Every year, you probably waste hours of your life meandering around on the Internet. Maybe you’re bored or procrastinating or maybe you just can’t find what it is you wanted. Isn’t it frustrating when you have to dig through a company’s website in order to find something incredibly simple like an e-mail address, a return policy, or a lunch menu? These are business website must haves: essential, sought-after, in demand bits of information that visitors want to see on your site. Without them, your potential customers might become frustrated, wander away, or even give their business to another company (one with a better website). Although you might be tempted to spend your time creating a website with fancy graphics and flash animation, remember that these aesthetic features are never as important as a clean website design that revolves around the information customers want most. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an insect extermination company, a yoga studio, or a manufacturer of custom-made mailboxes; you should always include these business website must haves on your site.
Business Website Must Haves
- Contact Information. What good is a beautiful, persuasive website if viewers have no idea how to purchase the goods or services advertised? Once you convince your visitor to attend a yoga class or purchase a mailbox, they should immediately know the next step to take. Include more than one way that a customer can contact you (not just your preferred method), so that they don’t shy away simply because, for example, they’re uncomfortable with e-mail. Contact information might include any of the following:
- Phone Number
- E-Mail Address
- Store or Office Addresses (and directions)
- Mailing Address (if different)
- Fill-In Contact Form
- Social Media
- A Call to Action. Encourage visitors to do whatever it is you’re hoping they’ll do on your website. Since they’ve chosen to visit your website, they’re obviously somewhat interested; don’t waste the opportunity to call them to action. Encourage an interaction, a purchase, or anything else you think might interest them.
- Other Important Business Information. Visitors want to learn more about your company. Don’t assume that they know all the basics of your line of business. This is especially important in certain fields. If you have a restaurant, for example, don’t forget to include the menu. If you have a clothing business, include sizing information and details about exchanges/returns. If your business is very visual (hair salon, screen-printing, textiles, architecture), be sure to include high-quality pictures. These business website must haves will vary greatly based on your company and its services.
- Social Media Links. Include links to your social media profiles and give viewers the option to “share,” “pin,” or “tweet” blog posts, photos, and more. This lets viewers know that you do maintain a presence on these social platforms and that they can interact with you through them. Plus, when viewers choose to share bits of your website on their own social media profiles, it’s free advertising for your business.
- “About Us” Page. Include a concise “about” page for visitors unfamiliar with you and your company. Describe what you do and why you do it, infusing the page with your brand’s personality while still keeping it brief. You could make this entirely about the company or include a little personal information about you and your employees.
- Intuitive and Sensible Navigation. When someone stumbles onto your website, they shouldn’t need a roadmap to navigate within it. Make it easy for them to find everything by using clear labels and drop-down tabs. You should also make sure that essential information is always available. For example, use a header that includes your contact information so that it’s viewable on every page (even a viewer who’s gotten lost within your website will be able to send you an e-mail) or include a list of important pages in the footer. The viewer should always have a sense of where they are within the website.
With these business website must haves, you can ensure that your customers are getting everything they need when they arrive at your site. If you’d like more personalized help, go to the source: ask customers if they have had any trouble finding something on your website or which features they wish were more prominent.
For more helpful advice regarding graphic design, business website must haves, and online marketing, continue following the 417 Marketing blog.