No matter what your website looks like, there are a number of things it should definitely include. To immediately draw in a potential customer, a slick design and easy to read layout is key. But the content on your website and the topics included can make or break whether someone stays on your webpage, taking some time to browse and make an order, or simply click away. If you’re just starting out and are yet to design your website it can be exciting to plan and develop a style that suits both you and your business. What you need to include are some critical design elements and some crucial pieces of information.
Key Website Elements
1. Domain name
First and foremost, pick an easy to understand domain name that you also want to use in your company email addresses. Choose something that is simple to spell and that a user can type in without any confusion. Try to avoid using hyphens and numbers in URLs as they can create SEO challenges and are easy to misspell.
Take a look at any website and you’ll notice that they all have one thing in common – a menu bar at the top of the page. This makes it easy for the reader to navigate a website easily and find their way around to all the different pages. It used to be common for websites to include a detailed site map but nowadays a clear menu bar and a search function box, where required, is much easier to work with. Use drop-down menus to save space and clearly layout different pages and categories.
3. Images & Video
Engaging, fun and enticing images that showcase your products are a great way to engage with your audience. Use white space and images to contrast one another so the customer doesn’t become overwhelmed. Behind the scenes videos and images of your product or service in action are surefire ways to show off any jobs you’ve completed and build confidence in your brand.
4. SEO Keywords
Include SEO keywords within your content and images (within alt text) to boost your possibility of standing out in Google search results. There are lots of SEO guides available but in basic terms: include words you want to be associated with, within your content, ensuring title pages and URLs are named correctly.
Ensure that your online content is protected with a reputable and secure hosting platform that offers SSL. Without an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate, your content and business can be hijacked which could cost you customers and bring headaches trying to get yourself back online. Securing your website using an SSL certificate enables encrypted connections and an extra layer of security.
6. Responsive design
Check if your website design is responsive and assess whether it’s accessible, for example, is it easy to read for those with vision impairment. A responsive website means the images and text design change their layout to fit the device (desktop, laptop, mobile phone etc) you’re viewing it on. Many website themes now come with responsive designs automatically built into their templates which you can view before publishing.
7. Key Information
Remember to include your most important information above the fold – where content is visible on your screen before scrolling – so it’s seen immediately by your customers when they land on your homepage.
Make sure to include what you do in a clear and concise manner. A simple description is best so your reader doesn’t have to hunt for information and can quickly decide if you offer what they need. Grab their attention and encourage them to stay on your website for longer.
9. About You (and your team)
Images of you, your story of how you came to run or be involved in the process of setting up your business will give your readers a behind the scenes peek into your brand. This enforces trust and security – proof that you are a reputable brand with real people and a passion behind your product or service.
10. Calls-to-action and Contact Information
Calls-to-action are the most important aspect to include on your website. Include them above and beow the fold on your home page and throughout your site so that customers don’t have to seek out how to contact you. Outline what you expect from your clients such as dropping you an email, signing up to your newsletter or booking a consultation.
Don’t forget to include your opening times, contact info such as email and phone number, plus any special information, for example in regards to COVID-19 precautions.
11. Mission Statement and/or Vision Statement
Including a page on your website that outlines your mission statement and vision statement can help to build trust between you and your customer base. A mission statement explains what you are setting out to do and the impact you’d like to create with your business. Your vision statement is what the outcome to look like and include taking the reader on a journey into the future of your brand.
12. List Your Benefits
Absoutely include a list of benefits to your customers, not just your features. In addition to your day to day business do you also run workshops or send out an email newsletter? Include a signup form (using a provider such as Mailchimp for example) to capture people’s emails and send them regular information.
13. Testimonials and Customer Success Stories
Quotes from customers are great but if you’re just starting out you may not have many under your belt. Include them if you do, along with any customer success stories, whether written or via video testimonial. Also include reviews and ratings from sites such as Yell.com or Trustpilot.Read this guide on the top design elements and information your website needs to include. Click To Tweet
Web surfers are known to have a short attention span and first impressions definitely matter so it’s best to keep your overall design clear, concise and easy to read to engage your readers. Overall, focus on including include fresh and quality content, and aim for your brand message to be simple and obvious at first glance.