There are many possibilities when it comes to the functionality of a website but sometimes it can be best to keep it simple. Most people don’t like to have to work to find what they are looking for and having a cluttered website can turn away potential viewers. Out of the many features available I find myself going back to these basic features for many websites I create.
Social Media Integration
Integrating with popular social media gives your viewers more options to interact with your website. Most platforms have options that allow sharing your content, creating an account, and posting comments on blogs, articles, photos, news and more by logging into their favorite social media account. All major social media networks also offer application programming interfaces or API’s for custom integration.
A blog is one of the easiest and most effective ways to start an interaction with your viewers. You can use a blog to share information as well as for answering questions or starting discussions. Blogs help your website generate traffic by gaining return views and providing relevant content which can be found in generic search results. Blogs can also be customized to share other information such as news.
Adding community functions to your website such as member profiles gives users a reason to return to your site by including discussions, chats, user ranking and more. This will result in an increased number of views and return views which will greatly improve your websites search engine ranking.
Sell your products and services online by adding eCommerce functionality to your website. There are many eCommerce specific platforms as well as others offering eCommerce as a plugin. These platforms allow you to accept credit cards and other forms of payment through a secure gateway. All major platforms offer PCI compliant solutions which remove liability by storing sensitive information offsite.
Because of security risks I recommend that all eCommerce software be installed by a professional.
Forms are a great way to allow your customers to easily ask a question or provide other information to you via email or another preferred method. Some common uses are to have a contact form, a newsletter signup form, or a join form. Most web development platforms offer built in forms for various tasks and have the option to add other types with plugins or extensions. Like the other features listed on this page, forms can be custom designed by a web developer if advanced functionality is needed.
An image slider can be used to visually promote products or to share other types of images. Sliders can be implemented with nearly any platform and are very commonly seen on website homepages or category landing pages. Using a slider can also be a great way to enhance the appearance of your site.
Having a mailing list is a great way to remind your customers about services you offer and alert them of any new products or specials you may be running. Many platforms come integrated with newsletter options and others have plugins which can be used to easily add this functionality.
Use a gallery to create a portfolio or to share some images of your facilities and events. Most platforms offer gallery options for images and videos with great features and easy to use editors. Advanced coding libraries also make custom galleries an affordable option.
Let your customers know about upcoming events by adding a calendar to your website. Most platforms have calendar plugins that can be easily customized to suit your needs and a skilled developer can make a custom calendar to your exact specifications.
Having an integrated keyword search can greatly improve the usability of medium to large sized sites. When your site has hundreds of products or articles it can be very useful for viewers to be able to search them for a specific phrase or keyword.