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Your website is one of the most powerful weapons in your digital marketing arsenal. Your website can expose you to new market segments, grow your customer base, showcase your business, and persuade potential customers that your product or services are exactly what they are looking for. A strong, engaging website which is designed for a great user experience that converts visitors to customers is a literal gold mine to grow your customer base, and increase your bottom line.
However, as much as it has never been more important to have a great website, it equally has never been this challenging to keep up with your competition and stay on top of your website game. With a staggering 1.7 billion live websites now online, and many of them precision-designed for SEO, CRO and UX, the competition is fierce.
This means if you want your website to work for you and deliver all the benefits that it has the potential to provide, you need to make sure it covers all the bases, and contains the most important elements to make it effective. Here are the top 7 essential elements your website should have in order to best serve your business.
1. Strong Branding
Whether you are a major global brand or a small local business, your brand is everything. Your brand tells your customers who you are, helps to build trust, and ultimately convinces them to buy your product. As with all aspects of your communications strategy, your website must represent your brand inside and out. When designing your site make sure to keep your brand values, tone and messaging at the forefront of your mind so that absolutely every aspect of your site promotes your brand.
2. Mobile-Friendly Design
As you probably already know, we are now living in a multi-device environment. Users regularly use multiple devices as part of their daily lives, including but not limited to desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and smart speakers. Arguably, the type of device that is winning the race is the smart phone, with more than half of all website traffic now coming from mobile devices. When it comes to website development, this means that it critical for your website to look equally stunning on all devices, and above all, on mobile ones.
3. Divided Screen
One of the leading trends in website design is split screen design: this means dividing the screen into two sections, each able to scroll independently of one another (and sometimes even at different scroll paces!). This not only provides a more interesting and more engaging design for the site, it literally doubles the amount of content and information you can display to users at the same time.
Great search engine optimisation is absolutely essential for any business in 2020. With 87% of customers searching for products online first and foremost, if your site is not optimised for Google you are missing out on a great deal of web traffic, and with it a large number of potential customers. SEO is something you simply cannot afford to overlook, and so it is worth investing time and resources to get this right: do extensive keyword research, use other SEO tactics such as content marketing, track your site’s SEO performance, and if needed consult with SEO experts to make sure you are at the top of your SEO game.
5. Service Offerings
There are many types of sites, ranging from one-page landing pages to extensive sites with many categories, subcategories, regular blog posts and so on. The kind of site you need will depend on your business, and budget to build and maintain it will also be a consideration here. However, regardless of the size of your site, make sure that you include the basic information about the products and services you offer. Users will be reaching your site having found you on Google, being referred from elsewhere, or because they’re already aware of your business and want to learn more. In any of these cases, you want to convey to them what you sell and why they should buy it.
6. A Sense of Humor
Humor is one of humanity’s great unifiers, and using it on your website is a powerful way to create trust and promote better engagement, and strengthen your relationship with your customers. There will be a few exceptions to this: certain types of businesses may feel that humor is simply inappropriate for their brand. However, as a general rule, including some humor on your site can go a long way. This is particularly true when it is included in expected places, such as on the most mundane parts of your site like the 404 error page.
7. Persuasive Calls to Action
At the end of the day, your website serves one main purpose: to get visitors to buy your products or services. Make sure it does this effectively by including plenty of persuasive calls to action on your site. This is an important part of the sales funnel, which moves users through to ultimately buying what you’re selling. With modern web design techniques and resources, you can be creative with your CTA’s in order to better engage users, such as using animated or pop-up elements which call on them to sign up, book a consultation, or buy a product.
Your website does not need to represent a huge investment for your business. With a little research, you can learn how to make a website for free or at least with a modest budget. Whether you build your own site or hire a professional to do it for you, make sure you include these 7 essential elements to ensure you have a strong, effective website that will support your business to grow and succeed.