What makes a great website? We answer the age-old question with a handy checklist.

So, you’ve got a website, but it was designed a while ago and you’re thinking of giving it a bit of a switcheroo. The thing is, you’re not sure whether it really needs changed or you just need some space (distance makes the heart grow fonder, as our Grannies used to say). Never fear! We’ve put together this handy checklist – the 5 R’s of a Great Website – otherwise known as RRRRR (pronounced with a Spanish R, if you’re feelin’ fancy) to help you along the way of deciding whether it’s time to dump the old one for a new and improved model.

Is it Responsive?

Having a responsive website basically means that your website adjusts to the device that it’s used upon (eg: a desktop, a tablet or a smartphone). You can tell a difference between one that’s responsive and one that’s not when you need to zoom in just to use the navigator (that’s one of the first clues). On April 21st 2015 (what will now be forever known as Mobilegeddon) Google released an algorithm designed to give a boost to mobile-friendly sites on mobile devices over other non-responsive pages. Considering 80% of internet users own a smartphone and Google is the biggest search engine of all time, chances are your website traffic could take a bit of a nose dive. If users do come across your website, 67% are more likely to buy a product or use a service if they have a positive mobile experience, where 48% state that without a responsive website, they believe the company doesn’t really care for their business – not great, huh? All in all, having a responsive website is a thumbs up all round.

Does it Represent Your Company?

Your website is basically one big interactive online business card, so it should be as up to date and true to your brand as every other piece of marketing and promotional material. Are you using the right fonts? Is the tone of voice on-brand? Even something as simple as the type of photography you use can be the difference between sweet success and a digital disaster. If you’re not sure about what your brand should look, sound and feel like on your website, it might be a good idea to pin-point your brand first (y’know, we might know a few people who could help you with that sort of thing). Chances are, potential and existing customers and going to come across your website at one point or another (see above) so having all the right information available in a way that represents who you are as a brand makes a massive difference.

Is it Really, Really, Ridiculously Good-Looking?

First impressions are a big deal in the digital world: Visitors judge your company within the first 0.05 seconds of visiting your website, so you probably want to put on your best ‘Blue Steel’ all year round. Typically, there a few key things to check off the list when designing a site: balance, grid, colour, graphics, typography, white space and connection – otherwise known as the 7 webby wins. Like all design-y stuff, trends come and go, but there are loads of great blogs out there to keep you on top of what’s ‘so hot right now’ and plenty of websites on t’internet to reference. Top tip: Get someone who doesn’t know your company to look at your website and then write down their first impressions – this way, you’ll get an idea of what your customers are thinking when they visit.

Is it Robust?

Even if your website could give Gigi Hadid a run for her money, there’s a lot more to it than just looking pretty – it needs to be strong and robust. Making sure your website is coded correctly (we heart a bit of squeaky clean code), makes for a site that’s fit for purpose and isn’t falling down or spinning over at the smallest of demands, as well as ensuring that future changes are fully supported without causing issues. On top of that, you’ve got to make sure the site is housed on the right spec of server, and has the right amount of RAM and storage to handle the anticipated and unanticipated activity that might occur. After you’ve done all that, hosting your website on a secure server with all of the right security measures in place will help to fight off hackers trying to find a way in to cause you a bit of chaos (hi there Lizard Squad!) or access sensitive information. So really, if you think about it, web developers are like superheroes – just sayin’.

Does it Drive Results?

Hopefully, when someone comes on your website, they think “hey, this company looks really good at what they do, I think I’ll get in touch and maybe even buy something or use their service” (this is exactly what people say when they visit websites, right?) There are loads of ways to measure the success of your website based on what you consider your main objectives to be, and your website should be designed to create as many opportunities as possible for those objectives to be met. Clear calls to action, relevant information and easy navigation all contribute to building a results-driven site and something as easy as asking where your customers found you can be a great inclination to how well your website is working for you. If you fancy getting really techy, you could check Google analytics for specific drop off pages and user behaviour, but that’s a whole other blog in itself.

So there you have it, the 5 R’s of a great website – although none are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness coded upon them. If you need a hand with building your website, get in touch with our digital team.

Some of the facts included in this article have been sourced from the interwebs.

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