by David Walsh, 19th July 2022
It’s estimated that there are about 1.88 billion websites on the internet. That’s roughly one website between every four people! Is it saturated? That’s a debate for another day. What is beyond doubt however, is how much more difficult it is for business websites to dazzle and convert when compared to their competitors.
So naturally, as a leading Gold Coast website designer – we get this question a lot: what makes a good website in 2022?
As you may expect, there is no easy answer – certainly nothing that can be summarised into a quick sound bite. And the challenge for those not within the digital marketing industry is that the goal posts move regularly, as technology and trends evolve. The design applied to your last website build from as recently as a few years ago, may be redundant now.
So, we’ve done on our best to put together a list of 10 factors that can help your website standout online…potentially give you the jump on your competitors…and hopefully drive your business revenue up in 2022.
This is deliberately the first item on the list. A website that has not identified a purpose is directionless and, more often than not, will fail.
When we start any website build, discussing the purpose of the website is one of the first questions we ask our clients (and sometimes, it can leave them a little stumped for an answer!).
But what is the correct answer? It depends on your business and industry type. For many websites it’s as simple as an online transaction (e-commerce website). Others want to be contacted by phone or email. Some want to capture a key target’s email address. Or make a booking. It doesn’t have to be a complex answer, what is important is that it is understood and agreed upon early.
What makes a good website in 2022 is very different to what made a good website five or 10 years ago. Which leads us to our next point: if you put up a page comprising almost of entirely of text, you will be burnt by both search engines and your visitors. Looks matter when it comes to any website design, big time.
We always encourage clients to hire a professional photographer when it comes to your website’s images. You can get away with a few stock images, but the best websites always have high quality, original images.
Video continues to grow in popularity and the reason is simple – it works brilliantly. Our brain engages with video at a much better rate than text. In fact, studies reveal the average viewer remembers 95 per cent of a message when it is watched via a video, compared to it being read which is only 10 per cent.
Your visitors want to engage with your website. They want something to grab their attention when they land. A great way to do this is for your website not to be static – have some small movement or animation as the visitor scrolls through the website.
For desktop visitors to Gold Coast Website Designs, you may have noticed we feature animations on our home page (and elsewhere). When you land, you immediately see an image of the Gold Coast skyline, moving clouds, bright stars and a whiff of constellation activity.
For us, the desired outcome is to show that we have a better website than our competitors (many have static websites). And if you’re shopping around for a website online, hopefully visual effects like this will stand out and encourage you to come and do business with us.
Speed is a great way for your website to stand out. For most websites that are a few years old, you’ll find that they don’t stack up for speed compared to more modern builds (FYI, Google will test your website speed at PageSpeed Insights).
If you have a slow website, your website visitors will become frustrated and may leave your page in a matter of moments (often called bounce rates). We’re an impatient bunch – 47 per cent of people don’t wait for more than two seconds for a web page to load!
High website bounce rates mean less engagement and poorer business outcomes. Ideally, your business needs a website that performs strongly for speed both on the mobile and desktop.
In 2022, chatbots are on a roll. They are quickly becoming smarter and more helpful.
Many website visitors use chatbots to get a quick answer for questions relating to your business. And many businesses are increasingly turning to chatbots to manage staff workloads and be accessible 24/7.
Still not convinced? Here are a few numbers detailing their exponential growth. The chatbot ‘industry’ was only worth $2.8 billion in 2019, it but is expected to grow to $142 billion by 2024. If your competitors are not using them yet, they soon will be.
This suggestion could have been applied to a similar list for the last five years, but too often we still see it forgotten. We’re referring to responsive design – ensuring that your business website works effectively on different sized screens.
For website designers, we need to use responsive code which allows for websites to adapt to the various screen sizes and orientations, particularly smartphones. This means we need to view each visual element – including images, videos, text, logos and buttons – through the lens of different screen dimensions.
We know that we are all using our mobiles for the internet – it accounts for more than half of all internet traffic. If your business website is not mobile friendly…it is more than likely having a material impact on your online business.
Interactive content is far from new, however its popularity is taking off due to the growing accessibility of interactive content tools. It is based on the notion that website visitors generally want user-centred design, they want to be involved and engaged when viewing websites.
Interactive content means different things to different website designers, as it really is an opportunity to be creative and original with each design. From choosing the specs on a new car build (and seeing a visual on it), to rotating product carousels and simple hover animations – these all serve the same purpose.
For our Gold Coast Website Designs website, we have multiple examples of interactive content. On the home page we have a hover animation where our services options light up when the mouse hovers over each option.
Over on our about page, you will see that both of the main images stay static while the text moves around them.
These animations serve to capture the eye and engagement of the visitor and help to ensure their stay on our website is longer!
If you’ve read this blog and put all our suggestions to work, your online presence is going to boom, right? Not necessarily. The fact is that you can have the world’s best website, but if no one is visiting, it’s effectively useless. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) can bring the traffic to your amazing website and is a key element of what makes a website good in 2022.
Web design and SEO are like peas in a pod. Any website strategy should incorporate SEO, so it makes sense to engage with a company that knows both well. SEO is our modern day yellow pages, if you want a steady supply of consistent leads and traffic, every business needs it.
When you launch your website, you need to have your SEO foundations set up as part of your build. At the very least, all your pages should be optimised and your website should be indexed by Google. Then, after your website launch, you should be considering an ongoing campaign to ensure your foundations snowball into something more sustainable.
A study released in 2022 has revealed that 98 per cent of people read online reviews for local businesses. Furthermore, the majority of us also trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from family and friends.
For something that it is so hugely important in the decision-making process, it’s hard to believe that so few websites incorporate Google reviews into their design. It’s a must for small and medium businesses, particularly those who don’t have significant brand awareness.
There are a range of plugins available that feed reviews into your website, as they are added via Google. Once the setup is complete, this makes the process entirely automated.
Okay, so this is a suggestion for those who already have a website they are happy with rather than those who are starting from scratch. Updating your website, should not be an annual event.
It’s never a great look for website visitors when prices are out of date, contact details have changed, featured team members have moved on and or it simply no longer reflects your brand and business. Or, in the back end, numerous updates have left your website as a slow loading, malware risk.
Keep your website updated as your business changes. Understand that your website is your online real estate and deserves your attention. This can come in many forms including blogs, company news, social media feeds, project features, free content for visitors and website maintenance.
Your website visitors will appreciate your efforts, and Google will notice as well.
Hopefully this article has provided you with helpful insights into what makes a good website in 2022.
Note – if you haven’t already done so, be sure to read our comprehensive article: Web Design 101.