businesses needing to drive web traffic through online searches, the search engine optimization (SEO) features of Wix, Squarespace, and IONOS make them an excellent choice. For more details about which platforms make it easy to rank in online search, read our list of the best website builders for SEO.
3. Develop & Implement a Brand Persona
Your branding encapsulates everything about your business—this should also translate into your website’s design and content. From the tone of your content to how you communicate with your customers, it’s essential that all the elements of your site stay consistent with your branding.
This is also important since your website will likely be the first touchpoint customers have with your business. Make an excellent first impression and effectively communicate your business’ story and values through your website’s design.
Your brand persona should impact the tone of your content, such as whether it’s friendly and informal or more technical and formal in nature. It also serves as the basis for design decisions, such as which colors and fonts you’ll use, your logo, and the use of your business name.
Another part of creating a consistent brand is choosing the right visual elements for your site—the right colors, fonts, and images. Once you have a clear vision of your website’s brand persona, it’s equally important that it has a strong visual identity that maintains that branding.
In terms of what makes a good website, your visuals are just as valuable as your content. In fact, when visiting a company website, 40% of consumers value images above other elements. The best-designed websites have valuable content and a strong visual identity working in harmony to create an excellent user experience.
For first-time website builders, Wix is an excellent platform with hundreds of templates you can easily customize for your brand. The site editor makes it easy to add sitewide settings for colors and fonts and to integrate your logo, ensuring a professionally designed website that reflects your branding.
Did you know?
Businesses that present their brand consistently can increase revenue by as much as 20%. Learn more about how to build a strong brand in our list of branding statistics.
4. Optimize Your Website for Search Engines
High-quality content and professional-looking design are fundamental to what makes a good website, but it’s equally essential to optimize it so your target audience can find it. This is done through search engine marketing (SEM).
The most basic SEM strategy is search engine optimization (SEO). One of the most crucial tactics for SEO is to use keyword research tools like Semrush to find search terms your audience is looking for online and include them organically in your website’s content.
Other search engine marketing strategies to incorporate include:
- Headline optimization: Optimize keywords in web pages by placing them in your main headline and in one or two subheadings.
- Image optimization: Optimize images on your website by adding relevant keywords in image alt tags and file names. This can help your website’s content rank higher, including in Google image search results.
- Geotagging: Especially helpful for small businesses thriving in local communities, geotagging includes adding your business’ location in your site’s meta tags, and your address to local online listings. It also involves embedding your location data in images of your business on your website.
- Backlinking from high-quality websites: Boost your ranking on Google by gaining links back to your website from reputable, high-quality websites, which you can do by guest posting and influencer marketing, among others. Platforms like Ahrefs and Semrush can show you all the other sites linking back to yours, starting with free plans.
- Minimizing website load speed: Minimizing your website’s loading speed will enhance the user experience and help it rank higher on Google, especially in mobile searches. You can easily check your site’s loading time with a free SEO audit tool like GT Metrix and get suggestions for other ways to improve your website.
- Adding schema markup: Add schema markup for various types of content into the HTML or code of your website to help search engines better categorize your website. Semrush has a great schema markup guide for beginners, and Merkle’s technical SEO tools include an automatic schema generator you can use.
Many top website builders have SEO tips, guides, checklists, and built-in tools that analyze your website and tell you what you’re missing. On WordPress, you can download a plugin like Yoast to help optimize your site. However, Wix, HubSpot, and Squarespace all have SEO guidance built into their admin dashboard, including practical ways to optimize your site.
In fact, Wix tops our list of the best website builders for SEO. In addition to basic SEO features, it automatically adds schema markup to your website, making it easier for search engines to index your site for online search. Plus, it automatically compresses images so they don’t slow down your page load time (and damage the user experience in the process).
5. Ensure Your Site’s Pages Load Quickly
Your website’s loading speed is essential for two reasons: user experience and SEO. One in four users abandon websites that take longer than four seconds to load. Beyond that, the bounce rate (the number of site visitors getting on a page of your website and leaving without taking any other action) increases exponentially, especially on mobile. Google’s algorithm considers site speed in its search rankings, and slower sites tend to rank lower.
To keep your loading times low, compress large file sizes, clean up your site’s code, and troubleshoot its back-end. You can also build your website on a site builder like Squarespace or IONOS—both are known for quick page loading speeds.
6. Make Your Website Mobile-friendly
With mobile devices generating 54% of all website traffic, your site must be easy to understand and navigate on mobile too. For consumer-facing businesses, it’s often best to build your website with a mobile-first design in mind. This means envisioning all your content and design elements on a mobile screen, and then adjusting them for desktop.
This concern can be mitigated if you create your website using an all-in-one website builder with mobile-optimized templates. For example, all of Squarespace’s templates are designed for a positive omnichannel experience, regardless of device type. They are programmed to automatically resize and display elements like menus differently on mobile vs desktop devices.
7. Make Sure Your Website Is Secure
In today’s digital-first world, keeping your website safe and secure is more important than ever. Cybersecurity should be a top priority, especially if you’re handling personal information or payment details of any kind. A simple data breach can cost your business thousands of dollars, not to mention your customers’ trust.
A must-have to make a good website is to get an SSL certificate to verify website ownership and protect your data. Many website builders automatically include free SSL, and providers like HubSpot and IONOS have highly advanced security features so you can focus on building your website and business.
If you have a WordPress website (or plan to make a website on WordPress), go with a secure hosting provider like Bluehost or DreamHost. With either, WordPress hosting plans start at $2.95 per month, inclusive of a free domain and SSL to help secure your website and keep your costs low. Keeping your WordPress site secure will also require the use of plugins—learn more about what you’ll need in our list of WordPress tips and tricks.
Weighing the pros and cons of using WordPress or a website builder? See our comparison of Wix vs WordPress or read our list of the best WordPress alternatives to see how different platforms stack up.
8. Improve Site Visitor UX With Helpful Tools
According to a 2020 study, 90% of consumers continue shopping with brands that offer a good website experience. Besides being easy to navigate, it’s a good idea to go the extra mile and be as supportive to your website’s visitors as possible.
This can mean adding helpful tools to your website to support your user’s journey, like chatbots to help with queries. GoDaddy and HubSpot both include chatbots starting in free plans, which is particularly helpful for service-based businesses.
On the other hand, if you have a brick-and-mortar store, interactive maps can also help bring in customers from the local area. You’ll find this simple with a site builder like Squarespace, which allows you to embed Google Maps onto location or contact pages.
Online forms make it easy for site visitors to ask questions, submit lead generation forms, subscribe to your emails, or request service or follow-up. Site builders like Wix allow you to create custom forms in any plan, starting with the free version.
Various customer loyalty program software platforms, like LoyaltyLion and Yotpo, can be integrated into your website. This creates on-page engagement, generates sign-ups, and often sparks more return visits and referrals, helping you grow your business more quickly.
Plus, as you add UX-improving tools, you generate on-page engagement. This serves to further boost your site’s SEO to help it rank higher on Google and other search engines.
9. Make Your Website Easy to Navigate
What makes a good website user experience (UX) is an interface that’s easy to navigate. Map out the site visitor’s journey in a flowchart showing how they would typically navigate your website from start to end points. In addition, add internal links within your articles and pages that make it easy for a reader to get more information and definitions, and easily find supplemental content.
Keep in mind that you could have different site visitor journeys for different types of users, such as for a prospect vs a customer vs a vendor or supplier vs a job-seeker or employee. Use these UX maps to help you design your menus and pages and place website elements and touchpoints, such as links and buttons, to guide users toward the information they need.
Thoughtful web design that curates the site visitor’s experience is essential. Nearly 40% of users will abandon a poorly designed website—yours shouldn’t be one of them. It’s also essential for ranking higher on Google, as well-designed websites with good UX are prioritized in Google rankings.
Some principles of solid website design include placing your most important information in visible spaces, structuring your content in a logical flow, and grouping related elements together, among others. For more design inspiration, look through our list of the best small business website examples.
Investing in a good website design is always a great idea, and it doesn’t have to be technically difficult or expensive. For example, platforms like Squarespace and Wix make it easier than ever to create well-designed websites that look professional and meet your site visitors’ needs. All-inclusive plans with a website domain start as low as $16, and Wix even offers a free version to get started.
10. Generate a Sitemap
There are two major types of sitemaps: XML sitemaps for search engines to crawl through your site effectively, and menu-based sitemaps (aka HTML sitemaps), which help users navigate your website via internal links. Both are essential for optimization: the former helps Google determine the value of your content, and the latter enhances user experience.
Top site builders like Wix and Squarespace automatically generate XML sitemaps and continually update them as you add, delete, or move pages on your site. This makes it easy for search engines to find and index your site and provides a sitemap you can manually submit to Google Search Console to request indexing.
11. Provide Helpful & Valuable Content
To know what makes a good website in terms of valuable content, start by defining your audience using customer personas and use that data to plan your content. This ensures your content addresses your customers’ pain points and provides them with useful, helpful, and relevant information.
For starters, a good website will have all the necessary details visitors look for, such as your company’s contact information, price list, and office or store hours. It will also have announcements, such as press releases, and time-critical information, like any current safety measures in place, temporary changes to hours of operation, holiday closures, and so on.
Also, keep in mind your website is one of the first places customers check to see if you have any special offers, so it can be used as part of your coupon marketing efforts. In fact, if you do, this encourages customers to return to your website regularly to take advantage of time-limited discounts or bundled deals.
Likewise, you can get customers to return to your site frequently by tying aspects of your customer loyalty program back to your site. This could entail creating member-only pages with special offers for loyalty program members. You can also offer additional loyalty points for interacting with your website (e.g., visiting a specific product page, participating in a poll or survey, and so on).
A big part of making your brand stand out is providing valuable information that matters to your audience—for free. This can be done on both pages and in blog articles. It also often comes in the form of providing insider information and tips, tools like calculators and checklists, helpful resources (like e-books or downloadable templates), and advice.
For example, many real estate agents offer checklists for selling or buying a home as well as the ability to search online listings and reach out to schedule a home tour. On the other hand, many home mortgage lender websites feature calculators that estimate your monthly cost for buying a home.
Restaurant websites might share recipes for special desserts or cocktails served in their establishments. Salon owners and stylists can share how-to instructions with images or in video form to engage site visitors.
Offering something of value on your website at no cost is an integral part of an SEO content marketing plan. It works to bring in web traffic and builds your business’ trust and credibility with site visitors, and nearly every type of business can use this as part of their website marketing strategy.
Building a strong brand presence online starts with a great website packed with valuable content, but also requires promotion to get people to your site. Read our list of website marketing strategies to learn what you need to know.
12. Keep Content Fresh & Easy to Read
Your content should also always be fresh and easy to read—both how it’s written and how it’s structured on your website. Robust web content uses clear, concise, and conversational language that isn’t riddled with industry jargon, while still being authoritative and confident. Keeping your content up to date is also vital, as Google gives a higher ranking to more recent content.
It’s also essential that your content follows correct formatting, including proper font hierarchy, line breaks, headings, and subheadings (e.g., headlines set as H1, H2, H3, and so on in site editing tools). HubSpot’s copywriting guide highlights the best practices for writing effective website content in more detail.
13. Highlight Positive Reviews
Did you know 94% of customers are more likely to buy from a business with positive reviews? Prospective customers love seeing reviews from buyers like themselves—they act like personal recommendations for your brand.
Showcasing positive reviews on your website also builds your business’ credibility. Do this by featuring reviews from other platforms (e.g., your Google page, Facebook profile, or Yelp business listing). You can also create a press page to post all the favorable mentions you get from the media. Plugins like Elfsight can embed Google reviews into your website and integrate easily with platforms like WordPress, Shopify, and Squarespace.
In and of itself, getting more Google reviews is key to earning higher search rankings. Platforms like Podium put your review generation efforts into overdrive to capture the reviews you need to rank higher and increase prospect confidence in your business and brand. Fit Small Business readers can get a risk-free, 14-day free trial of Podium and save 15% on annual plans—try it today.
14. Use Clear Calls-to-action (CTAs)
The gap between someone landing on your site and performing an action like purchasing a product, learning more about a service, or contacting your business is bridged by effective calls to action (CTAs). Your audience wants to know where to go next, and CTAs act as guides that point them in the right direction—therefore, they should always be visible, clear, and compelling.
15. Integrate With Other Platforms & Tools
Today’s customers expect to be able to discover and interact with brands online seamlessly, regardless of how they discover your business. Besides knowing how to make a good website, you must also know how to use your website together with other small business marketing materials, especially those that reside online, like business directories and social media platforms.
First, make sure to create a Google Business Profile that links to your site. Not only does it improve your search rankings, but it’s also a way to get your business featured in organic search results, which is critical for local SEO. Google is the most important directory to create a listing on, but it’s not the only one.
Other business directories to consider adding your business information to include Yelp, Bing Places for Business, and the Better Business Bureau, to name a few. In addition to providing a high-quality backlink to your site, each of these listings acts as a local SEO citation that can help your site rank higher in map and general search results.
Social media marketing is a vital strategy to promote your business. Create profiles on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and then add those links to your website. For example, with site builders like Wix, you can easily add a Social Bar to your site with icons linked to your social profiles.
When it comes to email marketing, integrations like Mailchimp and Constant Contact can help. They make it easy for site visitors to subscribe to your newsletters, special offers, and other announcements. You can create landing pages for free on HubSpot and use them alongside your website and in conjunction with Google and social media ads. This makes it more likely for site visitors to follow your CTA to sign up, buy, or book an appointment.
There are also many industry-specific integrations available for just about any type of business website. For example, for restaurant websites, extensions like OpenTable make it easy for your customers to reserve tables. Plus, it works seamlessly when integrated with top site builders like Squarespace and Wix.
Wondering whether Better Business Bureau (BBB) accreditation is worth it? Learn how to become BBB accredited, the benefits, and how much it costs.
16. Track Your Website Data
Setting up and optimizing your site isn’t the end as far as what makes an outstanding website—you have to constantly maintain and update it too. The best way is by regularly tracking your website’s data and then pinpointing which parts to improve on, whether that’s in your design, content, or CTAs.
There are several tools available to check website traffic, each with its own specialties (and many can be used for free). Google Analytics is free and ideal for getting an exact read on your site’s traffic, seeing which pages catch your audience’s attention, and learning how site visitors found your website. See how to connect your site to Google Analytics in Semrush’s step-by-step guide.
On the other hand, Semrush offers the ability to check your website’s traffic and keywords for free (or those of competitors). On the other hand, Ahrefs shows similar data and also allows you to see traffic and data across multiple search engines. With tools like these, it becomes easy to make informed decisions and site improvements.
17. Audit Your Site & Improve It
To maintain your website’s quality, create a plan to audit your site on a regular basis and get insights to improve it in terms of SEO as well as the site visitor experience. This includes changing your keywords according to which rank higher or updating information that is subject to change, like news or statistics.
Making ongoing edits ensures that your website remains high quality and fresh, helping you rank higher on Google to generate more web traffic, leads, and sales. The best SEO audit tools analyze your site’s content, speed, backlinks, and more. They then pinpoint areas of improvement to get your website more online visibility and provide an excellent user experience overall.
Semrush’s site auditing tools are the most comprehensive, including suggestions for page-level improvements, optimization, and resolving issues like broken internal links or poor quality backlinks. On the other hand, SE Ranking offers similar site auditing tools at a lower price point, along with beginner-friendly guidance for practical ways to fix problems and improve your website.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What features should a good website have?
Your website should have an easy-to-use web content management system (e.g., Wix or Squarespace), a branded domain name, and an SSL certificate. It will include your contact information, cohesive branding, valuable content and multimedia for engagement, and strategies and tools for SEO, data tracking, and marketing. Our website basics checklist discusses all of these elements (and more) in further detail.
What’s the best way to build a good website?
The best way to build a good website is to use a website builder that covers all or most of the necessary website elements. Several site builders are available according to your business needs—Squarespace offers easy-to-edit website templates, GoDaddy is great for service-based businesses, and Wix is the best overall. Discover the best site builder for your business in our list of the best website builders for small businesses.
What is a bad website?
The hallmark of a bad website is a poor user experience. This is usually apparent through a difficult-to-navigate interface, cluttered design with no visual identity, and low-quality content that provides no value to readers nor guides them toward specific actions.
Bad websites also have poor security, making them more vulnerable to hacks and data breaches. They tend to have slow loading times, low-quality images and graphics, and content that isn’t optimized for search engines. Eventually, a bad website will lead to poor results: low website traffic, low visibility on Google search results, and few leads and customers.
Many factors come into play when talking about what makes a good website. But ultimately, it needs to get the attention of your target audience and convert them into customers. Focus on solid design, strong branding, persuasive copywriting, and optimizing your website for search. This helps your website serve as a valuable resource that gives your audience what they’re looking for—a fantastic user experience that keeps them coming back for more.
To take your website from good to great, build it using Wix or another of the best website builders. They make planning and great website design easy, include essentials like security and a free domain, and provide the functionality needed to help you build a strong brand presence online.
You Might Also Like…
- Learn how to make a small business website in seven steps
- See if Wix is the perfect site builder for you with our expert Wix review, or check out the steps for using Wix to build a website.
- Grow your small business locally with the best local advertising ideas.
- Round out your plan to make a good website with insights from our list of top website statistics.