A website must look good on the surface, at the very least, but you also want it to be functional. If your website takes too long to load, is cluttered with a lot of information or is difficult to navigate through, it matters very little how well designed it is, people will simply get frustrated and leave.
It’s in your best interest to know what your consumer is looking for when they arrive on your site. You also want to keep up with all the latest trends, as this is the only way for you to ensure that your customers will get the best possible experience when they arrive on your page.
If you would like to know the five essential features that your website should have, then I recommend you continue reading.
1. Mobile Friendliness
With all the changes on how people access the internet, it’s no longer acceptable to create websites focusing exclusively on how it looks on a computer screen. Today, over 60% of all web browsing is carried out on a smartphone, with more and more people using their phones for things such as purchases and finding information.
If your website isn’t designed with the mobile user in mind, you could potentially lose 60% of all web traffic; along with any potential sales. Thus, it’s in your best interest to ensure that your site is mobile friendly, by using the appropriate theme, enabling consumers to access your site, irrespective of the device they’re doing it on. Making your website mobile ready could be all you need, to see your traffic and sales sky rocket. Just be sure not to abandon tablets and PCs, as you still want it to work on those devices too.
2. Crucial Business Information
A website is as good as useless, if customers are unable to contact you through it, or find out where your store is located (if you have one, that is), or your shipping information and any other associated business information.
You want to put yourself in the consumer’s shoes, and think about what he/she might want to look for, when on your site. If your website is for a restaurant, then it’s unlikely that your average consumer would want to read you’re ‘about’ section.
Instead, they’d be looking for information on your menu, location and closing times. You want to ensure that these sections of the website are most visible, so customers can easily access them, wherever they are on your website.
3. Fast Loading Times
If your website loads very slowly, it can have a massive effect on the overall performance of it. Not only will it rank lower in the search engines, but consumers are far more likely to abandon a website if it takes too long to load up. Statistics have shown that a one second delay is capable of decreasing your sites conversion rate by 7%. Depending on the line of business you’re in, profits may be marginal, in which case, improving your sites loading times could be the difference between success and failure.
There are so many things on your site that are capable of slowing it down, and one of the best ways for you to discover what these things may be, is to use the Google Page Speed Insights tool. You could also opt to host your site with a good hosting company that uses optimised servers.
4. Clear Navigation
A map is totally useless if it doesn’t have a legend, and likewise, a website serves no function, if it lacks navigation. You want your navigation to use names that are easy to understand, for all the different pages of your site – About, Contact, FAQ, etc. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel here, you want to stick with the conventions.
When creating the navigation for your site, you need to adopt a strategy that encompasses a call to action. What are the things your consumer may be looking for, while on your site? Are they looking to place an order? Or maybe they’re looking for a quote? They could be looking to speak to a customer support agent? Or to sign up? You want to ensure that your goals are obvious and clear.
5. Optimised For Search Engines
If you do the SEO properly on your site, it can have huge ramifications for your sites traffic and potential revenue generation. However, when it comes to search engine optimisation, this is a continual process, which is made up of three areas: On-Page Optimisation (which is basically content quality and keywords), On-Site Optimisation (which is, sitemaps, metadata and site speed) and Off-Site Optimisation (which is page rank and quality backlinks). You want to ensure that you keep a healthy balance of all three, to ensure you don’t over optimise the site, or spam the internet, and that (UX) user experience is taken into account when creating the site.