AddThis Academy

An ever-growing library of resources to help you become a better online marketer.

3 Things Great Websites Have in Common

3 Things Great Websites Have in Common

Guest post written by Shea Drake.

On the World Wide Web, sites need to not only catch a reader’s attention but also hold it, which is often easier said than done. However, with a solid understanding of the basics and some attention to detail, even the smallest website can hook and convert readers.

Here are three elements of great websites that you can apply on your own site:

  1. Intuitive, Accessible Design

There are entire industries built around design and user interface (UI), but the basics are simple: less is generally more. There’s real data behind this principle too, as a joint study from Harvard, the University of Maryland, and the University of Colorado found that the more complex a website is, the lower its visual appeal. Stick to two or three compatible fonts and a minimalist color palette. Your site should be clean and clutter-free, with easy, obvious navigation

Virgin America’s site is a great example of simple and intuitive design. The clean layout makes it easy for any reader to get exactly where they need to go. 

Virgin America website

  1. Smart Visual Hierarchy

Visual hierarchy—the presentation of text, images, buttons, etc. on a web page in the order of importance—is one of the most important aspects of web design. When a designer uses a larger font for a headline or chooses a bright red button for a call to action, they’re using a visual hierarchy. Using this principle correctly influences the order in which users interact with the information displayed.

Westerners read from left to right and from top to bottom. So the top-left corner of a page garners the most attention. This is usually where the company’s logo is placed. From there, a visitor’s eyes tend to travel in an “F” pattern on most text-heavy sites. It’s the reason that most navigation bars appear across the top or down the left column.

Go.Verizon is a great example of good visual hierarchy at work. The answers to quick questions are all accessible with minimal scrolling or hunting, and it’s easy to delve into more detailed info if needed. Plus, the information that most people want to know (pricing) is on the left and above the fold.

  1. Relevant and Engaging Images

A picture’s worth a thousand words, so the images you use on your site can convey a lot. Good, relevant images communicate useful information and help the text they accompany be more engaging. Try to pick images that add a level of detail or aesthetic appeal to your website, and make sure they’re all optimized for SEO as well.

For an example of great image use, explore Apple’s website. The company puts a lot of stock in the aesthetic of its products, and their website is a testament to that care. High-quality product images let visitors get a crystal-clear picture of what they’ll be buying when they invest in an Apple device.

Remember, the goal is to turn scanners into readers, readers into clickers, and clickers into buyers. Whether you’re running a travel blog or an e-commerce site, having a great website is the first step to success. Use these tips to ensure that your site feels easy to navigate, delivers answers to the questions asked, and is visibly pleasing to any visitors who stop by.

About the Author

Shea Drake lives in Utah where she enjoys writing about marketing trends, AI, and Augmented Reality. She has worked with large marketing agencies, small family-owned businesses, and has had her own photography business for several years. She loves staying up to date with what’s going on in the tech world and sharing her insights with others. She’s on Twitter @SheaDrakePhoto, where you can keep the conversation going, find more of her writings, photos, and obsessions on all things marketing.

Last modified:  May 14th, 2019