The best website designs launch when they’re readable, user-approved, SEO-friendly, and with architecture for converting visitors into email subscribers and buyers
No matter how many website awards there are out there, no one website could ever win the battle for best website design of all, because there are so many factors that come into play.
For example, some might think they have the best website design because their website is “pretty,” with loads of white space and great fonts. But if it’s not also search-optimized for someone to find it, then who cares? Another example is a site that’s completely search-optimized, even user-friendly – but there’s not a single call to action to be found. What’s the point?
Over the past two decades, the Mequoda team has worked with many different media and event businesses, helping them create and implement profitable multiplatform publishing strategies. And, we monitor and advise on ongoing performance so we see what works and what doesn’t. We’ve seen it all — B2B and B2C, paid circulation and advertising/sponsored, large and small companies. Through all of that experience we’ve gleaned a lot of useful information and reached a clear conclusion: there’s always plenty of room to improve your website design.
It all starts with these sixteen questions, which involve thinking more about your business model and how it’s portrayed on your website.
- Do you know what your minimum information unit is?
- Are you using 3C Zone Architecture to convert website visitors into email subscribers?
- Have you built a Google Visability Report to title the different sections of your website, which will also build and track your SEO efforts?
- Did you consider SEO when determining your website taxonomy?
- Are you picking the right fonts, that please your loyal readers?
- Have you chosen an appropriate website color scheme that sends the right message?
- Have you determined which subscription website business models will play nicely together?
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- Do you understand the many different types of landing pages any good publishing website contains?
- Are you using heatmap tracking tools to see how your customers use your site?
- Are you conducting usability tests on your site while in development to see how it will fare when it goes live?
- Do you have a collection of website design tools that will help further your progress?
- How about a bookmarked set of website development tools?
- Do you have a successful consultant on your side to effectively and efficiently synchronize your design and business strategy?
- Have you looked at other website homepages to see how yours compares?
- Is your website loading quickly enough?
- Finally, are you making any of these mistakes?
Beauty is relative, cultural, genetic and ever-changing. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and aesthetic judgments are subjective.
The answer is to know your target market and create an appearance and a series of calls to action that conform to your visitors’ expectations. We call it the “user’s mental model.”
Additionally, be careful of the landing pages you choose to mimic. Real Simple.com is both practical and beautiful. The website designers have taken great care in translating the look and feel of the award-winning magazine into an elegant website. Typeface, colors and use of white space all combine to create a website that is both full of useful content and that is pleasing to the eye. Compare it to another site that holds good design in high esteem, The American Feng Shui Institute. The comparison is stark. Real Simple is pleasing, while its counterpart is merely unobjectionable.
What would you add to this list? Add to the discussion in the comments.