Four absolute musts for your website

We are going back to basics again today.  I have this categorized as an ecommerce – back to basics but these laws apply to everyone.  You super savvy web people… walk on, nothing to see here.  But, if you are one of the wide world of normal human beings that have a website and are not sure if you are doing what you need to do?  Then here in a nutshell are the four absolutes every website must have.  And for good measure, all four are very easy to do… no special programming skills required.

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1.  Analytics

You need to attach some way to measure site analytics to your site. It doesn’t even matter if you don’t plan to look at it, you need it there.  Someday, you will want to look at it.  If you have never put the analytics in, you won’t be able to measure your present numbers to yesterday, last week, last year because analytics can’t be measured backward.  Luckily, with Google Analytics this is free and easy to install. Yes, just last week I put up a post at how terrifying I found our overlords at Google but that point notwithstanding, this is a great service.

2. A well thought out about us section

Screen shot 2011-10-03 at 1.46.53 PMTransacting business over the web is asking customers for trust.  If they are giving you money, or even continuing the conversation, they need to trust you. To enhance that trust your customer will likely want to know more about you and that is where the about us section comes in. This is particularly important for small businesses.  A visitor knows who Target is, but who are you? Your visitors need to know if they can trust you.

3. A consistent voice

Let’s be honest, you probably didn’t sit down and write your website in one day.  You likely wrote it over the course of a long period, then you updated different parts at different times.  Or perhaps different people updated it at different times.  The website, instead of being a consistent message can be a collage of communications. That is not acceptable.  Before you write the first sentence of your website (or update it) you need to fix on your voice and make sure that that voice is consistently used throughout.

4. A review schedule

Whew! Done with the website!  Check off that box and move on.  Not so fast!  That is what many organizations do and it is a huge mistake. Your business isn’t static.  Things change, sometimes small, sometimes major.  If no one is minding the store on the website, it will inevitably fall out of sync with your actual business.  Yes, you intend to make the changes as they come and you probably do… most of the time. But miss that once or twice and you are somewhere that you don’t want to be. The best way to avoid getting out of sync is scheduling a time on your calendar (once a month or once a quarter at minimum) to simply read your website and make sure all of your information is current and fix what isn’t.

Common sense?  Yep.