The Key Elements of a Website: A Checklist for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses
For many of your customers, the first impression that they have with your business and your brand will come in the form of your website. A well-designed, thoughtful website is the best kind of marketing tool – the one that doesn’t need to eat or sleep and that does its job 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. A poorly constructed site is, well… the exact opposite of that. As you and your team sit down to design a website for your small or medium-sized business, there are a few specific elements that you’ll want to make sure you’ve included.
Header and LogoThe importance of including both a header and a logo on your website cannot be overstated enough. For starters, they’re both incredibly helpful in terms of building brand continuity – they’re usually the first things that people look at when they visit your page and they’re elements that your visitors expect to be included. Making sure that the logo on your website also matches the logo on other materials (like your social media channels or even print materials) is also helpful in terms of making all of your content feel like it’s coming from the same place. It builds instant trust and immediate brand recognition. Your logo in particular is also important for another reason – navigation. Many people assume that the logo on a website is something akin to a “Home” button. They can click on it from any other page and automatically be redirected to your home page – or at least, that’s the way it should work.
Simple NavigationWhen designing a website, you always need to make navigation decisions with simplicity in mind. You need to make it painfully obvious for users how to access the content they’re looking for or how to naturally discover more information about the products and services that you offer. If your site is too difficult to navigate – especially on a touch screen interface or other smaller mobile device – they’re going to go elsewhere to find what they need.
Opt-In OfferYou’ll also want to include some type of opt-in offer almost immediately after the page loads. Start directing your visitors to take action immediately and if the offer is compelling enough, they will. This can be something as simple as asking people to provide their e-mail address to sign up for your mailing list. If you prime people for engagement with your site immediately, rest assured that this will carry through to the rest of their experience, too.
Sidebar with Appealing ContentIncluding a sidebar with appealing content is also helpful for a few different reasons. For starters, it feeds directly back into that “Simple Navigation” point – a sidebar stays in place regardless of where the user goes on your site, which is helpful from their perspective in terms of finding the content they need. If you populate that site with links to your site’s most appealing content, it also helps direct the user precisely where you want them to go as quickly as possible.
Conversion Focused PagesIn terms of a small or medium-sized business, websites ultimately won’t mean a thing if they aren’t optimized with the most important goal of them all in mind: conversions. You have a specific action that you want the user to take, whether it’s to buy a product or service or contact you for more information. You need to make sure your pages are built in a way that makes this A) obvious and B) incredibly easy. Include detailed calls-to-action whenever and wherever you can to help accomplish this goal. If you explain what action you want someone to take and why they should care in the first place, rest assured they’ll follow your lead.
Video Throughout SiteIn terms of the modern day business website, video is also a hugely important element for a number of reasons. Not only does it make your site more compelling and engaging, but it also convinces people to stick around far longer than they would if they were greeted by a wall of text. Take a look at some of the following statistics:
- Including just a single video on a landing page can increase the conversion rates of that page by as much as 80%.
- 92% of mobile video consumers who responded to a survey said that they’re very likely to share video content they like with others.
- If you combine video with full page ads, you have the potential to boost engagement by up to 22%.
- After watching just a single video, 64% of Internet users said that they were “much more likely” to buy a product online.