If you were to invest in new equipment, new vehicles or even new employees for your business, you would take the time necessary to seek out the best, most cost-effective, most-qualified selection. You certainly wouldn't buy the first truck you saw at the dealership, or hire the first person who walked into your office. The same time and care must be taken when choosing a web designer. However, even after selection of a web designer, utmost care should be taken to ensure that he provides you the best product. For that, you need to be able to judge what the designer is promising you. You should be aware of the following points so that you can demand these features for your new website:
1. Clean Design
Clean design is one of the most important things to remember during the process of website development. A good-quality design is not only attractive but also easy to read. It should help the viewers to focus on the value of your brand and content instead of getting distracted by the graphics and large amounts of text. It should also not be so plain and dull that it finds it difficult to hold the viewer’s attention. In order to make the viewer return to your site, it should be pleasing to the eyes and should fulfill his purpose too.
2. Easy Navigation
If a website is confusing and difficult to navigate, your viewers may leave and never return. One way to improve a visitor’s ability to navigate your site easily (and help search engines crawl your site) is to add a site map. A standard setup for navigation is that from every single page of the website you should be able to:
go up one level (reach the parent section/page, if any)
access the level(s) below
access the “siblings” pages within the same section
return to the home page
Each of the above navigation options should have a distinct look. The look and positioning should be consistent and predictable throughout the website so that the visitor soon feels at home while browsing. This is a minimal but sufficient setup in most cases and is not too difficult to accomplish. However, ignoring this key point may have serious repercussions on the visitor’s impression of your site.
3. Clean, SEO-Friendly Code
In average situations, most visitors come from search engines. If you develop a website that never shows up in search engines results, whatever the keywords, then your entire purpose of building a site is defeated. To avoid this, you should select some keywords relevant to your activity and set the goal of being visible at a decent position on search engines. A decent position means the first page of results. This can be achieved through certain SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques and strategies, perhaps implemented at a later stage. However, at the time of development of your website, you should ask the developer to have clean, SEO-friendly code. SEO-friendly code acts as a guide for search engine spiders/ crawlers by providing a clear picture of your site’s content. Correctly formatted HTML code helps to ensure that all of your pages are indexed correctly without any major roadblocks.
4. Compatibility with Multiple Browsers
With the fast progress in technology, the number of internet browsers has rapidly grown - from Internet Explorer and Firefox to Chrome and Safari. So it is vital to ensure that your website is accessible from multiple browsers. This means that your site should load properly on all major browsers – including older versions. If one fails to take this step, it may result in the exclusion of a large section of your customer base, which can be a costly consequence for a growing business.
5. Responsive Sites
The use of mobile devices to conduct online searches has increased significantly in the past couple of years. Statistics indicate that approximately 95% of mobile device users depend on their phones/ tablets to search for local products and services. Thus, to effectively reach these users, businesses need to ensure that their websites are accessible from any device. So, the developer must design a responsive website which is capable of adapting to any device like smartphones and tablets, which widely vary in screen size.
6. Integration with Social Media
Integration with social media is no longer a luxury – it’s a requirement. Information sharing on social media can be likened to modern day word-of-mouth advertising. With the help of social media, visitors can learn more about your company’s latest news, provide reviews, and promote your brand. Various types of data like written content, images, audios and videos can be easily distributed on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn etc. with the addition of social sharing buttons on your website.
7. Backend Services (CMS “Content Management System” / Software)
It is impossible to develop a great website without a functional program taking care of the backend. Think of your website as a car. The glistening tyres and luxurious leather seating equate to the front-end/ user interface of your site that a visitor experiences directly. But the powerful engine of the car and similarly, the backend of your website (CMS) is where the magic really happens. The CMS lets you manage and maintain the website by making continuous upgrades and resolving any bugs that might crop up in future.