What makes one website great, and another website so-so? Typically, the difference lies in five distinctive elements that the former website has, and the latter one lacks.

If you want to ensure all your websites are winners, be certain to always include the following website design essentials:

  1. A Proper Mix of Form and Function

Should a website be beautiful or practical? The answer is that it should be both. But finding this balance between appearance and functionality can take some trial and error.

On one hand, you need your website design to be attractive. After all, users are motivated by aesthetically appealing sites. But the site also needs to have an intuitive navigation and easy-to-follow internal links and calls-to-action.

A spectacularly artistic website with a cluttered navigation may still win design awards, but it won’t win visitors. At the same time, an outdated site with simple navigation is likely to turn off users before they get past the landing page. It’s up to a smart designer to intertwine the two elements for maximum form and function.

  1. A Site for Human Eyes and Search Engine Crawlers

Sites that do well have to be created for both human users and search engine crawlers. This means they have to be fully functional on the front end as well as the backend.

From a human perspective, the website should have a natural flow, including material that can be quickly skimmed. Most users tend to read websites by jumping around, rather than by reading each line of text from left to right. Strong website design makes this possible without the loss of any pertinent information.

Web crawlers need to understand what each page means so they can correctly index the site and appropriately rank it for search engines. This makes it imperative for website designers to utilize all search engine optimization (SEO) tools at their fingertips, from incorporating meta data to attributing images in an SEO-friendly manner.

  1. A Dynamic Mobile Site

It’s commonplace for users to visit sites on all types of devices, including mobile ones with small or moderately-sized screens. The mobile site of a traditional website must be dynamic and quick-loading. It also has to include navigation that can be done with the press of a finger or a quick swipe.

Google’s search engine crawlers are actively looking for mobile, responsive sites when they are conducting their regular indexing. Therefore, optimizing for mobile is a great element for SEO ranking in addition to being welcomed by users.

  1. A Resource for Information

Really good websites seek to educate and explain, not just tell. This creates a relationship with people, rather than a one-sided experience. These types of sites treat users as smart learners who are eager to find out more about the website topic. Users respond by coming back to those websites for expert opinions.

If your website isn’t authoritative, why should visitors believe what they are reading? Why should they bookmark it or follow the steps to become customers, fans, or prospects? If the site is only self-serving without being informative, it’s missing a key element. Become a resource in your field, and you’ll attract more people. You may also increase your number of social shares over time, improving links to your site.

  1. A Place for Solutions

A website is like a microcosm of a company. It’s the place where people go for solutions to problems and answers to questions. In fact, they might find answers to questions they didn’t realize they had. Web designers should remember this when creating sites. This may mean adding more webpages to increase the depth of the copy, or improving the existing copy to give more useful data to users.

Websites that only tell half the story are unconvincing and unsatisfying. They also may seem like they are misleading or deceptive. That leads to visitor “bounces” and displeased users, not to mention poor reviews.

Putting Your Website Under the Microscope

How does your website fare? Does it hold up well under the scrutiny of these five elements, or could it use a boost? Be honest. If you need to make improvements, it’s better to start today rather than wait six months and risk losing lucrative business.

Looking for a web design or digital marketing agency?

Check out some of our 3rd party ranking lists!