5 Signs of Good and Bad WordPress Websites
In the next paragraphs I'm going to introduce you to the 5 signs of good and bad WordPress websites and how to recognize them.
Good and Bad WordPress Websites
Modern businesses have adapted to the internet pretty well. You can see this in how e-commerce has continued to grow in recent years. In many cases, it has become even more important for businesses to invest in web development than in physical stores. For these businesses, their online business holds most, if not all, of their growth potential.
Luckily, as this sector of business has grown, understanding of the needs for website development has led to services like WordPress. With WordPress, site creation has been streamlined through the use of a modular approach.
You can even find tutorials for codeless website development. This has led to an increase in the number of websites based on these services.
Amateurs can now create beautiful websites as well. However, website development professionals are good at what they do and there’s a reason why they’re still in business.
Many businesses still outsource their website development. Working with design firms such as WordPress website design allows you to jump into the details only when you feel you’re ready.
Alternatively, you can save some money and do it yourself. The problem with that plan lies with the number of details you’ll need to keep an eye on. It’s not easy keeping track of it all on your own.
What could help you out is doing some research on your competition. To get you started, we’ve selected 5 of the biggest signs to look out for on websites. With this list, your website development can follow some helpful guidelines:
5 Signs of Good and Bad Websites
Let’s take a look at both the good and bad ways to approach these signs.
This way, you should be able to set proper guidelines for yourself when building your WordPress website.
Let’s say you were doing some product research over the web. You find a link that looks credible so you click on it.
Next thing you know, you’re just sitting there, and the site still hasn’t finished loading.
Page loading speed is important enough that Google uses this as a parameter in ranking your website. This goes for both desktop and mobile versions of your site.
Additionally, page speed will have a direct effect on your conversions. For an online business, slow loading speed is one of the last things you’d want.
This point is all about your user’s convenience.
Remember, the website is kind of like your physical store. Don’t make it hard for the customers to look around.
You’re going to have to make sure that your site has all the right amenities without overwhelming the customer.
So with that in mind, try to keep things as straightforward as possible. For this, take a look at the backend of your site. The coding will determine your site’s loading behavior.
For amateur web developers, it could be tempting to stuff your website with all manner of cool features.
The problem with that is it means that users will have to load more data than they need to, which slows the page loading down.
It won’t be long before the users will feel like they’re wasting their time. Your biggest priority should be your audience’s convenience. A pretty site won’t matter much if it takes forever to open and navigate.
How to Address
The first thing a website developer should consider is file compression. This should help you minimize the amount of data the user has to load to view your site.
The most common tool for this is GZip. You’ll need a different compression software for images though.
A popular tool for images is reSmush.it. Both of these are available as WordPress plugins.
A good website would also have been tested before being used. There are a couple of online tools to help you see just how long it takes for your site to load.
Some examples are:
- Webpage Test
- PageSpeed Insights by Google
Another option would be to make use of templates and themes. These are addons to WordPress that help you streamline your site development.
Take Deep Premium WordPress Theme for example.
Deep is a theme that, among other things, prioritizes your page loading speed. It does this by separating any extra code from your page, allowing users to load less for the same effect.
Site navigation is an aspect of website development that shouldn’t be neglected. It’s such a basic concept that some developers forget its impact.
How many times have you found yourself lost in a website? It can be frustrating going back and forth looking for a specific page.
Ease of site navigation will have a direct effect on your guest behavior. Even if you had proper loading times, frustrated customers will still leave if they can’t find their way around.
The best example here would be e-commerce sites like Amazon. These sites are reliant on the ease of navigation.
With faster navigation, customers can jump from product to product without much effort. That’s because they benefit a lot from customers being able to go through their product catalog much faster.
Try to imagine how your customers would want to go through your offerings. Remember, a lot of this is about keeping your customer in mind.
Let’s face the facts, basic navigation can be boring. Because of this, some sites try to go for something experimental with their navigation.
Complications come about when these aren’t implemented well. The reason a lot of people go for the “basic” forms of navigation is that they’re reliable.
Ever heard of the saying, “If it isn’t broken, it doesn’t need fixing”? Well, sometimes this is a good thing to keep in mind.
Another thing to remember is the responsiveness of your navigation design. Will mobile users benefit from this as well? These days, a lot of people use their phones to surf the web.
How to Address
Keep things simple. Often this is how top-ranking sites deal with navigation. Over-complicating things won’t help your customers.
Some things to keep in mind:
- Overusing sub-menus
- Shifting the navigation bar per page
- Labels with too many words
- Navigation bars that don’t adapt to mobile
Always think about your customers; keep your site convenient for them to view.
In terms of best practices, you’d do best if you could:
- Limit the number of items in a navigation bar (Avg. is about 7)
- Responsive to the mobile version of the site
- Accurately describe where they lead
- Loads fast
It would be prudent to make a note of these points above. For best practices, it’s better if you can keep up to date with web design trends.
Site performance is one of those things that we don’t see on a page. Despite that, it counts as one of the most important aspects of web design.
The important thing to keep in mind here is the fact that you have to be willing to analyze data. In this way, you can understand exactly how well your page’s components work together.
A good site should always be thinking of the customers. In the context of site performance, this means that your site should always be checked for glitches and long loading times.
Don’t mistake this as a re-wording of our first point. The focus here is how well the separate components of your site work together.
A sign of a site that puts in the effort in site performance is how quickly things load when you click them. This includes navigation bars, external galleries, and other on-screen add-ons.
This means that the integration of the components has been well hashed out.
A site with bad performance would be instantly evident. These are the sites that take forever to display a submenu among other things.
This doesn’t mean that they hired bad developers. Sometimes, people just want a lot of features on their site. This is their effort in being unique and to stand out from similar sites.
The problem with too many features is your site will have to track more of these different components.
This is an easy mistake to make; especially with WordPress, where adding new features involves simply clicking download on a new plugin.
How to Address
It would be prudent to make use of analytics-focused tools for this step. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be expensive. A few tools available online offer viable payment options for startups.
Additionally, some templates will help you tackle the issue head-on.
Taking our previous example, Deep theme allows users to seamlessly integrate improved site performance in their development.
It’s best when you can prioritize and organize. Prioritize which features are necessary for your page.
Once you’ve determined that, organize which pages will offer these features to the customers.
It might be relatively boring work but it’s necessary–site performance is one of the factors in site ranking.
This one might be a little subjective. Site design is a mostly trend-based component.
On the whole, the best thing to do here would be to stay updated with design trends. It’s not necessary to update your whole site every year.
A good design should last you quite some time.
You don’t have to copy another site’s design. The important part is finding an attractive and useful component and integrating this into your site.
Don’t go for the brightest colors. Often, the most attractive components are those that offer some form of utility.
Think of those sites that have designs that center on navigation.
Don’t think that just because you follow the trends means your site will be attractive.
Remember what we said about choosing designs that you could integrate?
This is because not everything you see online might apply to your site.
For best practices, you’d do best to stick to your initial plans.
Don’t let yourself be distracted by the many different options available on WordPress. Overloading on these might affect your site negatively in more ways than just aesthetically.
How to Address
Like we’ve said, a site’s design might be a little subjective. What you may find attractive might be unattractive to one of your customers.
Overall, it’s a good idea to keep up to date with design trends.
It’s helpful when you have a few points to focus on. To help you get started here are some things to watch out for:
- Usability vs. Aesthetics
- Consistency throughout different pages
- Distracting elements (e.g. GIFs, flash animations, etc.)
- Consistency with company brand
For developers, it would be best for you to do some research on your closest competition.
That way, you see where people have been very bold or very conservative in their design.
All the previous points would simply be nullified if, in the end, your site’s content isn’t managed well.
Maintaining a high standard in site content will ensure your site’s visitors will be engaged and interested in visiting as well as returning to your site.
Good content lends credibility and expertise to your site. And Google sees site content as an important factor in improving your site rank.
A good example of a site with well-managed content would be the Humans of New York blog. Visit their site and you’ll immediately understand why.
The great thing about their site is the fact that you have a lot of content to go through. The best part? It’s not the kind of content you get tired of reading. Each of these is a unique story, curated and published by the site.
The goal of good content management is to have consistent, high-quality content for the site’s visitors. There’s no need to over-complicate things.
Your site’s attractiveness and rank will not be solely determined by your aesthetic components.
Sites that forget this are often the ones that suffer.
That’s because they forget to post updates and rely on old pages. Imagine if you were to go search for a web design firm.
You find a page but realize that their posts are from two years ago. What kind of impression does this leave on you?
A page that isn’t updated frequently leaves an impression of being obsolete. Keep in mind, you will be compared to all your competitors.
If they have informative and relevant content available, your site will immediately look dated.
How to Address
The important thing here is consistency. Consistent quality and consistent publishing.
Remember, your potential customers have to feel that they can rely on you and your site.
You don’t have to publish a hundred things in a week. You can go with as little as 3-5 in a week.
Some types of content to check out:
- Time-sensitive content
- Evergreen content
- Blog posts
- Case studies
These are just some of the content types to consider. You might even find that combining different kinds of content could work for your site as well.
The bottom line here is to keep an eye on the details. WordPress is an amazing platform in that it makes it much easier and faster to develop sites.
Don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security, though.
Your effort to customize your site is still very important. Do your research before planning anything. You have to know your limitations with WordPress.
Only then can you know what possibilities there are for your website.
Combine that with your knowledge of your audience. The result? An effective website for increasing your conversion rates and sales.
Do your homework and the rest will follow.
November 13, 2023
October 23, 2023