As online business has advanced, the number of essential website features has grown. For those developing new websites and those who haven’t updated their sites for some time, there’s the possibility that some of these features are missing. Here, we look at five of the most overlooked but essential features of a modern business website.
1. Social proof
Today’s internet users are much more cautious about what they buy and who they buy from. Before they click the buy button, they will need to feel confident that the product they are buying is good and that the company they are buying it from is reliable and trustworthy. This means they are less likely to take your product and service descriptions at face value and will want a second opinion from someone else.
Social proof is the term that covers the different ways you can provide those important second opinions to your customers. To prove that your products are good, your website needs to display customer testimonials, reviews and ratings, so that new customers can see what previous purchasers think.
When it comes to building trust in your brand, ratings and reviews of your company on sites like Trustpilot are highly valuable. You can display these on your site as well as their being available on the review site. For B2B companies, displaying the logos of your major customers or partners can also give other businesses the confidence to buy from you. Don’t forget to mention any industry awards or memberships of recognised organisations.
2. Sustainability information
Perhaps the newest essential feature of a business website, sustainability information has become increasingly important for consumers, with over 56% of them now preferring to spend their money with sustainable brands.
Issues such as climate change, plastic pollution and the destruction of natural environments have caused consumers to question the environmental impact of their spending and they are looking for greener brands to minimise this. Indeed, there are now apps consumers can use to help them do this.
Providing information about the efforts your business is making to become sustainable can help convince the growing number of environmentally conscious consumers to choose your business. This information can be placed on your About Us page or even on a dedicated sustainability page.
3. Quick and easy ways to contact
In order to gain trust and confidence, customers want to know that if they need to contact your company, they can do so quickly and easily and get a speedy response. There is nothing more frustrating than a company that only offers online help but doesn’t provide any contact details or methods to get in touch.
Providing basic contact details, like the company address, email addresses and telephone numbers is essential. Sending automated responses to email inquiries telling the customer when you are likely to respond can help reduce frustration over delays. The use of online chat, chatbots, messaging apps and social media for getting in touch has become increasingly popular with customers and many brands now offer these.
4. SSL certificates
When it comes to giving customers the trust to buy from you, SSL certificates are one of the most important requirements. When you have installed an SSL certificate, browsers display a padlock icon in the address bar that informs visitors that your website is secure. If you don’t have an SSL certificate, the browser informs users that your site is not secure and warns them not to provide you with personal information or banking details.
The reason for this is that an SSL certificate verifies the identity of your website and encrypts any data the user sends so that it cannot be intercepted and stolen in transit. Today, not having an SSL certificate can cause search engines to downrank your site and many payment gateways won’t let you use them unless you have a valid SSL certificate installed.
5. Legal information
Additionally, you should provide any copyright, patent and trademark information, display any disclaimers and make it clear if you receive payment or other benefits for promoting and linking to products on other sites, for example, with affiliate marketing.
As you can see, the five features mentioned above are all essential for the modern website, helping businesses to be compliant and protected, while increasing consumer trust and improving the user experience. If you are creating a new or updating an existing website, hopefully, the information here will ensure you don’t overlook these important features.
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