The 3 Basic Elements of a Good Website Design
- A good website must satisfy user needs
- A good website must satisfy owners needs
- A good website must satisfy Search Engine needs
Let's look at each of these briefly and describe how a Cayenne Design website satisfies these three criteria.
Satisfying User Needs
Users' needs are two-fold with one being an active need and the other a passive need.
- Active Need
Users looking for content that satisfies their needs in terms of information, entertainment or both.
- Passive Need
The information on the website must be easy to access.
Satisfying the active need is very much the responsibility of the website owner who, as an entrepreneur, should know and understand the needs of his or her customers. The website owner is responsible to provide to the website designer this knowledge. The designer's job is to design the website so that access to the information is quick and easy.
A third requirement exists here, that of ensuring the content is written in a way that satisfies the 3rd basic element, that of satisfying Search Engine needs. This topic comes under the category ofand will not be discussed here.
Satisfying Owner Needs
The basic need of most owners is to see some profit come out of the website or at least break even. However, as any small business owner knows money doesn't grow from nothun, nothun never did, so somewhere in your website, you've gotta do sumthin good! And that "Sumthin" is providing good content.
Now I know that time is a commodity that you, as a small business owner, do know have a lot of. But let's be honest with each other. A website is not a magic box. You only get out of it what you put into it. Let's look at your website as if it were a race car. Cayenne Design provides you with a complete "Indy-Ready" website. When you get it, the information that we have agreed to be in the initial website when handed over, has been tuned and is ready to go big time. But if you leave the gas in the car too long, if you don't check the air in the tires, if you don't tune it up once in a while, you may just as well have bought a '49 Volkswagen and let it go at that.
What I am trying to say is this: You. as the owner, must provide new great content to keep old viewers coming back and to entice new ones to visit your website. What that content is is the topic of another blog.
The point here is that Cayenne Design tries to make creating and publishing this content as easy and as efficient as possible for you. We do this by providing your website with some very powerful add-ons that are described below. As you go through them think of how you can create content on your website and have it spread across social media to 10s and even 100s of potential customers with minimal investment of time on your part.
Satisfying Search Engine Needs
OK, let's get SERPy.....Search Engine Result Page. Every website owner wants his or her website on the first page. Every time and all the time. Sorry to disappoint you but it AIN'T gonna happen. It's a mathematical truth unless you product is SO unique that no-one else handles it.
For example, let's say you are an auto insurance agent and you want your website to show up on a SERP 1 (first page of a search activity) . If a person uses the two-word term "auto insurance" they will find that there are a total of 68 million results. Google is smart enough to display only those that are located in your geographical area. However, you will notice that most are "corporate" type results that appear except for some in the middle that are selected from results that are from your local area. The companies that appear here are those that have a Google+ account showing the importance of including social media such as Google+ in your website marketing plan.
Now, let's use a more defining array of search words such as "auto insurance friendly free agent Glendale." Thanks to the more detailed search criteria we now see a larger number of small local businesses being represented. Do the same kind of web search for your particular line of work and study your company competitor websites. (Ignore large corporate website if they appear...trying to outscore them without some major investment in time and money at this point is tooooo much). You may be surprised at how little content some of them have. This is your opportunity to get your SERP 1! See how the competitors' websites fare with the Google SpeedPage function. What kind of a score are they getting. When we hand over a website to a customer we guarantee that all results will be at least 90/100. Very seldom are we below 95/100. This plays a hand in helping you get a higher SERP than you competitors. NOTE: These figures are guaranteed only for our clients whose website is hosted on the Inmotionhosting Business Pro server.
You'll notice the high level of importance that Google places on. Since an increasingly amount of website access is now being done via smartphones, it is highly important that the content of a website be easily viewed on smartphones and to a lesser degree on tablets. All major search engines are increasingly placing a high level of importance on this and penalize websites that are not responsive.
In short, there are three basic things to consider to get good SERP.
- Good content which attracts a lot of visitors which in turn convinces Google and other search engines that your website is important and thus deserves a good SERP.
- Good content structure which makes it easy for visitors to find and Google to analyze.
- Good server speed which keeps impatient visitors from jumping from your website to another
10 General Considerations Related to Presentation and Content
Here is a list of 10 major points you should keep in mind when developing a website. Note that these are not the only ones and that the importance of each varies depending on the targetted audience of the website.
About 8% of the Male US population is colorblind. Does your website ignore this 8% or make it easy for them?
- Simple Navigation
Is all your information posted on the top page with links to here, there, and everywhere? Or is does it provide a clear direction for people to follow?
- About Us (or me)
A small business is always a story about the owner. Sell yourself and your staff!
- Contact Information
If they can't contact you, they won't.....(Yogi Bear III)
- Call to Action
Invite some action on part of your visitor. Offer a PDF file about something interesting, a subscription to your newsletter, a game on your website that ends in a small present of some kind. Anything that gets the viewer to commit to some kind of action with you!
- Search (But not Always)
Small websites may not need a search engine in it as a good navigation menu will provide this instead. But if needed, it should be provided.
- Informational Footer
- Great Images
Great images grab attention as does video. But make certain that your images have been optimized to be responsive and, if possible, made accessible on a website separate from your main website. We create a separate website that is used only for the storage of images and other content files for all our users that have their own Inmotion Hosting Business Pro server. Doing so allows your server to propagate the images and other content much more quickly than otherwise.
- Good Web fonts
Proper use of web fonts can enhance your website aesthetically as well as increase readability. If your target audience is an older set of people, you may want to use larger fonts, for example.
Specialty Websites Have Additional Requirements
Some companies, such as real estate companies, require special functions that are not normally provided by standard websites. Fortunately, Cayenne Design is able to provide these functions within its websites when required.
Some of these special functions are:
Real Estate Websites
- Advanced, Locator and MLS Search tools
- Multiple Properties level (Standard and Featured)
- Unlimited Properties, Property types, Categories, Amenities, Extra fields.e.g
- Send notify emails when new property is posted
- Integrate with Walked Score map, KML Google earth, Education
- Properties neighborhoods
- Google API (Map, Adsense) integration
- Multiple Currencies
- RSS support (also KML Google Earth)
- Pdf export & Print layout of property details
- Allow user to save the search criteria for future visit
- Properties Favorites and Comparison
- User contact
- Properties sharing
- Properties Comment & Rating
- Energy measurement use and Co2 emissions chart
Booking and Reservations Websites
- Automatic Booking and Reservation Management procedure (user log-in, booking, sending customizable e-mails, sending
vouchers and payment calculations, confirming reservations, sending reminders…)
- Display full and detailed description of your product / service / real estate
- Search for adverts by various parameters
- See picture gallery for every advert separately, add YouTube movies
- Find location via Google maps
- Choose, customize, add or remove additional services you offer for each Advert Type
- Add and customize additional costs – automatically calculated into the finish price!
- Day, Hour and Minute reservations
- Month, Week, Day, Hour or Minute prices
- Automatic calculation of Advance Price
- Fully customizable prices using Date ranges (different prices for different dates / times)
- Calendar which graphically shows current and updated availability
- Managing users, reservations, adverts
- Making on-line booking by simply clicking on the calendar
- See all the costs before making the reservation
- Account creation directly on booking screen
- Manage reservations by login to user profile: see the info, print out reservation pamphlet (voucher), send the advert link to a friend…
- Get the calculation for reservation, calculate advance and pay using Pay Pal or other means of payment
- Making automatic Price lists
- User Log-in from front-end – submitting Adverts from front-end, customizing profile, viewing adverts and reservations
- E-mail templates
- organizing your Site through Advert Types, Categories and Sub-categories
- Translations for 18 languages
- Customizable checkout process (workflow as well as layouts)
- Checkout steps reduced as much as possible to increase transformation
- Multiple currencies, with auto conversion based on currencies rates
- Product prices manageable in several currencies with quantity rebates
- Powerful dashboard
- Coupons and discounts
- User address custom fields
- Advanced tax management with multiple taxes supported + TaxCloud plugin for automatic tax calculations
- Payment and shipping plugins
- More than 60 payment plugins to handle online credit card payments including:
Paypal Standard, Pro and Express Checkout, Google Checkout, Authorize.net with AIM, SIM and DPM, Moneybookers, Bluepaid, EPay, SagePay, Payment Express, Payza, eWAY, SIPS ATOS, CM-CIC, HSBC CPI, iVeri, PayJunction, ServiRed, Innovative Gateay Intuit, CardSave, RBS Business and Global Gateway, AliPay, MIGS (for Bendigo, Commweb and ANZ egate), OKPay, VirtualMerchant, iPayDNA, PostFinance, PayBox, Ogone, Amazon FPS, CECA, eSelect/Moneris, Stripe, BitPay etc
- Credit card plugin to collect credit card information for offline processing
- Australia Post, Canada Post, UPS, USPS, FedEx, CanPAR, Envoimoinscher, Mondial Relay shipping plugins
- Shipping per weight/volume/zone/post code/product
- Handle downloadable goods (with possible restrictions) as well as shippable goods
- Products and categories display module with a wide range of options
- Orders invoice, history and edition
- Translation interface
- Import/Export products/categories information and export of orders
If you have special requirements or would like to know more about specialty websites, don't hesitate to give us a call!
But that's not all. In fact that is only 1/3 of the full story
The other 2/3's of the story is what is often forgotten, overlooked, and even unknown to many small business owners. Why is that? Because most website owners are pressed for time and find it easy to use cookie-cutter made websites that look pretty but provide little true value. Unfortunately, the investment they have made in their website is lost for the most part.
What is the other 2/3's? Think of your website as a car body. The car's body can look like an Indy, a Chevy SUV, or a WWII jeep. But all three vehicles are made for different purposes. The framework, engines, drives, gearing and other components are powered and equipped differently depending on the purpose. In most cases, cookie-cutter websites can look like an Indy car but if you take a look under the "hood" you may find that snazzy body only contains a 1952 rebuilt Volkswagen engine.....(apologies to Volkswagen).
Every Cayenne Design website contains an Indy-capable "engine." Using that website to it's full capacity is just like driving an Indy car to full capacity. Almost anyone can learn how to drive the car around the race track. But driving competitively around the race track takes time, training and practice. When we hand-off the website to you, your website is tuned and ready to go. It is "Indy Capable." Maintaining that level of competitiveness requires an effort on your part or on Cayenne Design's part if you decide to have us do it. Remember that as engines need tuneups, so does your website as new content is added to it.
What the other 2/3's Achieve for You
Let's take a look at some of the major components that we enhance your website with and how they can increase your SERP (Search Engine Results Page) rating. Note that all of the programs listed below are included free-of-charge in your Cayenne Design website. And if you are a subscriber to the Cayenne Design Basic Support Plan, you get a free annual subscription to each.
JSitemap Pro ($49 annually)
JSitemap Professional Edition is built on the shoulders of Google and has unique features that let you generate different types of sitemap to gain top level SEO performance for your site. It works on every environment supporting fine tuning for server load resources and caching system during generation of sitemaps.
You can increase number of links indexed by Google up to 400% and gain a lot more visibility for your site!
Admin Tools (40 Euro)
Your Cayenne Design website includes Admin Tools. This program provides a high level of protection to your website by making it difficult for hacker to break in and steal your website and its contents from you.
- Maintain your website
Optimize your database tables. Clean your temporary directory. Or perform any of the countless other daily maintenance tasks with a single click each.
- Secure your website
Randomize your Super Administrator ID. Change your database table prefix. Fine-tune your file permissions. All of them are just a button push away.
- Protect your website
Our Web Application Firewall protects your site against the vast majority of common attacks. You won't find any security tool more feature-complete than this.
- .htaccess Maker
Give your site the best overall protection. Create a sophisticated, secure .htaccess with an easy GUI. You don't have to be an expert. Or even know what a .htaccess file is.
- Redirect easily
Do you find the Redirect component hard to use? Are you puzzled by its inability to redirect URLs with parameters? No problem! Admin Tools' URL Redirect can do that. And much more.
- Watch. Sniff. Catch.
Admin Tools' PHP File Change Scanner will monitor your site's PHP files for changes. If something is amiss, it will let you know. It will even tell you which files might have been hacked.
Akeeba Backup (40 Euro annually)
Cayenne Design websites include Akeeba Backup as it allows us to automatically backup your website on a daily basis to an off-server location. This location is the Amazon S3 cloud server, a service that we also provide free-of-charge to our clients. You website is backed-up for the last month with backups saved for the first day of each month for up to six months. This redundancy helps ensure that your server website and contents are protected in most circumstances.
- One click
That's all it takes to create a full site backup. The archive includes your database, files and the restoration script.
- Multiple formats
Standard ZIP archives, highly optimized JPA archives or AES-128 secured JPS archives. It's your choice.
- In control
You get to chose what should be left out of the backup. Files or tables. And with multiple backup profiles you only set it up once.
- Don't think
Let Akeeba Backup do the thinking. Click on the Configuration Wizard and let it configure itself, optimally for your server. Have a problem? ALICE, our automated log analyzer, will provide you with the right solution based on our 7+ years of experience.
- Migrate. Move. Duplicate.
Migrate your site to a different server. Move it to a different location. Or create an exact clone. With Akeeba Backup, it's a piece of cake!
- Take it to the Cloud
What good is a backup if your server goes down forever? Don't risk! Let Akeeba Backup automatically copy it to the Cloud. Built-in support for Amazon S3, DropBox and much more!
- Sleep tight
Akeeba Backup can take backups automatically. With four different automation ways, one is always compatible with your site. Let it backup and sleep tight!
Breezing Forms & ContentBuilder Pro ($49 annually)
Most website provide a form for contact purposes. Included in Cayenne Designer websites are two programs, BreezingForms and ContentBuilder, which enable you to not only create complex, responsive forms such as those that are used on major websites such as MSN and Google, but also enable you to create databases of the input forms as well as create articles from them.
- Field Selection [Demo]
Choose from up to 17 different field types to perform even the most complex tasks. Three types of form builders bridging the needs of those from novice to professional
Use one of the existing 3 form builders, each suiting everybody's taste. If you need to get things done really quick with the full power of BreezingForms, go for the QuickMode!
- Responsive Forms [Demo]
Your forms will look great whether viewed on desktop or on a smartphone. You can select your theme from a library full of them.
- Multipage Forms [Demo]
Arrange and collect data in multi-steps. Ideal for surveys, form based applications, large or complicated forms.
Your users may even come back at a later point to finish their submissions.
- Upload Progress [Demo]
Modern file upload techniques that even work on mobile devices. Including image previews, large uploads and upload progress.
- Mobile Forms [Demo]
QuickMode or get a step further and enable mobile forms. Your forms will appear in an app way manner on mobile devices and helps your users to focus on data submission. (open the demo below in a mobile device)
- Cloud Services [Demo]Use submissions for a number of cloud services that BreezingForms supports out of the box. Use Telegram® to send submissions to your contacts or just get notified, Google Drive® to export your submissions into spreadsheets, Salesforce® to manage leads, Mailchimp® for newsletter campaigns and Dropbox® to store file uploads or submissions as XML, CSV or PDF.
Freestyle Support Portal ($39.99 annually)
The Freestyle Support Portal is a package of highly useful programs centered abour a fully customizable ticketed support system.
From integrated email ticketing and FAQs to testimonials and a custom field system, this product can be adapted easily to fit your website and your business to offer your customers an excellent service.
- Ticketed Support
- Email Integration
- Ticket Handler List View
- Process forwarding with private administrator comments
- Customizable fields
- Customizable throughout including multiple view options
- Multiple categories available
- Category listing module
- FAQs editable on the frontend and backend of your website
- Search FAQs
- Featured FAQs view
- FAQ tags - group together similar FAQs
- Testimonials can be written directly on your website
- Full moderation and captcha
- Both general and product specific sections
- Module to list testimonials
- Moderate testimonials in the dedicated section or anywhere they are seen on your website.
- Library of articles grouped by product and nested categories.
- Rate and comment on articles, search or browse by rating or comment
- Attach files to articles
- Easy print article button available
- Customizable view modes
- A glossary of terms used on your website.
- Tooltips highlights glossary terms throughout your website
- Can be displayed on one page or grouped by letter
- Content plugin is not required to display in Freestyle components
- List of announcements displayed
- Optional display of user comments
- Includes a module to display the most recent announcements
- Simple page linking to all parts of the support system
- Can be displayed as a grid or a list with varying amounts of columns, icons can be resized to suit
- Customizable icons
- Customizable text
- Add your own items linking to other parts of your website
The Joomla Content Editor (JCE) adds a set of tools to your website that gives you the power to create the kind of content you want, without limitations, and without needing to know or learn HTML, XHTML, CSS...
- Office-like functions and familiar buttons make formatting simple
- Upload, rename, delete, cut/copy/paste images and insert them into your articles using an intuitive and familiar interface
- Create Links to other Sections, Categories, Articles, Weblinks and Contacts¹ in your site using a unique and practical Link Browser
- Take control of your code with syntax highlighting in the Advanced Code editor and advanced style and element attribute editing
- Integrated Spellchecking using your browser's Spellchecker (or PSpell and ASpell)
We have also added additional functions to the JCE editor that provide the following capabilities. The add-ons are subscription based at 29 Euros annually
- File Manager
Insert links to files of any type with customizable descriptions that include file date, size and icon.
- Media Manager
Upload and insert media files (flash, windows media, quicktime etc), embed Youtube movies and create popups2 to any media type!
- Image Manager Extended
Resize, rotate and thumbnail images on upload or after, and create create image popups2 with just a few clicks!
Create captions around images with control over the caption container and text styling
JFBConnect ($59.99 annually)
JFBConnect integrates Cayenne Design websites with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Yahoo, WindowsLive and many other social networks. Add social networks to your Cayenne Design Website and you will increase interaction between visitors on your website, Facebook and other social networks. With JFBConnect, you can increase your social presence and organically grow your site.
Major functions are:
- Social Authentication
Add social authentication to your website with powerful registration options. 1-click registration, skip activation, auto username creation, and more options for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Github, VK, Amazon, Meetup and Windows Live.
- Open Graph Actions
Automatically post to a user's Facebook Timeline when a user engages with your site, like voting, commenting or even reading an article or blog on your website.
- Social Sharing
Add social sharing buttons throughout your site. Automatically add Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest sharing buttons to your website content.
- Facebook Requests
Let your user's invite their friends with the powerful Facebook Requests feature. Create customized invitations that your users can send to any of their friends and even reward points to users for sending them.
- Page Tab Support
Show your website content inside your Facebook Page. Great for offering coupons, newsletter signups or anything else that can help grow your Like count!
Kunena Forum (Free)
Kunena provides the forum capabilities for Cayenne Design websites.
Smart Slider 3 ($25)
SmartSlider3 is a visual editor that Cayenne Design uses to develop all of its sliders and animated visuals. SmartSlider is included in all Cayenne Design websites.
User Article Manager (Free)
The UAM enables you to create and administrate articles from the "front-end" of your website making it more difficult for you to say that writing articles for your website is bothersome and leading to a higher SERP rating for your website!!! Yeah!
The title of this blog is "Elements of a Good Website."
We have seen that a website is much more than just what is viewed by a visitor to a website. Visual candy is great but good content and access to that content provides the meat that feeds the user. If you have decided that the time has come for you to either upgrade your website or create a new one, ask the person you are thinking about having make your website the three following questions.
- Will the website you design serve my targeted audience well?
- Will the website you design enable me to minimize my time and effort when creating and improving the content of my website?
- Will the website and the website server you recommend provide the functionality to serve content quickly and efficiently to my website viewers over as many outlets as possible?
If the answers to the three questions are yes, then you probably are working with some good people.
If they can only provide you with answers to only one or two of the questions, you may want to consider working with someone else as all three are very much interconnected.