7 Things Every Website Absolutely Should Have...

(Plus a few bonus 'deal breakers'!)

ever wondered if your website is actually losing you business?

Without a clear path for your potential customer to follow, it could be all too easy for them to lost interest or become confused before making that all important first sale or enquiry. Luckily, it’s easily avoided. Just make sure your website has these 7 crucial features…

1. A Clear Call to Action

Think about the ultimate goal of your website. Is it to sell products? Or maybe to advertise your services? Do you make it easy for a site visitor to buy these products or make an enquiry? A customer who has to dig deep into a site just to find out where to buy an item or find an email address is going to lose interest pretty quickly. Make sure your ‘Buy Now’ and ‘Contact Me’ buttons are nice and prominent, and also easy to find.

2. Simple Navigation and Structure

This follows on from number one. Is it clear where your site visitors are supposed to click when they land on your homepage or are they bombarded with options? Is it easy for them to find their way back to the ‘start’ once they’ve clicked through a few times? Try and keep your number of main pages as low as possible and list them on a ‘main menu’, as high up on the page as possible, at all times.

3. A Responsive Design

This is just a rather fancy way of saying that your site resizes and simplifies itself when viewed on a mobile device. You’ll have noticed some of your favourite sites have a little ‘hamburger’ menu (three little stacked lines) in the top corner when you visit them on your phone and that the design becomes portrait instead of landscape – this is responsive design. It simplifies the amount of information offered and makes things much clearer to read on a small screen. At the time of writing, Google has begun penalising sites that don’t ‘respond’ when viewed on a mobile phone or tablet, by lowering them in the search rankings. If that isn’t a powerful motivator I don’t know what is!

4. Content That You Own

OK, so not complying with this one won’t lose you business, but it could get you a rap on the knuckles! Your site should only contain imagery and text that either you’ve created yourself or you’ve bought legitimately (i.e. stock photography). Any imagery that’s been copied from Google or a someone else’s site is technically copyright infringement!

5. Regularly Updated Content

This could come in the form of a blog, or perhaps you have a gallery or services page that could be updated on a frequent basis. Google *loves* fresh content and will look for it when deciding who to show first in search results. The more fresh content you can put on your site, the more active your site will look and the higher search ranking you’re likely to receive! Plus, it’ll keep potential and existing customers coming back to your site to find out what’s new – keeping you at the front of their minds!

6. A URL That Matches Your Company Name

When naming a business, one of my biggest tips is to make sure that the matching URL is available. However, if you have a longstanding business, you may pre-date the web. If so, make sure you have a URL (that’s your website address) that is as close to your business name as possible – after all, you don’t want potential customers arriving on someone else’s site by mistake!

7. A Human Touch

There’s an old adage that says ‘People buy from people’. When you hear it, it seems completely obvious, but it’s something people all to often forget when writing text for their websites. Are you a sole-trader? Are you also writing ‘we’ when talking about your company? I bet a decent number of you are nodding your heads right now! There’s no shame in being small, in fact, it can be a real selling point – customers will get one to one attention from you. Be proud of your solo-preneurship and change that ‘we’ to an ‘I’! Another frequent mistake is an ‘About’ page that reads more like a CV than a company description. Potential customers will be far more interested in your journey and why you do what you do than knowing where you trained and how long you’ve been in business (for more on telling your story, check out this post).

Oh, and as promised, here’s a little list of some things that I would recommend removing from your site immediately!

  • Dead links – have you moved your content/website lately? Make sure anything that links to it has been updated. Nobody wants to see that dreaded 404 page!
  • Autoplaying music – OK, so this one is a bit of a Marmite feature – some people think it’s OK, but most will go searching for that ‘Stop’ button straightaway!
  • Flash animation – mobile phones and tablets aren’t able to view content created in Flash, so if you don’t want up to 50% of your site visitors seeing an incomplete site, ditch the Flash!
  • Features you aren’t going to use – dormant blogs and links to social media pages you no longer update are going to make visitors concerned that they’re looking at a business that has ceased to trade. (Even though chances are you aren’t updating them because you’re so busy running your business!). If you aren’t using it, get rid of it!

If your website is in need of a little TLC, drop me a line! We’ll get it working hard for you in no time…

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