One of the first steps in creating a website is to define ahead of time how you will determine success. Every website, existing or new, will define success differently. No matter the goal, there are features you can add that have been proven on hundreds of other sites, to increase performance and get site owners closer to achieving their goals. Here are some of my favorite website features.

Blog

Modern websites and modern online selling is all about content. The more quality content your site contains, the more likely you will hit on a topic that a potential customer is looking for answers on.

Publishing a series of informative articles in the form of a blog is a great way to share your knowledge with the world. You will experience increased traffic on your site, establishing your organization as experts in your field and attracting new customers by showing you truly know what you are talking about. Blogs also go a long way to improving search rankings.

Search

Every potential customer looks for information in a different way, based on their personality type. Picture a customer walking into a large store not knowing where the physical location is of the product they are looking for. Some customers will look for signs labeling each aisle. Others will wander around aimlessly until they stumble upon what they are seeking. Others will walk directly up to an employee and ask for what they need.

As a website owner, you have no idea what type of customer you are dealing with. Therefore, you need to give your site visitors multiple paths to achieve the goal of closing the sale. Adding a search capability is the an important way to add one more convenience for your site visitor.

Call To Action

One a visitor to your site finds what they are looking for, what do you want them to do with that information? It is important, for every website, to define success, and create a call to action that makes it easy for the site visitor to complete the process of achieving success.

For most sites, every page should have a clear call to action. It could be a “Buy Now” button on an ecommerce site, or a statement saying, “call now for more information”. The call to action should be clear and easy to use.

Newsletter Signup

Many small business owners are hesitant to use email marketing for risk of their emails being labeled as SPAM. But, sending your clients notices of upcoming events, sales, or other communication directly into their inbox can be a very powerful tool to promote your business. The key is to get their permission first.

Newsletter opt-ins on your website are a powerful way to increase your subscription list and I think should be an essential feature on most websites.

Opt-in forms can be placed anywhere on your website or can even be programmed to pop-up on the website visitor’s screen at pre-determined times, including upon existing your site.

Social Media Shares

We all know social media is increasing in importance every day. For business owners not yet using social media, think about how powerful it would be to have the ability to instantly communicate with your customers by pushing notifications right to their smart phones.

By adding social media share buttons to your site, it is easy for you to post new content to social media, and encourage your website users to post your content on their feeds. All you need to focus on is creating great content that is worth sharing.

Of course, the real benefit is when your users share your content with their social media friends. That’s free advertising and the more content you create and share, the more likely you will see long term benefits.

Video

Just about every major online marketing organization is rapidly moving toward video as a promotional tool. While video takes a little more effort to create compared to writing a paragraph of text, it’s power in capturing potential business is well worth it. In addition to making your brand more attractive to younger audiences, video is also a great tool for use in social media advertising and can go a long way to improving your search engine rankings.

Free or Promotional Content

Everyone wants something for free. Offering a free eBook, or free educational information, or free samples of your product or service in return for contact information is a great way to gain leads which can be followed up on later. Purely from a sales perspective, people want to give back to those who gave to them. It’s human nature and is a great way to get people in the mood to buy from you.

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