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December 2021
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Having a website is essential for small businesses. It helps build an online presence and expand your reach. However, to maximize the website’s potential, website owners need to understand must-have web elements.

If your website misses important features, you may lose out on potential customers and revenue. It’s also worth mentioning that not all aspects available are necessary. If you try to include them all, your website will look cluttered.

This article will share ten essential features to include in your website and provide some examples for your inspiration.

1. Invest in Scalable Hosting

As your website grows, more visitors will come and increase the load on your server. If it exceeds the limits, your website can temporarily shut down, and the visitors won’t be able to access the content.

That’s why scalability is one of the most significant factors when choosing WordPress hosting for your website. It can add bandwidth, storage, and other resources on demand to match your website’s growth.

Cloud hosting can be a suitable option if you look for scalable hosting. It offers an auto-scaling tool, meaning it will automatically adjust the resources depending on the load of your website.

2. User-Friendly Site Navigation

Bad website navigation can make visitors confused. For instance, if they have to click many links until they find something they need, they won’t enjoy being on your website.

A rule of thumb is to make the navigation menu clear and visible. It’s often located at the top of the site and consists of About Us, Contact, Pricing, and Blog pages. If you have many things to include, consider using a hierarchical structure, like how Nike does.

Adding a footer menu is also recommended as it helps visitors explore essential links without having to scroll back up.

3. Simple User Interface

A simple user interface (UI) can remove distractions and help users complete a task easily, such as filling a form or finding a page. It’s also easier to scan so that people can see the most important parts of the content.

Dropbox is an excellent example of simple UI. It categorizes the content into different sections, helping visitors find what they’re looking for. It uses short paragraphs to maintain a clean look and provides a link leading visitors to a page containing more information.

4. Responsive Design

Mobile devices generate over 50% of global web traffic. Therefore, it’s essential to have a responsive design that automatically adjusts content and website elements to match the users’ screen size.

One brand that has a responsive web design is Slack.

On desktop and laptop, it displays full menus and uses a three-column layout to show customer logos. Meanwhile, it hides the menu in a hamburger menu button on smaller devices and presents the logos using a single-column layout.

5. Fast Loading Time

Website speed is one of the most essential factors that influences conversion rate, bounce rate, and SEO.

For instance, Walmart increased its conversions by 2% by speeding up its website’s loading time, while BBC lost its users due to a slow site speed. Cloudflare says this tends to happen because users like to stay and purchase products on fast-loading websites only.

A speed-checking tool like GTmetrix helps improve your site speed. It will show issues that slow down your website’s loading and provide actionable solutions.

6. High-Quality Content

Good content marketing answers audiences’ questions, resulting in them getting interested in your brand and coming back to consume more content.

High-quality content is also easy to read, and it’s engaging by using headings, bullet points, and visuals, like images and videos.

One of the larger companies to inspire your content marketing is Rosetta Stone. The language learning site creates content related to its brand, like terms in different languages and study abroad experiences. It also provides GIFs and images to make the articles more entertaining.

7. Solid Marketing Message

A marketing message refers to how you communicate to your target audience.

One method to have a strong marketing message is by displaying your unique selling point (USP) that your competitors can’t offer. For example, Warby Parker, an eyeglass brand, provides a personal quiz to filter frame options and lets customers try on five frames for free.

8. Clear Calls-to-Action

Call to action (CTA) is a text that persuades users to perform a specific action, such as “Buy now” or “Learn more.”

Make the words clear by using strong action words based on your intentions. For example, use the words “Add to cart” and “Shop now” for eCommerce, and “Subscribe” and “Join us” for a newsletter. These words will help your audience understand what they’re expected to do.

Skillshare’s website is an excellent example of good CTAs. Not only does it use strong action words, but it also makes the buttons pop up from the background.

9. FAQ and Contact Information Pages

Frequently asked question (FAQ) pages are a natural fit for SEO. More than 14% of searches are in the form of a question. For instance, instead of typing “lasagna recipe,” some people will search “how to make lasagna.”

McDonald’s is one of the best examples of the FAQ page. It uses questions to match people’s behavior. So, when their customers search for something, the search result will directly lead them to the FAQ page.

Another web must-have is the contact information page, usually consisting of your email address, a contact form, and store address, if any.

For example, PeopleMetrics puts its point on Google Maps, email, and social buttons on the right side of the contact page and contact form on the left page.

10. Add Social Proof

Social proof is the evidence that you have excellent products or services, helping influence people’s buying decisions. There are many types of social proof, like recommendations from influencers, reviews from previous customers, or certifications and awards.

One easy way to get social proof is by asking your previous customers for testimonials. They can send the reviews via private messages or mention your brand on social media.

Take a look at how Notion showcases the social proof. It makes the reviews appealing by gathering tweets from many users that like its products.

Conclusion

As you see, a well-designed website can do wonders for small businesses. It helps provide more information about your brand and increase revenue by building trust.

However, there are web design essentials you should focus on primarily to maximize the potential of your website, including:

  • Scalable hosting service
  • User-friendly site navigation
  • Simple UI
  • Mobile-friendly web design
  • Fast loading speed
  • High-quality content
  • Clear CTAs
  • FAQ and contact information pages
  • Social proof

Place these points in a checklist when designing your website, and you can be sure to gain maximum results from your site.


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