Reposted from the 3fold Communications blog

The basics of a website that pays.

If you can only afford investing your time and the money in one marketing tool, make it your website. To make the investment payoff, there are a few basic elements your customers expect to see. While exceptions always exist, providing the following features on your website helps ensure a more positive experience for visitors.

As you structure your website, here are the key elements to add or consider:

Header:

  • Your logo should be prominent, on the left or center, and should link to the home page.

  • If you have a search box, it should be on the top right.

  • Put your contact information in the header, or at least put in links to your social media.

Navigation:

  • Keep it simple and make it make sense.

  • For desktop browsers, a horizontal list is best.

  • On mobile browsers, a button (usually three horizontal lines), should be used.

  • Keep your links clear and simple so visitors don’t have to guess how to find information. (Hint: this is not the place to be creative and cutesy – links should be direct and clear. For example: About, Services, Blog, and Contact.)

  • If you have a variety of types of customers (for example: nonprofits, government agencies, or individual buyers), organize navigation around these customer groups so they can find their appropriate information quickly.

  • Sub-navigation under the main links should also be clear and easy to use.

Footer:

  • Include copyright information with the current year and your company name.

  • Remove any theme or template credits, mostly because they look unprofessional and are unrelated to your company.

  • If you have agreed to allow whoever built your website to put their name and a link to their website, make sure it’s small and unobtrusive. But, in general, avoid this if possible.

  • Be sure your contact information and social media profiles are listed and linked somewhere in the footer.

  • Include links to your privacy policy and terms and conditions. This is especially important for brands serving the EU and California, as both have laws in place requiring companies to tell users how they use any information they collect on them (from forms, cookies, etc.) and allow users to delete this information if they choose.

Meeting the basic structural requirements of your website gives your customers the information they need.  And that’s important—because you need them to feel comfortable enough to buy your product, program, or service.