Essential Elements of an Effective Website

  • Appearance
  • Content
  • Functionality
  • Usability
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)


A website must be visually appealing and professional. It’s a reflection of your business or organization. This is your first, (and possibly your only opportunity) to impress a potential customer.

Things to consider

Good use of color – Appropriate color scheme should consist of 2 or 3 primary complementary colors that create the proper mood or tone for your purpose. Don’t overdo the color so it doesn’t become a distraction. Text that is easy to read – The choice of font, size, and font color are equally important. Graphics that are relevant (but don’t overuse them) – You want to have visual variety to break up text without detracting from the content of the text itself. People tend to look at pictures or graphics first and then read. High quality photography if you’re using pictures. This is particularly important to e-commerce sites, where the photo of a product is one of the key factors affecting the decision to purchase. Simplicity – Use plenty of white space to break up the content. You want a clean uncluttered look with little animation, (if any).


In conjunction with style, your website needs substance. People are looking for information, (often in a hurry) so it should be informative and relevant. Make your content short and organized with short paragraphs. You have between 3 and 10 seconds to convince your visitors to stay on your site so be clear, concise and compelling. Update your content regularly with a regular blog post that speaks directly to your visitors. This can be an article, infographic or a video. Consider a professional copywriter. Unless you’re an exceptionally good writer, consider using a copywriter to write or edit you content. An excellent resource for writing is How to Write for the Web.


Every aspect of your website should work quickly and accurately. Broken links or poorly constructed components will leave your visitors frustrated and disillusioned with your company. Everything should work as expected, including hyperlinks, contact forms, site search, event registration, and so on. Error-free copy: Remember the exposure your website will get. Double-check your facts and figures. You don’t know who may be quoting you tomorrow. Check for typos, incorrect grammar and punctuation, or misspellings. Spelling mistakes and bad grammar are as inexcusable on a website as they are in other company materials.

Responsive Design

Of critical importance is the fact that more and more people are viewing websites on a mobile device. How does your site look and behave on an iPhone, or Android phone? It should also render properly on an iPad or Android tablet with different size screens and resolutions. Depending upon your business or organization, a different design may be needed for these devices, to increase interaction and functionality.

Search Engine Optimation, (SEO)

This is covered in a separate section and may be found here.