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Key Features Your Business Website Needs to Have

Key Features Your Business Website Needs to Have

In the digital age, having an effective website is absolutely crucial if you want your business to succeed, but whether you’re updating an existing site or planning an entirely new one making an effective website can be quite a daunting process. Your website needs to be unique to your business, so there’s no one size fits all way of designing and developing a site. There are, however, key features and functionalities that every business website needs, no matter what industry you operate in.

If you want to create an effective website the first time, read on for five key features that you must include when developing your new site.

A Solid SEO Strategy

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) really matters in the modern online landscape. Yes, your existing customers already know the name of your business and your URL, but all those other prospective customers out there need to know who you are. A solid SEO strategy that’s intelligently designed will play a vital role in increasing traffic and business leads as it will present your business’ website higher up on search results.

You may not have the budget to run a Google Adwords campaign, or hire a SEO strategist to create a campaign for you, but there are a few simple things you can do to ensure that your website is as optimized as possible. Use keywords in titles and meta descriptions, keep your page URLs as concise and keyword relevant as possible, and include the location of your business in your metadata too.

A Story

Customers and clients today actively care about who they’re doing business with; they want to know who you are and what your business is all about. Having a brand story that shares why you choose to do the work you do can make a noticeable difference when it comes to attracting and retaining customers, and there are plenty of inventive ways that you can share the unique story of how your company came to be.

Skincare brand Burt’s Bees, for example, has an entire section of its site dedicated to what the brand is about, and the values that they stand for. The history of the company is told through a visual timeline, the brand’s principles are explained in a Purpose Page, and there’s even a section devoted to educational content that links to the company’s YouTube channel.

Engaging Content

Once you’ve figured out a way to tell your brand story, it should be fairly easy to create content that is similar and continues to connect your brand to customers. Mega brands like Nike employ this technique to excellent effect, but you don’t have to be a multinational corporation to take the same approach.

Your website is most engaging when written content is valuable and establishes your business as an expert in your industry, and when relevant and eye-catching images are used. People like looking at pictures, especially if they are pictures of a company’s work, staff, or premises. Over time, and when you have the resources, you can take things up a notch by integrating video content into your blog posts and onto your website.

Privacy Policies and Terms of Use

They may be wordy and writing them might not be every business owner’s cup of tea, but privacy policies and terms of service are fundamental features that every business website needs.

To run a business website, your business must be compliant with regulations regarding the storage and usage of customer data. With your terms of use and privacy policy information in a visible place, you will be able to both inform your customers about the experience they can expect from your website as well as collect their permission to use and store information about them while they use your site.

Additionally, if your business operates with a license, such as a gaming license or a financial services license, it’s imperative that it’s clearly displayed alongside other key policies. In the example linked from the gaming brand PokerStars, details of its gaming license can be found in a section of the site with the privacy policy, terms of service, cookie policy, and any other vital information visitors and users of the site need to know.

User Functionality

We may not quite be in an era where we’re fully embracing Artificial Intelligence, but some AI features are expected from a modern business website. Live Chat functions make things so much easier for your visitors, especially if they have an urgent question they need answered or if they’re having trouble finding what they need on your site.

According to analytics specialists, adding a live chat function to your website could lead to more sales and repeat sales. 63% of online consumers surveyed by Kissmetrics stated that they would return to a site with a live chat feature, 38% said their purchasing decision was made during the chat session itself, and 62% confirmed that they would be more likely to purchase from that site in the future.

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by Harvey Carr // Harvey Carr is a contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.