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What makes a website GOOD? What sets certain websites apart from others? Today, I’m sharing what I look at, as a web designer, when reviewing websites online.
When I’m looking at client’s websites and doing an audit, there are a lot of things I’m looking at. It’s not just design that I’m auditing – so I wanted to share what matters most, so you can think about this in terms of your own website. It’s much more than just a pretty website with nice colors, a successful website also takes other elements into consideration: strategy, layout, copy, messaging, photos, SEO, and more.
#WebsiteTips #WebsiteDesign #Entrepreneur
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What makes a good website? What’s what are the elements that make a website good? That’s a question that I get a lot or some variation of that question. And before we get into that, I want to give you a little bit of an analogy.
So a few months ago, I went to the eye doctor, I needed my usual checkup. But I also was kind of having some headaches. So I thought, maybe my prescription has changed. And sure enough, my prescription had changed just ever so slightly, but also, the doctor was like, the contacts you’re wearing, don’t have the right shape, they’re not properly fitting your eyes. And so that’s also causing some problems, which I didn’t really know that there are different shapes of contacts.
But anyways, so I got a new prescription, he recommended, you know, use these contacts, these are really good, the these will fit better. And so I went on my way, and now I don’t have headaches, I see better, all that fun stuff. And that checkup is basically what my website audits are. It’s just a checkup with specific recommendations. The doctor didn’t just say you need new contacts, go find them. He gave me specific recommendations on what brand to wear.
And so I wanted to walk you through what I look at when I’m doing a website audit. And so I want to walk you through that process and give you the gist of what I’m looking at and critiquing. So that maybe you can look at these things on your own website, and help improve your website. Or, obviously, you can have me do a website on it, if you really want. So the first thing that I do is have my clients fill out a little quick questionnaire, because I am a fresh perspective. But like I’m new to this business, I may not have ever interacted with them before, I may not know their business. So I don’t just audit a website and say, Well, this is what I would do, because I like purple.
And I like green and this font would be better. It’s not just my own preferences, I need to make sure that their website is a really good reflection of their brand, but also helping them reach their goals. Because that’s the point of a website is that the website helps you reach your goals. So they fill out the questionnaire, they give me you know, information about their brand, their brand personality, the goals of their website, the goals are trying to reach in their business, and even some things that, you know, they may not like about their website, or they’re not sure about and anything they really do like, because sometimes they’re like, I really like my, you know, header or whatever, I really like my images, okay, well, then I won’t, you know, unless they’re just truly truly bad. I will leave that alone.
Or I might say, hey, these images are good. But you need to Xyz, so I get that questionnaire so that I am armed with the right information, I need to perform a good website audit. So then I dive into their website, and I am looking at a lot of different things. So first, I’m looking at their messaging, because yes, I’m a website designer. So I care about the design and the look of everything. But I want to make sure that the messaging is clear. And even though I’m not a copywriter, I have seen enough good copy and bad copy over the last 10 years to know what is good and bad. So I’m not going to rewrite your entire homepage.
But I will look at headings and just kind of make sure that hey, this is clear, it’s easy to understand and make some recommendations on what should be simplified change or whatever. Then I will move on to of course the you know, the design part, the fav my favorite part, looking at the colors, and the fonts and the spacing. So I’m not looking again, it’s not. I don’t like these colors. They don’t work well together. It’s looking at do these colors Make sense? Do they are using them consistently? Is the usage good? Meaning Are you using a very pale yellow background with white text on it that is impossible to read. I’m going to tell you to change that because it’s not a good use of your colors. I’m going to look at the consistency like I said and are you consistent in you know the colors of your buttons, the colors of your headings, things like that. I’m looking at the consistent Seeing the fonts?
Are the buttons all using the same font? Are the headers all using the same font? Is the sizing consistent? Or does the sizing of your of your text change throughout the page? That’s not good. I mean, there’s a difference between obviously headers and body text, that’s going to be different sizing. But if you have paragraphs that are 14 point, and paragraphs that are 18 point, and you know things like that, that’s not good. So we want to make sure that consistency is good. We want to make sure that things are legible. Are the fonts you’re using? Are they legible? Again, the colors Is it too pale background? Is it too dark of a background? Even sometimes people may use too bold of a color. So if it’s like a really neon pink, and you’re putting text on top of it, yes, the white on pink may be okay to read. But the pink is so bright and bold, that it is hard to look at. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen just images means it may be on Pinterest.
Sometimes people literally do it with like their flyers, where it’s like red on blue or blue on red in it. And it literally hurts to look at. That’s called vibration. And it makes it hard to look at because the colors are so close together, that there’s not enough contrast in your eyes just kind of about. It’s a very layman’s terms, explanation. But we want to make sure that the colors and the fonts are really working to enhance your brand. not make it look amateur, not make it look cluttered. We want you to look professional and cohesive. So that’s something that I’m going to make a lot of comments on if I pay these, I think you should use this font or this font is different.
Like you only use this font one time, and I don’t know why it’s here. So these are the kinds of things I’m looking at. And I mentioned the spacing. So I love whitespace. I love whitespace most designers do. But we also don’t want there to be too much whitespace. So I’m often looking at spacing in terms of are things too close together? Does this page feel cluttered? Does it feel like everything’s really squished together? Like we need some breathing room, we don’t want this to be like Christmas, or like Black Friday and Walmart. Like, we want this to be, you know, some breathing room. But like I said, we don’t want too much.
So we don’t need the elements on our pages to be social distancing. They don’t need to be six feet apart. We want them to be a nice distance apart. And there’s no hard or fast rule that I can tell you that like, Oh, they need to be an inch apart or two, two inches or 50 pixels. Like there’s no hard and fast rule that I can just give you a guideline on. It’s just something that designers know. which I know is not helpful. But that’s something to pay attention to is the spacing, does it feel good? Or does it feel like I put something over here and then put a bunch of space? And then it’s awkward placement? You know? And then I’m looking at images? So I’m looking at the images that you’re using? And do they make sense? Do they feel like they fit your brand.
And obviously, they’re images of you, I’m probably not going to say much because those are images of you. So they do fit your brand. I might say like, hey, like these images are really dark, and you you typically like your color palette and everything else about your brand is very light and airy. So you might want to brighten your pictures. That could be something I suggest. Or if you’re using you know, maybe you have a few pictures of you.
But then you have a lot of stock photos, it might be, hey, these stock photos are really cheesy and generic. And they look from like they’re from the 90s. Obviously, we don’t want any of that. So I might recommend new stock photos. Or if it’s you know, you have good stock photos, but they don’t feel cohesive. Like this one’s a very clean flatlay on a white desk. And then this other one is a wooden table flat lay. Well, those two are different aesthetics, they don’t go well together. That’s something that a lot of people mess up with their stock photos, like unsplash is a great resource, because there’s tons of free photos. They’re very creative. They’re very well done. But there’s such a variety. And so people will be like, Ooh, I like this one and I like this one, but they don’t go together at all.
So you want to use photos that feel at least like they were taken by the same person, or in the same environment that, again, will make your site feel more cohesive. And then I look, this is one of the biggest things that I look at is how is the layout and the calls to action and everything, how’s everything working together to help you reach your goals. So let’s say that the client said in their questionnaire, hey, I, my big goal is to fill my membership. That’s my that’s like the main focus of my business this year. But I’m not really seeing a lot of attention being given to the membership, like, yes, there’s a sales page.
But that doesn’t seem to be the main call to action on across the website, that’s something that I’m going to be giving a lot of attention to. So I’m going to be making a lot of recommendations. Okay, on the homepage, we need to change this call to action to send people to the membership, or this is you know, what we need to send people to on this page, we want to make sure that we’re sending people where we want them to go, we want to be sending them in the right direction.
And then the last thing that I always look at an audit is Seo. So I make recommendations on how to better optimize the on page content and the back end content so that you can help improve your chances of showing up in Google search. So that’s the kind of rundown of what I’m looking at. It does kind of seem like a lot. And usually it’s like a three to four page PDF of links and specific recommendations. Again, I’m not just like, oh, you need new pictures. You need like this needs to change. This isn’t good. Like, I give you those specific recommendations. So again, hopefully this was helpful for you to look at your own website and maybe review it yourself.
If you’re interested in getting a website audit from me. I will put the link down in the show notes or if you’re watching this on YouTube, I’ll put it in the video description. If you have questions, let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear from you. Be sure and give this video a thumbs up and I will see y’all next time.