The Essentials: 8 Must-Haves for your Website

Because over 3.5 billion Google searches are made every day, it is clear that having a beautiful, user-friendly website is essential to bringing in clients. This reality can be overwhelming when designing a website. Every website looks different, but the successful ones have a few things in common. While there are many ways to design a website, including these elements is essential to making a good first impression, boosting traffic, and increasing conversion rates.

You must have an Informational Footer to ground your website design and provide a map for your users.

There is a reason every professional website has a footer: the footer is where users go when they have trouble finding information–especially contact information. If users have to spend more than a few seconds looking for your contact page, they will likely give up and go back to their original Google search, eventually investing their money in someone else’s services.

The footer should also include links to your FAQ, Privacy Policies, and Terms of Services pages, as well as any disclaimers and other pages that are necessary to have accessible to users, but not needed in your main navigation.

You must have a Contact Form to collect the information you want and need from interested customers.

There is some debate over whether businesses should have a contact form or their email/phone number on their website–but not much. Contact forms are widely regarded as the better option for many reasons. They are user more user-friendly and allow you to collect other information like project information, budgets, etc.

Contact forms are a great way to grow your audience as well. If you use a program like MailChimp, a contact form allows you to collect email addresses and send newsletters and batch emails. As an added bonus, contact forms also help limit the number of spam emails you receive when putting your email address directly on your site.

You must make a good first impression with Eye-Catching Imagery — Or Headline Text — to immediately engage a viewer.

In order to keep clients on your website and encourage them to click through your web pages, you must make a good first impression. Eye-catching imagery, quality photos, and visible, readable header text are the best ways to make sure you grab the attention of viewers and keep them on your site.

You must have Social Media Integration so potential customers have a more personal opportunity to engage with you.

Social media is one of the best ways to boost traffic and increase conversion rates. It is important to be active on multiple social media platforms; however, ensuring other people share your content is essential to growth. Make sharing easier for your users by including buttons that allow them to share instantly from your web page.

Social media can increase your web traffic, but the opposite is true, too. In addition to having share buttons on every post and web page, it is a good idea to have your social media feeds visible on your website. For example, you can display your Instagram feed as a gallery on your webpage. This will allow users to easily find your social media profiles, thereby allowing you to grow your following on social media, too.

You must have an About Page that authentically showcases who you are and what you do.

When clients decide to invest, they’re not only investing in a service–they’re investing in a person. This means that showing your readers and users who you are and what you are about is just as essential as fair pricing. While your pricing and professionalism appeal to the logic side of the brain, telling your story appeals to the emotional side of the brain. Creating a website that does both gives you a powerful advantage over those competitors who provide little to no information about themselves. Write a compelling About Page that tells your story and allows your potential clients to get to know you. Better yet, hire a professional copywriter to create your About Page for you. Professional copywriters know how to tell your story in a way that appeals to your specific audience.

You must include meta tags or use platforms with built-in SEO.

Meta tags are one of the basic aspects of search engine optimization (SEO). Meta tags were one of the first things to affect rankings. They are the words hidden in your website’s code that allow search engines to “read” your site and place it in search results.

Meta tags are everywhere on your site, which is why it’s important that everything from the title of your blog posts to your site description use the best keywords to get your site high up in the search results. Platforms with built-in SEO, like Squarespace, make it easier to not only integrate meta tags but to see which ones bring in the most traffic.

Make sure you have a FAQ page if you find yourself answering the same questions every day.

No matter how much detail you put into your web pages, users will still have questions. They always do. Instead of cluttering up your main pages trying to answer them all, create an FAQ page. This will allow you to remain brief and concise on your main web pages while still providing your potential clients the answers they seek. As your business grows and you receive more questions from clients, you can expand your FAQ page rather than rewriting your main web pages.

Your FAQ page should also be easy for users to find. The best option? Link to it in your footer. Not only is your footer the first place users go to for your contact page, it’s also where users go for FAQs.

Lastly, don’t forget to update your site frequently to keep your visitors engaged and reliant on you as the expert.

In order to keep users coming back to your website, your website needs to be constantly updated. Unless you are putting out new and valuable blog posts and information, users will not see any reason to return or share your site, and neither will search engines.

Your website is a living thing. If there is no new content and no updates, search engines see your website to be irrelevant or “dead.” Adding new content and updating old content encourages search engines to keep visiting and re-indexing your site. This does not necessarily mean you will show up higher in the search results (that is determined by the quality of your SEO) it will give you more opportunities to receive higher rankings. Keep in mind, however, that, while frequent updates are good, quality updates are really what helps your rankings and boosts your traffic.

Just by including these elements on your webpage, you increase your likelihood of being found, not only in Google searches, but on social media as well. These elements also encourage users to stay on your website, which increases the likelihood that they will invest in you and your business. Investing in professional web design is one of the best ways to ensure all of these elements make it onto your website in a user-friendly, aesthetically pleasing way.