There are plenty of things that you should have on your website. Many of which are going to be specific to your brand and category of business. Although, there are a few items that everyone should have no matter what the website is for. We put together the Top 10 Things a Website Should Have below.
Make sure to read through and if you have any questions, send us a message.
1 - Persistent Navigation
Most of these items are going to be seen inside of the number one item to have on all websites. This number one item is persistent navigation.
The navigation is just the top part of the website that has your links to pages, logo, website name and whatever else you want to put up there. The persistent part just means that it is going to stay with the visitor all the time.
Now there might be some technical people out there that will argue about this but I think of “navigation”, “header”, and “top part of your page” all the same. Revamped Websites isn’t about being technical, it’s just about knowing what we’re talking about.
So, the important thing to know about persistent navigation is that it is at the top of the website, it is on every page, and it’s going to hold most of the other items in our Top 10 Things a Website Should Have.
To show how important persistent navigation is: think about a time/website when you opened the page and it didn’t have a navigation at the top. For most of these today, you just have to scroll down the page and it will slide in somehow. Still… I poop myself a little if I go to a website I’ve never been to and don’t see persistent navigation right away.
This is because persistent navigation tells us everything from what the website is, what the website can do for us, what we can do, where we can go. We’ve come to look for this first, even if it’s more of a subconscious effort at this point.
Now the persistent navigation wouldn’t be what it is without the items that are in it and make it up. That is where we get the majority of the Top Items To Have On Your Website.
2 - Logo / Site ID
The second item on the Top 10 Things a Website Should Have is the Logo. The logo has a variety of uses as well. These include an image of recognition and a button. The logo of your website shows people who you are.
After the first time a visitor sees this image, they will be able to see it out of the corner of their eye and know what site they are on. This image is important because we as humans are better/quicker at recognizing images than words. (This goes back to being able to recognize a giant animal poking its head out of that bush before it eats us, but that’s for another day…)
Other than just an image that depicts our whole website and brand that we want people to see when they close their eyes at night… Visitors have also become accustomed to using it as a home button. It is rare to find a website around here where this is not the case. (If you do find one, send them this way because they need some help.)
3 - Website Name
The item that should be right next to your logo and number three on our list is your website or brand’s name. This is needed for visitors that are going to your site for the first, second, and third time.
Seeing this name next to the logo will help the visitors join them so whenever they see the logo, they will think of the name and vice versa. This is going to help with the overall recognition of your brand. And remember, these will be on the top of every page because of that persistent navigation – your visitors will definitely be thinking of you when they go to sleep tonight.
4 - Tagline
Now that your visitors know what to look for when they want your website, you need to tell them what you actually do. This is the job for number four on our list – the Tagline!
Now if you weren’t aware, the clientele that comes to the internet every day isn’t always the brightest (not you and I, of course. We’re smarterer than the rest 😉 ) This means that your tagline has to tell the visitor what your website is for and in the most efficient way possible. This leaves room for 7 to 8 words at the most.
Think about how you would tell your mother-in-law’s best friend’s cousin what the website is for. Here’s an example for when she asks – “Oh what’s my website for? We raise miniature turtles so you don’t have to.” BAM! Tagline.
5 - Utilities
Number 5 on the list is another carrier for more items. It is also somewhat optional with how you implement it. This is the Utilities Bar. The utilities are the important elements that aren’t part of the content. These typically include the:
- About Us
- Contact Us
- Search Bar
- Social Icons
Now, if you don’t have too many links on your normal persistent navigation, it’s fine to put the utilities elements on there. Although it’s usually best to separate elements if at all possible. (Remember, the easier it is for the website’s visitors, the better.)
A great way to separate the utilities is by adding them to a thin bar above the normal navigation. This can be seen on the RevampedWebsites.com website. Adding the bar like this also helps clean up the navigation so it doesn’t become cluttered.
6 - Contact Us
Now the elements inside the utilities are also important and made it to the Top 10 Things a Website Should Have. Number six is the Contact Us page. This link should be in the utilities. It is important because your visitors should have a way to contact you, or whoever can answer questions regarding the website and content on it.
This doesn’t even have to be a page necessarily. Many websites are including the Contact Us in the footer. This way it is on every page. This means that the link on the top of the page would automatically scroll to the bottom of the page when it was clicked. If this is the case, it is still good to have it up in the utilities bar because people have come to expect it there.
Whether the content of your Contact Us is on a page or part of the footer, it should have a contact form. These are easy to create using a plugin or some code copy and pasted.
Going back to the people that come to the internet, they tend to also be a bit lazy. This means if you want them to do something, make it doable in the least amount of steps possible.
Sure, you can just have a link to your email on the page – but this means that a person would have to click it – wait for their email to open – type their message – type their subject – and send it.
That’s at least five things to do.
With a contact form, they simply type their email and maybe their name – type the message – click send. It’s easier and there are less moving parts for everyone.
Remember KISS – Keep It Stupid Simple (or Keep It Simple, Stupid) This goes with a lot of things in life.
7 - About Us
Number 7 on the list is an About Us page. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy. You can also put just about anything in here. If you can’t think of anything, try sticking to the 5 Ws and H:
- Who you are
- What your goals are
- Why you’re doing what you’re doing
- Where you started and Where you’re going
- When it all started
- How you got here
This helps put those at ease who are looking around your site and want to know they’re not being tricked or scammed. Show the people that you’re a person too.
8 - Search Bar
Number 8 is the Search Bar. This is something that I didn’t always have on my websites. I’ve never had anything on my websites that were super hard to find – so I thought.
What changed my mind was when I read Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Shrug. It explained that about half a website’s visitors go directly to the search bar when they get to a new website. The other half just click around to figure out where to go (this is what I tend to do.)
If half of the people that go to your site want something, that’s a good reason to have it. So get a search bar on your website.
9 - Headers
Headers are number 9 on the list. Headers are just titles for a section of the page. A header is going to help break up your page and make it more readable. It doesn’t matter if you’re on a page with a little writing or a lot or writing – headers should be there telling the reader what that section is about.
There is a bit more that goes into the type of header you should be using. This includes the elements H1 through H6. For now, just know that every page name should be your only H1 on the page. This is the largest and most prominent (bold, underlined, etc.) header.
We’ll talk in more detail about this when we cover headers later on. Just remember to have some headers/titles for your content.
10 - White Space and Images
Number 10 is a little more vague and a two-fer, but very important – images and white space.
Nobody (maybe some people, but they’re weird) wants to go to a website and see a wall of words. I hope this is a little obvious, but I know there are websites out there that overwhelm their visitors with giant paragraphs on the home page. Not good.
However you want to do it, break up your content with white space (or whatever color your background is). Then add some relevant images in there to break it up even more. Plus the images will help give a better snapshot of what the website is all about.
Check out our Best Image Format post for more information on images for your website.