In 2015 our founder created a blog post about website must haves. In our content review process this year I'm looking over all the previous assets to determine current value and alignment with our content strategy and SMART goals.
So much has changed in digital marketing since 2015. SO I have to tell you, I was SHOCKED at what I found in this article that our fearless leader, founder, and tech guru posted in 2015! We added to our list of must haves in 2019 and we're back to add even more that you should, at the very least, be considering strongly for your website in 2020 and beyond."Businesses can't survive today without a stellar website. It's important to have a beautiful, user-friendly website, but it can't stop there. Beauty doesn't get your website found on Google, Bing, Yahoo, or any other search engine. To be effective, a website must attract visitors, provide value to those visitors, collect information, and yes, look great, " said Dustin Brackett, CEO and Founder, in his 10 Website Must Haves blog post from November of 2015. Guess what?
EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM ARE STILL TRUE TODAY & WE'VE ADDED EVEN MORE NOW!
1. Mobile Friendly Design
The numbers here are astonishing. Every day more and more people are ditching the desktop or laptop in favor of mobile phones and tablets. This isn't just us saying so either - according to Statista, in 2018, 52.2% of all website traffic worldwide was generated through mobile phones, up from 50.3% in the previous year. Mobile currently accounts for half of all global web pages served.
It's also not a fad. Gary Vaynerchuck, founder of Vayner Media, has completely ditched his computer for his phone. Completely.
Now, if you don't think mobile-first for your website, you're probably missing the boat.
2. Content that is actually USEFUL
"Content is King", is still a real thing. But irrelevant or uninteresting content doesn't do your website visitors, or your business any good.
This is a cornerstone Inbound methodology that we STILL recommend to clients over and over.
4. Google Analytics
YEP. Data, data, data. Remember #1?
Google Analytics shows you the proof of how many visits you are getting via mobile vs. laptop! (There is another data collector that we highly recommend that I'll mention in the 2020 section below.)
5. User-Friendly Design
(built for your CUSTOMERS, not YOU)
It's 2020, we shouldn't be building websites based on our own biases and opinions. Our UX Design, or user experience, should be most important. We, as consumers, want a functional website built to help us find what we're looking for quickly. We're not interested in your version of design, functionality, or layout - we want it our way.
Websites have to be built using data and use metrics of how our visitors are using the website - not guesses or personal preferences. It's time to put the egos aside and build websites that our visitors love, even if it's not exactly what we originally envisioned.
6. Social Media Integration
Another no-brainer for us now vs. where website designs were in 2015. People want to interact and engage with you on social. Make it easy for them.
Yep, still an important part of SEO whether you decide to share it with visitors or not. Your sitemap is a search engine's map to your content. Yeah - it's 2020, but search engines still don't have Waze.
8. Link Building
Yep, more SEO. Remember that both internal links and external links are important on your website and both must be authentic in the user experience.
Yes, images are necessary for so many reasons. The important aspect now is 2 fold:
- Images must load quickly
- Serving images that are to size rather than the browser having to scale them will save tons of time.
- Images MUST have alt text
- Search engines do not have eyes. They can't see your images. Your alt text is what tells them what your image is about.
Please make sure that you are consistent from page to page on your site AND across all of your marketing initiatives. This is why companies have brand style guides (and if you don't, GET ONE!).
Website design has gotten a refresh itself. The build, launch and forget it for 2 years is not realistic anymore. Visitors and search engines expect to see updates more often and honestly your sales people do too! Track your visitor data, make updates based on that data, and watch your conversions soar.
This is a heat mapping tool that tracks how web visitors consume your website content. It is fascinating -- and also a must have to upgrade your site.
Search engines algorithms are moving away from keyword focused page ranks and toward Topic Clusters for their rankings. The architecture of your site needs to change even if the content does not. The idea here is that you want your similar content to be packaged together. Telling search engines that blog posts, pages, and additional content support one another (through internal links) will help to create topic clusters. When one page or piece of content sees a jump in search engine rankings, so will the others.
We've talked a lot about chat, but it is becoming the go-to feature on websites for users to find what they're looking for! Whether you're considering live chat, chatbots, or both; it's important to have a chat option on your website. Consumers are no longer interested in searching around your website for the answer or page that they're looking for. Give it to them quickly with live chat or through a chatbot. Your user's experience will skyrocket and their perception of your company will rise with it.
15. SSL Certificate
It seems silly to us that we're still bringing this up in 2020. Security concerns are at an all time high when it comes to online platforms - your website included. SSL certificates are not just for eCommerce websites and shops. They're for every single website now. Google has even come out and said that they give priority to secure websites in their search rankings!
An SSL certificate can be purchased at your hosting provider and they typically run about $50-$100 per year. It's well worth the investment.
16. Useful Pop Ups
Anyone that spent time online in the 1990's and early 2000's probably just had PTSD flashbacks of all those pop ups that took over your life any time you were online. Remember all the games that you could play? Well - we're not talking about those kinds of pop ups. We're talking about useful and less intrusive pop ups focused on delivering value and spurring user conversion. These can include slide in pop ups in the bottom right or left corner, drop down pop ups from the top of the website, and even exit intent pop ups that give users a last chance to convert before leaving your website. They're useful for your business, but they're also useful and engaging for users.
If you take the time to implement these 16 website must haves into your own business website, you'll be setup for a strong end to 2020 and beyond! Interested in learning about how you can truly turn your website into your company's best asset and best salesman? Let's talk GDD!