Whether it’s a business website, creative portfolio or personal blog, no WordPress website is complete without these 8 “must-haves”.
When it comes to creating a high quality WordPress website that looks the part, there are a few essential things every WordPress website needs. Some are obvious, some are subtle, and some are things you might never have thought about.
In the points below, I’ll cover all the WordPress must-haves, so that you can develop a sleek and professional website to be proud of.
1. Clear Purpose
It’s such a simple factor that it often gets completely overlooked in the site creation process – what are you trying to achieve with this website?
Is it a portfolio to display your work? Is it a point of reference for potential customers who want to learn more about your services? Is it an ecommerce shop where customers can actually purchase your products and have them delivered to their door?
Whatever your motives are for creating a website, it’s important to regularly remind yourself of this throughout the creation and development of your WordPress site. Purpose-driven websites deliver a clear message while maintaining a consistent tone of voice, with minimal distractions.
Whether you are selling a product, exhibiting a collection of work or providing valuable information, make sure you assign a clear purpose to your website – and stay true to it!
2. Simple Navigation
When it comes to navigating between various pages on your website, you want it to be as fluid and intuitive for the user as possible, so that you don’t overwhelm them with too much information.
Drop-down lists are an excellent way to declutter your site menu, by grouping numerous pages into a handful of categories.
- Links to Hairstyling, Nails, Massage and Skin Treatments can all appear when the user hovers the mouse over Services.
- Links to Our History, Testimonials and Store Locations can all appear in a drop-down menu when the user clicks on About Us.
By streamlining your site menu, you keep your website looking sleek and simple, while still providing quick and convenient access to every internal page with the click of a button. Crisp site navigation is something every WordPress site needs.
3. Eye-catching Design
Once your website conveys a clear purpose and is easy to navigate, it’s time to add some flair. Thankfully, WordPress makes this remarkably easy, with a whole host of visually stunning design templates to choose from – many of which can be customized to make your site unique.
The ideal design ultimately depends on your brand personality, and your target audience. The “less is more” mantra is always a good policy, and consistency across every webpage is key.
When it comes to search engine optimization, content and web design make a powerful SEO duo. This brings me to my next point.
4. Good Copywriting
Have you noticed that everyone – from public figures, to pubs and restaurants, and even your local plumber – has a blog these days? There’s a good reason for it.
A blog can help you maintain a presence on search engines, so that when someone is looking for the products or services that your business provides, they’ll find you. This process requires good copywriting.
And when I say “good copywriting”, I’m not just talking about spelling and grammar (although, a quick spellcheck before publishing never hurts!). Good copy will:
- Clearly demonstrate that your brand is a reliable authority on the topic
- Contain keywords that can place you higher in the search result
- Link to reliable external sources that substantiate your claims
- Link to other content you have written, in order to strengthen your website’s internal links
Not only do you need to post regularly in order to stay on the radar and maintain your status as an authority in your field, but you also need to update ageing content to remain current.
5. Share Buttons
This one is quite straightforward to implement, but it can do wonders for your website’s online presence.
Now that you’re engaging readers with quality content, you want to make it as easy for them to share your stuff as possible. Don’t make people copy your blog URL and paste it into the “share” field of their social media accounts – set up “share buttons”, so that every new blog post contains icons that the user simply clicks.
These icons will redirect the user to their social media page, with the link to your content embedded and ready to share. I recommend including share buttons for:
Depending on what your website is and who it’s for, you might also include links to Pinterest or Instagram.
As persuasive as your website copy might be, it still comes from your brand. A simple yet effective way to convince potential customers that you provide a quality product or service is to include testimonials from existing customers.
This establishes brand trust, and displays a positive review of your business from a third party source.
7. Numerous Contact Options (if applicable)
If the purpose of your website is to promote your business (or yourself), then ideally you want customers to be able to quickly and easily contact you for assistance, or a quote, or any other query.
Your website’s contact page should contain a phone number, email address, social media links (for instant messaging) and an enquiry form. In addition, every single page of your website should contain some form of contact method, whether it’s a phone number or email address.
Rather than simply stuffing your website to the brim with the same phone number in every corner of every page, I recommend a subtler approach – which brings me to my final point.
8. Call to Action
A CTA is a phrase or sentence that speaks directly to the reader, commanding them in as persuasive manner as possible, to:
- Buy your product
- Book an appointment
- Request a free quote
- Start their free trial
- Get in touch, etc.
Ultimately, you want your website to convert visitors into customers, members or subscribers. A well-written CTA that inspires urgent response from the customer is vital to maximizing conversions.
Don’t stop at these essential “must-haves”
By incorporating these eight things every WordPress site needs into the creation of your website, you can rest assured that your website already has the foundations for success.
While the points listed here cover the bare essentials of any professional website, there is no limit to the ways in which you can improve your WordPress site.
For instance, if you plan to sell products directly through your website with Shopify, it’s worth reading up on how to get your Shopify SEO right from day one.
And finally, keep in mind that a website is like a car – it requires servicing and maintenance in order to run efficiently. There are actions you can take on a weekly, monthly, quarterly or annual basis to keep your website optimized, updated and refined.