What content do you want to include on your website exactly and what will make it stand out? This can obviously vary for different industries, but there are more than just a few fundamental elements that every website needs to have across the board. Check these out:
A sensible web address with a secure hosting platform
Trust us when we say that you don’t want to make things complicated from the outset. With this in mind, ideally, your domain name should feed into your brand and be nice and simple for a prospect to type in or search. It is advised that you try and avoid dashes as these can play havoc with SEO and also try and stay away from numbers if at all possible as these are known to cause confusion for customers.
Once you have a sensible web address confirmed, you need to secure yourself a hosting platform in order to launch your website. I’m sure you are aware that there are plenty of bad guys out there on the open web who wouldn’t think twice about hijacking any of your information. In order to keep your businesses information safe, and therefore keep your customers around, it is imperative that you have a secure, trustworthy hosting company. You should also keep your content management system updated.
A Homepage with a clear value proposition
Your homepage should be eye-catching, clear and informative. It is most likely to be the first page that a prospect sees when they find you online and so it needs to show exactly what you do, who you do it for, how you do it best and why you do it. If visitors to your website don’t see this and more importantly understand it, straight away, they are not likely to stick around to find out. Keep it brief.
Links to your social media channels
It’s great that visitors are on your website and could become warm leads or potential customers, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t think of ways to make this benefit your social accounts too. You should always include widgets on your website, with links to each of your active social accounts, as standard practice.
You want to grow your following on social channels at the end of the day and having these links on your website is a good way of directing people to them. Make sure the links all work and that your social profiles are not only up to date and in line with your branding, but that you are actively posting and engaging on them.
This is a must have for any website out there. How many times have you been desperate to get a company on the phone but had no luck? Too many businesses fail to provide sufficient contact information on their website and this could well be losing them potential customers. Current customers aren’t going to be best pleased either if they can’t get a hold of you about something.
Make sure your website contains your contact information: A phone number, an email address and a mailing address. These details are typically located in the footer of your website for easy access, as well as having their own page in many instances.
Glowing Client Testimonials
Positive testimonials from previous or current clients are a great way of showing off what you are capable of. You can do a job well and leave your customer happy.
Research shows that well over two thirds of people admit to trusting online reviews, or testimonials, when it comes to business. This proves just how important they can be in business. Be sure to include some glowing testimonials on your website, to build trust and leave visitors feeling confident that you know what you are talking about. You want them to be able to picture themselves working with you successfully.
Blogging is an integral part of your online content marketing strategy, whether you are a small business or a huge global company. Your blog content shows readers what you know, what you do and what you can offer, alongside other things.
This being the case, it is therefore important to have a Blog on your website, whether it is built into and hosted by it directly, or merely a link to a third party publishing platform such as Medium. The benefits of having your Blog as part of your website far outweigh hosting it with someone else however.
Here are 4 reasons that you need a Blog on your website:
- It will drive traffic to your website
- It will increase your SEO/ SERP. Just keep your content fresh!
- It helps readers to become familiar with your brand
- It will help you to develop better customer relationships
Clear Calls to Action (CTA)
Always include Calls to Action in your website pages. In other words, what you actually want people to do and how you are going to affect their behaviour. Typically, that behaviour is to try and get in touch with you about something.
When you’ve presented a problem and how you are going to solve it on a page, always make sure you have a button on there somewhere so people can actually get a hold of you. The call to action may also allow them to sign up to become a member or receive email updates.
For example, on the homepage of our website, The Cakemix, we describe what it is we do and the benefits of working with us to get the job done, but we don’t just want to build a picture for prospects, we want to encourage them to get in touch with us too. We do this through the use of a call to Action button, which visitors can click on in order to reach out to us. This is the next step.
Original, high-quality Images
When it comes to your website, you want to build credibility for your business and engage your audience. This cannot be done by using poorly chosen or low-resolution images within it. The imagery is as important, if not more so in some cases, as the written content on each page; it is what visitors to your website see first. These visitors will paint a picture of you as a company, based on what they see. Show them good quality, well thought-out images!
It’s also worth noting here that stock images, however convenient to use, are almost always easily recognisable as such and will not engage users. How can they? They don’t represent your brand or what you are about.
Using real photos of you, your team, the office and products you offer will only paint a realistic picture of what people can expect when working with you. All of these images should be high-quality images as this will show professionalism and attention to detail.
Meet the Team
Think of your business as a Trade boat. Every business has a team behind it making it sail and every team has a ‘top dog’ at the helm to steer them. Without this team the boat wouldn’t sail and there would be no trade. With this in mind, you could go as far as to say that your business is your team! They are vital and you should show them off on your website. Why not include pictures and a bio; you could make them fun as well as informative.
There are a number of benefits to including your team on your website, including;
- Clients are more likely to become emotionally invested in your business if it is more personable. If people can put a face to a name, this will make for a far less stale relationship from the offset.
- You can show off your team’s expertise, both collectively and as individuals, boosting confidence in your company’s abilities. You can include links to their LinkedIn pages too to confirm the facts.
Products and Services
We have already established that your homepage typically shows your value proposition and gives an overview of what your company does, but where does the detail come in? It is really important to go into more information around the products and services that you offer as a business, so that any visitors to your website can find the areas that interest them and read up on them. In order to do this, products and services should be split up and visitors should be able to easily navigate between them, to see what is right for them. It is therefore important to include sections or pages around these products, or services on your website.
Having detailed information on your products and services available on your website not only offers a bit more for prospects to absorb, but it also helps your page rank higher for those services in search engines.
Every website would benefit from having an FAQ page, or section at least, and yet many don’t. Your FAQ page is your space to answer any questions that you are asked over and over again. Having the answers to these questions on the website tells everyone, on a single page, what they need to know without them having to ask. Having these commonly asked questions answered already will only serve to save you time answering them on a daily basis.
It is important that you provide honest answers for each question as you can bet your bottom dollar that people will refer back to them if you end up offering more than you can deliver. Try and make your answers calls to action and persuade people to take the next step and buy into you as a company.
These documents, however boring, are a must for each and every website. If you want to be taken seriously then you will include both of these for your business.
Any Relevant Certifications or Associations
If your business has received recognition, won an award or if members of your team have been certified in relevant areas of business, then show these achievements off on your website. There is no point in certificates getting lost in a file cabinet or dusty on the office wall. Industry recognition like this will only show you in a positive light; you aren’t just blowing your own horn, you are in fact credible, trustworthy experts in your field!
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
SEO is essentially a set of rules for optimizing your website for it to achieve higher rankings when searched for organically. It generally increases the quality of a website by making it faster and both easier to use and navigate.
SEO is more important than it has ever been at the moment with search engines serving up solutions to millions of users each and every day. Get the SEO to your web copy and your blogs right and reap the rewards.
When it comes to copy, Google won’t really recognize text that’s below 300-400 words as particularly valid. If you end up writing a Blog, but it only contains 200-300 words for instance, this is most probably not enough content to make a positive effect. Realistically, you are looking at about 500 words to be safe. Google will then look at this and think ‘Right, they’ve spent some time on it and it appears that they’ve got something useful to say over a reasonably sustained period so let’s rank it higher in the Search.’