Do you ever wonder which elements are most crucial to your website? With so many areas of your site to focus on – content, images, headings, form submissions, calls to action – it’s hard to know which elements are absolutely essential.
To help you out, I’ve asked some of our design experts here at SEMGeeks their opinions on what must haves every website should contain and why. Of course, they’re all approved by myself, as I believe these elements are crucial as well. Hopefully they will give you some direction as to where your attention needs to be.
Below you will find design elements that are essential to your company website. Let’s begin!
‘No Bones About It’ Message
People don’t have a lot of time these days, and yet they are constantly bombarded by messages and advertisements from various brands. This is why it’s imperative that you create a clear, concise message and let it define your brand. When people read your message, they should know what they get with your company that’s different.
Let’s look at an example.
The online clothing and shoe company Zappos has the message “fast & free shipping and returns” on their website. This tells customers that whatever purchase they make, they receive shipping that is fast and free. They can also send back returns with no problems.
Online shoppers want the reassurance that they can get what they need quickly, not have to pay extra for it and also be able to return it, so this message works perfectly.
Also, with so many online retailers offering clothes and shoes, the “fast & free shipping and returns” message is one way Zappos distinguishes itself.
Ask yourself this: If you only had three words to describe your company, what would they be? Use these defining words to develop your clear, concise message.
Crazy-Effective Call to Action
Chances are, you already have a call to action or two on your website. But how boring and predictable are they? Be honest!
While it’s recommended that your calls to action follow a certain format and use actionable words like “subscribe” or “enter” there are still ways to make your CTAs crazy effective and even a little fun. If they are average, visitors will probably skip right over them or feel unmotivated to continue with the action. It takes a lot to lift a finger these days!
So how can you make your CTAs so good that people can’t help but click on them? We have a few ideas to inspire you.
Use Your Message. Remember that clear, concise message we talked about? Well, it can work as your CTA. Evernote has the message “Remember Everything.” It’s short and direct, and they use it as their call to action, along with a clickable green button that says “Submit.”
One Form Field. Another cool way to get more clicks is by having one form field. This won’t work for everything, but it has surprising potential. OfficeVibe, for example, has a simple box where you enter your email and hit a green “Subscribe” button. People like easy, and it can’t get any easier than that.
Join for Free. One fear that people have before signing up for something is what it will take to cancel. We’ve all heard the horror stories of subscriptions that can’t be cancelled and people getting charged. Put those fears to rest by making your CTA button “Join Free for 30 Days.” Netflix does this, and they put “cancel anytime” right above the button.
Make it Fun. One last idea that we’ll touch on is to make the CTA fun compared to the traditional form filling tactics. The free online dating site, OKCupid, asks visitors a couple questions that can be answered using pull-down menus. The bright green “Continue” button makes the process feel more like a quiz than a tedious form to fill out.
Social Media Integration
A final element that we want to discuss is social media integration. You shouldn’t have a website without it in this day and age. Share buttons should be on every page that contains a lot of content.
Why is social media integration so pivotal?
Think about the articles that you see shared from your friends on Facebook and Twitter. It’s never a website they are posting but rather an article from a website. So, as redundant as it can seem to post “sharing is caring” on everything, remember that many people only see one blog post or news article from your company. Without a share button, the lifecycle of your content will be much shorter.
We recommend this article from HubSpot that explains how to create social media sharing buttons for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube. Don’t be afraid to be social!
Many elements go into a successful website, but the above three are some of the most vital. If you’re interested in updating your site with modern elements, start with your messaging, call to action and social media integration. A few tweaks can make all the difference in how people behave when they visit your website.