12 Things Every Business Website Needs
You can almost think of your business’s website as a window into your business. By peeking into this window, customers get to see what your business is all about, what you offer them, and how you can solve their problems. The thing is, much like a regular store window, if customers don’t like what they see, they won’t bother coming in.
For this reason, it’s crucial that, when developing and maintaining your business’s website, you get it right. The problem is that there are so many things you need to consider, and if you go by all the advice out there, it could get confusing and complicated quite easily.
Fortunately, we’re here to help and in this post, we’ll cut the confusion by looking at 12 things every business website needs.
Domain and Hosting
The first things you’ll need to do when developing your business’s website is choose a name and find somewhere to host it. In other words, you’ll need a domain name and hosting provider. While this might sound obvious at first, there are some important considerations when choosing your domain name and hosting provider.
Let’s first consider your domain name. When choosing a domain name, you’ll ideally want to use your business’s name. In some cases, though, this might not be possible, so you would need to consider alternatives that are appropriate for your business.
Either way, it’s important that you keep it short and use a domain name that’s easy to type. Also, you should aim to make your domain name memorable. Combined, these tactics will ensure that your customers find your site easily and remember its name for future visits.
When it comes to website hosting, you might have seen that there are a ton of options out there that you can choose from. When you do, you should ensure that your hosting provider provides packages that suit your needs and requirements. In this way, you won’t overpay for features you don’t need or end up with a package that lacks important features.
In addition, you should also look at several other aspects. For instance, you should consider what uptime the hosting provider guarantees. There’s nothing worse than a customer going to your website only to find that it’s down. Also, if you happen to encounter any issues, the hosting provider should offer world-class support.
Branding and Design
Once you’ve decided on a domain name and found a hosting provider, the next thing you should consider is the branding and design of your website.
We mentioned earlier that your website is almost like a store window and, if it’s inviting, users will spend more time there and want to know more about your business. The expression, “first impression count” is no less true when it comes to your website.
As such, your website’s design and branding should be clean and modern. This design goes beyond pleasing colours and fancy logos, though.
Your branding shows your customers what your business’s values are and what they can expect when they buy your products or services. In other words, your branding and design represents your business and helps you stand out from the competition.
In addition, because your website is likely the first aspect of your entire online presence you’ll develop, your branding and design lays the foundation for your social media presence, marketing and promotional materials, emails, and more. It’s, ultimately, this consistency that helps you build your reputation and credibility online.
It goes without saying that your website should have a strong purpose. If it does, every visitor will know what you do and what you want them to do.
Keep in mind, though, that this purpose will depend on your business’s needs and it’s up to you to figure out what this purpose is. For example, it could be to sell your products or services, build and nurture relationships with your customers, or drive advertising revenue.
No matter what your website’s purpose is, once it’s well defined, it will shape the strategies you’ll use to support it.
We’ve now seen that your website must have the right domain name, a good hosting provider, catchy branding and design, and communicate a strong purpose. Now, we come to one of the most important things your business’s website needs – the right pages.
Let’s face it, every business is unique. As such different businesses need different content on their websites. Despite this, there are some pages every business’s website needs, no matter what type of business or the products or services they offer to their customers.
As such, every business’s website needs a:
- Homepage. Your website’s home page is the first touchpoint you’ll have with prospective customers and, as such, it should clearly demonstrate who you are and what your business does. When it comes to your homepage, it’s also important to remember that you only have a few seconds to capture your audience’s attention. As a result, it should make an immediate impact.
- Contact page. As the name suggests, your contact page should contain all the details your customers might need to get in contact with you. We’ll deal with this contact information in more detail later.
- About page. Your about page gives you the opportunity to give prospective customers some insights behind the scenes of your business. It shows them who your business is, gives them information on key personnel and helps you illustrate your value proposition.
- Products page. As the name implies, your products page is where you’ll give prospective customers details about the products you offer. As such, you’ll provide a list of the products you have available, a description of each, what benefits the product offers, and why your customers should buy these products from you.
- Services page. Like the product page, if you offer services, your services page will outline your offering. So, you’ll provide more details about every service, why you’re the right service provider to use, and the benefits your services will offer to your customers.
- Frequently asked questions page. Over time, you would have encountered some frequent questions your customers have about your products or services. Your frequently asked questions page is where you’ll put these questions and provide detailed answers to them.
- Terms and conditions page. Your terms and conditions page sets out the rules that your website’s visitors must agree to when they visit and use your website. You can almost think of this page as a contract between your business and your website’s visitors.
- Error page. Finally, you should create an error page that your visitors will be directed to when the page they want to visit can’t be found. While every website contains a generic error page, you should customize yours to include a link back to your homepage. This prevents visitors from clicking away and encourages them to go back to your site to find the information they need.
These are, at a minimum the pages your business’s website will need to provide customers with all the information about your business, what products or services you sell, and how they can get in touch with you. In addition to these pages, there are also two other pages that are just as important; your blog and reviews pages. We’ll look at these in more detail a bit later.
We’ve now seen what pages your business’s website needs and, in addition to these, it also needs a simple way to navigate these pages. If it does, your customers will be able to find the information they need quickly and easily. In turn, your conversion rate will increase, and your website will be more successful at converting visitors into customers. So, ultimately, you’ll need a navigation menu for your site.
Fortunately, when it comes to navigation, you have various options from navigation bars to sidebars, drop-down menus, and many more. No matter what option you choose, you should ensure that it’s both simple and intuitive to use.
One of the best ways to do this is by giving the most important pages on your website their own menu items and including drop-down menus for any ancillary information. This allows your customers to find the information they need by just scrolling through the menu.
We’ve mentioned earlier that your website needs a contact page. But now the question is: What contact information should you include on this page?
Simply put, you need to include all the contact details of where your customers can reach you. This means that you shouldn’t include an email address that no one checks or a phone number which no one answers.
Nowadays, it’s also important to remember that your customers use various channels to communicate, interact, and engage with businesses. This simply means that providing an e-mail address and telephone number might no longer be good enough and you’ll also need to include channels like social media, chat, and others.
Calls to Action
You obviously want your website to make it easier for you to gather leads for your business. But how will website visitors know what to do if you don’t tell them? This is where calls to action come in. They tell your prospective what to do and what they’ll get when doing it.
Considering this, your calls to action should be more than just buttons that say, “Click here” and there are several things you need to take into account. Your calls to action should be concise, positioned correctly, be clear about the value proposition and benefits of clicking through, and use the right tone.
Ultimately, it’s your calls to action that drive conversions from your website and, when you get them right, you’ll win more leads, make more sales, and generate more revenue.
Earlier, we mentioned that your website should have a review page. On this page, you’ll place customer testimonials that your website’s visitors can read. These testimonials offer several benefits.
Probably the most important of these benefits is that customer testimonials help you build trust. This is simply because they show new visitors to your website that you are a legitimate business with customers. And when you build this trust, you’ll be more likely to convert those visitors into leads because people tend to trust other people over businesses.
Moreover, customer testimonials allow you to demonstrate how your products or services work and how they solved other customers’ problems. In other words, these customer testimonials can show your website’s visitors the benefits of using your products or services.
Let’s now consider your blog page where you’ll post content. Great content is the key to increasing organic traffic to your website, either through search engines or social media platforms.
To create great content, you’ll need a few things. For one, your content needs to be relevant to your audience. In other words, it should be relevant to your audience’s unique needs and the challenges they face.
It’s these needs and challenges that drive their search behaviour on search engines and determine what they search for. In addition to being relevant, your content should also be valuable. This means that, once a user finds your content, it should solve the problem they’re aiming to solve.
When it is, prospects will not only be more likely to come back to your website in the future if they have a similar problem, but they’ll also be more likely to contact you.
Apart from relevance and value, there are also other aspects that you should take into account when creating content. For instance, your content should be easy to read and, as such, you should use the right language, font, and headings and lists where appropriate.
Also, your content should be shareable. As such, when you create relevant and valuable content, your audience will want to share it, but you should also give them ways to do this.
Optimized for SEO
Producing quality content that increases organic traffic to your website is only one piece of the puzzle, though. Your content should also be optimized for SEO. This means you should use the right keywords in your content, and you should align it with what your audience is searching for. When you do, you’ll increase your website’s chances of featuring in the search results.
In addition to aligning your content to your audience’s search intent, there are also some other things you’ll need to focus on. These include everything from your title and URLs, meta description, images, speed, backlinks, and more. In a previous post, we dealt with these aspects in more detail.
It’s also important that you implement website analytics when you launch your site. When you do, you’ll be able to see how many visitors visit your site, what they do there, who they are, their ages, locations, how they found your site, and so much more.
Flowing from this, you’ll get deeper insights into your website’s user experience and performance, how well your content is performing, and how much time users spend on your website. In turn, these insights help you develop strategies and implement the necessary measures to improve your website’s performance and conversion rate.
Keep in mind, though, that to get these insights, you’ll need to measure and track the right key performance indicators (KPIs). Here, some of the most important ones include:
- Traffic source. As the name suggests, this metric shows you where your traffic is coming from. This is important because it shows you if your website and content is reaching your target audience and winning leads for your business.
- Average session duration. This metric shows you the average amount of time every user spends on your website. From this, you can gauge the quality of your content and learn if it’s relevant to and valuable for your audience.
- Bounce rate. This metric is arguably one of the most important KPI’s you can track for your website. It shows you how many visitors visit a page on your website and leave without visiting any other pages. By implication, this then shows you if your website is delivering a positive user experience.
- Page speed. We mentioned earlier that page speed is important and this metric allows you to delve deeper into the speed of every page on your website. In this way, you can then identify those pages that perform poorly and implement the necessary strategies to improve.
- Pages per session. This metric shows you how many pages every visitor visits when they go to your website. The higher this umber, the better the user experience. In addition, this metric can give you insights into your audience’s behaviour, so you can align your website and marketing campaigns with their needs and expectations.
- Conversion rate. Finally, your website’s conversion rate shows you how many website visitors are converted into leads when visiting your website. This is a critical KPI to track when you want to measure your website’s ability to drive revenue.
These are just some examples of KPIs you might track, and there are many others you can choose from based on your unique needs and requirements.
Optimized for Mobile
Finally, but no less important, your website needs to be optimized for mobile. There are a few reasons for this. For one, more internet users browse websites and search for content using their mobile devices.
In fact, as of the first quarter of 2022, almost 91% of global internet users said they access the internet with their smartphones. In contrast, only 67% said they access the internet on their laptop or desktop computers. In addition, in 2021, more than half of global website traffic was generated by mobile devices. Simply put, it’s more likely that your customers will access your website using their mobile devices.
Moreover, Google launched a new search algorithm in 2015 that favours mobile optimized sites in its search results. This algorithm makes it possible to provide mobile users with high quality search results that are optimized for their phones or tablets. And it makes sense when you consider that over 60% of internet searches are done on mobile devices.
More importantly, when your website is optimized for mobile, you’ll make more sales and thus generate more revenue. This is for a few reasons. For example, on average, when your site ranks #1 in the mobile search results, you’ll get about 27% of the clicks, while ranking first on desktop will only get 19% of the clicks.
These clicks get customers to your site, but what happens when they’re there? Here, more than 61% of consumers say that they will be more likely to purchase from a business if its site is mobile optimised. In addition, over 70% of customers say there likely to return to a website if it’s mobile optimised.
In contrast, about 80% of customers will leave your website if it doesn’t display well on their mobile device. Considering these statistics, it’s clear that the user experience plays an important role in how well your website can convert and, as such, that it should be mobile responsive.
The Bottom Line
Your website forms the foundation of your online presence and, when done right, it can be an effective tool to attract customers, drive conversions, make more sales, and generate more revenue. Hopefully, this post helped illustrate the things your business’s website needs to be effective.
If you want to start the process of developing your website and you’re looking for a hosting provider, get in touch with HOSTAFRICA. We offer hosting packages for every budget, and we provide over 20,000 customers with fast and reliable hosting and world-class support.