Businesses in the physical world must have certain things to succeed, such as stores, employees, inventory, etc.
Whether you operate in the physical world and online, or exclusively online, your website is the essence of your business for many of your customers.
Including the following elements are important for the success of your business online…
This is the “elevator pitch” for your business: How would you explain it to someone with no previous knowledge of it if you only had 30 seconds to do so?
Think about what you would say, in very large font, on a one-page flyer.
It should be a simple and brief description that someone can understand after a quick read.
Many people get overwhelmed by large and complex navigation menus and just leave the site.
It's much better to use as few items as possible. One level of dropdown menus is OK but they shouldn't have more than 5 or 6 items each.
The words used in your navigation menu should be those of your customers, not necessarily you. (For example, “car” instead of “vehicle”.)
Put the navigation items for your most commonly used pages towards the left side of the menu.
Less is more. The fewer words you have, the better.
Don't use more than one or two fonts. Sans serif fonts are easier to read on websites.
Use a lot of white space.
Groups of sentences that might be fine as a single paragraph when printed should be broken into multiple paragraphs on the web.
Compare: Which is easier to read - the sentences above or the single paragraph below?
Less is more. The fewer words you have, the better. Don't use more than one or two fonts. Sans serif fonts are easier to read on websites. Use a lot of white space. Groups of sentences that might be fine as a single paragraph when printed should be broken into multiple paragraphs on the web.
Keeping your website copy fresh, either by adding new content or updating existing content, helps in two ways.
First, it keeps your visitors engaged because they're not seeing something they saw before.
Second, it signals Google that your site is not stale, and that helps push it higher up in search results.
So add or update content at least monthly, and make sure it includes a lot of relevant keywords in a natural way.
A call-to-action (CTA) is something your website visitor clicks to do something you want him to do (buy, signup, email, subscribe, etc.)
Make sure your CTAs are big (especially important for users on phones and smaller devices).
They should use bright colors, with good contrast between the background color and font color.
Don't use more than one or two CTAs per page.
Oh, look, here comes one now!
Include 1-3 sentences from your customers or clients. Edit them for brevity as long as you don't change the essence of the comment.
Use testimonials that highlight the solution you offer or the satisfaction the person had with your product or service.
Include the person's name (first only is fine) and a photo if possible.
The contact info on your website should be easy to find. Put it in multiple places, like the main navigation, the footer on every page, and maybe a sidebar if you have one.
Also offer multiple ways for people to get in touch with you such as live chat, email, phone, or filling out a web form.
You may have heard that search engine optimization (SEO) is really important for websites to stand out.
Run a monthly or quarterly SEO analysis on your own site and those of your competitors with a free tool like this one (click the “X” in the upper right corner to get to the tool)
Make sure you're including all relevant keywords in your content.
Your website must be built using responsive web design techniques to be mobile-friendly.
Periodically test all your website pages on a desktop or laptop computer, a tablet, and a smartphone.
You can also run this free Google tool to see if there are any problems.
Have your web team fix things until the site passes Google's tests completely.
There are millions of business websites and they can be unique and quite varied. The most successful ones always have the elements described above.
How does your website stack up? Is it missing any of the elements described?
Let me know if you want a complimentary, no-obligation website evaluation.