I’ve been on a website kick lately. Maybe it’s because we’ve got a few redesign projects in the works (including our own site). Or, maybe it’s because I continually stumble upon companies without websites or sites that are done really poorly.
As I’ve said before, a website is not a “nice-to-have” option anymore. In fact, not only should your business have a website, but it should be a stellar one that helps you stand out from your competition and encourages people to choose you.
That’s why we often recommend overhauling our client’s websites or making adjustments to it as a result of our marketing strategy process.
Many company websites are not delivering results. In other words, these sites are not getting any traffic or driving leads and sales.
Essential Company Website Elements
Although the specific reasons will vary by company and industry, we often find that low-performing websites are often missing key features and functionality that allow the company to better promote their brand.
If your company website is not working hard enough for you, it might be that your site is missing one of these items.
1. Great design.
I realize that good design is in the eye of the beholder, but you can tell the difference between a professionally designed website and one that you cobbled together yourself.
I’m not saying a template can’t work, but the best corporate websites help tell your story in a visually compelling way. Most of the time that requires a custom design to reinforce your company’s branding and showcase your information in a way that’s unique to you.
2. Smart navigation.
Great websites are built in a way that’s easy for visitors to find the information they’re looking for. Don’t get overly cute with your main navigation menu and make people work hard to find your information. Otherwise, they quickly move on to another site.
Think about what information your prospects and customers are looking for and make sure those items are prominent and clearly labeled.
It also helps if you follow standard navigation practices and keep your menu bar across the top or along the side, which is where most people look for it.
3. Compelling content.
Your website copy offers another opportunity to show the personality of your business. So, don’t be afraid to tell your story!
Avoid jargon-laced copy with corporate mumbo jumbo. Instead, focus on writing your website content in a clear, concise way. In other words, write compelling content that people actually want to read.
4. Calls to action.
If your website is little more than an online brochure, you’re going to have a tough time driving leads and sales.
Determine what action you want your visitors to take on each page — it could be downloading an e-book, signing up for your free email tips, requesting a quote, contacting you for more information, purchasing your services, etc.
Once you know what you want the visitor to do, make sure you have strong, visual calls-to-action that drive people to those items.
Then, you can always test different options to see what works best.
5. Built on a content management system (CMS).
Websites no longer need to be controlled by a developer or someone in the IT department.
If you don’t have the ability to edit your site, make sure the next site you build has this capability.
I’ve written a ton about why your business needs a blog. It helps you get found by search engines and helps visitors get to know more about how your company thinks.
If you’re not blogging, now is the time to start. If you’re building a new website, it’s the perfect time to add in this functionality.
Analytics and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
If you’re not measuring you’re website traffic, it makes it really difficult to determine what’s working on your site and what’s not. If you don’t have Google Analytics installed on your site, do that now. It’s a free tool that can help you analyze your website performance.
Once you do that, you can determine what kind of traffic you are getting from search engines. If people aren’t finding your site through search, you need to spend some time doing some keyword research and optimizing your site for search.
Using a content management system will help with this, as will regular blogging. But, there’s a lot more to it than that. Here are some basic SEO tips that will help you get started.
8. Mobile design.
As more and more people are viewing websites on their mobile device, sites must be optimized for the mobile experience. (That means it’s time to ditch the flash animation, folks).
The easiest and cheapest option if you’re using WordPress is to use a mobile theme or plugin to adapt the site for mobile devices. The other option is responsive website design, which automatically adjusts the layout of your content to fit the size of the user’s screen.
If you’re getting a fairly sizable chunk of your website traffic from mobile devices, I strongly recommend using responsive design.
9. Contact information.
For most companies, contacting your company is one of your most important calls-to-action. Yet, this information often gets neglected on many websites.
Make sure your website includes how someone can reach you. Include a phone number and email address. Or, if you don’t want to provide an email address, use a contact form that people can use to send you a message. Just make sure someone at your company is responding to those messages.
Also, if your company has a physical location, be sure to include the address and the hours you are open. You get bonus points for including a map or directions on how to get there.
10. Social media links.
Not every company is active in social media, so this doesn’t apply to everyone. But, companies that use social media in their marketing mix should include links to their profiles on their site.
Social media doesn’t have to be the most prominent thing on your website, but make it easy for people to connect with you.
How does your website stack up?
If your company website is missing a number of these elements, you might want to make some changes or consider a redesign. You might find that your website will perform better if you do.
How does your website stack up with this list? Do you have all 10 items or are you missing a few?
Are their any must-have website components that you would add to this list?
Let me know in the comment section. I’d love to know what you think!
Image credit: Yann