A website reflects the personality of the company in the virtual world. Your website helps to promote and sell your products and services. Besides this, it helps in distinguishing your business from the competition. In fact, it is your business’ most important asset for sharing information, building credibility, and standing out from the competition.
In an age where the speed of responsiveness is key, you cannot afford to have customers not learn everything about your company and shop with you. That is why in addition to promoting your company, your website should also be a great vehicle for lasting relationships with customers.
The 55 Most Important Features of a Website
A new infographic from My Web Programmer looks at 55 features your small business website must have to make all this possible.
Your domain name will help improve your brand and make you look more professional. It can also improve search engine rankings, generate traffic and it is a virtual asset, which tends to increase in value over time.
Depending on how unique the name of your company is, you might not get the domain name that matches your company’s name. If you fail to find a domain name that matches your company’s name available a little creativity might be required to select a name that comes close to it. Make sure your domain name is easy to remember and is not too long.
Your logo helps your company get distinguished much easier than words. As such, incorporating your logo on your website helps visitors easily know they are at the right place while browsing.
A tagline is a short phrase that states a company’s overall purpose and objective. It helps highlight a company’s brand to the public. Great taglines are memorable and easily recalled.
4. Phone number
Include your phone numbers and other contacts with an option link to click and call.
5. Call to Action
A Call to Action (CTA) is an important part of your website if its objective is to direct visitors to execute a task. This may be to fill out a contact form, sign up for your newsletter, or read a blog post. it can also help visitors go through the buying journey and positively affect your conversion rates. Your call to action should be easily recognizable on your website and accompanied by an action button.
6. Top Navigation
Your site’s top navigation plays an important role in the design of your website as it sets the tone for other aspects of your webpage. It is the first thing on the page that visitors will see in the first seconds of loading. It is essentially your showroom to your website as it provides basic information about the site. Visitors can easily understand what the site offers in seconds and has action buttons to help visitors reach where they need to get to.
7. Breadcrumb Navigation
Breadcrumbs are essentially navigational aids that not only tell visitors where they are on the site, but they also help Google figure out how your site is structured. Google may also use breadcrumbs in actual search results, making your results reach the top of its search queries. Because they help in letting visitors know where they are and how to navigate to where they want to go. They also help prevent bounce rates.
Above the Fold
8. Image or Slider
The above the fold is the portion of the website that is visible in a browser window when the page first loads- much like the top half of a folded newspaper. This is where visitors will focus much of their concentration on your site. By some estimates, 84% of website views are concentrated on above the fold.
As such it is important that you have the most engaging content of your business goals, be it graphics or other content, on above the fold. The image or slider displays your unique offering and what differentiates your businesses from others or your main headline.
9. Reviews and Testimonials
The top of your website is the most important real estate on your website. It is there where people decide to stay longer and continue browsing the site. You can also use the above the fold to capture the attention of visitors and browse. A good way to keep them on your site is to show reviews and testimonials.
10. Important Business Information
It is important that you are not ambiguous about your offering. From the get-go, you should include all relevant information that customers will need to know about your business. This includes what line of business you are engaged in, your location, product portfolio, and other important business information.
Below the Fold
11. Quality Content
Your website is part of your overall marketing collateral. Like any marketing product you will need to get visitors’ attention, stay longer on the website and if possible, move into action. For you to achieve this you will need to provide quality content. This can be typography, text, graphics, video, and anything that can capture the imagination of your visitors.
12. Main Feature
Besides the objective of reaching out to the public your website is a vehicle for selling. Your main feature should include further details on the offering.
13. Internal links
Your website is a collection of many different pages. For your visitors to really get all the information they need about your company they must browse further than the landing page. This is where internal links come to play. Internal links help to divert your visitors to the inner pages and other content on your website.
15. Social Media Button
The key to any marketing effort in today’s digital commerce is to engage customers on as many touchpoints as possible. Your online engagement should not be limited to your website alone. You should have them engage with you on social media as well. A social media button will connect your visitors directly with others on all your channels.
16. Online Chat
Expediency is key to any business endeavor, customers rarely like to wait. While browsing your website they might have some questions that require clarification. By including an online chat feature you can provide the opportunity to start conversations with them in real-time.
17. Business Hours
By simply putting your business hours on your site, you will keep many visitors from going elsewhere. Unless you are a 24/7 operation you will need to inform them what your business hours are.
When used right your newsletter will give your business the opportunity to demonstrate authority and expertise on particular subjects or your products and services.
19. Contact Information
By providing your contact information, you allow visitors to reach out to your business. Besides offering the opportunity for visitors to contact you, your contact information can also help visitors make sure the website they are using is legitimate.
20. About Us
Your About Us page is one of the most important pages on your website. It gives you the opportunity, you in your own words, to state why your business exists. It is the section where you provide information about your business and what it can deliver. And it has the basics, such as who your company serves, how long it’s been around, and its long-term goals and mission.
21. Inner Page Content
Your landing page might be the entry point for visitors to get to know about your business. But your inner page will be responsible for providing detailed information about your offerings. Because you cannot cram all this information on your landing page, you will need to arrange your content sensibly. You can use the inner pages to provide as much information as possible.
22. Contact Form
A contact form is yet another element on your site where you allow visitors to ask questions or leave a message on the website. Its main purpose is to generate leads from your website.
Sometimes bots or malicious software can generate an exponential number of requests from your website resulting in a crash. A CAPTCHA protects your website against bots by generating tests that only humans can pass and thus protects your site from potential attacks.
25. FAQs Page
This refers to Frequently Asked Questions and helps visitors find answers to the most common questions in one place. Not only does it make it easier for visitors, but it can also save you time and resources in answering each query directed to your business.
26. Blog Page
The blog section is often the most dynamic page of your website. This is where you provide engaging content about your products and services and overall company news.
27. Comment Feature
A good blog page should incorporate a comments feature for you to interact with visitors. The questions you get from your readers can be a great source of information and new ideas.
28. Search Bar
a search bar allows visitors to easily search for products, services, blog postings and other content on your site.
Because your blog page is where visitors get comprehensive insights into your company you should also incorporate a sidebar to help them navigate through the latest posts.
30. Social Media Share
Equally important your blog page should also allow users to share the continent on social media. As such, you should offer options for visitors to share blog content across as many social media platforms as possible.
Content/Design Points to Consider
31. Easily Readable, Clean Font
A good way to attract visitors to your site is to think about the site from the visitors’ perspective. The look and feel of your website are important if you want people to continue visiting the site. The type of font you use plays a great role in this, so choose fonts that are easily readable and look nice on your site.
32. Links that are Easy to Understand
Links are the primary method we use to navigate the web and pages within websites. They can help with SEO and determine how much search traffic your site receives. Make your links as simple as possible so everyone can understand them.
33. Mobile Responsiveness
While designing your website keep in mind that visitors will use their mobile device. Make sure the site is mobile and tablet friendly.
34. Hamburger Menu on Mobile Site
The hamburger menu, or the hamburger icon, is the button on websites and apps that typically opens up into a side menu or navigation drawer. They make it easier to navigate through a website while using a mobile phone. This is because mobile phones have limited screen space that limits browsing compared to PCs.
35. Use Contrasting Colors
Using contrasting colors helps improve the look and feel of your website. Having a stark contrast in colors helps to distinguish the various elements included in the website.
36. Use a Spell Checker
This should apply to all your outgoing correspondence. Having a copy that is full of spelling errors and grammatically incorrect will affect your reputation as a serious business. Make sure you check the spelling and grammar before publishing on your website.
37. Feature to Easily Update Page Titles, Meta Description
Page Titles and Meta Descriptions are short pieces of HTML code that show the title of the web page and its description. They help visitors to the site decide whether the page listed in a search engine’s index contains the information that will answer their query. By updating page titles and the meta description you help make SEO easier.
38. Automatic Sitemap Creation
sitemaps are lists of URLs that describe sections and pages on websites. Like maps, they show the location of a page on your website, when it was updated, the updating frequency, and the importance of the page as it is related to other pages on your site. Sitemaps are important for SEO because they make it easier for Google or other search engines to easily find your site’s pages.
39. Easy to Update URL Structure
Also known as Uniform Resource Locator (URL) or the web address is the string that creates the reference to a resource – say for example a page on a website. Web browsers display URLs in the address bar and factor on how your site may be ranked in an Internet search.
40. Fast and Reliable Hosting
After designing and creating content for your website, you will have a bunch of files and associated files that make up your website. For you to launch your website you will need a web hosting company. This is a depository where all of your website files will be stored.
The web hosting company is a third-party company that offers to store your files in a shared, dedicated, or cloud-based server. Web hosting companies, depending on your particular web hosting needs, offer varied services and pricing. However, three important things are vital here: speed, security and storage.
41. Automatic Website Backup Feature
Your web hosting provider should offer speedy and reliable loading and backup for your site. This will ensure your site can be up and running quickly in case of a crash or other disasters.
Your web hosting company should also provide security from hackers and cyber-thieves from accessing sensitive information. Without a proactive security from your web hosting provider, your site risks spreading malware attacks on to users thus negatively affecting your reliability.
43. Optimized Code for Speed Fast Loading
The rate of speed your website takes to upload is key to having visitors stay longer. If it takes a long time to load, visitors will leave and look somewhere else.
44. Use a content management system (CMS) in the Backend
For those who do not have a technical background in web design, a content management system (CMS) can help them easily create and manage content on the website with relative ease.
45. Cross-Browser Compatibility
People use various browsers to surf the internet. Making sure that your website is compatible with the most popular browsers. This ensures it is viewed the same way irrespective of the browser they use.
46. Google Webmaster Tools for Integration
Incorporating Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) can help you get valuable insights about your website. It helps inform you how Google sees your website and helps you identify issues that need fixing.
47. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a great tool for monitoring and analyzing traffic on your website. It provides you with information about who is visiting your site, what they are looking for, and how they are getting to your site.
Schema offers data markup to help search engines understand your website’s content and make it more indexable than other websites that do not have schemas.
49. Use Browser Cache to Increase Website Load Speed
When you use browser cache, content is delivered to visitors quickly. If your content is not in the browser cache then it has to be retrieved from your web server, which may take longer to retrieve.
Things to Avoid on Your Site
50. Do not Upload Videos on the Website Server
Try to avoid unnecessary clutter on your server don’t upload videos on your website server. Rather opt to use YouTube and Vimeo to lessen the load as well as expand your reach to audiences.
51. Avoid Background Music
Unless you sell music on your website, avoid using background music. One because of bandwidth limitations the music might get interrupted and most importantly visitors might not enjoy repeating music while browsing.
52. Do Not Use Flash Elements
Avoid flash elements as websites that use them tend to have a much higher bounce rate due to issues with loading and performance.
53. Avoid ‘click to Enter Option on Your Website
Avoid using ‘Click and enter’ options to your website as it might put off visitors from visiting your site. The objective of your website is to draw in visitors easily and not put up roadblocks.
54. Do Not Steal Content
Make sure you use your original content and respect copyright rules.
55. Do Not Share Your Confidential Information
You should also make sure that you do not infringe privacy laws by sharing any confidential information of visitors. It is also important that you do not put sensitive or personal business information on your website.
One of the most important takeaways from this list is to keep your website up to date with the latest enhancements in website development. This will ensure your site has all of the requirements search engines are looking for in order to catalog it properly. Beyond that, make sure you post new content, all your links are working and respond to your customer’s queries.
You have to look at your site as property in the real world. The more you invest in it, the more the value will grow.
Take a look at the infographic from My Web Programmer Below: