Congratulations! You’ve decided to bring your business’ marketing strategy into the digital age, and you’re building a website. Or perhaps you already have a website, but it still needs an overhaul to compete in the digital marketing landscape. Learn what website features are critical—and those that aren’t—to streamline the process and get the most value from your time and investment in the project through improved customer engagement.
- – Take time during the website development process to think about the key pieces of information customers are looking for, and include those details in the site’s content. Sometimes, businesses make the mistake of creating information they want to convey to customers, and miss out on key components that customer are really looking for, like the menu for a restaurant, service hours for a bank, how to volunteer for a nonprofit or images of products for a retailer.
- – The overall look and feel of your website is important, but the site should ultimately be useful to users. Keeping SEO in mind, the structure of the site’s content is key. Using paper and pencil, map out a design for the content, using, at most, seven topics for the navigation tabs at the top of the screen, and work out any additional topics—or sub categories—to fit within these primary categories.
- – Once you’ve established the structure to use and the most useful content to include on the site, it’s time to strategize the actual navigation of the page. What will customers need to do on the page? Place an order? Make a wish list? Visit your store? Engage with customer service? The features you set up on the main page should make sense with easy-to-understand names. Additionally, the web page should include necessary call to action buttons, social media connections, live-call access, and so forth.
- – When users arrives on your site, they’re either first-time browsers or repeat visitors. Increase engagement by featuring your contact information so that it’s easily seen. The contact information should include all primary ways a customer can make contact, but be sure to include only those means that will actually work. For example, including an email address that you don’t monitor isn’t wise. If a consumer reaches out via email, and you never reply, you’ve just lost a potential customer.
- – Website visitors are looking for a secure site, particularly if you’re asking them to give up personal information. To order a product over the internet, use the highest level of security for your site, called an SSL certificate. Make sure you feature the security of the website prominently.
With these five website features, your website will promote a high level of engagement. Test-drive the site a few times with employees and/or a trusted advisor, and make sure the website is easy to use, offers users the information they need, makes navigating the site easy, features your contact information, and offers a secure experience. Using these foundational website features, and avoiding gimmicks like music or videos that play automatically or media that slows the loading time of the page, puts your website in the running for top-level engagement.