Having a website is crucial for business. A well-designed and functional website can make a significant impact on your online presence. Whether you already have a site for an established business, or you are just building a site for a new venture, here are the essential elements that all websites should have.
Clear and Intuitive Navigation
A website’s navigation is like a roadmap for your visitors. Ensure that your menu is clear, organized, and easy to navigate. Use logical categories and labels that guide users to the information they’re looking for. Avoid clutter and prioritize simplicity to enhance the user experience. Remember that we all are used to navigating websites throughout the day and have some subconscious expectations as to where to find menu items. Get creative, but don’t lose your visitors.
For Existing Sites: Do a quick review of your pages. Does your menu reflect what pages you direct folks to most often? Are there more than 5 or 6 main sections to your menu (if so, how can you streamline it)?
For New Websites: Keep your list simple – start with Home, Services, About, and Contact, and see what you can organize under these pages. Need more? Add them, but make sure you don’t confuse your visitors.
Smartphones and tablets are in constant use and it’s essential to have a website that looks great and functions well on various devices. Implement responsive design principles to ensure your site adapts seamlessly to different screen sizes. A responsive website not only provides a better user experience but also positively impacts your search engine rankings.
For Existing Sites: Send your site to someone with a different mobile device than you. Ask them to review the pages and note any viewing issues (text wrapping, images cut off, etc).
For New Websites: If you are building a site yourself, make sure you know how to adjust the mobile and tablet views in your builder.
Content is king! Engage your audience with high-quality, relevant, and regularly updated content. Whether it’s informative blog posts, captivating images, or compelling videos, make sure your content adds value to your visitors. Use a conversational tone to connect with your audience and convey your message effectively. BONUS TIP: Include at least one photo of the business owner. And don’t forget to add testimonials and reviews! This isn’t the time to be shy. Both provide credibility and authenticity to your website and business.
For Existing Websites: Are your photos and text reflective of your products and services now? Do you need to add or remove any content based on the way your business has grown?
For New Websites: Collect those customer testimonials! They really do help! Also make sure you have enough content to publish your site, but know you will continue to refine your site over time – progress over perfection!
Contact Information and Calls to Action (CTAs)
Make it easy for visitors to get in touch with you. Include clear contact information, such as an email address or a contact form. Additionally, place CTAs throughout your site to guide users towards desired actions, whether it’s making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or contacting you for more information.
For Existing Websites: Think about your business processes – what happens when someone reaches out? Do you want to update how they contact you through the website? Would a more detailed form be helpful to collect information and route it to the right person on your team? Do you really just want your visitor to call you? Make your website work for you!
For New Websites: Your Call to Action should be clear on each page and each page may have a different CTA. Make sure you are able to support each call to action after the visitor has interacted with it (with a great email marketing automation, a quick email reply to questions, or a friendly voice answering their phone call).
Optimized for Search Engines (SEO)
Improve your website’s visibility on search engines by implementing basic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. Use relevant keywords in your content, optimize meta tags, and create a sitemap. Regularly update your content and ensure that your website loads quickly. A well-optimized site not only attracts more organic traffic but also enhances the overall user experience.
For Existing Sites: Do you know how your site is performing? Pull your reports and review them periodically. Don’t forget to add new content and make sure you plan for any new keywords that are relevant for changes in your business.
For New Websites: Make sure you have a plan for SEO, connections to Google products, and reporting.
By incorporating these essential elements into your website, you’re setting the foundation for success. Remember, simplicity, user-friendliness, and quality content are key. Keep your audience in mind, and continuously evaluate and improve your website to stay relevant in the ever-evolving digital landscape. Happy website building!
Hemlock Strategy and Design loves to help small-medium-sized businesses with their online presence. Contact us if you have any questions!