Things it is essential to include, and which should come as standard with any website build.
Your website is your main sales tool online. A place where people will go to find out information about your products, services and you.
Your website serves as your online brochure, being able to go much more in depth than your Facebook or Instagram page can.
Your website can be just information, or you can use it to list properties, host courses directly sell products. The possibilities are endless.
Your site, done right, will get visitors who will convert to sales.
It’s important that when it is first put together it includes all of the things needed to make its initial launch, and subsequent life, as much of a success as possible.
So what should you consider when looking at essential features for your website, and the services that will support your website?
In this article I’ll go through my 12 website build essentials, things that I consider are a must when putting together any website.
While this list is in no particular order, if it was, hosting would be at number 1 as I feel it is so important.
Hosting is where your website files live. It’s like renting hard disc space.(that’s super special and does special website related things)
There are a number of things to think aboit, including the main ones…
- Is your hosting going to be reliable?
- Is it going to be fast?
- Do they offer SSL certificates?
- Do they create backups?
- Does the hosting provider offer quality technical support?
All of these are important considerations.
Over the years, we have experimented with a variety of hosting companies and the one we use now is siteground. Affordable, fast, reliable, managed hosting.
Good hosting will not only give your site speed, it will also give you peace of mind.
A little more about speed later…
I’ve mentioned SSL certificates. These are the thing that gives your website the lock icon in the browser address bar, so you know that the site is running over encrypted protocols.
In other words any info that you supply, such as email address, or credit card details if you’re using an e-store, is kept encrypted and safe from prying eyes.
Not only does SSL keep your information safe, chrome for example will flash up a warning if it is missing. Very off putting for any visitor.
A large number of people browse the web these days on their mobile devices. Probably more than you might imagine. Here’s a recent snapshot of the traffic to this website.
As you can see, 77.2% of the traffic is mobile traffic, making up the vast majority of the website’s visitors.
For this reason, you need to make sure that your website is built in such a way that it works just as well on any devce it is viewed on.
For example, the order the elements on a webpage are built in when being displayed can differ between devices A designer needs to be aware of these differences and adjust for them.
This can often mean creating slightly different sections of individual pages so they work the best whatever the visitor is using to view. Your web designer should take all of this into account and build accordingly.
Have you ever been to a website on your mobile and it is just the desktop version all squished up and tiny? This is an example of a site that is not mobile responsive.
On page SEO
You want people to be able to find your site. It may be that they follow links from your social media accounts, but the majority of people will be using website search. They will be looking for products and service that are the same as, or similar to, the ones you supply. You will want them to see your page first.
To do this you’ll need to make sure that your content properly covers your subject matter, and that the information embedded on your page in the form of markup makes it clear to the search engine what your page is all about.
On-page SEO is not just important for your home page, it needs to be setup correctly for every page of your website.
For more information about SEO, what it is and why it is so important you can have a look at our article here…
Nobody hangs around for a slow site. Chances are that if a page takes more than a second or so to load people will have moved on before ever getting to see any of your content.
As I mentioned before, hosting plays a large part in making your site go fast, but there are also a number of other important things that your developer needs to bear in mind as well.
For example, images should be sized to the correct dimensions for their intended use. They should also be compressed, so they are small whilst retaining high image quality. And they should be in the correct format
Getting your site speed to at least above 75% not only pleases your readers, but also keeps Google happy too.
Search engine submission
The search engines will find your site, eventually.
Rather than having to wait for them to crawl the web and come across you, it is a much better idea to just let them know that you exist.
To do this your site needs to be manually submitted, using your sitemaps, to all of the major search engines.
These are an essential set of tools that Google provides for free. They are used to check on many aspects of your site health.
If, for any reason, you’d like an alternative to Google then Bing also offers a suite of tools that do a similar thing.
As with analytics below, webmaster tools are essential and need to be setup for you along with th work that goes into the actual website itself.
You need to be setup with something that tells you how your site is doing.
Analytics will give you the answers you need to make sure your site is performing how you’d like it to, and give you the feedback you need so you can adjust it later if necessary.
The tools will give you lots of useful information, such as how many visitors you are getting and where they are visiting from.
For example, if you’re targeting Australia and getting most of your visitors from Singapore then you can adjust your site to get back on track.
These tools are suplied free by Google (or Bing if you’d prefer) but need setting up and configuring to work correctly.
Some people regard a domain email as being more professional. Some are happy to go with a gmail account.
There’s no right or wrong, but if you want a domain email can your developer set one up for you?
If you do want a domain email then in my opinion this shoud be included in the delivery of your site at no extra cost.
Blogs and mailing lists
Two things I consider essential tools when it comes to marketing are blogs and mailing lists.
It may be that you decide your website doesn’t need them, writing articles and newsletters for email campaigns can take up a chunk of time.
But if you do think they will be useful and have either the time yourself, or are happy to let somone take these jobs on for you, then my take is they should be setup as inclusions to your website build.
Essential to the success of your website is support.
As standard your developer should be willing to train you on how to use your new website.
They should also supply you with full documentation, including all usernames and passwords with short descriptions of the purpose of each item listed.
Finally when it comes to support, it is important that your developer is available after everything has been delivered to help with any questions that may come up for you.
Structure and legibility
Lastly it’s important to make sure that your final website is laid out properly, with information that is easy to find and easy to digest.
Ask any potential designer for examples of their work to see what they have built in the past, and see if you like the way the sites navigate and if you like the look and feel.
If you’d like to take a look at examples of websites that we have built that follow all of the guidelines outlined in this article, then please head over to our portfolio page.
Engaging a web developer to build you site is a big commitment, and one you want to get right.
For more information you can take a look at our article about finding a developer, which will give you helpful tips when considering hiring someone.
All of the above are things I think are essential and should be included as standard in any website build.
I hope you have found this article interesting and helpful. Drop us a message and say hi, it would be great to hear from you.