The Ultimate Must-Haves for Your Site

For your business to succeed online you need to make sure that your website is feature packed! There are many small details that can make all the difference – both in terms of giving customers trust and also giving them extra functions that aid conversions and improve the overall user experience of your site. It makes your business stand apart from the other’s giving you a competitive edge.

This list is for any size business and e-commerce sites should take a look as well. I’ve added quite a few more items in addition to their checklist that you should also include!

Overall, it’s absolutely imperative that your website meets the purpose you’re investing in – to drive business. That means every visitor should land with intent, find the information they need, be led to a conversion, and provide you with the necessary notifications and reporting you need to continue to optimize the site.

Too many companies are overly focused on design. A beautiful design provides the immediate impact you want visitors to have, but unless the site is actually working and driving sales for your company, it’s not worth the investment. Conversely, agencies often don’t offer all of the features your site needs to be successful. Conversion, search, and social optimization should not be add-ons, they should be baselines for any website project.

In Your Page Header:

  1. Domain name – that’s easy to read and remember.
  2. Logo – a visual representation of your business that’s unique.
  3. Tagline – a concise description of what your business does.
  4. Phone Number – a clickable phone number (and make sure you answer).
  5. Call-to-Action – tell visitors what you would like them to do.
  6. Top Navigation – discreet options to find the top pages on your site.
  7. Bread Crumb Navigation – help your visitors navigate hierarchically.

Above the Fold:

  1. Image or Slider – visually display unique selling points and differentiators.
  2. Reviews and Testimonials – Video is even better to build trust with your visitors.
  3. Important Business Information – Location, etc.

Below the Fold:

  1. Quality Content – your unique selling proposition described for visitors and search.
  2. Main Features – of your products and services.
  3. Internal Links – to your website’s inner pages.

Footer:

  1. Navigation – secondary navigation to common pages.
  2. Social Media – assist people in getting to know you via social channels.
  3. Online Chat Feature – instant communication while the visitor is researching.
  4. Business Hours – along with your location, this will make sure visitors know when they can visit.
  5. Contact Information – address, phone number, and/or email address.

Inner Pages:

  1. About Us Content – what’s your story?
  2. Inner Page Content – key product and service offerings in detail.
  3. Contact form – let visitors know when to expect a response.
  4. Captcha / Anti-Spam Feature – you’ll be sorry if you don’t!
  5. Privacy Policy Page – let visitors know how you’re going to utilize data you collect from them. You may also want a Terms of Service if you’re providing any kind of service with your site. Your best bet is to talk to an attorney!
  6. FAQ Page – frequently asked questions about your products and services.
  7. Blog Page – company news, industry news, advice, and client stories you can share with your audience.

Blog:

  1. Comment feature – increase user engagement.
  2. Search bar – make it easier for visitors to find the information they’re seeking.
  3. Sidebar – show your latest or most popular blog posts, call-to-action, or related posts.
  4. Social Media Share – allow users to easily share your articles.

Other Content and Design Points to Consider:

  1. Easily readable, clean font
  2. Links that are easy to understand
  3. Mobile responsive
  4. Hamburger menu on mobile site
  5. Use contrasting colors
  6. Use a spell checker – we love Grammarly!

Search Engine Optimization:

  1. Title and meta description updates – optimize your title and meta description so search engine users are more likely to click through.
  2. Automatic sitemap creation – and submission to common webmaster tools.
  3. Easy to update URL structure – short, concise URLs that aren’t using query strings and numbers are easier to share and more attractive to click on.

Server and Hosting:

  1. Fast and reliable hosting – we love Flywheel!
  2. Automatic website backup feature – your site needs to be backed up nightly and easy to restore. Most good hosting platforms offer this.
  3. SSL – ensure your site has a security certificate, especially if you’re collecting information from visitors.

Technical Requirements Backend:

  1. Optimized code for fast page loading
  2. Use a CMS
  3. Cross-browser compatibility
  4. Google Search Console integration
  5. Google Analytics Integration – even better might be Google Tag Manager integration with Google Analytics configured.
  6. Microformats – Schema.org tagging for Google to read (especially if you’re a local business), Twitter card data for twitter, and Open Graph tagging for Facebook can all enhance your visibility when your site is shared or found on search and social media.
  7. Site Caching – when your site is delivered, it may be fast. But what about when you have tens of thousands of visitors in a day… will it crash or keep up?

Things to Avoid:

  1. Use a video hosting service, don’t load videos on your server
  2. Avoid background music
  3. Don’t use Flash
  4. Avoid Click to Enter sites (unless there are age restrictions)
  5. Do not steal content, images, or other assets
  6. Do not share confidential information

Additional Items Missed

  1. Newsletter Signup – Many visitors to your site won’t be ready to purchase but they will subscribe to buy later or keep in touch. Email capture is a critical element for every business!
  2. CDN – Content Delivery Networks will speed up your site considerably.
  3. Robots.txt – Let the search engines know what they can and can’t index, and where to find your sitemap. Read: What is Search Engine Optimization?
  4. Landing Pages – Landing pages are a must have. Destination pages for each motivated visitor who has clicked a call-to-action is critical to your conversion success. And landing pages that integrate to customer relationship management and marketing automation platforms are even better. Read: 9 Landing Page Mistakes to Avoid
  5. Podcasts – Podcasting continues to drive results with businesses. Businesses can target leads for interviews, capture testimonials from clients, educate their customers, and build authority in their industry. Read: Why Companies Are Podcasting
  6. Videos – Even small businesses can afford basic videos… all you need is your smartphone and you’re good to go! Read: Why Product Video is a Priority and 5 Types of Videos You Should Produce
  7. Map – Are you registered with Google My Business? You should be for map searches for your business. And I’d encourage you to include a map on your site as well.
  8. Logo Bar – If you’re a B2B company, having a logo bar is critical so prospects can see who else you’re working with. We built an image rotator widget for this very reason.
  9. Premium Resources – If you’re not producing premium content like infographics, white papers, and case studies, you’re missing out on a lot of ways to attract visitors to connect with you through your landing pages! Read: The Top Marketing Tactics for Lead Generation
  10. Mobile Standards – Facebook Instant Articles, Apple News, and Google Accelerated Mobile Pages are new, integrated content standards that you should be publishing.

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