During the early 1990s companies tended to put as many features on their website as possible.
Eventually, in the mid 2000s, that trend gave way to what we’re seeing now – the rise and success of minimalism.
What customers really want is a balance between functionality and design – enough features to make your site usable, but not so many that it’s completely cluttered.
Despite all this customers want two things: relevancy and convenience.
While there's a variety of things you may be interested in necessary features will change from company to company, but there are a few things you should always include:
1. Responsive design
Responsive design is the smartest and easiest way to immediately make your website functional on smartphones and tablets. Websites that are designed specifically for a smartphone or tablet experience makes them faster to use, which is something Google views favourable meaning it will give your search rankings a boost.
2. Social media integration
We’re far beyond the point where social media is optional. While not every social network will be relevant in every industry, you’ll want at least some sharing options.
At a bare minimum, you’ll need to have share buttons at least somewhere on your site because clients want the ability to share your links.
3. Contact and store information
If you have a phone number, list it. If you have multiple locations, provide contact details for each and a list of opening hours. The vast majority of customers do their research online, and they want to see information about bricks and mortar locations as quickly as possible after reaching your site. Don’t disappoint them or they’ll run to a competitor.
4. Security credentials
Displaying your security credentials in a clear place on your site will reassure customers that you are using a secure payment system, or have a particular type of fraud protection. Back this up with a concise explanation of your security policies.
Having navigation menus that are clearly labelled and lead to useful landing pages is so important. Not only will customers be able to find what they want immediately, Google will be able to search your site quickly and efficiently, which will prove to the search engine that you actually know what you’re talking about – boosting your place in their rankings.
Too many images can slow down loading times and make things annoying for visitors with slow internet connection. But you do need to have some images on your site, and the number depends on what industry you’re in.
A retail store depends on high quality product images, but even a consultancy could benefit from having images of the office or key staff members in action.
Don’t rely on stock photography for everything (a trap many B2B companies fall into to make things cheaper) because it’s a good opportunity to showcase what your business does and give it some personality.