10 Essentials Your Website Shouldn’t Go Without

10 Essentials Your Website Shouldn’t Go Without

In the modern age of marketing, websites have replaced the need for commercials, phone books, billboards, and most other non-digital forms of advertising- and thank goodness! Websites brought all the marketing power back to businesses by offering much more control and opportunity than ever before. Brands now have a million ways to connect with their audience, which gives consumers an easy way of finding, comparing, and choosing a company to work with.

Websites have become the most influential piece to every marketing strategy.
With this in mind, there are a few basics your website MUST have in order to stand a chance in the digital marketplace:

1. Mobile Compatibility

With nearly 50% of website views coming from mobile devices, it is necessary for your website to be compatible on all devices. While many web developers will claim that “mobile-friendly” layouts are just as good, this strategy cuts corners by displaying the same website across the board; customers using their cell phones will need to zoom in to view the site’s details, and buttons are often too small for the thumb to hit accurately. Responsive website design avoids this problem by creating a layout that adjusts to various screen sizes. Viewers are still be able to access all portions of your website without the struggle of scrolling, zooming, and button battling.

2. Contact Information

As obvious as it seems, you wouldn’t believe how many sites don’t have the company’s address, phone number, store hours, or email address listed somewhere visible! This information should be accessible from any page so your customers can connect as easily as possible. Since many Internet users will opt for digital communication instead of calling or visiting the store, providing a contact form increases the chance that they will contact you and puts the ball in your court if they do.

3. Content Pages

More specifically, you need multiple pages with varied, detailed, and relevant content. These pages should cover every aspect of your business that your customers would want to know, split up by topic or any other way that makes sense. The total number of pages doesn’t matter as much as the quality of their contents, so 20 pages with the same information will perform worse than 5 pages with diversified information!

4. Images

The human brain is wired to translate images faster than words, and remember them for much longer. For this reason, carefully selected imagery holds an amazing potential for marketing communication. Whether they are purposed for advertising or just for visual effect, no page on your website should be image-less or you risk boring your audience. Lastly, be sure to include Alt and Title tags on each image in order to maximize SEO benefit (search engines can’t read images, so these tags will tell them what the picture’s all about)

5. Sitemap

A sitemap is the index of your website. It shows search engines all of the pages on your site, so their bots can crawl more efficiently. For your tech-savvy users, a sitemap is the ideal place to locate specific info without having to dig through content pages for it.

6. Meta Data

If your website were a book, the meta data would be the chapter name (Title), synopses of the chapters’ contents (Description), and a list of the topics covered by the contents (Keywords).  While Google or other search engines can get an idea of what’s where by skimming through your website, the meta data gives them a definitive answer of each page’s purpose and tells them what to look for. The result is a more thorough and efficient indexing by search engines, which means better results for you!

7. Links

Your website needs links coming in, connecting pages, and going out, but there’s a strategy to each that will harm you if not followed properly. In every case, links should be of high quality- meaning that they should connect to relevant URLs that get positive traffic (such as Yelp, Facebook, Wikipedia, etc.). They should also be strategic; incoming links should never be too numerous, internal pages should link only to other related pages, and outgoing links should be used to build relationships with similar websites and/or enhance your geographical information. As with most aspects in digital marketing, quality is much more beneficial than quantity.

8. Social Media Integration

There are several ways to go about linking social media to your website. The bare minimum should be adding buttons on the site leading to your social media pages and vice versa, but the more engagement you can provide the better! The good news is that this kind of traffic provides the same benefit as other internal/external links, but the amount and frequency is entirely in your control.

9. Blog

Nowadays, information is what drives customer interest. Blog articles give you the chance to indirectly sell your brand and/or services while discussing other topics that your ideal customer would be interested in, a strategy known as content marketing. Essentially, a blog should be used to build credibility and familiarity with your customer; when used with social media, it can heavily boost traffic and expand brand awareness.

10. Entertainment!

This has been neglected in most websites, but really shouldn’t. With the number of businesses competing in any industry, you need to really stand out in peoples’ minds. There’s no better way to do this than to make using the website a fun experience for them. Interactive features, web videos, compelling content, and visual design are just a few of the ways that customer experience can be enhanced with a little entertainment, and keep users coming back for more!

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