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March 19, 2013

Key Elements Every Website Should Include

Whether you are creating your first website or have one that is not working as well as you hoped, it’s time to ensure you have key elements in your website that will not only please your visitors, but search engines as well.

One of the biggest mistakes I see website owners make is to create a site that is about them rather than catering to what their visitors want. Whenever possible, try to put yourself in your potential customer’s shoes and provide them with all of the information they need to make a decision to buy your products or services.

1. Pricing

Many people don’t include the prices of their products or services because they fear their competitors will find out how much they charge or their customers will think the prices are too high and not buy from them.

But guess what? If your competitor wants to know how much you charge for your products, they can simply call you and ask.

As for potential customers thinking you are more expensive than others … you may be right. Your prices may be higher than others’ but that’s OK.  Simply explain why your products/services cost as much as they do.  Add value to what you are offering and show customers you provide exceptional customer service.

You may be surprised to know that very few people place high importance on getting the cheapest product/service.  Most customers are happy to pay a higher price, but only if they know they are getting a quality product backed up by a money-back guarantee and great customer service.

Sometimes having the cheapest price can actually work against you, as people will question your expertise or the quality of your products.

Remember, when people are ready to buy online, they want the information right there. If they don’t get it, they will simply go somewhere else.

2. Social Media Interaction

A few years ago, social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube did not play a big role in how your website ranked in search engines.  But all of that has changed.  Search engines, such as Google, pay close attention to how much your customers interact on your social media networks.  The more people, who comment, share or respond to your posts the better.

Although Facebook is one of the top social networks, it may not work for your industry.  However, there are hundreds and possibly thousands of other networks, which may be more suited for your business.  Check out the following: LinkedIn, Twitter, Technoratimedia, Digg, Upcoming, Yelp, Pinterest, Google+, CafeMom, Orkut, DeviantArt, Meetup and Mylife.

3. Frequently Asked Questions

When people visit your website, more often than not, they will simply skim through the information, instead of reading it word for word. They are at your website looking for answers to questions, so why not make it easy for them and provide them with a list of frequently asked questions, which will allow them to make an informed decision to buy your products and services.  Remember, if you don’t answer their questions, someone else will.

4. Credibility Boosters

Proving your credibility online should be one of your top priorities since many customers are still cautious when it comes to dealing with online businesses.  Some ways to show your visitors you are reliable and trustworthy include:

• Testimonials from happy customers;
• Before and after shots of problems your product/service has solved;
• Awards your business or staff have won;
• Money-back guarantee, the longer the better;
• Memberships to reputable associations;
• Details of media appearances including TV, radio, print or online.

5. Keywords

This one is mainly for the search engines. Make sure you research keywords and keyphrases people might be using to find your business and then use them in your website’s:

• Title;
• Headings;
• Copy;
• Page URL (website address);
• Alt tags (image tags);
• Navigation bar;
• Meta description.

Even if you are not sure what some of these are, speak to your website designer — he or she will be able to include them in all of the important areas of your website.

There are many tools that can help you research keywords. Some of these include:  Google Keyword Suggestion Tool, Wordtracker or Webfire.

6. Blog

Blogs continue to be an important tool used by website owners, because they allow you to quickly and easily post news, specials, tips and tricks for your business.  If they are installed as part of your website, they offer fresh content and customer interaction, which search engines love. If they are hosted externally, they offer backlinks to your site, which search engines also like to see. The main players are  and WordPress.

You don’t need a web developer to set up a blog for you.  Both Blogger and WordPress have step-by-step instructions, which take you through the set-up process. There is also plenty of online help in the form of tutorials and YouTube videos that show you how to make the most of blogging.

7. Contact Details
Be sure to include your contact details in as many places on your website as possible.  Remember visitors will not always arrive at your website via your homepage, so have your information at the bottom of each page, on a special “Contact Us” page as well as in a call to action section of your homepage.

Include your phone number, fax number, street address, postal address, e-mail address, contact form, Skype name, social network details and any other way, your customers can get in touch with you.  Remember, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to communicate with you.

Creating a great website doesn’t need to be difficult if you know what your customers want to see.  Once you are aware of what they are looking for, it’s simply a matter of providing it to them.

Your website is not about you, it’s about what you can do for your visitors and also for the search engines.  Tweak your website as your business grows and evolves and as your customers need change and you will be miles ahead of your competitors.

Ivana Katz can get your business online within seven days. If you’re looking for a professional and affordable website designer, visit and download a free website plan or connect with Ivana on Facebook.