Get Ready for 2020 with 23 Website Must-Haves
Even though we’re nearing mid-November, the year is not over yet. You still have time to decide where to spend Christmas and what presents to buy. You also have a lot of time left to polish that New Year’s list of resolutions. While you’re at it, give your website some attention too in the next few weeks. Get it ready for the challenges of 2020.
Because we want your website to make you money in 2020 and beyond, we’ve prepared a list of 23 website must-have features for you to add before the year is over.
Why? To stay competitive in 2020, that’s why!
Before we get into specifics, it’s worth taking a moment to remember the basics. Your business website is there to drive business. If it doesn’t, it’s either not a business website, or it’s a poorly-built one. Your website has to do 3 things: quickly give visitors the information they are looking for, drive them to convert from simple visitors to buyers, and generate reports about the whole process, so you can optimize it further. If it’s not doing one or any of that, it means your website is not doing its job.
Whether you are preparing to publish your first website or just want to make your existing website better, make sure to include most of the things listed below in your web development plans. And don’t forget: good website design and branding/presence is just part of the answer.
In addition to all the navigation, contact and design elements, which we’re assuming your website already rocks, here’s what else you should consider:
23 Website Must-Haves
- Online chat feature – a growing trend is to have a semi-automated chat feature on your website. It helps keep the communication with the clients flowing, and also helps solve problems much faster than other means.
- Captcha / Anti-spam – you only get to be sorry that you don’t have it way after you publish your website. But then you will be really sorry that you didn’t implement it from the start.
- Blog section – add a comment feature, search function and ways to share on social media.
- Spell-check – your website should at least contain correct language. It might seem trivial at first, but you really can’t play fast and loose with client perception.
- Mobile responsiveness and hamburger menu icon when accessed from mobile devices.
- Frequency of title and meta description updates – improves search engine clicks.
- Automatic sitemap and XML sitemap – these should also be submitted to the common webmaster tools.
- Short and concise URLs – no query strings or numbers. Makes them more clickable and easier to share.
- Fast and reliable hosting, with automatic website backup and up to date SSL certificates.
- Use of a Content Management System (CMS for friends).
- Website code optimized for fast page loading.
- Cross-browser compatibility – this one is a must. The website should look and work the same in at least the 4-6 main browsers.
- Google Search Console integration.
- Google Analytics integration.
- Site caching – because you want your website to be as fast when accessed by 10 visitors or 10,000 visitors at the same time.
- Newsletter sign-up – some of your visitors might not yet be ready to convert, but it is good to keep them close, and keep them interested.
- Content Delivery Networks (CDN) – to have your website truly available worldwide.
- Landing pages – extremely important if you want an excellent conversion rate. Work as a destination pages for visitors who clicked a call-to-action somewhere. If your landing pages also contain integration of customer relationship management and marketing automation elements, you might have just hit the jackpot.
- Podcasts – yes, as weird as it may sound, lately podcasts are used more and more to drive results within businesses. Using podcasts, your business can capture reviews and testimonials from satisfied clients, educate your customers and ultimately build some authority within the industry.
- Videos – contrary to popular belief, you don’t need complicated and expensive equipment to produce basic videos. All you need is a relatively OK smartphone and you are set.
- Localization on the map – apart from a map on your website, it might be a good idea to register with Google My Business.
- Mobile standards – although somewhat new on the market, Google Accelerated Mobile Pages, Apple News and Facebook Instant Articles are some of the integrated content standards you should be publishing.
- Premium resources – things like case studies, white papers, infographics can bring in some more visitors.
FYI, you can find many of the features listed above in the NerdPilots Store. Or you can contact NerdPilots directly with your own list of website fixes and updates, and we’ll give you a personalized quote.
6 Things to Say NO to
Before we sign off, just a word of advice: if any developer wants to include any of the following things on your business website, say NO. They’re obsolete, useless, and will do your business more harm than good.
- Adobe Flash content – Adobe will discontinue all Flash support at the end of 2020. That means no security updates. Stay away from obsolete technology.
- Background music – First, music increases website loading time and resource use. Second, your website should be discrete, not blaring music on unsuspecting visitors. Third: it’s sooo 90s, isn’t it?
- Stolen content (images, text, other assets) – I don’t think I need to tell you why this is a no-no.
- Using or sharing confidential information publicly – if you don’t respect your visitors’ and customers’ confidentiality, you’ll not only get a bad rep, but you’ll get sued too.
- Click to enter website (unless you need to apply some age restriction due to the content) – make it as easy as possible for people to see your content. Think UX!
- Loading videos on your server – instead, use a video hosting service and only embed links to the video content. Much faster and safer.
Have questions about what should or shouldn’t be on your website? Please ask them – either in the comments section, or by emailing us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on social media. We’ll get right back to you with practical solutions for any website or business issue.