Being found online is only half the battle, once people go to to your website, you have to keep them there and hopefully turn them into sales. So what kinds of things do you need to have on your website to accomplish this? Here are the 10 things every website needs:
An easy-to-update CMS
One of the first issues people run into is that it’s not easy to update their website. Either they’re unable to do it by themselves or they hired website management and maintenance, which is fine, but that when a change is needed it sometimes takes quite a bit of time for it to actually happen. There are a number of easy-to-use and update Content Management Systems (CMS) that are customizable and widely known to developers, like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, ExpressionEngine and many others. At Rhino Web, we like to work exclusively with WordPress, but will consider other platforms by request.
A responsive website is a site designed to change its look based on the device it’s being viewed on. For instance, if a customer views your website on their computer, and then switches to their phone, the site won’t appear desktop-sized on the smaller screen. A responsive design simplifies your website and makes it easy to read on a smaller device. This component of a website is absolutely critical – more and more people browse the internet, shop and socialize on phones and tablets, and your site must allow them to easily switch devices without losing them.
When your visitors get to your website, they should be able to find where they want to go within a few seconds. A drop-down bar at the top of your site is a common and very simple way to organize all the pages and links on your site. Plan out your site map in a logical way, then make sure that each link goes to the right page. Broken links will cause them to lose interest in your site or become frustrated and leave.
Strong brand identity
Before you begin a website redesign, think about how you want your brand portrayed. Think about color scheme, font, the type of graphics and photos, how much content you’ll use, the tone of voice and the message of your brand… All of these things go into creating an identity that will subtly inform your visitor of who you are, what you do, and what you stand for. A confused brand identity will leave your visitors unable to relate to your company and suspicious.
All the pages on your website should have keyword-rich content. Search engines, like Google, Bing, or Yahoo, crawl sites looking for content that is readable, valuable and updated often and then serve those sites up higher in results than those that don’t. So whatever page you make, make sure that you have engaging, helpful and informative content on it.
As stated before, search engines favor sites with regularly updated, high-quality content. The best way to ensure your site has this feature is to start a business blog. To make search engines happy, post on a regular basis, keeping your website updated with new content, and informative content that would help your customers make decisions.
Being clear about what you want your website visitors to do helps direct them and avoid confusion. Throughout your site, be very specific – whether you want them to subscribe to your blog, fill out a contact form, download, etc. Use active and urgent language (ex.; Buy/Donate/Register/Subscribe/Download Now!) and position a call-to-action on every page.
Have your business address, phone number and email listed in a footer or header that appears on every page – that way no matter page your visitors go on your site, they’ll know how to contact you. You can also create a “Contact Us” page in addition to your the header or footer, making it obvious that you value their feedback, questions and customer interaction.
Social media buttons
A site with a lack of social media is missing a huge opportunity to connect with potential customers. Almost everyone who uses the Internet also has social media profiles. So include links to your business’s profiles and add “share” buttons to your content. You can create business pages on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube and Pinterest.
This is something that’s most important to websites where visitors may enter credit card or other sensitive or personal information. Chances are your site is secure, but your visitors would trust you even more if you install more security features on your site and show them through graphics that say “secured by…” Even if you don’t sell things through your website, let people know that any personal information they provide to download content or subscribe to a newsletter or blog is safe with you and that you won’t sell it or use it for other than the intended purpose.
At Rhino Web, we take all of this into consideration!
Contact us for a no obligation web site audit, and we will find what is holding your online presence back and offer solutions to get it working. Call us at 504-875-5036 or request a consultation here.