Basic Rules of Building a Business Website
This checklist is intended to assist small business owners. It outlines the must have elements for your website so you can ensure it has the best chance of succeeding online.
Ensure your logo is on the left and links to your homepage
This is where users look first when they visit your page and where they expect to see your logo. By placing your logo where it’s expected to be you can establish immediate trust and gain instant brand recognition before the user’s journey continues.
You should also make sure it links to your homepage as that’s what’s become common practice. If your logo doesn’t link then it may well appear broken.
Paradigm Flow is actually a large company in the oil indsutry but even global giants don’t often defy the norm of logo placement and it’s unwise you should either. Users will see the dotted map first and might assume it’s their (awful) logo.
If you include a search box it should be top right of the site
If you don’t want to include one in the header area itself then the top of a right hand sidebar is acceptable.
Axdigital ticks all the boxes in its header and, while the contact details aren’t included, the contact link is prominent.
Make sure your contact details and a contact link are prominent
Again if you can’t fit these into the header itself then in the top of a right hand sidebar is acceptable. Make sure you have a contact tab in your main navigation or as a small link top right in the header like. Arguably your social profiles links should be here too.
There’s so many variations on what content a website could contain it can’t all be covered in a generic post like this as each one merits its own in depth checklist but here are some general must do’s for you to run through.
Some are determined by usability findings, some determined by Google, some based on what’s proven to boost trust and sales, and some based on what a user expects to find and where they expect to find it making it easier for them to use your site without any friction.
I haven’t specified whether to place the body elements in your sidebar or main content are so you can decide that based on your theme, layout and site objectives.
- Social proof in the form of (real) testimonials.
- Prominent Calls To Action (CTA’s).
- Make sure the text is readable & suits your needs.
- Link to other relevant sections of the site to make a user’s journey easy.
- Add social sharing buttons especially if they show the page has been shared often.
- Promote your most popular, recent & related content.
- Add ‘trust signals’ like accreditations, client logos and your team pics.
Search engine optimisation (SEO)
- Ensure your images have alt tags on them and included keywords (naturally) in the filename.
- Use clear to read keyword rich URLs.
- Ensure your Title Tag is 70 characters or less, unique to each page & contains your keywords whilst reading naturally.
- Only 1 H1 tag on any page and include your primary keyword.
- Keyword and variations of it throughout remainder of body text.
- Submit and maintain an up to date sitemap to Google.
- Check rel=canonical is in place for top level category pages and to prevent duplicate content on pages.
- Optional: Write meta descriptions for key pages as whilst it won’t effect your rankings it may help with clickthroughs from the search engine results.
- Optional: Add Open Graph Protocol and Twitter Card information.
- Optional: Add schema markup code for office locations, product and event information etc.
- (Real) customer reviews
- Blatant return/refund policy (the footer is a good choice).
- Prove it’s safe by showing security certificates.
- Show the types of cards or payment services you accept.
- Ensure you’ve got a description for each product & that it’s unique.
- Bundle additional products for extra sales.
- Optional: Spend some time helping customers avoid the pain of purchasing.
- Trust signals like live help, delivery guarantees, etc..
Even when companies get highly creative with their website’s footer there’s some information which it’s pretty standard to include.
There are obviously exceptions to the rule, one being in the instance where your website scrolls down infinitely like some sections on Pinterest. In that case the user would never reach the footer in which case you should make provision for this information elsewhere.
Here’s the key information you should be concerned with including in your footer:
Include a copyright symbol, current year & company name
It’s been standard practise to include this for ages. For example:
Copyright 2014 by AXDigital.co.uk