Digital Marketing Insights

(TL;DR: Checklist: Top 13 Must-Haves for Every Website)

There are millions of websites on the internet, but only a very small percentage of those websites are able to perform well on searches and give visitors with a fantastic user experience. It’s not that a majority of websites have a web design problem, it only means that some sites do not have certain features or content that the internet users are looking for. Search engines such as Google always want to give their users only the best results out of every search query they type in. Hence, they will direct their users to those websites which give them the information they want in combination with a pleasant browsing experience.

If you want Google to give your company website a decent rank on search engine results, then you would need to start upgrading it immediately. Here are the top thirteen must-haves for every website.

1. Compelling Content

When visitors come to your website, they do not want to read the same old boring content or information that they already know about. What they are looking for is fresh and quality content that contains relevant information that is worthy of their attention. To keep visitors coming back to your website, you would need to ensure that you keep adding fun and interesting written or visual content by updating your blog section, newsletters, adding videos, etc.

Moreover, content can be used to help attract traffic to your website, if you use the right keywords that enable your pages to become more search engine-friendly. You can even include some of those keywords in your page titles and meta descriptions to help you to further improve your rank on search engines.

When visitors are interested in the content you are sharing on your website, they might start subscribing to your newsletters to get all the latest information delivered to their email inboxes. If you have a newsletter section on your website, you can get plenty of new leads as internet users will share their personal email addresses with you to get your newsletters. Thus, it is your basic duty to ensure that their information is safe. You can do this by using any reputed privacy policy to protect people’s data.

2. Memorable, Impressive, and Intuitive Design

They say that you only get one chance at a first impression, so you better make it a memorable one. When talking about your website, one way to make people remember it is by adopting a web design that is visually appealing and gives visitors the best user experience. This does not mean that you must use very bright colors, fonts, or graphics on your site. What we mean is that you must choose a design that clean, straightforward, and, most of all, is extremely user-friendly. If it is too flashy or confusing, you may end up losing your audience. So it’s better to use a design that is intuitive, easy-to-use and helps your visitors find what they want.

3. Content Management System

When there is plenty of information being shared on your website, you need a system that helps you manage this data in a systematic and well-organized manner. For this, you probably need to implement a good content management system (CMS). A CMS is a type of software that helps you easily manage the content that you upload on your website. They often require little or no technical knowledge to use. As well, if you are constantly changing or adding content to your site, then a CMS would be of great help to you. With a CMS, you can simply and regularly make adjustments to your content or keep your site updated with new blogs or other pieces of information every day and with ease.

4. Contact Us 

Having a contact us page gives for website visitors a way to find or contact your business or to leave their contact details with you. Whether it is a contact form on the website or a newsletter subscription box, it is imperative that you always intend to build your list with your website. Providing contact and about us information on your site also increases your credibility and legitimacy as website visitors can see that you actually exist, likely that you have a physical location, and are easy to reach as well. A contact us page can help you share important contact details including Contact information, office hours, real address, etc. of your company with prospects who come to visit your website. In other words, this page serves as an easy way for people to find you or your business.

5. About Us  

Every website needs an about page so that visitors can familiarize themselves with a business. The About Us, mission, or description pages of a website tell people exactly who you are and what you can do for them. It also gives you a chance to showcase your staff, increasing people’s comfort with your company. This is also your chance to highlight what makes you different and better than your competition.

6. Site Search

There are essentially two types of internet users in the world: browsers and searchers. Browsers will take their time and view your entire website, but searchers are looking for certain specific information on your site. For these users, who don’t want to take the time to browse, will look for a site search bar on your website. Site search provides searchers with the information they are searching for, without having them spend the time to manually search for the topic by browsing all the website pages.

If there is a ton of information on your website, then naturally visitors might not be able to find the content that they are looking for immediately. Thus, in such scenarios a site search bar could be very useful for them. All they need to do is type in a keyword of the content they are looking and within moments they will find what they wanted in the search results list. In this way, you also improve the user experience of visitors browsing your website. However, you need to ensure that the site search works properly and doesn’t return thousands of “kind of related” results but only those that they want.

7. FAQ’s

There might be instances when internet users have some common queries about the products or services that you are offering on your site. An FAQ’s or frequently asked questions page is perfect for this type of audience. On an FAQ page, visitors can post their queries so that your business team can get back to them with an answer to their query.

An FAQ page also has the potential to drive traffic from search engines to the website, especially if one those questions is a popularly being asked by many of your website visitors. So when they type in that question, search engines will immediately display that FAQ link on their search results. What’s more, if you answer questions related to the product / service that you are offering, those visitors might just become your buyers as they can make an informed buying decision.

8. Social Media Integration

The next must-have for every website is integration with Social Media. Opening official and branded social media pages for your business is a clever way of attracting more visitors to your website. Social media gives your audience a chance to communicate with your business and interact with them on a personal level. You can even use social media to share interesting content from your website so that people who want to read more about a particular topic will come to your website.

You can even include social sharing buttons on your web pages so that visitors can share your website content with their friends on their social media profiles. Thus, you will witness a further increase in online visitor traffic.

9. Offer Value to Capture Leads

To capture even more leads from your website, you can create “Lead Magnets” or valuable offers that require a visitor to submit their information to gain access to the exclusive offer. Lead Magnets are often combined with Call-To-Action (CTA) buttons that are designed to attract attention to them and evoke an immediate response. For example, you can use CTA buttons to capture newsletter subscribers, give coupons or discounts, or to entice visitors to ‘Download Now’!

You can even use a newsletter subscription box to capture visitors email addresses and send promotional offers via emails that have Call-to-action buttons in them. CTA buttons like ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Download Now’ are a great way to get your audience to actually engage with your brand and try out your products or services.

10. Accessible and Mobile-Friendly

There is no point of making a website if you do not ensure it functions on a variety of browsers and devices. These days, since the majority of browsing occurs on smartphones and tablets, a standard and static website just won’t cut it.  A site that uses responsive website design has the ability to automatically adjust its dimensions to fit the screen resolution of the device on which it is being accessed. In other words, if an internet user is searching for information on Google using their smartphone device, the website will adjust itself to fit the mobile screen, same for tablets and phablets. Outdated websites which are designed only for desktops will not be able to do this.

Moreover, Google’s mobile-friendly update last year has made it clear to website owners that they would need to make their websites ‘mobile-friendly’ else they would lose out on rankings.

11. Fast Load Speed

Making a user wait for your website to load is considered to be one of the deadliest sins in the internet world. In fact, you may have come across dozens of websites that failed to load immediately after you had clicked on their links. If the website didn’t load after waiting for, say ten seconds or so, any internet user would immediately close the site and move on the next link on the search results page.

You cannot expect users to have the patience of a saint and wait for your website to load. Instead, it would be better for you to ensure your site speed is optimized, that your site loads fast and doesn’t keep your visitors waiting.

12. Secure

As a website owner, you must ensure that your visitors feel at ease when they visit your website, especially when they are asked to share their personal details like credit card details, email addresses, phone numbers, etc.

Having some sort of security software, such as a GeoTrust Premium Certificate, is mandatory especially if you own an e-commerce website. If you want your online customers to feel safe while purchasing items from your online store or to make your sponsors feel safe when making donations through your site, then you would need to make them feel comfortable in making such a transaction. Assuring them that their transactions will be safe through the use of advanced security software will help tremendously in helping to get more sales. Not to mention an increase in online traffic of potential customers.

What’s more, is that Google also loves secure sites. Back in 2014, they called for “HTTPS Everywhere” and has even admitted to using HTTPS as a (lightweight) ranking signal!

13. Analytics for Performance Tracking

The last important must-have for every website is a monitoring or analytics software to track its performance. The best way to gain amazing insights into your website and locate areas where it can be improved is by regularly checking its performance. Google Analytics is an amazing tool that can be used for this purpose.

All you have to do is register your website on this tool and instantly track its performance. You can get various kinds of reports in this tool like website traffic reports, bounce rates, visitor engagement levels, and much more. With the help of these accurate reports you will be able to make those much-needed improvements to your site, enabling it to get a higher rank on search engines.

What do you think? What website must-haves did we miss? Please leave us a comment below outlining what you think are the top website must-haves.

Mouneeb is an experienced digital marketing strategist with a passion for helping clients achieve their goals online. With over 15 years of experience in designing, developing, and managing a team that develops top-notch web projects, he brings a wealth of information to the teams that he leads and the leaders that he follows.

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