What are the must haves for a website in 2021? What features should every website have to help it stand out and succeed? This article takes a look at some of the website must haves website owners should consider.
Your business website is your online location and is just as important for your business as your physical location. Your website needs to show potential customers that your business is trustworthy, that you will be able to solve their problem, and that you are a provider of great products and services.
Websites have become an essential part for business today and will continue to be more important in the future as well.
- 1. Call to Action
- 2. Email Capture System
- 3. Contact Information
- 4. Business Hours
- 5. Business Location
- 6. Products or Services
- 7. About Page
- 8. Reviews & Testimonials
- 9. Frequently Asked Questions
- 10. Blog
- 11. Modern Design
- 12. Responsive Web Design
- 13. Fast Load Time
- 14. Search Engine Optimization
- 15. HTTPS
- 16. Analytics
- 17. Schema Markup
- 19. Automatic Website Backup
1. Call to Action
Your website’s call to action (CTA) is a short prompt that tells your audience what to do next. These are generally clickable text or a button with phrases like Call Now, Sign Up, Share this Article, etc.
Calls to action are important as they guide your site users to the steps. For instance, on a service page for your business website, including a call to action asking the user to call to make an appointment helps guide them to the next step in the process.
Having clear calls to action on your website is important. It helps your audience know what next step to take to buy your product, sign up for your service, or be added to your mailing list.
2. Email Capture System
Shying away from email marketing means missing out on a great channel to reach your customers. Email marketing has received a negative connotation from spammers and overzealous businesses.
The first step to reaping the awards of email marketing, however, is capturing the emails from your site users. This can be simply done by having a newsletter signup call to action on your home page. For better results, offer an incentive for users to sign up for your list. Perhaps you can offer a percent discount on their first order, offer them an e-book, or access to information they’d find useful.
3. Contact Information
Your business contact information, especially a phone number, is the most important thing to include on your business site. Include your company’s phone number in the header of the website so it will be easily viewable on every page of the site.
Many users will visit your site just to find the phone number. Also, if a user of the site runs into an issue or question, adding a phone number means easier contact. That is why it is so important to include your phone number in a prominent and easy to find location.
4. Business Hours
Many people visit a website to find business hours. It’s important to keep these hours up to date. Showing up to a business during their advertised hours only to find it is closed is a real turn off to customers and can lead to very negative word of mouth for your business.
5. Business Location
Your business location and address might seem like an obvious piece of data to include on your website, but every day I run across businesses without this vital information. Even if you don’t have an address customers can visit (perhaps you are a lawn care company or a handyman), you should still include the neighborhood, city, and county you are located to help customers know you can help them. If your service area is large and you serve customers in a number of cities (like a plumber or roofing contractor), you should also include the names of those cities. This will also help people from these locations find your business.
6. Products or Services
Including the products you sell or services you perform is a must have for your business website. This goes back to letting customers know you’ll actually be able to help them. People often search for a product or a service on their phones.They only check out the first two or three businesses shown. If you want to be one of the businesses they see in the search results, your products and services are business website must haves.
7. About Page
People do business with people. Use your website’s About Page to share about your business and its people. Include the story of your business, how it got started, and what it is doing now. This is also a great place for short bios about the business owners. Include links to press about the business and other places where you can be found on the web.
8. Reviews & Testimonials
8% of customers read online reviews to determine the quality of local businesses. Make it easy on your customers and put your reviews right on your website. People trust online reviews almost as much as they trust recommendations from a friend. Adding online reviews to your website lets you select the most helpful and in-depth reviews.
9. Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) is an easy format to deliver important information to your customers. Is your website so new that you don’t have questions yet? You can still write up a list of questions customers might have and answer them.
Search engines love to include FAQs as rich snippets at the top of search results. So the next time someone searches for a question, Google might end up showing information from your FAQ as the answer.
Including a blog on your business website seems daunting at first, but it’s a great way to show industry expertise. Having a blog gives you the opportunity to add fresh, helpful content to your website. This content is the backbone of good search engine optimization (SEO).
11. Modern Design
Have you ever been to a website for a business and wondered if the business was still operating? Having a website with an outdated design makes customers wonder if they’ll be able to get what they need from you.
An outdated website design is a sign that the code behind the website is obsolete. Having an outdated site puts it at risk of being hacked.
12. Responsive Web Design
Responsive web design means your site looks great on desktop computers and mobile phones. More than half of web traffic in the US is mobile. In 2021 an unresponsive design means turning away half of potential customers. This is even more important for industries such as restaurants or retail outlets.
Do customers commonly search for your business while they are away from home? What do they see? Try it now: take out your phone and pull up your business’s website. Is the site easy to navigate? Can you find important information quickly? If not, it’s time for a website redesign.
13. Fast Load Time
It’s more important than ever to have a fast-loading site. Half of web traffic is mobile. Large images, complicated scripts, and video are easy on the eye. But they slow things down. A slow-running site is a huge turnoff for customers.
Have you ever clicked on a search result only to hit that back button when the site runs slowly? Your customers do that too. If your site doesn’t load in 4 seconds, you’re losing customers.
Google’s PageSpeed Insights is a great resource for testing the speed of your website.
14. Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing quantity and quality of traffic to your site through search engine results. Through SEO, you help your customers find you. Search engine optimization has the best return on investment of any digital marketing strategy. With proper SEO, you’ll ensure your site appears when customers search for your products and services.
SEO can be a complicated process. Information to get you started implementing SEO on your site is available on our site. At Always Relevant Digital, we specialize in local SEO for small and medium-sized businesses.
HTTPS is a secure way for customers to connect to your website. Before your URL, you’ll see either http or https. With https, web data sent to the webserver is encrypted. Only recently did most sites need to https encryption. But now major web browsers are showing Not Secure on sites that don’t have https. Google also penalizes sites that don’t use https by ranking them lower in organic search results.
Does your site use http or https? Visit your website using Google Chrome to check the padlock next to your site address. If the lock is closed, your site has https. If you have an open lock (or if the warning Not Secure appears) then upgrading your business website to https is a website must have.
Without website analytics you won’t know what is or isn’t working on your site. Proper web analytics trakcs how users are using your website. It also accurately measure which digital marketing strategies lead to purchases and conversions. Are the people coming to your site from Facebook ads buying your products? Or, do you get more purchases from Adsense ads? Having that website data helps you grow your business by focusing your resources.
17. Schema Markup
Schema is a markup language that allows search engines to better understand the information on your site. It helps search engines know where you are located, the hours you operate, dates of events, etc. It also helps search engines understand what products you sell and which images go with which products. If done correctly, this greatly helps your site’s organic search results.
For example, adding JobPost schema to your pages with job ads helps search engines understand the content of the page and show your page’s job post as a rich result. Google offers a great schema checker tool. Enter your website into the checker to see if you have any structured data on your site.
19. Automatic Website Backup
Automatic website backup is an important business website must have. Your website is your primary digital asset. You’ve spent thousands of dollars on it and the information contained there is irreplaceable. Plus, the loss of sales during the time needed to rebuild your site would be devastating.
That is why an automatic website backup solution is so important. There are numerous ways to achieve this. Some web hosts provide this service as part of the hosting package. There are numerous WordPress plugins used to create weekly or even daily backups of the site.
Take the next step
How does your site stack up? Have you implemented the items on this business website must haves checklist? Here at Always Relevant Digital, we love working with small and medium-sized businesses to optimize their websites. Interested in how we help your business grow? Check out our business web design page or give us a call for a free web design quote.