web design

What Makes a Website Great?

Build a Website with Sync Digital Solutions

There's a lot of noise about what makes a website great. In the 1990's a great website had flashy movement. In the early 2000's it was all about big and loud graphics. Now, in 2017 there is a different take on the subject. You see, just a few years ago websites were viewed as billboards and ads by many; some still think this way. You shouldn't.

If you have a brick and mortar location I want you to take a step outside and view your storefront. That's your home page. Now, enter. Take in the decor, talk to your staff about their positions within the company, and play around with your products and services.

If you don't have a brick and mortar location, take a look at your logo and branding package, then proceed with the other steps.

That is your website!

Now of course, there are technical aspects to building a great website, but that's where you should start. Then, once you get to the technical side, here's some quick points to note:

  • Make it responsive: there are endless advantages to making sure your site fits on all kinds of devices.
  • On-Site SEO: make sure big search can find you.
  • Image to Text Ratio: ensure that you have a good balance; go 40:60.
  • Clean and Modern: Don't get caught in the trap of trying to be too fancy. Keep it clean and your customers will appreciate the ease of use.
  • CTAs: Ensure there are regular calls to action throughout the site.

Once you take care of those steps, you're ready to step into a more advanced setup. But first, before all of the technical aspects surrounding website creation, make sure you treat your website like another storefront or office.

If you need help with building your next great website, let me know. I love working with new clients that offer great products and services.

What Kind of Website Do I Need?

What Kind of Website Do I Need?

Thinking about building a website can lead to mental overload. First, you have to decide whether you’re going to build it yourself, or get someone to do it for you. Then, you have to find someone that can take the project on. At that point, you have to decide what kind of website you want built.

There are literally, hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of “website developers” out there in the world today, and they will present you with a plethora of options. 

So, how do you make decisions regarding your new site? Here’s a cheat sheet.

To Build, or To Let Someone Build

If You Build It

  • You have full control.
  • You have no middle man to execute changes.
  • You’re working on your timeline, not competing with other outside projects.
  • You’ll get to learn a new skill.
  • You must now take time out from your business to build.
  • There are endless choices in technology. You won’t be able to keep up.
  • Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts will surely be negligible. 

If Someone Else Builds It

  • You can run your business while the site is being built.
  • You’ll have a wealth of knowledge working for you.
  • You’re paying for results, which means you’ll get them.
  • Your site will [should] be optimized for SEO.
  • An organized workflow, and trackable results.

Now, let’s assume, someone else builds it:

Who Will Build Your Site?

Someone You Know

  • Examples: Uncle, Friend, Cousin, Nephew, Employee, etc.
  • They will be fitting your site into their daily lives.
  • This is likely someone at a small scale operation with limited resources.
  • You’re probably looking at mixing business and pleasure at this point, which you have to take into consideration.
  • This is almost always, you’re cheaper option.

Someone You Don’t

  • Examples: Agency, Firm, Web Designer by-trade, etc.
  • You’ll be presented with a proposal, and given options.
  • There will be a structured timeline for completion.
  • All of the latest trends and tech will be taken into consideration.
  • This will cost a bit more, but you’re likely to get a greater deal of satisfaction.

What Kind of Site Should I Get?

Your Options

  • Examples: Custom, Template, Custom Code, Animation, Graphical, etc.
  • TIP: You probably won’t know what your web dev contact is talking about.
  • Instead of jargon, think about your commitment to long-term online strategy.
  • Most analysts say a website should cost around 2% of your gross annual profit, if your business makes less than $5-million, per year. That’s a part of your overall suggested 7 - 8% marketing spend.
  • You may be scared of the word template. In the 90′s, it suggested that someone was buying a design that would not be reserved exclusively for your site. Essentially, you could end having a site that looks just like your competitors. Today, templates are starting points to get the project launched quickly. If you have a limited budget, ask to start there.
  • Websites have come a long way. Every quote should contain a CMS system (a way you can make small edits), design, options to add 3rd party video, content drafting, and a responsive site (no matter what screen size someone is on, the site is designed for them to view it).

Don’t Get Caught in the Hype

It’s easy to get lost in the words of a developer, but tell them to stop, and consider your industry, your budget, and your timeline. Even if you’re taking percentages into account, you should never spend less than $1000 on a website, before hosting. You want to motivate developers to do a great job for you.

Now, what does a good job look like? 

These are just some examples of quality websites that incorporate the latest trends, and that you can get done within that budget outlined above. Of course, it’s but 5 examples amongst thousands.

I hope this has helped you make a decision. If you need help with your website, let’s talk.

Written by:
Jay Hall - Chief Strategist