The world-wide web has evolved quite a bit since its commercial inception in the early 1990s. Nowadays, there are many different web browsers, including ones found on mobile devices in which a user may utilize to visit your website. Furthermore, there are many more languages and software applications that may be employed to help make your site more dynamic than just plain HTML or JavaScript, and even these languages have evolved quite a bit over time.

In addition, there are many more hosting providers in these modern times for you to choose from as your ultimate choice to host your site’s all-important online presence. It’s important for you to do your research and make the proper choice of exactly who you choose as your website’s host in the end for your website’s needs and your budget.

One thing that has not changed though is the importance of a functional website. In order to consider your website functional, you’ll have to look at what type of website you have and what goals you have in mind for it. That said, every good website has common aspects they share.

Important Factors Every Great Website Shares

  • A visually appealing design that is easily navigable.
  • Fast loading times of all its pages.
  • A consistent look and feel across multiple browsers and devices.
  • Completely functional in that all links are valid and relevant.

You only get one chance to make a good first impression to a visitor of your website. If the landing page takes too long to load or doesn’t load at all, you will likely never get another hit from that visitor. If you have an e-commerce site, it’s especially important that the visitor to your site doesn’t get put off by your site’s design and overall professionalism, lest they lose trust in your company and consequently, you lose their potential business.

How to Choose a Website Host

In order to choose a proper host for your website, you must first analyze your website’s needs. In general, you want to consider not just what your website’s needs are now, but where you want them to be in the foreseeable future.

If your website happens to be a brochure website for your small business, you’re likely to not need a ton of storage space or available databases. In this scenario, you’ll probably be fine with a basic, shared hosting plan for your website. Just ensure that your hosting provider includes a solid uptime guarantee and that its servers are sufficient enough that all your pages load quickly.

However, if you’re planning on launching a full-scale e-commerce site with loads of potential visitors and buyers, you’re going to want a dedicated hosting plan. You don’t want to risk losing out on sales because your site becomes bogged down by the sheer number of visitors. You also run the risk of a shared hosting plan, which utilizes resources with many other websites on the same server, simply buckling under the pressure.

Excellent Website Design Resources

For starters, you’ll want to make doubly sure that all the code that makes up your website is valid code and thus, adheres to the proper structure and syntax that it should. Validator.w3.org is an excellent tool to test your site’s code for just this.

Are you an HTML/CSS guru and want to code your entire site from scratch? If so, consider utilizing Adobe’s Dreamweaver or Microsoft’s Visual Studio software applications to aid in the process.

Or, perhaps, you’d like to learn to be an HTML/CSS guru or would like to advance your knowledge on these topics, or others, like JavaScript, PHP/MySQL, or ASP? If this is the case, there is no better resource online than w3schools.com. There you’ll discover a huge repository of easily navigable information to expand your knowledge on such subjects.

Another excellent resource for website designers is found at http://analyzer.metatags.org/. Here you can see what your website’s present META tags contain, as well as other insightful information, such as how fast your pages are loading.

Website Optimization Tips and Tricks

Perhaps the most important aspect of your website, or anyone else’s for that matter, is that everything just works. That is to say that there are no broken images or links, navigations take the visitor where they are expected to, and that everything about the site is completely functional and in good working order.

However, let’s assume you have the perfect site. You have a great logo, an easy to read and use navigation bar, lots of applicable content, a visually appealing design, and it’s even easy to find on the web as you’ve procured the perfect domain and employed excellent search engine optimization techniques for keywords, but it happens to load rather slowly.

In this example, likely the only person who will appreciate the visual appeal and content of your website will be you. Your website’s slow loading time will frustrate visitors to the point of them leaving your site and never returning.

There are ways to improve a website’s loading time, though. Employ scalable vector type graphics for your images and keep their data size down. Just as important as this, avoid using graphics that simply aren’t necessary.

Other tips to improve a website’s loading speed include avoiding the use of too many redirects, employing caching wherever possible, and only utilizing HTML for instructions that would not be possible with CSS. Also, use separate files for your JavaScript and CSS within your website as opposed to including these inside the HTML of your site’s pages.

There’s a lot to a good website. You’re certainly on the right track by doing your research. Keep up the excellent work and good luck to you!