So you need a website. You have your branding in place and your business goals and objectives are set. But what should the website include?
Having designed and built somewhere in the region of 150 websites (it could be more, we’ve never really counted!) we know what to include. We’ve put together a list of the 8 key considerations every website should have.
- What you offer/how you can help
- A clear description of who you are
- Clear and easy to find contact details
- Easy to follow navigation
- Case studies
- Obvious calls to action
- Fresh regular content
What you offer/how you can help
Depending on the nature of your business, what you offer your customers will vary. An e-commerce site may offer physical products, whereas a B2B business may offer particular and specific services to certain niche industries.
Whatever it is you offer, it’s important to get across how your product or service will benefit your customer. Talk about them in the future and how they will feel when they are reaping the positives of having purchased your product or service.
Too many businesses get caught up with talking about themselves in the past first, whereas they should be talking about their customers in the future. Andy Bounds, author of books such as Top Dog and The Jelly Effect would call these the AFTERS. What are your client’s AFTERS if they work/buy from you?
They may not care that you started the business in 2009 and named it after your Aunty Sue’s cat. But they do care if you can solve their problems (unless they are cat people, might score you some points).
Who you are
Having this information is important, but don’t lead with it. Focus on your potential clients, not yourself. Things you should include are those which may help with the buying decision.
For example, talk of relevant team experience and how you’ve helped customers in the past (link to case studies). It’s a great idea to list out key team members with photos – we find these pages are popular and provide basic info about the people they may be dealing with. Well thought out photos can provide insights into your company culture.
You should also use this section of the website to list out your company values and mission. Make sure your USPS are clear.
Make it easy for people to get in touch with you. Provide phone numbers, email address, contact form and a physical address. Even links to your social media channels.
We all have a preferred way of communicating in the digital age, so providing all available options gives you the best chance of connecting with someone. Might be worth leaving that fax number off though, it’s 2021 after all.
Embedding a Google Map is a great tool if someone is trying to find you. If your location is tricky to find, include a custom map or directions.
Making your physical address hard to find, or not list it at all, can ruin trust. For the purpose of transparency you should make it clear where you are, even if it’s a correspondence/appointment only address. Also include working hours to manage expectations about when people can speak to you.
Your website must have well organised and structured navigation. Content should never be more than a few clicks away, and always provide an easy route back to where they came. For example, make use of breadcrumb navigation.
If your website is an e-commerce site, products can often get hidden at the bottom of the list on a sub category page. Including a product search or filtering system on the main shop page can overcome this.
When thinking of the question what should I include on my website, think of your site visitors. If can’t find what they are looking for, they’ll go elsewhere.
These are essential. Written reviews are great, video ones even better. If possible the reviews need to cover all aspects of your service offering to give a broad overview of how you’ve helped/provided benefit.
There are third party sites such as TrustPilot, Facebook or Google My Business where you can collect reviews, and using one of these can also provide an SEO benefit. Remember, Google only wants to recommend good sites.
If you get a bad review, always be sure to respond to that review to demonstrate how you have tried to remedy the situation. Taking responsibility and ownership of a problem, and acting upon this, may ultimately gain you more customers.
Ultimately reviews and testimonials will provide and reinforce how you are positioning yourself to potential clients. Make it a part of your process to ask for a review after every sale/project.
A great way of combining your service offering with testimonials – case studies show real working evidence that you can do what you say you can.
Structure them in a way so that it outlines what the problem and challenges were, and how you set out to solve them.
You want to build trust and authority within your sector, your case studies should go a long way into helping build this up. Don’t be afraid to discuss things that went wrong in a project, showing how you overcome various challenges and addressing your processes can build that trust.
Remember your website should be visual too, use photographs/illustrations where necessary to help illustrate a point. Nobody likes to read a full page of text.
Case study snippets will also provide great content for your social media marketing campaigns.
Call to actions
What do you want site visitors to ultimately do? It’s easy to forget to give them clear signals to perform a specific action. It’s not about providing information, you want to convert them into paying customers.
Whether it’s to simply call you, provide some information, or to make an online purchase of some cat food for Aunty Sue, make it clear and visually consistent. Don’t over complicate the pages with various actions. Top right of a page is a great place for a primary button (eg contact us).
Give the users an easy experience on your website, provide the information that they need and direct them to a specific action.
Fresh regular content
Creating content for your website isn’t a one off activity. You should be regularly adding new content all the time.
Create a blog/news area where you can regularly post updates, industry news, or helpful guides. You can learn more about content marketing here.
In the first instance you should create new content with your customers in mind, provide them with valuable insightful content they’ll want to read and share. It also is this as the area where you can work on your website’s SEO by creating keyword focused relevant content to improve your search engine rankings.
What should I include on my website conclusion
Remember websites grow and expand over time. You don’t necessarily have to get everything in there first time, but the above are key considerations you should have in place at time of launch.
Make it a part of your ongoing marketing to add new case studies, blogs, and testimonials. Have blog articles which answer your client’s questions, like we have done here. “What should I include on my website?”
Get in touch with the team today for more information on how we can help you beautifully craft your next website. No cats were harmed in the creation of this article.