5 Must-Have Features for Today’s Websites

5 Must-Have Features for Today’s Websites

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Over time, as user behaviours evolve and new technologies are developed, the elements that go to make up an effective website change. To keep pace with progress and your competitors, it is important to understand what those changes are. Here, we examine the must-have features websites need for success in 2022.

1. Website content created for user intention

Having a business with great products and services doesn’t guarantee that your website will be successful. Today, every aspect of a website needs to be tailored for your audience. This requires knowing exactly who your audience is, how your business relates to them and understanding how they like to do their shopping.

Getting it right means providing the content your audience will relate to and engage with. Today, this means being aware of the users’ search intent. As people have different search intentions at different stages of the sales process, you need to create content for each of those intentions to make sure all needs are met and to provide a pathway for the customer journey.

2. Technically fit for purpose

From a technical perspective, a website needs to be on top of its game. It should load and respond quickly to prevent user abandonment and to ensure search engines’ site speed benchmarks are adhered to. Good websites will also be free from errors, including issues with downtime and reliability, searchability, navigation and 404 errors. To underpin good speed and reliability, owners should ensure that their websites are well maintained, correctly programmed and have fast, reliable hosting.

For success on search engines, websites should also work hard on technical SEO, including mobile-friendliness.

3. Trust and security

If a website isn’t secure and trustworthy, search engines won’t rank it and users won’t shop there. In an age when scams, hacking and malware infections are rife, consumers demand that the brands they put their custom with go above and beyond to protect them from threats.

The checklist of things that are needed to ensure this is constantly evolving and covers not just the website itself but the security of the data that companies hold on their customers and how user information travels across the internet. Firewall secured web hosting is vital for protecting your server, SSL certificates for encrypting user data, auto-updating software for removing vulnerabilities, spam filters to defend against malicious emails, and secure logins to prevent hacking.

Additionally, while putting these measures in place keeps your website and customers safe, generating business requires you to go one step further and to let your customers know that your site is secure and trustworthy. The green padlock icon displayed on browsers when you install an SSL certificate and which tells visitors your site is secure is, perhaps, the most effective way to show this.  

4. Great user experience

People visit websites with the intention of doing something. A good website provides them with all the things they need to achieve their aim, whether that’s buying a product, watching an online movie or paying a bill. More than this, today’s websites need to do everything possible to make achieving that aim a quick, easy and pleasurable experience. To be ahead of the game, you need to think about eye-catching design, product recommendation engines, chatbot shopping assistants, augmented reality tools, pricing calculators and so on.

5. A website integrated with other systems

A modern website is no longer a standalone business portal, instead, it is an integral part of an omnichannel ecosystem that people want to be able to engage with. As a result, it needs to be integrated with your other online systems, such as inventory, accounts, customer service and marketing, to ensure that the customer journey is mapped from end to end and that, regardless of where the customer interacts with the business (website, app, social media, SMS, bricks and mortar store) the experience is seamless and the message is consistent.

Putting this in place, however, often requires some degree of infrastructure upgrade as systems and data need to be unified. For most businesses undergoing this digital transformation, the most effective and cost-efficient way forward is to adopt cloud hosting, a solution that provides all the performance, reliability, scalability and security necessary, without the need for significant capital expenditure.

Conclusion

As internet users become accustomed to the benefits that digital technology has to offer, their expectations increase and shopping behaviours evolve. To meet their needs and expectations, websites need to modernise too. Hopefully, the points raised here will show you how websites are changing and what you need to do to keep up.

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