Business websites are generally the first port of call for customers these days. Most people before they even go to your restaurant or hair salon will "google" you to form an opinion about your business. That said, customers might not even get that far if your website doesn't have a successful SEO strategy and no-one can find you.
So what makes a great website from a customer's point of view?
I think the number one marker of a good website is a logical roadmap. If the website "make sense" it is generally a good starting point. It is not only aesthetically pleasing, but will encourage more customers to come visit and return to visit your website. Clear navigation is crucial and page names should be logical and easy to navigate through. The next thing I would deem important is crucial business information is provided. This doesn't mean 5 pages worth of your company's business vision, I mean direction on how to get there, contact information, telephone numbers. There is nothing worse than it taking 10 minutes to find the phone number and while it seems such a simple task, it is amazing how many times I have to search exteriorly to the business website to get a phone number, and by that time I am already frustrated. Information that is given on the website needs to be precise, relevant and more importantly constantly updated. There is nothing worse than when you are reading information on a website then you scroll down the bottom and it says last updated in 2005! Social media integration is also key. Social media's importance in businesses' marketing strategies are only increasing so it is important to link your website to your facebook, linked in, twitter, etc. The other point I think that will classify a customer friendly site is that it is mobile ready and when being viewed on a smart phone or tablet it uses fluid width and adjusts according to the device using. Mobile devices are driving huge amounts of web traffic so this is becoming more and more crucial. The last thing I will mention isn't relevant to everyone, but if your business is selling online then security is a big issue. If customers don't trust your website security they will not purchase.
If you want to look at some good websites go to have a look at the Webby Award nominees and winners. Here are some great examples of how businesses are successfully connecting with their customers through their website. In the end a successful website can be achieved in different ways. In my opinion a successful website is simple to diagnose- ask yourself "Is the website calling people to the desired action?" If the answer is yes then you have a winner.
What do you think makes a good website?