A website is a crucial part of your business, and in most cases, it’s the first time potential customers “meet” or interact with your brand. It’s essentially a virtual business card for your business, so a visitor’s first impression can be the difference between a loyal client and a non-buyer.
Not only are these best practices crucial to a successful website, but they’re also crucial to increased traffic, sales, and revenue year over year.
Why is website design and development so important?
When a new website hits a server, it’s one in a billion — literally. The number of websites in the world is tipping the scale at 1.9 billion, and it won’t be long before it grows to 2 billion.
That being said, your website has some competition. Of course, your goal is to have tons of satisfied site visitors that enjoy interacting with your website, and if you’re an ecommerce website, your main goal is to make tons of sales. Whether you’re a major corporation or niche business, you want your website to get the job done.
Either way, you have a goal in mind, and the only way to get there is to develop a website that is satisfying to both your audience and search engines.
But why does it matter what search engines think?
Search engines like Google select pages from all 1.9 billion websites in the world to display on their results pages. But those pages don’t just get there on a whim. The design and development play a huge part in how your website pages rank in search engine results pages, and if you’re looking to reach one of the goals mentioned above, your website should rank highly.
Most clicks are made on the first page of results. In fact, 68 percent of clicks go to the first five results, and only 4 percent of clicks go to the last five results on a page.
If you do the math, that only leaves 28 percent of clicks left to be split between the second and third pages of search results.
In short, it’s extremely difficult to get traffic to your website if it doesn’t rank highly in search results, and to rank highly in search results, your website has to follow web design and development best practices.
4 web development guidelines to follow
If you’re ready to start developing, be sure to follow these guidelines to ensure your website’s success!
1. Make all your pages responsive
Developing a responsive website is our first guideline because it is so extremely important to your website on many levels.
When users visit a responsive website, it means that they can use any device to view it, and it’ll respond and present site elements in the same way.
For example, if your site isn’t responsive, someone that uses a tablet or smartphone to view it may not get the whole picture. Call to action buttons might be cut off, or images may not load properly, along with a slew of other potential issues.
2. Enable website analytics
If you fail to analyze important metrics on your website, you’ll never know what parts of your website drive results and which parts could use some work. As part of your website’s development, be sure to enable analytics.
When you enable analytics on a page, you simply include a predetermined code in the HTML of the page, and wait for your important metric data to roll in.
After your analytics code is embedded, you can log into your analytics platform, like Google Analytics, to set specific conversion goals as well as track traffic, bounce rate, and so much more.
3. Implement site security
Site security is just as important as home security. You can think of your website as your company’s virtual home, and it’s extremely important to keep it secure. This is especially true if the site you’re creating accepts sensitive client data like credit card information, addresses, and other private data.
Not only is site security a great feature to have on any website, when users see that you have security measures in place, they’ll be much more willing to purchase through your website.
You should always implement an SSL certificate on your website so that public servers don’t have access to private information and data.
4. Ensure fast load time
Another website development guideline that’s important is ensuring that your website loads quickly. There are a multitude of site elements that could contribute to slow load time. Here are a few things to look out for during development:
- Large images: One of the biggest culprits of a site that loads slowly is site images that are too large. When you use big, super high-quality images on your website without compressing them, they can cause your site to run slowly. Before uploading images to your site, you’ll want to run them through a compression tool, like Kraken, to ensure that they don’t clog up your site.
- Too many plugins: Plugins can give your site the bells and whistles you’re after, but it comes at a high price. If you use too many plugins on your website, it can take an extremely long time to load. Unless the plugin is necessary, you should consider removing it. Be sure to check over your site for plugins that you no longer use, or ones that are outdated.
- Check your host: Your hosting account refers to the server that your website runs on. If your site operates on a shared server, you might see slow load times due to the number of websites that are also hosted on that specific server.