Owning and operating a website these days is a little easier than it used to be. But if you are doing it correctly, it’s also more time intensive. There is more to think about now regarding how your website appears to users than ever before, despite advancements in ease of use and deployment for website owners and operators. And as more people have moved online for business or leisure, there is more competition.
What does this mean for a website owner today? Well, for one, patterns emerge with regards to how people use websites, and if your website does not fit that pattern, your visitors might decide to go elsewhere. Also, to get your website in front of users, search engines and other channels for gaining traffic expect a certain set of basic features on your website. If you don’t offer them, you may be penalised for it.
This all comes together into one resounding conclusion. If you want reliable and consistent traffic for your website that either creates recurring or converting users, you need to have a modern website.
That then gets us into the debate of what a modern website is these days. Is it a website built in React, is it a website with a brand new CMS, is it a website that offers the latest and greatest gimmicks on the market, or is it a website that delivers an awesome core experience? In truth, it’s a little of all of those things. We’ll go over some of those things in this article to help give you an idea of all the features your modern website should have.
Essential Features for a Modern Website
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it does cover much of the basic modern functionality that all website owners should think about having on their website. You might see something in here that you aren’t doing, and if that motivates you to get out there and make some improvements, then we’ve done our job.
Any modern website needs to optimise itself for search engines. It’s not enough anymore to just put your content online and hope a search engine will index it. You need to study up on the best SEO practices and make sure your website adheres to them.
In line with SEO, speed optimisation is not only important to being discovered in Google these days, but it’s also incredibly important to your users. If your website does not load fast, users tend not to spend much time on your website.
Your website should be responsive, and it should render properly on mobile. Because much of the traffic for your website could come from mobile (at least 25% depending on your niche), this is an area that needs your attention. Neglecting your mobile user base could be an easy way to lose out on traffic and lose conversions.
Serving your website over HTTPS is an important step for security. It’s also an important step if you care about the safety and privacy of your users. If you take payments on your website and you aren’t doing so over HTTPS, make this the thing you do today. There are more resources available now than ever before to show you how to get this done. And you can even get a free SSL certification!
Clear Calls to Action
Your website needs a clear description of what an end user can accomplish. If you don’t guide users to either the content, they want to see, or the point that you want them to convert it, you aren’t doing your job managing your website. Users these days expect clear and concise messaging, and the call to action is far and away the most important component of that.
Making your website accessible to those with disabilities or impairments is more important than ever before. And again, there are a staggering amount of tutorials out there for almost any technology you can think of. Losing out on a visitor or a sale because you didn’t make your site accessible via a screen reader is not the way to do things these days. Do the work up front and make sure your website is available to everyone, just as you want it to be.
Bold Design with Limited Colors
Your website should feature a clear design with a limited colour set to help guide users, and emphasise your brand and experience. You should also use white space to help keep the entire experience clutter free.
Your website needs to have a social media presence. Depending on what your website will affect where you need a presence, but social media is an essential part of driving traffic and building a community for a modern website, and if you don’t already have a presence there, you are missing out.
You need to be capturing analytics about users on your site. Not personal information per se, but information about how they interact with your website. This will give you insights into pages that appear in search more, or what content users like most. Without it, you’ll miss out on these insights.
Last but not least, you need a place for your visitors to be able to go when they have issues. Add a chat widget or support email to your site and make it easy for visitors to get in touch with you.
Why All of These Together are Important
All of these features together culminate in what modern users expect from a website. If you don’t keep up with the trends or deliver what your customers want, you’ll miss out!
Owning and operating a website these days is easier than it used to be. But if you are doing it correctly, it’s more time intensive. There is more to think about now regarding how your website appears to users than ever before, despite advancements in ease of use and deployment for website owners and operators. As more people have moved online, the amount of competition has increased.
We hope some of the things we mentioned are things that have already been on your radar, and if you saw something that you’ve been thinking about adding to your website in this article, get started today!