Checklist: 13 Elements a Good Website Should Have

what should a good website have
Increase your chances to succeed with these 13 tips on what every good website should have
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Building a good website that provides a lot of value to a business can take a surprising amount of work. That’s why I’ve compiled 13 tips that will help you stand out, get better results through your website and capture and keep your visitor’s attention.

So, lets start with the first thing visitors should see when the page loads:

1. A tagline and a short description

This may seem obvious, but surprisingly many don’t explain clearly what the business does and who it serves.

You have to make it clear what you do and who the website is for in the website’s tagline, or people won’t stick around. They came to your website because they’re looking for a solution, if they feel you can’t provide it, they’ll look elsewhere.

That’s why the first thing people should see on your home page is a tagline and a short explanation of what you do, and why they should care. The tagline should be clear and short.

good website feature unique value proposition
Instapage clearly explains what they do on their homepage

2. Effective calls to action

The main action you want your visitors to take should also be clear.

Common call to actions (CTA‘s) are:

  • Calling the business
  • Requesting a free consultation
  • Subscribing to an email list
  • Buying a product

Not sure what CTA is best for you? Look at the main competitors in your industry or niche and copy what they are doing.

A common way to make CTA’s pop out on a page, is to put them inside eye catching buttons with enticing text. Sprinkling in the CTA’s at multiple places on the page in a natural way makes it more likely that a visitor will take action.

Mailchimp has two different call to actions above the fold on their homepage

3. Well written content (and lots of it!)

When writing for your website you need to think like your customer. What are their problems and concerns? Why are they coming to your website, and what are they looking for?

The better you know your customer, the easier it is to write high quality that speaks to them.

You should avoid having pages that have little to no content on them (except in very rare occasions if people are looking for something like a tool, like a word counter or a calculator). Without good content, search engines won’t know what the page is about (neither will your visitors, probably), and that will make it harder to show up in searches.

4. Easy ways to contact

Put a link to the contact page in the main navigation. On the contact page, you should offer multiple ways for people to get in touch. Here’s some ways you can get people to contact you:

  • Contact form
  • Phone number (with click-to-call action)
  • Email address
  • Make an appointment in a calendar (a good free option is calendly)
This painting business uses a click-to-call link

5. Great images

You should always hire a photographer if you need pictures for your website, if you can afford it.

Designing a website that looks professional is so much easier if you have professional images of your business.

You can also use stock images. You can either use a paid image bank such as Shutterstock, or a free image bank such as Unsplash or Pexels.

Just make sure the images look natural and that they make sense, and add value for the visitor. Nobody wants to see cheap or inappropriate stock images.

bad stock image on website example
Bad images are a turn-off. Would you know this was was a plumbing business based on this stock photo?

6. Mobile-friendliness

Optimizing for mobile means the website should adapt to all screen sizes.

You should keep the paragraphs short, if possible (it takes longer to scroll on a phone).

Mobile behavior can also be different. For instance, mobile visitors might be ready to immediately call your business. You can take advantage of this by adding tap-to-call buttons that are always visible on the screen.

7. Fast page load

You should optimize your website to make sure it’s loading as fast as possible. Did you know that most mobile visitors will leave a page if it hasn’t loaded within 3 seconds?

The numbers are probably similar for desktops and laptops too. People don’t want to wait around for your website to load, when there’s so many other sites out there they could choose instead.

Website loading speed is also an important metric for Google. Having a slow website will make it harder to rank in search engines.

You can check your website speed with a free speed check tool, like GTMetrix. These tools can also give you suggestions on how to improve your page load speed.

A drawback of GTMetrix and most other page speed testing tools is that you only can test one page at a time. If you want to test many pages, you might want to try Experte’s free tool for speed-testing multiple pages in bulk.

GTMetrix gives suggestions on how to get a good website load speed

8. Relatable testimonials

Social proof is one of the best ways to stand out and make visitors trust you and your business.

Testimonials by real customers can be impressive, especially if the visitor can relate to the testimonial, and the testimonial explains how you were able to solve a problem that the person visiting your page is having.

The more real and the more specific the testimonials are, the better. The best way to include testimonials on your website, is to show reviews people have written on platforms like Facebook, Yelp, or on your Google My Business page.

a good website needs many testimonials
If you use WordPress, or a website builder, you can use widget to pull in reviews from different channels automatically

9. FAQ section

Most visitors have some common objections and questions, why not identify what they are and address them directly somewhere on the page?

To find out what people are wondering, you can start typing questions into Google to see what auto-completions you get. You can also use answerthepublic to see what questions people are typing into Google.

If you make the answers to the questions long enough, this could also be an opportunity to rank for questions that people type into Google. But, if the question requires a long answer (), I would recommend creating a separate blog post about it.

10. Blog

Blogging about topics that your audience are searching for helps drive traffic to your website and helps Google to see you as an authority in your industry.

Over time, posting regularly on your blog could get you 67% more leads than businesses who don’t blog at all. That’s why posting high quality content on a blog should be a part of every business’s plan to get visitors to their website.

The more time you invest into your blogging skills and into researching how to get your blog posts to rank high on Google, the more traffic and leads, sales, and sign-ups you will get.

Getting traffic from blogging takes time, but the payoff is a stream of free traffic to your website.

11. Search engine optimization

If you want your customers to find you on Google, you need to optimize your website for search engines by including the keywords people type in Google to find your services.

If you’re a local business, a good place to start is to include the type of service you provide and your location, for instance “Plumber in New York” in the title and headers of the page. But, make sure you’re targeting the keywords that get the most traffic, and that you have a chance to rank highly for at some point.

That way, when customers search for businesses in their area, you have a higher chance of showing up on the first page of Google.

This plumbing business has a separate page which targets a common search term

12. Accessibility

Your website needs to be usable by people who have limited vision, color blindness and by people using screen readers. The contrast between text and backgrounds needs to be high, the text should not be too small or placed over busy images.

Optimizing a website for screen readers can be complicated, but it’s necessary, because that’s how most blind people browse the internet.

One simple way to support screen readers is by adding alt-text to your images, which describe what the image is about to screen readers. By making your website accessible you will reach a wider audience and rank better in search engines.

13. Visitor analytics

You can use an analytics tool, like Google Analytics (which is free, BTW) to analyze the behavior of visitors on your website. Use the data to continuously measure and improve your website.

You can see which pages are popular, which pages people spend little time on, which pages have the best conversion rates, and much more.

If you’re using WordPress, a good website analytics plugin is MonsterInsight’s Google Analytics Dashboard plugin. With it you can view analytics data right on your admin dashboard.

improve wordpress website with analytics plugin
There are many free plugins for viewing analytics data inside WordPress

Conclusion

This list could go on and on, as there are countless things you can improve on your website to make it more successful and appealing to visitors. If you start out by implementing these 13 steps, you will have a solid foundation which you can build on.

If you need help with one or more of the steps, or you just want somebody to build a custom website for you at a decent price, do get in touch.

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