I have to say, I’m a very lucky person. After years of having my nose at the grindstone and building my business from the ground up, I now have a company with a talented group of design gods, marketing gurus, support heroes and super project managers.
So one afternoon, I decided to gathered up my team for a Round Table debate and I asked them “What are the best website features every site should have?”
Between my entire team there are years of raw experience in building and perfecting websites. The conversation started slow, but it quickly picked up and my passionate team debated what features every website needs.
Everyone had a different opinion… and I just sat back and made some mental notes whilst the debate erupted around me. The good news is that I got a LOT of good ideas here… the bad news (for me) is that this thing is going to stretch out over four blogs (eeeeek!).
I’ll be writing part 2 shortly, but for now let’s start off our count with the first 7 top features every website should have…
1. A Quick Call to Action “Above the Fold”.
Amazingly there was more dissension than I thought there would be in regards to having a sliding banner on the top of a website. However one thing that EVERYONE could agree on is the importance of having a strong ‘call to action’ (i.e. a clear instruction to buy, register, contact, etc) towards the top of the site.
So for example, if you checkout the Web123 site, the first thing you’ll see is a top banner that highlights the key features of what we offer, followed by a big “get a free quote” button. It’s punchy, it’s effective and it works.
2. Highlight Key Benefits of Your Offering
Before I talk about benefits, allow me illustrate the difference between “features” and “benefits”.
If you buy an exercise bike, the feature is that you can exercise on it, whilst a benefit could include “feeling happier and more confident” when you lose weight. In a nutshell a benefit is what your customers will get out of your product or service.
And often many early website marketers make the crucial mistake of not talking about the benefits. Whether you display your benefits visually (like above) or include them in your copy, it’s important to highlight WHY your product is important to your customers, whether it’s to save them money, increase their happiness, improve the quality of life, etc.
3. Highlight Key Features Too!
However don’t forget your features too! When copywriters get really good at highlighting benefits to their readers, they can often forget to mention the features too.
Here’s an example on Web123. See how we clearly label what Web123 can do for your business? When a person is ready to buy they NEED to know this information.
Going back to the exercise bike example from earlier, imagine how ANNOYING it would be if after learning how amazing you’ll feel when you lose weight, if you can’t find out about the price, size, functions, etc, of the bike! Make sure you detail the features, as this is what can seal (or kill) the deal.
4. A Logical Road Map
Some of my team prefer a website with a singular focus (e.g. register for an ebook, or contact the company via a quote page) whilst other’s like web designs with multiple targets.
Regardless of which approach you choose, make sure you a give your customers a clear instruction on how to proceed through the website. Ideally, the minute a person lands on your website, they should know exactly where they should go next. And whatever path they take, it should ALWAYS ultimately lead to the sale.
If your website has too many focuses or options, chances are they will get confused and ultimately leave the page.
5. A Search Bar
Something so small and can easily be overlooked, but a search bar can be a godsend for your customers, especially if you have a large site, an eCommerce site, or a blog / news section.
It’s all about making your customer’s lives as easy as possible. If they want to find something specific, let them!
6. Email Newsletter Signup
It’s great when customers come to your website, but what if they leave. Well that’s why email collection forms were created by the web design gods.
I strongly advise you develop an email marketing strategy and invite people to join your mailing list. However when you do, don’t just “plonk” your newsletter field in the bottom of your site… show it loud and proud! Highlight what they will get out of it (if you’re running a gardening website, a “weekly gardening tips” would be very alluring) and push it as its own “product” that people just HAVE to sign up for.
If you’re worth people’s time, they will WANT to follow you, so let them.
7. Collect More Emails With Lead Bait
In many ways, this is an extension of the above, but I felt it needed its own section to highlight its importance. Lead bait is offering something of high value to your customer in exchange for an email address.
Typical examples include ebooks, videos, free courses, webinars etc. Again, it’s all about offering something that will benefit your customer for free. They will get a taste of what you have to offer and see that you are a genuine expert in your area.
And because you have their email, you can now advertise to them in their inbox and help push that final sale. So yeah… it’s powerful. 🙂
I think that’s enough for now…
That’s 7 website features your site should include. But the list isn’t over next… if you want to read ANOTHER 7 awesome website ideas on how to improve your website and gear it towards making you more money,simply check out part 2 right here.
Got any questions or opinions on this blog? Let me know below in the comments board today!