Most people, when redesigning or building a website, give lots of thought to color scheme, images and layout. However, there are several commonly forgotten components that are critical to a successful website. In this article, I'll take you through these 6 key elements, why they matter and how they can increase the success of your website. See which ones you have and which ones you need.
1. Third-Party Recommendations
Recommendations or testimonials from third parties can help visitors trust your website and increases credibility.
Create a page on your website solely dedicated to what customers have said about your business, the products you sell, or the service they received from your company. The recommendations don’t have to be lengthy. One or two sentences is enough as long as they include:
- The full name of the person giving the quote
- Their location, company position title, business name and website URL (if relevant)
- Why they recommend your business, how your business/products/services solved their issue, or what makes you stand apart from other companies they have used previously.
Recommendations used on your site must be legitimate and from real people. If testimonials are made up, they can negatively affect the credibility of your site.
In addition to customer recommendations, you can also leverage recent press or accolades from associations within your industry. Take a look at the Yola homepage below. You will see that links to press were included, as well as, testimonials from clients.
2. A mobile version of your website
The way we browse online is changing. More than three-quarters of Australians are now accessing the Internet through mobile devices, which means that your website must look good on a desktop (such as a PC or laptop) and also look good on mobile phones and tablets.
If you’re building a website yourself, most website builders have the functionality to create a mobile-friendly version of your website for you. If you’re getting a website built for you, there are various elements that you can incorporate into your design that will make it more accessible on mobile devices. These include:
- Large call-to-actions - Larger buttons and CTAs are easier to click when browsing on mobile. The recommended size is around 44 x 44 pixels. Space should also be left around the CTAs to prevent miss-clicks.
- Vertical navigation - A vertical navigation makes browsing websites on a mobile device easier as opposed to a horizontal navigation where scrolling sideways to view the navigation bar can be cumbersome. The vertical navigation should be kept simple and, as with the CTAs, the clickable areas should be large enough to avoid misclicks.
- Click-to-call functionality - Click-to-call functionality makes it easy for web visitors to call your business immediately when browsing on a mobile device.
- Maps - Add a map of your business location on your website. If a customer is viewing your website on her phone, she will be able to see where you’re located and get directions to your business!
Here’s an example of click-to-call functionality in action:
3. Prominent contact details
This may seem like an obvious point, but there are a lot of live websites that have contact details that are difficult to find. Customers should very easily be able to get in touch with your business. I recommend adding a “Contact” page to your top level navigation so visitors can click on it from every page on your website. The Contact page itself should list all the ways a customer can contact you, whether by email, post, phone or contact form.
In addition, you could also include your preferred method of contact on your website’s footer, so it is visible on every page of your site. If you answer customer questions via your Facebook business page or via Twitter, you could include links to these pages in your website footer and your Contact Us page. Which leads us nicely on to….
4. Social Media presence
Building a community around your business and website will help to build a successful online presence, and there’s no better place to build that community than on Social Media. If you’re already up and running on various social media sites, include links to these pages from your website. You can add the links to your Contact page, within your footer, or for maximum visibility, on your homepage. Check out the website below, she’s included links to her Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram pages right from the homepage.
Integrate Social Media into your website functionality too. For example, if you sell products online, make it easy for customers to “Like” products or share products to their friends on Facebook. You can also use this social sharing functionality on your blog, so your content can be easily shared to your extended community. Doing this extends the reach of your website and creates more awareness about your business.
5. Meta data
The user facing functionality and design of a website is what your visitors see and experience. But just as important is what search engines see when they visit your website. This is known as meta data.
Search engines use meta data to evaluate the content of a web page and to decide whether to show the page in search results for a particular keyword. When you’re creating your website, research what search terms you want to show up for when someone searches in Google. These “keywords” will help you optimize your website content and your meta data.
Your website’s meta data comprises two main components:
- Page Title (or Title tag) - This is the main heading of a search result. It should be under 65 characters in length and include your business name, location (if relevant) and main keyword.
- Description (or Meta Description) - This is the descriptive text beneath the heading, that describes to a searcher and search engine what that web page is about. It should be between 150-170 characters in length and include your business name, location (if relevant) and a target keyword that’s different to the one used in your Page Title.
Although meta data is for search engines, write the copy like a real person is reading it. For example, it should be compelling and make sense.
Once your site is live, you’re going to want to know:
- How many visitors you’ve had.
- How long people stay on your site for.
- How many people have purchased or contacted you via your website.
Website analytics tracking can help answer all of those questions and more. Many often forget this detail until after a website has gone live.
Google Analytics offers free analytics and all it takes to get set up is adding a line of tracking code to the pages of your website. Once the tracking is set up, you can view various metrics such as unique visitors, location data, pages view, what sources referred you traffic and much more. This kind of insight is invaluable and will help you make more informed business decisions based on the data. For example, once you know who refers the majority of your highly converting web traffic, you can allocate more of your marketing spend to that channel.
It can also help you identify issues with your conversion funnel, such as where users are exiting the purchase flow. Once you know what the problem pages are, you can focus on making tweaks to them to improve the overall effectiveness of your website.
So there we have it, these are the six items that many business websites often miss. All six of these components are vital to a successful website and should always be included in any new website or redesign. I’d love to hear from you. Have you included any of these elements on your website? If so, how have they helped your website succeed? Are there any components not on the list that should be? Let me know by commenting below.