Whether you’re creating a brand-new website or want to  improve your existing one, there’s a lot that goes into a great website. Think design, telling your brand story, optimizing your website for multiple devices and much more. To help you out, we put together a list of 19 things you need to review if you want your website to be a succes.

1. It starts with branding

Having brand guidelines with a brand story, typography, logo-set, use of color – and more – is the best arsenal for a web designer. It provides the right tools to shape your brand online and ensure a cohesive product design and user experience.

2. Know your audience

To connect with your audience, you need to know their pain. Your website should clearly offer them your solution with the right tone of voice and visuals.

3. Define the goals

Your website needs at least one goal to get results. Its design needs to be developed around those goals. Take the time to write down the goals you want to achieve with your brand. That way, you make it easier to set up your website in a way that helps achieve those goals.

4. Your homepage should sum up everything you do

The homepage is the most important page of your entire website. It receives the most page visits and visitors decide in seconds whether your company offers the solution to their problem. Make it clear to your visitor what you do for whom and what results a collaboration yields the customer.

5. Guide people with Calls To Action

To let your customer take the desired action, you need to guide them through your website with compelling Calls To Action (CTA). Buttons such as “read more”, “register”, “book a free session now” and more ensure that your customer knows what action to take on each page.

6. Choose professional photos

Whether you choose to hire a professional photographer or use stock images, make sure they are professional and fit with your brand’s image and values. Some web design agencies have a professional photographer in-house or know how to select stock photos that fit your company culture like a glove.

7. Choose the right words

Your website’s impact relies on great storytelling. The right words can grab your audience’s attention, showcase your expertise and give the information they need to make a well-considered decision. Invest time and energy in putting your story into words, so you can convey your mission, vision and solution to your audience.

8. Make your website responsive on all devices

With visitors landing on your website through desktop, mobile and tablet, make sure your website is fully optimized and responsive on all devices. 

9. Site speed

You want your website to load in less than 3 seconds. This prevents visitors from becoming impatient and dropping out. Make sure images are optimized for web use, so that they don’t take up too much space and don’t affect the loading time and speed of your website.

10. The power of video

A homepage video of 30 seconds can convey your message instantly and create conversion. Videos trigger all senses and are the quickest and most efficient way to digest information. A great video is almost indispensable for your website, because it helps people in getting to know your brand and making important buying decisions.

11. Optimize your findability in search engines

Make sure your domain name and site content contains the correct keywords. These are the words or phrases you want to rank high with in search engines. If you do not have a clear picture of this, you can get advice from an SEO expert to increase your online findability.

12. Create space

Make use of empty space on your pages. Design needs to breathe, just like when you need to take a breather while speaking. This creates a sense of peace for the reader, helps them focus and conveys your message better.

13. Provide visitors with an easy way to contact you

Whether via email, phone, form, chatbot (or all), don’t let your website visitors spend too long looking for ways to connect with your business.

14. Connect your social media

Ensure a good connection from your website to your social media channels and vice versa. Research from which social media channels you get the most visitors to your website to optimize traffic.

15. Make navigating your site easy

Map the structure of your website with a sitemap, so you can see exactly how your pages are linked together. With a clear menu or search bar, you ensure that visitors can navigate easily and quickly. Good design plays a major role in this.

16. Keep your site secure

When your site is secured, it gives your visitor confidence. You can recognize a secure website by a URL that starts with “https: //” (the “s” stands for “secure”) and the lock in the address bar.

17. Customer references provide credibility

Testimonials and reviews are great for brand experience and credibility. Make sure to not only leave the five-star responses, but also the ones that are less enthusiastic. Honesty is key when it comes to helping people make the decision to choose your product or work with you.

18. Make your website GDPR proof

Become GDPR compliant and inform your visitors about how you handle information and what kind of information you are storing. Tools like Cookiebot can help you scan which cookies your site is using and what to ask consent for with your website visitors.

19. Select the right CMS for your team

There’re a lot of different Content Management Systems out there, all with a different set-up. Choose the CMS that fits your team’s needs and expertise. Some systems are very technical, so if your team consists mostly of creatives, it would be wise to select a system in which you can easily make adjustments for your website, without hassle.