In 2024 having a website is mandatory for any business, small or big, no matter if you sell cakes or cars, you’re a tradie or stuck in an office (or a bit of both!) – a website is a key part of connecting with customers.

Your website is often the initial point of contact between your business and its potential customers. It acts as a virtual storefront, a platform for communication, and a hub for sharing up-to-date information.

Side note: “But I have a social media page and it’s all I need!” I hear ya but have you thought how it could be painting you into a corner?

Here are 10 key things that every website should have in 2024.

1 – Clear Navigation

The navigation menu is basically a roadmap for your visitors, guiding them through your website’s pages, and hopefully, your conversion path. It should be intuitive, easy to locate, and organised logically.

Use clear labels and hierarchical structures to help users find what they’re looking for effortlessly.

Also make sure your navigation menu works well on mobile devices too!

2 – Responsive Design

In many cases, the majority of website visitors will be using a mobile device (aka a smaller screen) so having a responsive website design is essential. Your site should adapt seamlessly to different screen sizes and devices, providing an optimal viewing experience for all users. A responsive design improves user engagement and contributes to better search engine rankings.

You’ll be pleased to know all our affordable website packages (standard and ecommerce) include responsive design by default.

3 – Compelling Visuals

In our time building business websites we can say with a very high degree of certainty that one big difference that separates quality website design and something that’s just average is using high-quality images, videos, and graphics on your website.

These can enhance the visual appeal of your website and make it more engaging for visitors. Use visuals strategically to convey your brand’s message, showcase products or services, and capture the attention of your audience.

In fact, while we are all about suggesting free or very affordable website solutions, we would actually recommend sourcing professional photography for your new website. Aside from hiring a local photographer, here are a few resources from around the web (including some free options).

4 – Clear Call-to-Action (CTA)

Every page on your website should have a clear and compelling call-to-action, often referred to in marketing speak as a CTA. Whether it’s signing up for a newsletter, making a purchase, or contacting your business, CTAs prompt visitors to take the desired action and drive conversions. Make sure CTAs stand out visually and are strategically placed for maximum effectiveness.

As a quick PS to this point, some designers push hard for having things like your primary CTA “above the fold”. The idea being that a visitor will see it without needing to scroll. The suggestion is sound however personally I don’t advocate this idea dogmatically, particularly with such a variety of screen sizes and visitor behaviour. That said, be sure to make it very clear what you offer and what action the visitor needs to take – avoid verbosity and clutter like the proverbial plague!

5 – Contact Information

Providing easy access to contact information is crucial for building trust with your audience. Include a dedicated “Contact Us” page with essential details such as email addresses, phone numbers, and physical addresses. You can also have quick contact info on your menu, top bar or footer.

Additionally, consider incorporating contact forms or live chat options for convenient communication.

On the subject of contact forms, we have mixed feelings about them due to their reputation for being unreliable. If you do have one, make sure you test it regularly and add a feature to your website that captures submissions (just in case for some reason you don’t receive an email notification).

One final word about contact information – don’t offer contact details that are not checked frequently. In fact, if you’re not checking it at least daily don’t even have it on your website – you wouldn’t want to find out you missed a great prospect because they messaged three years ago on that thing they used to call twitter.

6 – About Us Page

Your website should tell the story of your brand and convey your unique value proposition. An “About Us” page provides an opportunity to introduce your team, showcase your company’s history and mission, and build a connection with visitors. Use this page to humanise your brand and establish credibility.

Related to point number three, this is a perfect opportunity to use some high-quality professional and genuine photography – please don’t use stock images on your About page!

7 – Fast Loading Speed

In today’s fast-paced digital environment, users expect websites to load quickly. Slow loading times can lead to frustration and abandonment. Optimise your website’s performance by minimising large files, leveraging caching techniques, and using a reliable hosting provider to ensure swift loading times.

We’re pleased to say our very affordable managed hosting service uses Litespeed technology to deliver fast page loading for our NZ-based clients. Combined with our personalised tuning applied to every individual hosting account, we regularly see massive increases in page speeds for businesses that switch to our hosting service.

8 – Search Functionality

This one is optional but if your website does have a lot of content or products in your ecommerce store, implementing a search functionality can greatly enhance user experience.

A search bar allows visitors to quickly find specific information or products, saving them time and effort. Make sure the search feature is prominently displayed and delivers accurate results.

9 – Social Media Integration

Social media plays a significant role in today’s online ecosystem, allowing businesses to connect with their audience and extend their reach. Integrate social media icons and sharing buttons into your website to encourage visitors to engage with your content and follow your brand across various platforms.

You can extend this integration by including nifty features like Facebook messenger chat on your website, or embedding Youtube videos or TikTok posts to help drive greater engagement and connection with your website visitors.

10 – Security Measures

Protecting your website and user data from security threats is paramount. Make sure your website has SSL encryption to secure data transmission, regularly update software and plugins to patch vulnerabilities, and use strong passwords for administrative accounts.

Additionally, consider training any website admin users to be careful about what links they click or plugins they install.

This is definitely one of the key advantages of our managed website hosting service, particularly for WordPress users. With our managed hosting we regularly run updates and monitor websites for any potential risks. We often find businesses that switch to our hosting with WordPress websites that are very out-of-date and a security disaster waiting to happen.

Need to improve your website in 2024? We’re ready to help

PogoStick Web Services has been building websites for over 15 years now, complete packages that include hosting, domain registration and email services. But we don’t just look after new clients. If you already have a website and it needs a spruce up, speed or security improved, or new features like online payments or API integration, we can do that too.

Just get in touch, and we’ll let you know the next steps involved to make sure your website’s not missing anything it needs to help your business succeed.

What’s your website missing? Here are 10 things a website should have in 2024