5 Elements That Every Website Needs

 

We all know that a good website has a Home, Services and Contact page, but what else might you be missing with your website?

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I’m here to break down some essential elements of an effective website. Does your website have these components?

ELEMENT #1: EASY TO NAVIGATE NAV BAR

Of course we all know that we need a navigation or menu bar so that our visitors can visit the different pages of your website, but something I see too often is a confusing navigation menu. It’s important for people to be able to find things and “clever” should not be your word of choice when designing your Menu. Stick with “clear” and “intuitive”. 

Your Nav Bar should be simple, easy to find and BONUS: it should lead them through the funnel of your website. You can leave the extra, fun links throughout your website. Your navigation bar is for the most important information that your potential clients need in order to fall in love with and book you. 

If your navigation bar is hidden under a hamburger menu (the three lines that typically indicate the menu bar on a mobile site), make sure that the hamburger menu is easy to spot. Make it a color that contrasts easily with the background color, and make sure that it doesn’t move somewhere that makes it hard to spot when the view gets smaller on mobile.

Speaking of mobile, websites are accessed from phones just as frequently (if not MORE frequently) as they are from desktop computers, so it’s important to make sure that your site is easily navigable via mobile. This is known as being mobile responsive and it’s very important for both user experience and SEO!

 

ELEMENT #2: AN INFORMATIVE FOOTER

The footer of your site is a great place to put your 

  • Social media icons

  • Email address

  • Location (yes, even if you’re an online-only business!)

  • Instagram feed photos

  • Copyright

  • Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy links (see the next section!)

  • Designer credit

Along with social media icons, it’s also a great place for your Instagram feed. If your Insta feed matches your branding (which it should!) then having your feed in your footer will make your website look professional, will help to create that coherent brand and will encourage people to click through to follow you!

For an Instagram feed to embed in your footer or on your website: 

  • If you’re using Squarespace, they have an Instagram plugin you can use right in the site builder – super easy!

  • If you’re using Showit, then I recommend the LightWidget app, which is easy to use, can be formatted in a ton of different ways and is only $10 one time!

The footer is also the normal place where your copyright notice goes, just something as simple as your company name and the year is perfectly effective. 

It’s also common practice in the industry to put a design credit in the footer. This lets people know who designed your website. If you loved your designer, this is a great way to show it and as a designer, I always appreciate it when my clients keep that credit there!

ELEMENT #3: PRIVACY POLICY, TERMS & CONDITIONS AND COOKIES POP UP

Search engines like to see that you have a privacy policy, and with new GDPR in full swing, it’s a good idea to have data terms and conditions and a cookies pop up, even if you’re not located in Europe. 

The purpose of all of these is not just to comply with the law, it’s also to communicate to your prospective clients and customers that you care about their privacy and that you will respect their wishes regarding their data, even if you don’t do any more data collection than whatever Google Analytics collects when people visit your site!

If you’re looking for an easy way to get all of your GDPR ducks in a row, make sure to check out Christina Scalera’s The Contract Shop™!

 

ELEMENT #4: UNIQUE WEB PAGES

We all know about the Home, About, Services, Portfolio, Contact and Blog pages (all described in full detail below), but here are some pages you might not have thought about including in your website:

The first one is a THANK YOU PAGE. A thank you page is an excellent touch for after people either purchase something from you or sign up for your mailing list. Communicating gratitude to people always improves your relationship, and depending what action the person just took to get them to the thank you page, it could also be an opportunity for an upsell or an extra reminder to follow you on your social media channels.

The next page is a PERSONALIZED 404 PAGE. This is the default page that pops up when someone either tries to navigate to a page that doesn’t exist, or someone clicks a link that you put there that doesn’t lead anywhere anymore, whether through a typo or just forgetting to remove a link. Every site has a standard 404 page, but if you have one that fits your branding, maybe provides a little comic relief, and sends the person somewhere else that’s useful, it makes you seem like you really have it together.

The next page is an OPT IN PAGE. This is a page where people can opt in to your email list. In theory, you will have opt in boxes in various appropriate places around your website so that people can get on your email list if they so desire, but it’s excellent to also have a page that is solely devoted to an opt in. If you have a mini course or a webinar or something that you offer in exchange for someone’s email address, this is where you put it, and you design the page to be as distraction free as possible. You want people to be able to learn everything there is to know about the opt in and then make a decision to grab it!

And the last page that not everyone has is a SALES/LEAD PAGE for a product launch. This is more of a template, because you will use roughly the same page layout for every product that you launch. This page is very much like the opt in page. Its whole focus is the thing you are selling. You don’t want to lead people away from the page, you want them to learn everything about your product or service and why they should purchase it.

BONUS: There are also a handful of very important pages that each site has, and your site should be no exception:

Your HOME PAGE is where people will land when they come to your site. The home page should tie everything together and should flow in a way that begins leading people through your business. They’ll become familiar with your branding, who you are, and what you do, and as they get more curious, they are led to your about page. 

Your ABOUT PAGE tells people more about who you are, who you serve and how you help your clients. You can tell people about your background and your values and let them really get to know you. People much prefer to buy things from people they have a relationship with, and your about page is how you start building that relationship.

The SERVICES PAGE is where you tell people about your services! You want to lead people through your services in a way that makes them the most enticing. Make sure that you include pricing info and everything that people need to know about your products or services to make an informed decision. You don’t want to have to explain all of your services to every person who emails you about hiring you.

The PORTFOLIO is where you showcase the work you’ve done. If you’re a photographer, this will be a selection of the best photos you’ve taken across the different services you offer. You also want to make sure you include descriptions of what your clients wanted and the steps you took to achieve their results for them. Prospective clients will see themselves in your portfolio pieces and will love the idea of you going above and beyond for them as well. If you’re a designer, same thing, include your best designs along with descriptions of the aesthetic choices you made and how that matched up with what your clients wanted.

Your BLOG is where your content lives! This one doesn’t require as much explanation. You need to write as much engaging content as you can, as regularly as possible, for as long as possible. Simple, right? You should also make sure you’re including some images that are properly named and tagged as I mentioned in the post about SEO to spice up your posts.

The last page is the CONTACT PAGE. This is page where you tell everyone how to get in touch with you. Make sure to also include some keyword rich copy on this page to keep up your SEO mojo. It is also important to mention your location, even if you don’t have a physical space, mention the city that you’re in. A physical location lends SEO legitimacy.

 

ELEMENT #5: KEYWORD RICH COPYWRITING 

In my post, 6 Ways to Better Your SEO (Search Engine Optimization), I talk about the importance of good, keyword rich copywriting for SEO purposes. I’m talking about it again here to reiterate how important it is to have great copy! 

For search engine purposes (in other words: if you want to show up in Google), you need to have compelling copy on EVERY page (including your Portfolio page, Contact page, etc.) with high quality keyword phrases.

There you have it! 5 Elements that Every Website Needs. Does your website have all of these elements? What would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments!

 
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