The internet is cluttered with horrendous and awful business websites. You may think that you have a snazzy, professional-looking design, but there are many essential website features that go into the construction of a user-friendly website. Today, people not only expect to find you online, they expect your site to be user-centered. Consequently, your website is not for you, it is for your audience.

Every day, there are thousands of new websites and millions of content pages created. Therefore, standing out in the crowd requires some patience and thoughtfulness. In today’s business world, a website is the focal point of one’s entire digital marketing strategy. It is a communication tool, not an online brochure. No matter how slick your website appears, online ranking requires effort. In order to help you, below is a list of some essential website features that every business should have.

Regardless, before we get started, these recommendations do not typically fall under the categories of “bells and whistles” or “new website design trends”. This list includes those essential website features required to attract traffic, increase online ranking, convert leads, and grow sales. Faddish marketing trends will come and go because they are just that… FADS!

What are the essential website features?

1. Visible Contact Information 

While a contact page is a basic component of every business website, don’t force your visitors to click a link to find your address, phone number, or email. Don’t make prospects hunt for how to contact you:

  • Have your phone number or email at the top of each page included in your navigation.
  • Have your footer include complete contact information.
  • Have a contact form at the bottom of each page.

2. Easy Navigation

Your visitors will become frustrated if they cannot find the information they are looking for in 2 or 3 clicks. A menu of your site’s main pages and categories should be at the top of most pages, excluding your landing pages. It is only when they find the information that they are looking for that you will capture their attention or convert a customer.

3. Fresh and Valuable Content

There is a well-known secret no one told you about. Even with the best SEO practices, content that does not inspire human engagement will likely not rank well. Online ranking and search algorithms use human behavior, such as click-throughs, time on site, bounce rates, and more, to evaluate popularity and authority.

Write content that has value to your target, prospects, leads, and customers.

4. Conversion Points

Effective inbound content is only part of a good digital marketing strategy. The typical person is not going to convert themselves. Your website needs to provide opportunities for conversion. That said, there are many stages to a consumer’s journey. Start the process by gaining a social follower or capturing an email address. Use powerful calls-to-action and compelling landing pages combined with free samples, contests, giveaways, discounts, and more.

5. Customer Testimonials

The simple fact is that the real customer experiences of others are more compelling than any marketing message. It is important to highlight when past customers have good things to say about you. Moreover, pulling those comments directly from review websites, like Google Reviews or Yelp or Angie’s List, will validate their authenticity.

6. SEO Best Practices

In order to get found through organic search, your website must have a good foundation of basic SEO best practices. In the long run, using questionable, black-hat techniques is not worth the possible short-term increase to your website traffic. If you are publishing the content that your target audience wants to read is more powerful than any magical practices.

7. Analytic Integration

The only way for you to know what works is with website analytics. You not only need to know how many visitors you are earning, but also how long they stay on your site, if they are new or returning, where they came from, which pages they were on, and the last page they viewed. You need all this data and more so that you can continue to develop your website, create more powerful content, and eliminate elements that don’t work.

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