Web development

Tips for building modern websites

Max Ikäheimo

What do your clients see first when they discover your business? Your website. The pandemic has made this more relevant than ever. If you don't have a website: you don't exist. Your website is your business card.

1. Website design

The design of your website is probably the most important factor when building an impressive website. You want your site to look professional - not something that was made in 5 minutes.

You might want to hire an external designer or an agency to create a design system and a website layout for you. This will create a long lasting "blueprint" that can be used in any digital marketing content.

2. User experience

Great design is not all about the look. What makes your website design complete is the look and feel of your website. Even if you have a good looking website but it's hard or confusing to use - your can end up losing potential clients.

User experience

Less is more. Having lots of meaningless content rather than less meaningful content will only leave your site cluttered, confusing and hard to navigate.

You might want to ask yourself; what do you want your users to do on your website and how will they do it with the least amount of steps and effort?

You want your users to stay on your site after they're astonished about the amazing look of it. This can be done by planning user journeys from the moment of landing to the moment of the desired conversion, whatever that is.

3. Website speed

Even if you have an excellent website, with the most fabulous design and ultra optimized user journeys but your website is slow, your users will leave the site.

An average web user has an attention span of 2.0 seconds at max. If your website takes more than that to load - you can bid farewell to that potential client. You want your website and pages to load as fast as possible, the faster the better.

Also, you shouldn't forget that many people in emerging markets don't have access to fast internet. Keeping your site fast will make your site more accessible globally.

Jamstack performance

4. Content

Design, user experience and performance are useless without anything to show to your website visitors. What makes a website complete and interesting is the content you put out.

The content you put out depends largely on your audience. As a key point you should write quality content offering concrete value for your audience. Ask yourself this; what do your site visitors want to read about? What makes you trustworthy as the expert on your field?

If you feel uncertain about what content you should put out - you can hire a marketing agency to help you define the content that speaks to your audience.

5. Accessibility

Accessibility is super important to not exclude people from using your website. This means making your website more accessible for people with disabilities.

You can make your website accessible by following certain technical and stylistic guidelines for accessibility. For example; having alternative text for your images. - so users with screen readers know what's on your site!

The United Nations recognizes access to most websites, including yours as a basic human right.

Some things to consider when making a website accessible:

  • Sufficient contrast ratio for background and text

  • Screen readers can understand your content and images

  • Your site can be navigated with a mouse and keyboard

  • You don't rely on color in navigation elements

You can read more about the web accessibility guidelines here!

6. SEO

Ahh, the buzzword we all love. For a reason. Search Engine Optimization is something all websites aim for. You want your website to pop up on Google when users are searching for something.

SEO consists of multiple factors where one factor does not make you magically rank on Google. Nevertheless, the biggest factor is the content on your website. As a rule of thumb you should write interesting content for the users, not for search engines for the sake of reaching a certain keyword or word count.

Write quality content, make your site accessible, follow good coding practices and you're well set for SEO.

Other contributing SEO factors are:

  • Website speed

  • Accessibility

  • Mobile friendliness

  • Good technical practices

  • Content update frequency

  • Relevant h1 and h2 heading content and good meta data

You can check how well your current website ranks on Google Audit score here!

7. Mobile friendliness

Over 50% of global website traffic originates from mobile devices. Chances are most of your website traffic traffic originates from mobile devices as well. It's essential to design your website mobile first so it's responsive and accessible, even with smaller screen sizes.

Sites with better mobile optimization rank better on Google and building your site mobile first will increase your SEO. Read more about the benefits of mobile friendliness here.

8. Cost efficiency

You want your website to stay cost efficient to develop even after you business and site grow bigger. You should choose a tech stack like Jamstack to enable cost efficient development and hosting for many years to come. Most older stacks such as Wordpress are simply outdated and can become really expensive to develop and maintain when your projects get complex.

Cost efficienct

9. Scalability

Consider this, you built a website when you had 1000 visitors daily. Now your business has grown and suddenly you have a million visitors daily. Now ask yourself this:

  • Does your website still function normally?

  • Can you keep your page load times under 2 seconds?

  • You don't have to rebuild your website just because you got increased traffic?

If you answered no to any of the questions above, you might have a bad tech stack. You can ensure your site scales with your business by using a modern architecture like Jamstack for building your website.

10. Security

Last but definitely not least is your website security. Even if you have a basic website, you must make sure your site is not vulnerable to code injections or other nasty stuff hackers might do.

We recommend using Jamstack to eliminate code injection completely as static files are virtually impossible to hack. If you're using Wordpress, you should keep all your plugins updated to minimize the risk of code injections and other security issues.

Conclusion: building a modern website requires attention to details

First impressions are always important and when someone comes to your site, you want to look as good as possible. Many companies must change their digital strategy to up their game and show a more prominent online presence to overcome the challenges brought by the pandemic.

By following our 10 tips for building a modern website you'll have a good starting point for your next website. If you want more information about modern websites and how they're made, drop us a line. We're more than happy to help you create your next awesome website.