We can all say that we have been on hundreds of different business websites; some “wowed” us, and others, well…let’s just say they did not.
If you are in the process of building your own business website, it helps if you start by determining which individual elements you need before looking at the “big picture.” Taking one step at a time, you will be on your way to building a business website that truly performs for you.
Here is a list of ten “must-haves” for business websites
1) First, there are 5 pages website professionals suggest you should always have for your business website:
- About Us
- Contact Information
2) Simple, clean design and faster load times
Never underestimate the importance of a well-designed website. Keeping your design simple – from the colors you choose to the overall layout – make your site more appealing to the people who visit your site. Internet users, and especially those browsing the internet on mobile devices, make snap judgments about organizations by simply viewing their business websites; and they do so within a matter of seconds.
One of the primary goals that most people have for their business websites is achieving a low bounce rate.
Google defines bounce rate as “the percentage of single-page sessions (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).” This is why the lower the percentage is, the better. A lower bounce rate indicates that you are attracting the right audience to your business website and then keeping them there for longer amounts of time.
The following guidelines also help create pleasant and hassle-free experiences for the people who visit business websites. Focusing on these will also help result in lower bounce rates for you:
- Use a clean and simple design.
- Make sure your verbiage is straightforward and relevant.
- Use original photographs and/or images; avoid stock photos.
- Make it easy for visitors to navigate from one page to another.
- People get impatient with slow websites. Google even takes page speed into account when ranking sites. Do some research (or consult with a website developer) and find out how you can best optimize your website’s loading time. (There are also dozens of tips and tools for how you can do this on the internet.).
3) Strong Call-to-Action (CTA)
At the very least, you should have at least one CTA on your site. We recommend having at least one on each page of your business website.
Help make things easy for your visitors by providing straightforward verbiage and buttons or hyperlinks which stand out. Create a strong CTA which takes them somewhere else on your website, such as a sign-up form for your newsletter or where they can download a document, for example. Doing this keeps them interested in you and your business.
4) Email sign up or contact form
Providing a form where your visitors can request information, such as an e-newsletter or phone call is essential. This opens the door for two-way communication – and more lead generation opportunities – since they are giving you permission to get and/or keep in touch with them.
Do you want a site that both Google and potential clients consider relevant? If so, then having a mobile-friendly site is no longer just an option. Google now labels mobile-friendly websites as such in its mobile search, which creates even better opportunities for attracting visitors, generating leads, and acquiring new customers.
Google offers a nifty tool which allows you to test whether your website is mobile-friendly. You can test your own business websites here: [https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/].
6) Business contact information that is in plain sight and/or easy-to-find
Even if you have a contact form on your site (which you should!), you should also make it as easy as possible for your website visitors to contact you offline. Make sure you are displaying your phone number on at least one of your pages. If privacy is no issue for you, also include your mailing and/or email addresses as well.
7) Customer Reviews/Testimonials
Hardly anything has more power for influencing potential customers than your current customer’s feedback. When a current or former client says positive things about your business, it helps develop other people’s trust and strengthens your business’ credibility. As you receive written customer reviews and/or testimonials, add them to your business website – with the customers’ permission, of course.
8) Optimize for Google with relevant keywords
Your primary purpose for having a business website is so people can find you online, learn more about your organization, and the products/solutions you offer. Otherwise, why would you need a website in the first place?
Using the right keywords helps boost your site’s SEO, which in turn improves your site’s ranking by Google. This is all good because it helps people who are searching for a business like yours find you, rather than landing on your competitors’ business websites.
9) Blog posts or news
Google (and your site visitors) likes business websites with fresh content. It also provides a way for businesses to initiate communication with their visitors and earn their trust.
10) Social media buttons
It’s a good idea for business websites to provide and display social media buttons which link directly with each of the company’s social media platforms. This helps build up an organization’s online presence, and also increases a website’s ranking.
You should also include social sharing buttons for each blog or news post, since these encourage readers to share content directly from business websites.
Of course, there are many other elements that go into building business websites, but these tips should give you a good head start.
What do you think makes a good website stand out from the rest? I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions – please feel free to leave a comment below!