Essential Features of Small Business Websites
I know, you are busy and want a website that looks amazing and works beautifully. You want it to often do complex things, house all of your great PDFs and other downloads as well as generate lots of business. However, along with all of those things it is easy to forget about those features which websites have had for a number of years but are easy to overlook or make more complicated than they need to be.
Here is a look at some of those features to remind you of their importance and keep your website on track:
Ensure That it is Responsive
With websites being accessed from a wide variety of different devices which all have significantly different screen sizes, it is essential that your website adapts to whatever a person is visiting it with to ensure that the design is optimised for that device. For example, if they are viewing your website using a mobile, the text will be large enough to read comfortably and the layout will often become one column.
A responsive layout is not just great for people but Google is also taking this into account when determining search engine results for keywords. When “Googling” on a mobile device, its results listings will show “Mobile Friendly” for those results which come from a responsive website.
It still amazes me how many websites do not have Google Analytics installed and/or how many business people do not regularly check their website’s traffic levels. Giving your website’s visitors the best experience possible is a crucial part of any business these days and so looking at the behaviour of people on it using a free tool such as Google Analytics is one of the core aspects of doing this.
“In a world where it is easier than ever to build a website, it is now more difficult to make it stand out.”
Make it Easy for People to Contact You
There are so many ways to allow people to contact you that people often complicate this and make the process so difficult! Having contact details in commonly viewed parts of a website such as the header and footer as well as a page dedicated to the process allowing people to contact your business is just the start.
It is so easy to add a contact form to a website that you should consider adding it to other parts of a website where you think people will want to want quick access to this. For example, on a sales-led page you may wish to add a contact form (or maybe a email newsletter sign-up form).
Making contact easy is particularly important on mobile device where there is significantly less space and people are often viewing on the move so their time and attention will be less than on a desktop to computer. Making this process simple through such methods as a contact form and an email address that they can click on (people still forget to make email addresses clickable!) is key.
Work with people to have all of these features on your website.
The internet is full of poorly written websites with no personality so making your website copy convey the right message in a warm and inviting way will make your website stand out from your competitors. Knowing your target reader is an absolutely must before writing your website’s copy and creating personas as part of this process is extremely important.
Many people do not think about the traffic source that people will visit a specific page from. This is an essential part of tailoring the copy for them. For example, if they visit from a social media website then it is likely that they are not in the mood to be sold to and so the copy should be more informal and entertaining. But, if they visit from a specific Google search then they will often want information quickly and clearly.
Great copy will make your website stand out and be memorable.
Many websites are built using amazing templates that are available for tools such as WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, etc. While these are incredibly handy, it means that many websites have the same look and feel but another aspect that can make a website stand out is the quality of the images on them.
For example, if you are working on a travel website and do not have bespoke photography your website is already at a major disadvantage. Having beautiful photography that is targeted specifically at your audience will make them feel great and so encourage them to read the copy and engage with your brand.
Whilst there are a huge number of features that people could define as “essential”, these are some which I feel really warrant that description in 2016. In a world where it is easier than ever to build a website, it is now more difficult to make it stand out.
Integrating these features into your website to a high standard will give your website a better chance of retaining visitors, making them feel good and help you to give them the experience that they want. These are things which everyone with some kind of responsibility for a website should be striving to achieve.