What features make a great website?

Your business may have an existing website, or perhaps you are building one for your new business. Either way, it’s important that you are familiar with some good website features and how to incorporate them into your design.

Web design can be an intimidating task, and getting your website equipped with the right features can be a daunting process. But fear not, as we have pooled our expert knowledge and came up with some excellent advice to help you along the way.

Your primary goal is to get a good, memorable URL. Make sure it’s a good fit for your business. The right domain name doesn’t have unusual spelling and hasn’t already been taken on other social platforms. A catchy name is a marketing tool on its own and, combined with an outstanding website, could make the difference between you and your competitors.

As soon as you’ve bought your memorable domain, your next step is to develop your site and decide on some crucial elements. Listed below are 10 good website features that will result in a positive experience for your customers, maximize your company’s online presence and promote your brand.

Related post: Why Your Website Says Not Secure?

1. Easy to navigate

While your website might look attractive, it’s far more important for it to be user friendly. This means people should be able to find their way around your site with little trouble.

So, one of your first objectives should be to map out how the website should work. This is vital to ensure a satisfactory user experience. And, it will also aid with your search engine optimization (SEO), as Google takes into account the structure of a site when it ranks listings. Designers term this process “wireframing”, and it’s a crucial part of building an effective website. Try letting your friends test a prototype version of the site, to ensure that it works logically and intuitively.

2. Important Business Information

Often the biggest mistakes people make is they build the website they want, and not the site their business needs. A restaurant owner may be keen on having a large “about” section and information on live music. But they may neglect to include important information to the user, like the menu, ingredients, sources of ingredients, calories, contact details and the location.

Text should be optimal when writing any mission statement. You need to create content people can skim read easily. It’s important to be brief and concise. Try to tell a story about your business and what makes it different. Clarity is very important and is something every good website features.

Your business will likely require some items that fall under the category of “information”. For example, the “information” an eCommerce store provides might be it’s product listings. A service-orientated business’ “information” may be testimonials published on the site. A web developer may feature screenshots of previous projects. Customize your site, so it provides customers with the information they are searching for.

3. Contact Info

It is absolutely imperative that you have contact information on your site. In most cases business websites will have their own dedicated section to this detail. Make sure that users can easily access a page with a phone number, email address and contact form. There’s not much that will annoy your customers more than being unable to contact you when they need to.

It’s important that the email address and phone number listed on your site are not in image format. Users may wish to click on the information and copy and paste it and will be unable to if it’s a jpg. Similarly, if they are using a smartphone or tablet, providing the information, as an image will prevent them being able to click on a number or email address, so always use text for this kind of information. An even better option is to have a simple contact from.

If you don’t want to be besieged by phone calls, then use a contact form, but ensure that you respond to emails promptly and efficiently. Also, remember to get an email address at your domain. Don’t use common third party providers like Gmail or Yahoo, as this looks unprofessional and may scare some visitors away.

4. Easy Navigation

Don’t make it hard for users to navigate your site. Use sensible names for the different pages of your site – About, Services, Contact, Shop, Testimonials etc. – Don’t be quirky or obtuse with menu items as this can confuse and irritate users.

User intention is the key factor when developing a navigation strategy. Why are they visiting your site? Are they there to buy a product? Get a Quote? Sign up as a member? Visit your shop? Speak with an advisor? Make it easy for them to do what it is they came to do. This is something every good website features.

It’s helpful to imagine that you are a visitor to your site at this stage. What is their plan of action? What are they looking for? Provide plenty of different ways to help them do what you want them to.

5. Security

You will need a valid SSL certificate to secure your website, especially if you plan to sell online. SSL encrypts the communications between your site and your customers, so that important information, like credit card numbers, is hidden. Identity theft is a huge security problem, and using encrypted channels will provide your visitors with the security they need to feel safe when making a purchase. TrustE, VeriSign, Entrust and GeoTrust all offer this service.

6. Merging Social Media

Social media platforms are fairly ubiquitous today. Use of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, LinkedIn and more is extremely common and valuable to any business. These should all be used in your marketing strategy, as social media becomes an increasingly important way of marketing your business.

Social media integration with your website can help maximize your business presence on the web, turbocharge your SEO and help you build an audience across numerous different sites. It is valuable to have an established presence across many social media platforms, provided you regularly update and refresh your content. By doing this you’ll promote your brand and capture customers’ attention.

Social media is here to stay and putting some time into it is bound to pay off. A good website features plenty of integration with these social media giants.

7. Be Mobile-Ready

Smartphones and tablets are increasingly being used to browse websites, and this growth is going to continue, as the cost of these gadgets drops and they become more a part of everyday life. What’s more, when people use their phones to look at mobile sites, they are statistically more likely to make a purchase or visit the service they are browsing. For this reason it’s very important that your website works well on handheld devices.

Nowadays, web design means designing for anything that can connect to the Internet., including all the various phones and tablets etc. But how is it possible to design for a multitude of different devices which all feature varying screen sizes? The answer is responsive design.

A responsive website design uses fluid widths; so the layout will adjust depending upon the screen it is being viewed on. HTML code can be entered to factor in percentages of screen size, so the device you are using to view the website becomes less important, because the website will adapt to it. Images can be scaled in a similar way, the end result is that whether on phone, tablet or laptop, your website can still look professional.

8. FAQ

A useful trick is to note the most commonly asked questions that you receive from your customers via email and feedback forms. By putting these in a dedicated area of your website, you can provide your customers with the information they are looking for and save yourself a lot of time. A good website features many answers to commonly asked questions by typical customers.

9. Quality Hosting

Your website must be hosted on a highly reliable hosting service. Avoid the cheapest solutions out there. It’s worth spending a little more money and get greater security.

The disadvantages to not having good hosting are numerous. Your site may take an age to load, or not even load at all. This is of course a nightmare for your visitors. Poor hosting can also negatively impact your search engine rank, because search engines factor in loading page time when calculating your site’s ranking.

10. Lastly, Features that Aren’t Needed.

Don’t be afraid of keeping it simple. If in doubt you can probably do without these kinds of items:

  • Music
  • Autoplay content. Avoid it like the plague as very little annoys web users more
  • Flash it is old and clunky technology. Worst of all is that it doesn’t work on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
  • Unimportant information of any kind.