- When you design and improve your website, thinking like your customer will likely help you to come up with and implement meaningful changes.
- Follow our guidelines to help design websites that are effectively indexed for Google Search, and try Google tools such as Analytics to help you monitor and test your site.
Elements of a great website
What makes a website great depends on who you're trying to attract. For example, if you're looking to have homeowners book a plumbing appointment online, you'll want to design your website differently than if you're trying to sell croissants at your bakery.
Ensure your website content and layout is optimized for a good customer experience. Sites that are attractive, easy to navigate, and informative tend to be more profitable.
Use these tips as a starting point to think about ways to design and revise your website:
- Think like your customers
When you plan, design, or evaluate your website, pretend that you're one of your own customers, trying to accomplish a task. What brought the customer there? Does the customer have questions or a specific goal? What familiarity does the customer have with your products? This can be a difficult task because your knowledge of your products and website will likely be much deeper than your customer's knowledge – consider asking a coworker, friend, or family member who is less experienced with your business and website to navigate it for you.
- Include only what you need
For a new customer, unfamiliar websites can be very confusing. If you provide too many links, too many images, or too much text, you might confuse a potential customer. Ultimately, a well-organized and clear website can provide a better experience for customers, and make it easier for them to make a purchase or contact you.
- Keep your pages loading quickly
Make sure that your pages will load quickly for all your customers, especially if some of your customers use slower internet connections (such as dial-up internet). In general, try to avoid lots of images, large images, and complex website widgets.
- Keep your content current
Make sure you don't have outdated information, such as announcements for sales that have finished or incorrect pricing. Such details erode your customers' confidence in your website and in your company.
- Include contact information
Many customers, especially of stores with physical locations, will go to websites to get contact information, address, and business hours. You might want to include this information at the bottom of every page.
- Make it mobile
Many of your customers will visit your website via mobile phones. Many of these phones will not be able to play Flash or handle complex, interactive graphics. Rather than losing these potential customers, provide a way for them to at least get critical information, if not browse your entire website.
Choose the right landing page
After you evaluate your website, you’ll also want to think about where on your site you’d like your customers to go. Send your customers to a page that has the information, promotion, or product promised in your ad. If customers don't easily find what prompted them to click on your ad, they're more likely to leave your site.
Improve your search ranking
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) — making your website show up prominently in organic, unpaid search results — can be a complex task. However, many of the things that will make your website attractive to search engines, such as a clear page title and descriptive link text, are also elements that your customers will likely value.
To help you get your page listed in Google's search results, learn more about web developer guidelines.
Monitor and test your website
After your website is up and running, you can monitor its performance and look for areas to improve. To identify those areas, you might consider using Google Analytics. Google Analytics tracks your website's visitors and tells you how many times your website's pages were viewed, how long people spent on your pages, where your visitors went after viewing a particular page, and more.