Running a business includes a wide variety of responsibilities to find and attract customers who will benefit from your product or services. One of the most critical aspects of being found by potential buyers is having a website that is not only visible but also educational and easy to navigate. By implementing the key features of a good website, you ensure that your visitors will more than likely have a positive experience.

The following information should help you get the ball rolling toward building a strong digital presence.

Website Essentials and Characteristics

Even though creating a business website has many layers, this guide highlights some of the most important website components and characteristics.

Clear Navigation and Site Structure

Highly crucial for both user experience and SEO, a clear site structure can help visitors find essential information that they need in the fastest way possible as well as make it easy for search engines to crawl your website.

How it benefits the user:

  • In short, critical information to your business is easily available; therefore, users have the ability to click through to important pages even if they have never visited a given website before and are unfamiliar with the layout. By clicking through, users can access the information that they need in order to accomplish their goals.

Take the example below. If one were to visit Papa John’s website, they could look at the menu, place an order and find a nearby location — all from the main navigation.

The main navigation on the Papa John's Pizza website successfully directs users to important pages that allow visitors to make informed decisions.

How it benefits SEO:

  • Vaguely, strong site structure and page hierarchy allows a website to get crawled more easily by bots like Googlebot. The bot makes associations with how pages are linked within a website and their connections with one another. When a website is crawled, the bot reads content and stores it in an index so that it can refer users to certain pages based on the content’s match to specific search queries.

The example below illustrates site structure.

Sitemap: University of Texas

Image source

Mobile Compatibility

According to Cisco, global mobile data traffic grew by an astounding 69% in 2014.  With that, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that 51% of time spent on the Internet comes from mobile devices, whereas only 42% of time spent online comes from desktop. What does this mean for you? It’s safe to assume that if you are not visible to your audience on mobile search and aren’t offering users an optimal experience on your mobile website, then they will go elsewhere. However, it also means that business owners have an opportunity to reach their audience on another outlet.

Obvious Goals

Due to the shrinking attention span of the average individual, companies need to make their goals clear to users. In other words, what do you want your visitors to do on your website and the pages within your site? Do you want them to:

  • Subscribe to your newsletter?
  • Schedule an appointment?
  • Sign up for a free trial?
  • Etc.

Regardless of your goals, a website shouldn’t leave users with any doubt about why a company exists. Furthermore, it could be beneficial to tailor lead forms to specific pages on your website, especially since certain pages will be targeted to users who may be at different stages in the purchasing funnel.

In this example, ABC Corp is a B2B company that offers proprietary software. Perhaps on a page that discusses the different value propositions of their product, they offer users the opportunity to download case studies that illustrate their product’s success with other companies. Ideally, presenting potential customers with this information will help grow interest in their product and drive prospects to move forward with their research.

Whereas on their Pricing and Subscription page, they may offer users a free 30-day trial. The reasoning behind the different offers is because ABC Corp can assume that most users who visit the Pricing and Subscription page are farther along in the funnel and are closer to making a purchase. As a result, they want to give visitors a trial run of using their product to help close the deal and generate a subscription — the company’s leading source of revenue.

Contact Information

This should have its own section on the navigation. Or, if you’re like Papa John’s and have multiple stores, you should have a “Store Locator” or “Locations” tab.

Let’s assume you’re a local business, though. On the Contact page, there should be an email address, phone number and contact form. It’s ideal that the contact information can be clicked in order to send an email or to call the company directly. This is especially advantageous because most smartphones have a click-to-call function. Furthermore, an email address that includes your company’s domain — compared to an address hosted by, say, gmail — adds credibility to your brand. Lastly, adding a Google Map to a Contact page can help visualize precisely where a company is located.

Website Security

A necessity for businesses selling goods online, an SSL certificate provides potential buyers with assurance that a website is safe. An SSL is used to secure credit card transactions, data transfer and logins.

Social Media Integration

Today’s plugged-in users can be a brand’s greatest advocate. By including social media icons on your website, you enable visitors to engage with your brand through multiple channels. To help drive this point home, it’s important to note that 28% of all online activity is spent on social media networks. Don’t miss out on a golden opportunity to connect with your audience and potentially reach additional prospects.

How We Can Help

If you’re interested in learning how we can help your business compete in the digital marketplace, schedule a free strategy session today.