3 Website Features You Need in 2015 — And 3 You Don’t

The world of website design can be incredibly confusing at times. Once you sort through your hosting package and marketing strategy, you’re still left with the challenge of building a website that meets your customer’s needs and your business goals. That’s where website features come into play.

What do you need? What can you live without? Here’s our guide to three website features you really do need on your website– and three you don’t.

Website Features You Need

Responsive Functionality
If you caught our New Year prediction post “How Can 2014 Digital Marketing Trends Inform Your 2015 Marketing Strategy,” it comes as no surprise that responsive functionality is at the top of our list. Twenty-four percent of businesses reported that 31-50 percent of their email marketing subscribers opened their emails on a mobile device, despite the fact that the emails weren’t responsive. Unless you can afford to ignore the needs of 8-15 percent of your website traffic, responsive functionality is simply not an optional website feature anymore.

A Contact Page
It may make sense for you to have your social media links and email address convenient to your website homepage, but using either of these methods to contact you requires extra effort on behalf of your client. Instead, stick with a traditional contact page that gives a clear, one-click way to get in touch with your sales team. Not only is this your opportunity to let your customer know the best way to contact you in order to receive specialized support, but it also provides reassurance that you’ll continue to be supportive and easy to contact long after a sale is made.

A Value Proposition & Call To Action
You can’t assume your customer will understand how your product or service can help them unless you spell it out. To that end, you need to have a clear value proposition that makes it obvious who you help. Once it’s obvious that you are the solution to your customer’s problem, you need to give them explicit instructions for what to do next. Are you trying to build an email list? Do you want your customer to email your sales team, or start a live chat or phone call? Whatever your marketing goal, it must be spelled out in black and white using call outs throughout your site.

Website Features You Don’t Need

Every Social Network Under the Sun
In your business, you know that specialization is the key to effectiveness. The same goes for social media networks. You don’t need to sign up for every social media network that comes out just to fill out the lineup of icons across the top of your site — doing so results in a watered-down, lukewarm web presence that turns your fans off. Instead, zero in on no more than three networks that you have chosen because you know your customers are there. That will give you the bandwidth to effectively target your social media strategy.

A Dedicated Testimonial Page
Customers rarely find value in long pages of customer testimonials. After all, without a frame of reference, every testimonial just looks the same: all positives about your business! Instead of making a designated page for your testimonials that may not pull in traffic or convert your customers, sprinkle your testimonials throughout the website to give your visitors context for your compliments. This strategy will help prospective customers understand that others have used your services and resulted in great success.

Tons and Tons of Links
Many companies start a content marketing initiative without taking their website organization into account. This leads to an overwhelming archive of white papers, case studies, blog posts, videos, and any other number of content assets. From a marketing perspective it’s an impressive amount of work and information to provide to a customer… but from your customer’s perspective it could be overwhelming. Prevent this problem by building your content strategy before you get started building your content assets. That way you can organize your content into consumable, useful information that helps your customer make a purchase decision.

When the time comes to update your company website, make sure you include the website features that truly impact your customer experience– and skip the ones that don’t!