Even though small business websites are becoming more and more common, many lack key features to get better results.
Of course, the basics like an easy to remember domain name, phone number, and logo are very important for growth and visibility online. However, to give an online business a higher chance of success, there are certain must have features that you must incorporate into a website.
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)
All websites need SSL certificates to keep data secure and encrypted. An SSL will encrypt transmissions to and from your websites (e.g, credit card numbers, Social Security numbers) and is especially crucial for e-commerce websites.
An SSL certificate will alleviate consumer concerns and ensures the trustworthiness of your website. Trusted SSL certificates are issued by certificate authorities and validates your domain and organization.
In August 2014, Google announced that installing an SSL certificate on websites will help boost ranking positions. This is one important reason to use an SSL certificate.
Responsive website design
In today’s digital world, users will not only visit websites on their computers and laptops, but will also come from different types of smart devices. This is why your website must be mobile-friendly and responsive for easy viewing on any smart device. Responsive website designs are created by your website developer at the start of the web development project or sometimes added to an existing website.
Smart devices have vastly increased in models, types, and features. This makes mobile-friendly websites much more important. The design and user experience features that website designers aimed for in the past are no longer the norm these days. With advanced web-browsing capabilities, website designers have to deal with dynamism, functionality, mobility and multiple scripting languages for all devices. Factors like click versus touch, pixel-resolution, screen-size, optimized markup and more have become crucial while developing a responsive website, hence the need for skilled and experienced developers.
Most importantly, Google now gives preference to responsive websites when ranking and even goes ahead to reference responsive web design as an industry best practice.
Meta tags and descriptions are important components of your website’s content. The meta tag usually includes keywords relevant to the content of each web page and is necessary for search engines to understand your page content. This information is important to ensure that your web pages are indexed correctly in the search listings.
Google’s former head of Webspam, Matt Cutts, stated in 2012 that meta tags don’t matter to Google’s algorithm for web search. But, he also explained Google displays metadata in search result snippets. These are the results that users will see when they look up a search query.
The speed of your website and the impact of its loading time is often underestimated. Website owners spend a lot of time and money optimizing design, call-to-action, navigation, and the Homepage, yet they fail to realize the importance of speed and loading time.
Search engines consider the speed of a website’s server and the time spent loading a web page for ranking. A slow website can potentially cause harm to your SEO efforts. Apart from optimization, website speed can also cause you to lose website visitors.
Consequently, this will affect your bounce rate and overall time spent on your website.
Schema for address
Schema is a special type of tag added to a websites’ HTML to improve the way the website is displayed in the search listings. Basic schema is powerful and when you have a schema address, people can find your business easily.
Right now, a lot of Google’s search results uses rich snippets, which includes schema. With a schema address, you will put your business address in search result snippets making it easy for your location to be found.
Just as it’s important to make your contact form and information visible, so it is also necessary to have social sharing features on your website pages. 44% of small businesses rely on social media to generate brand awareness, and 41% depend on it to generate revenue – so this integration cannot be ignored.
Many successful brands place social buttons or links at the footer of every page, while some add this feature discretely on some pages. By making these links and buttons visible to your website users, your website developer would have effectively jump-started your SEO efforts and created a way for you to boost user-generated content from your website.
Because users can easily follow you on social media they become brand ambassadors for the times when you need some goodwill spread and this will keep your business on their radar.
Generating website traffic is one thing, keeping your prospects engaged is another. Small business websites need an email subscription feature to help create mailing lists.
These email lists can be kept updated about new products and services, discounts and events via newsletters and direct emails.
One of the email services we recommend is MailChimp which offers a free plan with up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month! It allows you build your mailing list directly from your website , send an automated emails and view reports
Today, content is truly king! So creating a blog section and churning out relevant and creative content is one strategy that pays off. A blog section is useful for every small business website and will help the website rank better in the search engines by driving organic traffic to the blog.
It is also an easy way of constantly adding new content to your website and keeping your users informed of your products and services.
Posting the right content will also help you market your brand online so that prospects can find you.
Any website designed without a blog section is missing a great PR tool that can be created without any extravagant coding.
The best way to ensure that your website has these must-have features is to work with a skilled website design and development firm. These professionals will create your website and social media pages for a seamless user experience.