Considering making a website or doing a website redesign? In order to maximise the potential of your website, you need to build one that not only gives information but can be a first impression, a virtual doorway to new opportunities and customers. With websites presently being such an integral part of businesses and marketing, why is it then that so many are empty of features or devoid of character? You want your website to be effective, right?

If you want performance, lead generation, higher conversion rates, and engagement, be sure to include these critical things that every website should have:

1. Easy Navigation

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The first thing that your website should never disregard is the ease of use and navigation. People dislike getting lost on websites, so you should have a menu that gives them access to every important page to have their questions are answered. Remember, you wouldn’t want to hang around on a website with confusing or missing navigation. Reduce your bounce rate by mapping out various routes throughout the website, including the main menu in the header, links in the footer, and linked content spread across landing pages, blogs, and so on.

2. About Page

Any well-made website is going to have an “about us.” The moment you have visitors, you have a reason to distinguish yourself from the rest of the competition. The About Page is another chance to win people over. Just remember that depending on your business model and niche, sometimes the About Page has nothing to do with you as an individual or even a team. The About Page is a chance to explain the how and why the website came to be and how you want to help people with their problems. It’s perfectly okay to talk about yourself to some extent, but it’s not the time to tell your whole life story.

3. Contact Page

Naturally, if you have a business, whether physical or online, you’re going to want people to contact you eventually. A contact page should include an email form, whether as a widget or just your personal email address link. Social icons are also a wonderful addition. People can then follow you on social media and contact you through messaging as well.

4. Services or Product Descriptions

Unless you are strictly blogging, which you probably aren’t, you’re going to need to talk about the services you offer. Most businesses explain their services or products with a short description of 200 words or less.

5. Business Information

If you have a physical location, but sure to add information about it. Many businesses strangely overlook the simplest thing, such as their business name, address, and phone number. You want the information in a visible place so that people who are just visiting the website for this information are able to locate it quickly. Though it’s not mandatory, you might also want to include a picture of your storefront and your store hours.

6. Subscription CTAs

Email marketing, free content, and downloadable eBooks are all ways to grow your subscription list, but you can’t do that unless you have some way for people to give you their information. Be sure to include calls-to-action at the end of blogs as well as pop-ups or boxes in the footer.

7. Testimonials

Even if you only have two customer testimonials, that’s better than none. In terms of reputation, you want other potential customers to know that you are doing what you do well. Word of mouth and referrals are still one of the best ways to get local customers to use your services or products. Don’t overlook the power of the positive review or several. You could either put the testimonials on the homepage or on a service page, depending on your website’s layout. Just make sure the section is visible.

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8. A Mobile Experience

More people are searching on their phone than ever before. Therefore, if you don’t have a mobile version of your website, you are going to be in trouble. Algorithms might even see this lack of adaptability as weak user experience and could penalise you, forcing your website’s rank to drop.

9. Appropriate Tags and Headings

When considering search engine optimisation (SEO), you are going to want to format the content of your site according to the rules. Make sure you are filling out all the alternate text fields, adding the appropriate tags to blogs and other content or media, and using h1 and h2 headers where you can. This helps the search engine algorithms understand the content on your website better, upping your rank and helping you get found by more people, faster.

Another reason alternative text is important is for those whose computers might not load the content or who cannot receive the image/content for some reason. Those who are impaired and use reading software will also be able to understand what the image is, because the software will read the alternative text.

10. Mission Statement

After arriving at a landing page or home page, a visitor should be able to form a decent image of your business and brand. They should never be forced to question whether or not they are in the right place. Make sure the visitor knows what the next step is, too. Give every page a clear, concise message. This helps visitors understand the purpose of the page and your overall mission.

Having a mission for each page, as well as a main objective for your website, is going to make it easier for people to hang around on your website while looking at content, services or products, and any other content aligned with their own personal goals or pain points.

You don’t need a huge website to have an effective one. By using your content to your advantage and including sections like an About and Contact page, you can successfully help people navigate your site to get the content they need. Remember to include these 10 essential things every website should have when building your own pages, and you will be a step ahead of the competition.