12 Features Your Website Absolutely Must Have
Every business now needs a website; however, it's not just a box you can tick. There's no point just having a website if it doesn't look good or help people. Your website is one of the first places that your potential customers go to find out about you and if they find that your website is outdated, unprofessional, difficult to navigate and ugly, then this is the impression they will get of your business and will go somewhere else. Just like you wouldn't have your physical shop floor untidy and outdated, the same applies to your website. It can be a huge turn-off, so what does your website need?
To Be Professional
While it's already been mentioned, it's so important that it needs to be mentioned again and having a messy or plain or homemade-looking website is no good. Put some work into the look of your website, hire a web designer and work with them to get it right. Once you have something you're happy with then, don't stop there, find out what users think by getting feedback and conducting click testing to find out where you can improve.
Have a Private and Memorable Domain Name
Even if you're using a WordPress template, you can spend a little bit of money each month to get a web host and domain name which shows that you're serious about your company. This will also make you more trustworthy. Also, make sure your private domain name is something easy to remember. Preferably the name of your business.
Some people are still apprehensive about parting with money online and rightly so as there are often horror stories of fraud. So, if you accept online card payments then not only must your site comply with the requirements of the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI DSS), but you also need to let your visitors know it does so they know that it is safe for them to enter their card details.
Your Contact Details
First of all, your contact details need to be easy to find and obvious because, for some people, that is the only reason they are visiting your website. Secondly, this information needs to be easy to click on and to use. Many people will be looking on your website on their smartphone and will want to simply click on your phone number or email address and then call you straight away or send an email instantly.
To Explain Your Business
When someone visits your website, it needs to be obvious what you do. If they have to search for this information, then they will likely leave and go somewhere else. Make it simple by using images and descriptions and tell visitors why they should stick around and do business with you. Show them what makes you stand out from the competition? Also, make sure that your website makes it obvious how you can benefit your customers rather than focusing on how awesome you are.
To Show Customer Testimonials
Of course, you do need to tell people how awesome you are, but one of the best ways to do that is through someone else's words, so make sure you include customer testimonials.
Ask for Visitor Feedback
It's important to get feedback from your customers, and one of the easiest and best ways to do this is to ask for it on your website. Have a feedback form for your visitors to fill in, and this way, you can also collect more testimonials.
Offer Fresh Content
To be successful and to be found by people searching the web, your website needs to be fresh and up to date with fresh content. Having a blog is a great way to do this because not only does it provide important information relating your company and its services but good quality content will also make it easier for visitors to understand and relate to your website and business. This is also really good for your marketing strategy and can help your business to become a thought leader in your industry and show people that you are an expert in what you do.
As well as fresh content, it matters what your content actually is, and for your website to drive more traffic, you need to make sure it includes keywords that your customers or potential customers are searching for and that relate to your business. Make sure these keywords are included in the basic website information but also in the blogs too.
People like to get to know who is behind the business, so make sure that your website has a page dedicated to getting to know you. It needs to include the names and profiles of the business owners and staff as this gives your website a personal touch.
There are more people now using the internet on their mobile phones than on computers, so your website needs to cater for this and to be mobile-friendly.
People often want to know the same thing and rather than phoning you; many people will go straight to the FAQs to find out the answer. Having this information on your website is so useful to your visitors and customers and is a great solution to guide your customer and help them understand your company and its offerings.
Don't make your website too complicated with every gadget and form available. Don't overload your home page; just keep it simple and to the point. Your website shouldn't be too busy, so you should also avoid using flash animation, moving text, fancy cursors or music because these are just unnecessary and will slow down your loading time and simply annoy visitors.
It's good to have a website health check every month or so and check your website doesn't have any dead links on it which mean links to other websites which don't work. Also, make sure that any images you have on the website have ALT Tags or Text Captions as this will increase your search engine rankings.