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When we think about the internet, we immediately think about websites. Therefore, your website is your business card – 24/7! It does not sleep, it works over weekends, after hours and does not mind what computer, operating system or mobile device you have. Therefore your website has to put your best foot forward, as first impressions are lasting ones.

So where do we start? You need to think about the following functions that your website needs to serve to get you off to a solid start:-

  • Accessibility
  • Usability
  • Optimisation
  • Shareability
  • Professionalism

Accessibility
This means that you need to build a website that considers different operating systems, such as iOS, Android and Windows and browsers such as Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Google Chrome. Your website must be able to support these technical platforms so that users from all over the world will be able to visit your website. Also, not all devices have the same software and programmes, or the latest versions. The current trend is to go for light and efficient programs such as HTML5. HTML5 websites means that no particular browsers or plug-ins are required to enable certain functionality. It is this thinking that allows the web to be open and accessible.

Usability
This means that users are able to read and act, without thinking, on your website. Certain features are able to orientate users simply by looking at the website layout. You need to think about having a search button, a sitemap, a navigation bar and a contact us section. Content layout (snack copy and not long form) and content form (images and copy) are important considerations as users do not read on the web, they tend to scan.

Optimisation
This means that you are thinking about optimising your website so that search engines can find your website on the internet (based on certain keywords) and connect your website to users (who are doing a search, using those keywords).

Shareability
This means that you need to include social media functionality or plugins into your website, as third party sharing has higher social currency and thus will increase your ranking on Google and other search engines.

Professionalism
This means that your website needs to look credible enough for users to trust the information that you publish as being genuine and true.

Successful websites are as a result of thorough planning that puts your user and their needs at the heart of your website design. Good website design has to enhance the user experience with navigation that anticipates their needs and is able to deliver on their goals effortlessly.

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