With any project, especially web development projects, it’s both common and expected for unplanned additions…
A website is the most powerful tool a business has and it’s the only digital marketing tool that you have complete control over.
A good website can build trust, adds credibility and allows a business to showcase their unique selling points. A bad website does exactly the opposite and has a good chance of driving potential customers away.
Below are 6 key things that every website needs to be successful. These are not a guarantee of success, but if your site is missing these 6 things, it’s an almost guaranteed failure.
1 – Easy To Find Contact Information
It’s incredible how many times I’ve had to search for contact information on a website. I’m not really sure what the web designer or business owner was thinking – this one just baffles me. This is literally the most important information on your website, it should be easy to find.
I always recommend having a link to the contact page in the main menu, typically the last menu item. I also place contact information in the website’s footer so it appears on every page. If you have social media links they should appear in the footer too.
Your contact page should have multiple ways to get in touch with you – I recommend a contact form, email address and phone number. Just having a contact form not only looks bad (some people hate using them), but more importantly, sometimes contact forms break and if that’s your only means of contact, you’re pretty much out of business.
2 – Call To Action (CTA)
The whole point of a website is to get your potential customers to do something – whether it’s contacting you, submitting a form or making a purchase, you want each visitor to do something specific. The best way to achieve this is with a crystal clear call to action (CTA). Tell your visitors exactly what you want them to do, and then make it easy to do so.
Website visitors hate being confused so your CTA should be painfully obvious, eye catching, consistent and frequently appear. You can have more than one call to action as well. Having a service specific CTA on your services page, and a different CTA on your portfolio page is a great idea.
3 – Consistent Branding
Keeping your website’s colour palette, font selection and other visual styles consistent is incredibly important. You don’t want a customer to feel like they’re visiting a new website every time they click on a new page. This is very confusing, and just terrible design.
Choose a specific colour palette and stick to it, use proper H1, H2, H3 font styling for all pages, and ensure the page layout is consistent from page to page.
Consistent images or icons are also super important. Randomly styled icons is a dead give away that your site was built by an amateur. When choosing icons for a website I ensure that all lines are the same thickness, the images are a consistent visual style and all the colours match perfectly. If you’re not willing to do this, don’t use icons.
4 – Quality Content
Quality content is the only guaranteed way to achieve good SEO results for your website. And more importantly, it’s the best way to make your website is successful once a potential customer finds it. Long winded drivel is guaranteed to drive customers away, just as quickly as poorly written bullet points. People want clear, concise information and are not willing to wade through pages of text to find it.
Hire a writer if you need to, but ensure that all content on your website is of a consistent tone, and is highly focused to achieve your website’s ultimate goal.
5 – A Clear Description of Your Services and How You Can Help
Even if what your business does is painfully obvious to you, keep in mind that a potential customer may be completely in the dark. Make sure what you offer is crystal clear and laid out in very simple terms.
Also consider the language you use to describe your services, avoid industry jargon or abbreviations. Use simple terms and focus on keywords that a potential customer would search for.
Someone may be looking for a graphic designer but if they don’t see a specific listing for logo design on your website they may assume you don’t design logos and move on. I know this from first-hand experience. Be specific!
6 – A Responsive Website
This one is so obvious it really shouldn’t have to be mentioned. Your site needs to be responsive (it resizes to fit different devices like a phone) – there’s just no excuse at this point. And having a separate mobile version of your website doesn’t count anymore.
Google punishes non-responsive websites in search results, and users will no longer pinch, zoom and squint to read your antiquated website on their phones. You will absolutely lose customers as a result. If your website isn’t responsive you need a new website. Period.
Bonus – Don’t Use Painfully Obvious Or Outdated Stock Photos
Using the exact same stock photo as your competitors looks really bad, no matter how you spin it. You don’t need to hire a photographer to shoot custom images for your website – although if you can afford it, it’s a fantastic idea. Just take the time to find unique and interesting and up-to-date stock photos. If your contact page uses an photo of a 1980’s businessman talking on a brick cell phone, it’s time for an update.
And under no circumstances should your images come from a Google Images search. Not only is it a terrible source of images, it’s also theft and you can be sued. Do not do it. Ever.
We’re Here To Help :)
If your website is missing any of these key things, contact us, we would be happy to help. And if think your site needs some love but aren’t sure where to start, just ask, we’re happy to give you our opinion. I can’t promise we’ll be complimentary but we will at least be tactful.