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Five Must-Haves for Your New Website

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It can be confusing when embarking on a new website project. To help you get started on the right path, we're passing along ideas for five must-haves in your new site. Now to be clear, we believe each business is unique, and some of these may not apply to 100% of the clients we encounter, but it's a good idea to consider these options so that you don't end up with regrets after the project has been completed.

First, make sure you request a responsive web design. In today's marketplace, you can't afford to forget those who will be accessing your site via tablets and smartphones. It's a growing percentage of the overall web users, and a non-responsive site limits your reach right off the bat.

Next, make sure your design team realizes the importance of SEO (search engine optimization) and designs accordingly. It won't do your business any good to have a wonderful website that isn't seen by as many potential clients/customers as it should be. Again, you don't want to limit your reach, so you have to follow SEO best practices throughout the process.

Great visuals really show off your work and or offered services. Make sure you utilize professional photography for areas of the site requiring photos. Nothing takes the clean zip off a new site like interruptions from poorly executed photos. If you don't have great photos, lean on your design team for creative solutions-don't post garbage just because it's all you have!

Also, take care to accommodate your ongoing need to communicate with your audience. Some people prefer a blog, while others prefer a news section. Some choose both. Either way, these sections allow for content refreshing long after the website has been built. And don't forget to integrate your social media platforms, too.

Finally, tie it all together for good with local hosting. Behemoth national companies offer low prices, but it's often at your expense when it comes to bandwidth and service. A good local host will provide a faster overall site, better service when you need it, and peace of mind with backups and knowing exactly where your data is.

Without question, you will have other elements you deem essential in your new website. This list is not meant to supersede your primary list, but it should give you some basic fundamentals to consider as you begin to develop your website strategy.