Business websites are designed to generate significant amounts of traffic, engage visitors, and reliably convert leads. Is your website delivering on all these fronts? Or, do you have to make do with a handful of visitors each week and one or two conversions every month?

If so, you could be lacking a few website essentials. A great website is characterized by five things;

1. Flawless web design

The best websites are simple for easy navigation, light for fast loading, and functional i.e. no clutter. Make sure that visitors can clearly see navigation options (including links and menus). Also, observe best practices to avoid poor browsing experiences. For example, it’s good practice to leave plenty of white space between elements to avoid overwhelming visitors. It is also good practice to keep menu items to a minimum.

Other points to remember include; designing based on the rule of thirds, compressing images to boost page load times, and using human faces to elicit an emotional response. Above all, make your website mobile friendly.

2. Great website content

There are many reasons you need high-quality content on your site. For one, content plays a huge role in SEO. On Google, Bing, and the other search engines, you need exceptional content to rank in the top positions. Additionally, great content is what keeps visitors around and gets your readers coming back. No one is going to stick around if your content doesn’t meet their standards. Also, no one will return to your website if they didn’t enjoy the last visit.

To this end, work on improving both the quality and quantity of your content. With regards to quality, be original and proofread to strike out any typos, grammatical mistakes, and misspelling. As for quantity, a complementary blog that is added to weekly with longer form, resource-rich content is a must-have.

3. An About section/page

According to a recent article in the Huffington Post, “people want to connect names and faces to the brands they love.” Why? Because it’s our nature! We are more comfortable with the things we ‘ve been exposed to before. If something feels unfamiliar, we begin to worry about the consequences of exposing ourselves to it. What if the experience is not pleasant? In most cases, this uncertainty causes us to be extremely cautious with new stimuli. This is known as survival optimization.

To avoid such situations,  create an About section/page with information on both you and the business. When did you start the company? What challenges did you go through? What are your goals? What are your company values? Providing such information plus a few behind the scenes photos/videos can help build familiarity.

4. Social proof

You’ve likely heard about herd mentality or herd behavior. As explained in Psychology Today, the term describes how humans are frequently influenced by their peers to act emotionally with little regard for rational consequences. Multiple studies have been conducted on this topic, with findings showing that when people don’t have a strong opinion about choices presented to them, they simply mimic the people around them.

Savvy businesses are now incorporating this into their marketing strategies. By sharing testimonials, peer reviews, and social indicators (shares, tweets, retweets, etc) on your website, you can build trust and appeal to undecided prospects.

5. Conversion points

Finally, every website also needs conversion points. The top three that come to mind are Calls to Action (CTAs), lead capture forms, and contact information. Starting off with CTAs, pay attention to design, wording, and placement. Design includes things like font type and size, button shape and size, and CTA color. Studies show that different design elements give different results. The wording is also very important. Ideally, you want just a few words on your CTA, around 3 or less. Ensure to use words that encourage immediate action. For placement, refer to this Unbounce case study.

With regard to contact information, a special contact page should do the job. As for lead capture forms, refer to this InstaPage guide.

Don’t Stop There

There are many other things you need on your website including; site security, social media integration, XML sitemaps, quality meta descriptions, and permanent 301 Redirects. However, these can come after you are complete with the five points discussed above.

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