There are certain things every website needs in order to attract customers, convert them, and rank in the search engines.
This need is based on:
- What people want
- What search engines want (arguably, this is more important; if you don’t please the mighty Google, your site won’t be found by anyone, so it doesn’t matter what they want)
It is a delicate balance, but the right web designers can achieve it.
This infographic tells you the top ten things a website needs.
Here is a run-down.
The Ten Things A Website Needs
1) Enough Copy
If I had a penny every time a web developer or business owner told me they just wanted a really minimalist website, I wouldn’t be working on a Saturday. I’d be out, spending my £2.50.
“But people don’t want to read loads of text, they just want to know how to get in touch”, they confidently assert.
No, YOU don’t want to read loads of copy. Some people do.
I will agree that no one wants to read huge chunks of text on a webpage, full of waffle. But a skilful copywriter (like ours) will write engaging web copy that gives the pertinent information.
And a skilful web designer (like ours) will make that copy zing with clever design and segmentation.
Your copy needs to convince the web visitor that you can solve their problem. It needs to tell them how you will do it, and why they should call you over your competitor. And it shouldn’t be ‘thin content’.
The debate rages on in SEO circles about the optimum word count. As this article explains, there is some correlation between certain sectors, word count, and ranking capabilities. Some SEO specialists think that if you match the average word count in a sector, your pages have a better chance of ranking. John Mueller says that isn’t true (sort of).
Who to believe? John, usually.
Longer articles and pages might get more links, might give more info, and might beat your competition. But it might not.
What is going to do all those things for sure, is enough quality content.
A minimalist website will look gorgeous, no doubt. But it won’t convey your key messages. And it won’t get your keywords in.
Here at GT, we usually like to go about 300-500 words. It’s a happy medium, we feel.
2) A Good Structure
One page websites are pretty much pointless. Sorry but it’s true. Yes, they are cheap. That is it.
A good web structure is important. The Google algorithms and humans alike love a simple and easy to navigate structure.
That isn’t to say it should be flat. Neil Patel explains why a good web structure is important and how to create one here.
A good structure improves the UX of a site. That means it is ESSENTIAL for your SEO, because SEO is all about a good experience for the user. Dalley wrote a great blog about how important UX is for SEO here.
A good structure would look something like this:
Optimise your sites, people. This is about more than filling in Yoast.
A non-exhaustive checklist:
- Is Yoast (or similar) filled in?
- Have you changed the page titles to include a keyword?
- Is your keyword strategy strong?
- Are images compressed?
- Is CSS minified?
- Is your server fast?
- Have you got a good internal link structure?
- Do your images have Alt text?
- Have you got trust signals? (more below)
- Are your social links on the site?
- Are your subheadings marked as H2s or H3s?
- Have you just got the one H1 on your page?
If you know you haven’t got all that and more and don’t want to/know how to do it yourself, give us a shout. We charge £15 per page for on-page SEO. It’s honestly money well spent.
Beware web developers claiming they have optimised your site and really, they have copied and pasted a meta description into Yoast 15 times.
4) Calls To Action
Every page should have at least one call to action. Tell your visitors what you want them to do.
You might have different calls to action on different pages, depending on the content and intent. For example, a product page is going to have ‘Buy here’, whereas a blog page might have a ‘sign up to our newsletter’ CTA.
You need to be explicit. What do you want people to do?
Don’t stick your CTA right down at the bottom of the page. It ideally would be at various points. Usually top, middle, end. It saves people having to scroll to find a button to contact you with.
Make it easy for them. Long forms put people off. Tiny fonts, pop ups, and flashing buttons also tend to put people off.
5) Trust Signals
Trust signals are proof that your web visitor can trust your brand. There are lots and lots of them. Every website should have some.
This might include:
- Reviews and testimonials
- Returns and shipping policies
- Privacy policies and T&Cs
- Industry awards, accreditations and logos
- An ‘About Us’ page and a ‘Meet The Team’ page
- Contact details, including a physical address
- A company registration number
- Case studies
- Social media links
It all goes to convincing people you are a legitimate business, that other people have used you and they trust you.
There is a long list of trust signals your website needs to convert customers both on and off site. You can find them here.
6) Responsive Design
Make sure your site looks great on mobile and tablets.
A common issue we see (or me, specifically because my laptop is tiny) is websites not taking into account screen size and resolution.
63% of Google’s traffic in the US in 2019 came from mobile users. Your site needs to be ready to service them.
If it looks rubbish or is hard to use, people aren’t going to stick around and that will harm your rankings, not to mention your conversions.
7) A Blog
Adding fresh, useful content to your site is one of the most important things you can do to rank. Like, 45% of it (I can hear the SEO agents now clamouring to tell me I’m wrong “no, its backlinks”-BACK OFF, NERDS.)
A blog is a simple way to do that.
Update your blog as often as you can. I don’t mean once a month. I mean once a week at least.
And please write about things your potential customers are asking. They aren’t wondering if you had cake for Carol’s birthday.
They want to know how your products or services can make them happier, healthier or richer.
Look what questions people are asking in the SERPs and then answer them.
Come on our Better Blogging Course if you want to learn how. Get in touch for details.
8) Site Map
It’s not something that anyone will ever really see but it is absolutely essential that Google can effectively crawl your site.
If you use an SEO plug in like Yoast you can auto submit it in the setup wizard.
Otherwise, you can run your site through an XML site map creator and upload it to Search Console.
9) SSL Certificate
Technically this could have come under trust signals, but it is so important I thought it deserved a spot on its own.
Get. An. SSL. Certificate. For. Your. Site.
Without it, Google will display a big red warning when people try to go to your site, saying things like ‘NOT TO BE TRUSTED’ and ‘ABANDON HOPE ALL YE WHO ENTER’ and ‘THIS SITE WILL GIVE YOU SYPHILIS’ and so on.
Your hosting provider can help you upload an SSL certificate. Be sure to get one that is adequate for your site. If you are taking lots of card payments, you may need to fork out on a more expensive one. It is worth it, trust me.
Essentially it encrypts data that is sent over the internet and gives you a padlock symbol in the browser.
Speed is becoming more and more important. The faster your page loads, the better.
And by that, I mean that everything on your page needs to appear as soon as possible. Really fast. Pronto.
Having things continuing to load in the background is not acceptable.
Google are phasing in web vitals over 2021, kicking off in May. Websites that don’t meet these requirements won’t be returned as high in the SERPs.
A slow site negatively affects user experience. And after all, Google is all about improving the user experience.
Need Some Help?
So, there you go. Ten things your website needs to convert customers and rank.
How many do you have?
If you are looking at that and thinking ‘oh no’, give us a shout. As always, there are loads of ways you can get help.
- Read our many excellent and informative blogs
- Give us a bell on 0161 706 0012 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
See you next time!