These must-have website features for any business covers just that.
These pages will always always have blocks (the features needed) of content that make up the page and the website as a whole.
These are the features your business website need in order to function and present content the admins and users expect.
The features that are to be discussed can be applied to any page. It is the design and needs of your business that will determine where these features are implemented, or even excluded.
An example for the home page would be Header, Hero Section, Service/Product Section, Facts Section, Who We Help Section, Contact Form, Testimonials, and the Footer.
We will also cover other features that are critical to your business website’s success that do not make up a webpage. So without further ado, lets get started.
Top Level Domain
The Top level domain name must be carefully considered. It what shows up on Google and is seen by everyone.
Your top level domain must be relevant to your business, aimed toward your target audience, be industry specific. As long as you have a well thought out Domain Name, it will go hand in hand with SEO as the keywords used throughout your website will match your domain name.
Having a search form on your business website means your users can quickly search for the content they need on your website.
This is especially useful if your website is going to have a lot of content. This is because it can save the user going through pages and pages of pagination, thus, allowing the user to see what they need quickly. However, if your website does not have much content, it may not be needed.
Your website needs to be effective at getting the correct message across to your target audience, this can be what it is you do, the product or service you provide, and how you help clients/customers. This can be achieved with good design and well thought out content.
Your site needs to have the correct pages and have different sections that make up the webpage in the correct/relevant places. Further down this list, you will see the sections that are needed for your business website.
it is absolutely critical that you get the design of your website right. We have a neat post on our web design process, so check it out if you’d like to know more about this.
Readable (meaningful) URLs
There are different URL formats for websites, some simple examples include: including the page ID as a number, displaying the date, or just displaying the page name. In general, it is good practice to just display the page name. This is because it looks clean and concise and the user can easily see what page they are on.
On top of this, if they want to share the page or post, having a clean URL means users on other platforms can easily identify where the link will be taking them.
Content is king. Content drastically affects SEO, it isn’t just about the focus keywords, you need the good content to go along with the keywords.
Good quality content can be added all over your website (from the home page to the blog pages). Simply put, if you have bad content, your users will likely leave the page they are on increasing your bounce rate, thus, reducing SEO. If you would like help with SEO, we provide marketing services.
Legible Font/Good Font Paring
If you have good content but have bad fonts your users will not read the information on your website. You need to have good font pairings that make up the brand of your business, don’t just choose a font because it looks good.
A good example would be choosing a good font that suits the design of your unique logo, if you do this, the font you use will likely become known as part of your brand – you can use it on your business cards, leaflets and merchandise.
Header – Logo
The header is a top feature of all websites and is displayed on all pages. It must contain your logo. This will be seen on every page. Not only does your logo need to be visible, but it must also contain a link to go back to your home page. Your users simply expect this.
Header Top Bar Call To Action
The next important feature that needs to be on your top bar is the call to action section. This can include your business contact details (number and email) and button with a relevant link. This will allow your users to instantly carry out an action if they don’t need to browse your website.
Header Responsive Menu – Desktop
The most important aspect of the menu on your website is, it must be responsive. It needs to work on all screen sizes. Your desktop navigation will generally have a horizontal layout with vertical submenu drop downs. This will keep your navigation tidy as your website grows.
Header Responsive Menu – Tablet
Your business website tablet menu will generally be the same as the menu used on your mobile menu, there sometimes will be enough space to accommodate the desktop menu, but your users use tablets just like mobile devices. This can be tricky because some users convert their tablets (tablet sized screens) to a laptop.
There is a fine line between when to use a desktop menu on tablet and when to use a mobile menu. If you are unsure, we provide web design services that can seriously help you.
Header Responsive Menu – Mobile
The mobile menu must allow your users to properly navigate your business website as well as clearly see all content on your website. This means it must be well thought out and collapse (hide when the user does not need to see any links).
Footer – Contact Information
Again, like the header, the footer is visible on all pages of your business website. It must contain contact information. This must be included so your users can get in touch with you after they have scrolled through the page relevant to them.
This also prevents the need of your users to have to navigate to another section of your website (increasing the chance of them leaving).
Footer – Short Menu
It is generally good practice to include the top most important links of your website in the footer, this means if your user is not ready to get in touch with you, they can easily navigate to a relevant section of your website before getting in touch.
Footer Contact Form
A contact form in the footer means your users don’t have to set up an email or phone you to get in touch, they can simply fill out the contact form and leave. Reducing the effort needed to get in contact with you.
Footer Social Media Links
Social media links mean users can navigate to all of your social media platforms from one place. We say from one place because social media links will sometimes be scattered throughout your business website on the single blog pages (to share the post) and on the sidebars. It will simply save your users traversing your website just to find the social media links.
Footer – Legal Links
Legal information must be included on your site, period. But you don’t want these links getting in the way of your main quality content. The best place for these pesky legal links to go in the footer. This is the place you almost always see these types of links, so your users expect this.
Footer – Logo
Having a logo in your footer will mean another opportunity to link back to your home page, this is almost like another form of a quick link, but in a more visual way. This means your user doesn’t have to scroll all the way back to the top of your website just to get back to the homepage.
Large Hero Section
Hero Section – USP
Hero sections are used as part of landing pages of your business website. They must contain relevant content and be engaging to the user. This is the perfect opportunity to advertise your unique selling point to capture the user’s interest.
Hero Section – Blurb
Having a blurb is a good way to include a short introduction to what the page is about. This is helpful because if the user happens to click on a wrong link by accident, they will know this before they start scrolling down your webpage. Not only is it good to display what the page is about, but a chance to talk about you and your business.
Hero Section – Image/Graphics/Video
The hero section of your website needs to have something that sets it apart from the content on your webpage. Adding visual content will increase the engagement of your users (grabbing their attention). It is also the perfect opportunity to show off your product or service in action.
General Hero Section
We have discussed what to include within the hero sections for landing pages of your site, but you need a hero section that can be used on generic pages (could be the about, contact or legal pages). These pages don’t have any child pages. So, this type of hero section will generally be shorter and just include a title, and an image. It should be kept short and sweet. It does not need to take up all the user’s screen space.
You need to include call to actions across the different pages of your website. These need to be where the user would expect and not surprise them with a glaring CTA.
A good place of a CTA could be below the service section, a contact form could be included so the user can get in touch with you after reading the product/service you provide.
Also, another good place to include CTAs is the hero section for landing pages. Having a call to action in the hero section of your business website allows users to carry out a relevant action after they’ve read a bit of information about your business.
This is particularly important if you do not have sticky navigation – meaning your top bar call to action is not visible as the user scrolls down the webpage.
Your website will have a service or product page(s), but you need a way for your users to get to this page from other areas of your website. You also want a way for your users to see what you offer if they are not on the product or service page(s). A way to do this is to include a short service or product section outlining what it is you offer along with a link to the relevant product or service page.
The benefits of your product or service will be on your product or service page. Again, just like the service/product section, there should be a dedicated section that can be used on other pages of your business website outlining the benefits along with a link to the service/product page. This is particularly important as providing the benefits will basically show off to your users how good your product or service is as they are browsing the website.
On the topic of showing off how good you are, you should include some tasty facts about you and your business. This can range from the number of people who use your business to the clients you have. This is the perfect time to really grab your users attention.
How We Help / Who We Help Section
You are providing a product or service, after all. Your business website should tell your users how you help them. It is also important to state who you help (your target audience). This is the time you can really make your target audience they need your product or service.
Team / Author Page
Having a team or author page allows your potential clients/customers to put a face to who they are talking to. It also allows your visitors to find out a little background information about each team member. It can also allow your visitors to get in touch with the correct person straight away.
If you provide different type of services or products, it is important to provide specific contact forms relevant to the product or service. This way you can really customise each form individually. This will also mean you can have a clean, short and concise general contact form and a more in-depth services form with extra form fields.
In short, if you don’t’ have well thought out contact forms, you simply won’t be collecting all the information you need from your clients.
The testimonial section is the perfect way to show off what people really say about you. This reinforces to potential clients/customers that your product or service is truly good and genuine.
If testimonials are not enough for you, you can go as far as case studies. Here you can simply collect more than just what people say about you, but a full “report” on how you helped another person (could be another business) as well as what they say about you.
Links to other pages
We have discussed the importance of including links to relevant pages from sections that can be used on any page of your website. But you should include general links to other pages from different areas of your business website. These can consist of call to action buttons and can be included in the sidebars.
A good example is a contact call to action in the blog sidebar that takes the user to the contact page.
Child pages are a very good way to categorise your content under a parent. This provides good structure as your website grows and provides meaningful navigation (URLs) to users and for anyone who shares your website pages. A prime example includes the services your business provides.
If you have five services, you could have a parent service page that contains these five individual services as child pages. This can drastically tidy navigation as instead of having a ream of horizontal links, you can have a parent “service” link with drop down links (five services you provide).
Providing a frequently asked questions page or section on your website means users do not have to get in touch with you just to ask a simple question. They can get answers to any queries they have, then get straight to the point when they come to actually contact you.
A blog page is a perfect way to talk about your business and other relevant topics that relate to your business and customers without bloating out other sections of your website. This can be the go-to place to really talk in depth about a topic and generate quality content. If you do this, over time, the SEO of your website will improve.
The blog page is crucial part to your digital marketing (which can mean the difference between the success and failure of your business). If you really need some guidance on this, we have a blog post on How To Create A Digital Marketing Plan For Your Business.
The sidebar will generally be included on your blog pages. This is a good way to put small bits of extra information or extra functionality on your website. Some of this extra stuff can include contact call to action, social media links, adverts, calendars, notifications messages and much much more.
Because we have mentioned contact call to actions, it is absolutely critical that you include these throughout your site. it would be a mistake to miss these out. There are of course many other mistakes that can happen, check out our blog post on the Top Website Design Mistakes (And How To Fix Them).
Media on websites generally takes up more space than text and can really bloat out webpages. You can really show this content off on large desktop screens, but you want a good compact way of displaying media to users on tablet and mobile devices. A way to this is by using sliders. These allow users to swipe through individual media pieces without much webpage space or screen space being used up.
We have talked about responsive navigation and providing sliders on tablet and mobile devices for media. but, in general, why is a responsive layout needed? Every single inch of your website needs to be accessible on all devices. The content needs to adapt.
For example, three columns for desktop, two columns for mobile and a single column for mobile. This keeps navigation tidy and improves the readability of your business website on small screens (you do not want three columns of text on small mobile screens).
Providing a map on your website is particularly useful if you have a larger business and have multiple locations. A prime example could be on a restaurant website. You want people to know if your restaurant is available in their area and how far they need to travel. It is simply a good consolidated place to provide such information.
You don’t just want links to your social media platforms, you want users to be able to directly share content from your website to social media platforms. This can help generate traffic to your website as your users’ target audience will have the chance to link back to your website.
Comments provide a way for you to communicate with your target audience on a higher level – you can engage in debates and really find out how your target audience behaves. Having comments on your website also shows that you have nothing to hide and welcome any constructive criticism. From here you can do nothing but improve.
Breadcrumbs are particularly important if you have a large website or an e-commerce site. But why? Well, breadcrumbs provide an easy-to-way for users to navigate your site and allow them to instantly understand your website structure. On top of this Google likes breadcrumbs. So be sure to use them.
Also as e-commerce has been mention, we would like to mention we offer e-commerce solutions using WordPress and WooCommerce, so if you are thinking about an online shopping or e-commerce website, please contact us.
Live chats provide a real-time convenience to customers to get in touch with you. There are many benefits to using live chat and some include competitive advantage, increased conversion rates and sales and the opportunity to build long term relationships.
Subscriptions are a perfect way to notify your mailing list of any offers you have or any new blog posts, posted. This saves your mailing list from having to manually check your website every day for any potential updates. One good benefit to having a mailing list is the opportunity to build relationships with your customers.
Your website needs to be search engine optimised, it is all well and good having the right elements and content on your website, but it needs to be “right” for Google. There are various SEO plugins that can audit your website’s SEO. One is Yoast’s SEO plugin. If you would like more information on SEO please see our blog post on 17 actionable Tips To Help Increase Your Rankings.
Once your website is properly search engine optimised, you need a way to track your visitors. One way to do this is by using Google Analytics. Google Analytics automatically collects data about your visitors and places it into meaningful reports.
Optimised image sections
Your business website will have videos, images and graphics. This means larger file sizes. You want media sections of your website to be properly optimised. This means small file sizes, the correct images loaded at specific resolutions as well as appropriate layouts for different screen sizes. This is where sliders can come in.
Your website must be secure, and you want to let your users know it is secure. One way of doing this is by using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). Simply put, SSL is a way to keep sensitive information sent across the internet encrypted. This information can then only be read from the server it has been sent to.
Admin Area Setup
Whether your website is small or large, you want a clean admin area to add, edit and delete content on your website. You want to be able to easily write blog posts, add different page blocks and update site-wide settings such as your contact number and email address. One way this can be achieved is by using WordPress.
If you are thinking about a new site or want a website refreshed, we happen to use WordPress for our websites. If you are interested get in touch with us.
Anti-spam software is the best way to prevent unwanted content from entering your business website. It prevents unsolicited messages within your comments section as well as your mailbox. You simply do not want reams and reams of spam entering your website’s database (increasing the size of your website) as well as your clean and tidy inbox.
This will also benefit the comments section as it will be kept clean and tidy. You do not want visitors going down to your comments section to find spam. This will make it difficult to communicate with your target audience and you will be spending unnecessary time cleaning out spam.
Phew! That was an extensive list of 50 must have website features. Hopefully, we have helped you identify any missing features on your website or have helped inspire you to get a new website going.
Regarding the different sections that can make up a webpage (testimonials, services, who we help etc.) talked about in this blog post, there can be dedicated pages for testimonials, services and who we help.
But, including these sections on different pages will be based on the needs of your business and the functionality of the website. So, if you need help with this and you do want a website, please get see our web design services and get in touch with us.
And if this list is still not enough information for you, we have a blog post covering the Complete Website Checklist.