Building a business website can easily turn into a huge, time-consuming project. There are so many factors to consider: brand and design, content, product and service presentation, user-friendliness, features and functionality, speed, visual impact, budgets, timescales, and much more. So how do some of the world’s best websites strike the balance between all these parameters?

What makes a good website?

We may have differing opinions on what makes for great websites, but we can all take some inspiration from these seven examples which include some of the most influential, well-visited and appreciated websites in various different categories.

  • Structure: BP
    British Petroleum nabbed the top score from the 2018 Bowen Craggs corporate Index of Online Excellence in their ‘construction’ category which covers areas like navigation, user orientation, and social media integration. It was praised for providing excellent usability while still being visually appealing.
  • Unified design: Lego
    Danish toy block manufacturer Lego is often hailed to as a great example of user-focussed and unified design. The website draws visual elements from all its marketing elements – the product design, the packaging, and the in-shop experience – to create a fun website that is completely on-brand and targeted to their young audience.
  • One-page design: Nobbys Lighthouse
    This little website for an Australian landmark lighthouse has made its way onto designers’ top pick lists across the world, thanks to its smart, simple one-page design. It covers all its key content without a range of sub-pages or complex navigation.
  • User experience: Thomson Safaris
    Adventure holiday specialists Thomson Safaris offer a truly immersive web experience. Every detail of their page design aims to engage the visitor’s imagination, with the help of dynamic backgrounds, themed borders and various visual props.
  • Mobile: Adidas
    All modern websites are now of course designed with the mobile user in mind, but some brands are better than others at building mobile interfaces that are truly user-friendly and easy to use. Adidas use minimalist design elements and navigation that makes their mobile site quick and easy to browse.
  • SaaS: Asana
    Asana is the task management software of choice for many organisations thanks to its smart productivity features for projects and teams, but it’s also a website that is very well designed and structured. It’s clear, visual, and intuitive, thanks to a simple interface that allows the user to quickly set up and manage tasks with little or no software training.
  • Message: MAERSK
    Global transport and logistics giant MAERSK was another of Bowen Craggs’ top picks, in its ‘message’ category. This covers aspects like visual impact, internationalism, and company information. This website also makes great use of editorial content, adding regular content that helps to strengthen the overall brand story.
  • Ecommerce: Walmart
    The retail giant Walmart may not be considered to be very progressive in its brand and design expression, but when it comes to closing online sales it is doing all the right things. Their website offers easy product navigation and an efficient shopping experience with plenty of opportunities for retargeting and fast re-creation of previous orders.

These are just a few examples of where effective design and functionality meet on the web. It’s always good to keep an eye on what other businesses are doing online, while still developing your own, brand-specific visual language. Your website is often the very first impression that customers get of your business, so you want to make the most of that engagement – in your own, special way.

Three keys to a successful website delivery

There are many approaches to building a website, and your project may not look the same as that of another business. However, these are our three top tips for making sure your next website is an online hit:

  • Don’t aim for perfection.
    You may want the perfect website, but the best approach is often to work in iterations. Start with website 1.0, then aim to add another set of features in version 2.0 further down the line.
  • Treat it as a company-wide project.
    Don’t let the marketing team shoulder the website work alone. Set up a cross-departmental project team that works together to define the content, the interface and the features.
  • Don’t work blinkered.
    When was the last time you involved your clients in building your business website? Clients can often offer an incredibly useful perspective. Allow some trusted external people to give early feedback and input into the website; that way you’ll make sure it resonates with them.