The corporate website represents the company, its main areas of activity, and its advantages over competitors. Therefore, the resource should be not only simple and clear for the users but also informative since this is the only way of providing the customers with the whole image of the company and grabbing their attention.
What elements and information are required to be introduced on the website to make it bring real benefits to both the company and its customers? In this article, we will analyze the obligatory and advisable components of any website and with the knowledge gained, you will be able to either check the already existing website of your own or properly plan the development of a new one.
Obviously, all the companies are unique by their values, services, or products they offer, and the target audiences they are aimed at. Consequently, their websites have a diverse scope of functionality that is focused on achieving a number of goals set. However, there are some basic components that should be presented on each website. Let’s take a look at them.
Basic parts of the website
- Header and menu
The header is the visual element that is located at the top of the website. Along with the incorporated menu, it is designed to facilitate navigation. It is the first thing that attracts users’ attention. With the help of the header, the visitors understand where they are, how to go to the next website section, and where to find the information they are fascinated by.
The main purpose of the header is to provide users with general data about the company: brand, products, services, contact information, etc. Moreover, the header determines the quality and identity of the website. Therefore, if it makes a good impression and provokes confidence among users, then the chances that the visitors will turn into potential customers are much higher.
Just like the text, visuals may tell a lot about the website. Actually, images tend to convey information faster and create a more engaging emotional response. Therefore, companies should make them alluring, catchy, and what is most important, closely related to the brand. Since even amazing but non-thematic pictures may confuse the visitors in their attempts to find out what the company is doing and suggesting them.
It’s also worth mentioning that it’s essential to apply high-quality visuals for the website as long as otherwise, the overall perception of the resource may deteriorate. Furthermore, as a result, the users may doubt the quality of the product or services offered and consequently, the level of trust in the company will decrease. And this is more than unfavorable, isn’t it?
This is often the largest and the most crucial part of the page for website visitors. Website content may include texts, pictures, videos, and other things that will tell different peculiarities about the company, its mission, and values. When it comes to the text content, then it fills any web resource with the meaning thanks to which the users can understand what the company is offering and find the information of their interest.
Engaging and appealing content is the key to increasing traffic, readability, and sales metrics such as calls, sales, or subscriptions to the website. That’s why this element also should not be neglected.
The footer is the lowest part of the page where useful information for visitors is located. This element is cross-cutting, which means that every page of the website contains this block. The footer may include diverse information: from contact details to links to social media networks where the company is presented.
As an additional source of important data, a well-optimized footer makes it easier to navigate the website and helps companies lead users to take the desired action (to fill out a feedback form, subscribe, register, etc.). Companies should remember that this element is as important as other ones, therefore, the information to be included there should be carefully studied and structured.
- Feature image
The feature image, or a hero image, is a large expressive picture on the main page of the website. This image represents a large-scale and striking element that introduces visitors to the brand. That’s why it shouldn’t be grainy or blurry since there’s nothing worse than a big image of low-quality.
The main purpose of this component is to catch the attention of users and keep them on the website in order to perform the actions the business needs, whether it’s purchasing the product, reading or scanning the content, downloading some files, and so on. Companies should also remember that an effective image should clearly reflect the brand identity and its character.
The elements described are strongly advised to be added to the website as long as each of them plays its big and crucial role and ensures that nothing is missed out on.
Once the importance of basic parts is revealed, let’s proceed with some other elements that may also be presented on the website, therefore, making it even more attractive and effective.
Advanced parts of the website
The logo may be considered as one of the main components of corporate identity. It performs the function of recognizing the company as a whole or the products it offers. A well-designed logo helps to increase advertising efficiency, reputation, and market perception. Companies should bear in mind that a logo adds some kind of uniqueness and distinguishes their brand from the rest.
This element is frequently placed at the top of the page (the header) and it is made interactive which means that every time after clicking on it, the users appear on the main page of the website.
In most cases, the website itself is a call-to-action – to buy a product, download a book, or sign up for a newsletter. And to make sure that this action will be taken by users, this call must be clear, understandable, and visible. Therefore, it should be located in the most prominent place on the page. As for the buttons, they should contrast with the general background and make obvious what the user should do: buy, download, subscribe, or register.
The sidebar is usually placed in the right of the main content area. In some cases, the website may have two sidebars at once (to the left and the right). Typically, the content of the sidebar remains unchanged from one website page to another, that’s why it incorporates various useful elements such as a search bar, links to the latest articles, advertisements, and so on, that help visitors better navigate the website.
Apart from displaying the experience and knowledge of the company to attract new customers, the addition of a blog to the website is one of the ways to increase the website indexing and the number of keywords for which the company domain ranks in search results. Blogging also allows companies to highlight niche topics from their brand perspective, consequently, complementing their content strategy.
Here we talk about various types of forms such as contact, job application, feedback forms, and so on. Their presence allows users to promptly report on the problem or ask the support team of the company for help. This element is essential for ensuring the convenience of customers while interacting with the website. And as long as it is beneficial for them, the company gets advantages too.
The slider is a block on the page within which, with a set frequency, the announcements of news, articles, or images are shown. This element is visually appealing to visitors and it also stimulates their interest in the materials posted on the website. Moreover, thanks to this component of the website, companies can save page space since one slider block may demonstrate several announcements at a time.
Video allows companies to transfer a big scope of information in the shortest possible time. So, instead of reading various long articles and news, users can quickly learn about the offered goods and services (and even see them). Furthermore, the video makes visitors stay on the website, spend more time on it. And this will definitely be appreciated by search engines that have begun to consider behavioral factors.
Infographics are not just an image or decoration that accompanies the text. It’s a self-sufficient way of presenting the information. The main principle of infographics is to visualize complex data in such a manner that it becomes simpler to be perceived by visitors. In addition, a colorful design grabs the attention of users much better than a regular article.
Data visualization in the form of charts not only helps to present the data more efficiently but also evokes an emotional response from the users. They engage visitors and assist in visualizing the information given. Moreover, such a presentation of data is remembered by readers and draws attention to the information to a greater extent.
Compared to basic parts of the websites, the list above contains recommended useful elements among which companies can pick those that are particularly suitable for them according to their goals and needs.
Once both obligatory and advisable elements are considered and explored, it’s time to proceed with the pages that almost every website should consist of.
Core website pages
The homepage is one of the most important pages responsible for everything: whether the users will stay on the website, whether they will like it or not, and whether they will be interested in the company itself. Consequently, the first impression of the entire website and the desire of users to stay on or leave it depends on this page. The homepage is an opportunity for companies to tell who they are, what they offer, why they are better than their competitors, and why visitors should choose them.
- Landing page
The landing page is a website page that promotes a specific offer. As a rule, this page consists of a single page that contains all the information the users need to know about a product or service. The goal of a landing page is to attract the attention of visitors and to motivate them to place an order. It can offer users a product or service, or it can encourage them to subscribe to a newsletter, for example. It all depends on what the company is aimed at.
- Website blog
A blog is one of the promotion tools used to drive traffic. When users type the request of their interest in a search engine, they get to a thematic article in a blog. This way the company may get a potential customer. Furthermore, by posting articles from the company specialists, the business shows its expertise and profound knowledge. And this is truly crucial as long as the visitors are more willing to trust the company if they see that the specialists who provide services to them know what they do.
- About us page
Business owners often underestimate the importance of this page and as a result template texts about “quality services” and “great market experience” appear there. But the about us page is a chance to convince users to contact the company or start interacting with it. If the visitors understand what the company is doing, how it differs from the rest, and what values it adheres to, it becomes easier for them to make a choice in its favor.
- Product pages
A product page is a combination of visual and textual content, a set of descriptions of product characteristics, and functional elements (buttons, sections with an option to pick colors, sizes, etc.). The design of this page determines whether a potential customer will make a purchase or not. Therefore, the exhaustive description along with the high-quality and informative pictures should be presented since visitors should be able to realize how they can utilize the product or service provided.
- Category pages
This type of page provides a list of product categories along with the products themselves. Such pages are designed for the website visitors to promptly find the product or service of their interest among hundreds or thousands of products that the company offers. This process should be facilitated by adding some filter tools and sections where the users can pick the desired parameters of the product.
These types of pages have a diverse scope of functions and features and it’s up to the companies to decide which of them will make their website profitable as well as efficient. However, if the last two types are primarily advisable for online stores, we consider the rest of them to be extremely important for all kinds of websites.
As long as the basic and recommended elements along with the pages are studied, let’s explore some other points that are also worth taking into account by the companies that are striving to make their websites in just an amazing way.
Additional website necessities
CMS, or Content Management System, is the backbone on which the website may be created. The convenience of filling the website, its friendliness for search engines promotion, and the ability to connect additional services depend on this tool. This system also allows companies to manage all the elements of the resource through the administrative panel. The application of CMS is not obligatory but necessary for everyone who wants to independently control and edit the website content.
– Web hosting
Hosting is the placement of internet projects on physical and virtual servers for the continuous presence of websites on the internet. Without this presence, the websites are inaccessible to the users, which makes it just a set of files. Hosting providers ensure flawless operation of customer resources, protect them from hacker attacks, and provide their technical maintenance. Any resource requires the services of such providers, even if it’s just a single-page website.
– Domain name
A domain name is the online address of the company website, its location on the internet. A domain is required so that anyone will be able to find the website they want by just entering its name in the browser line. For the business owners to be sure that their website is always visible to the users, it’s advisable to acquire a domain name that is unique, simple, memorable, and correlated with the brand name (ideally).
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a comprehensive development and promotion of the website to reach the first positions in search engine results for selected queries in order to increase traffic. Visitor behavior, user-friendliness, and website loading speed are critical elements for website promotion. Search engines strive to deliver the most useful information to the request of users, consequently, resource owners should make sure that they publish the most interesting content to their audience.
SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, is a unique digital signature of the company website. It ensures a secure connection between the browser of users and the server. On a website with such an SSL certificate, users can make purchases and enter passwords without any fear of losing their data. These certificates are needed, first of all, for banks, payment systems, and other organizations that deal with personal data to protect transactions and prevent unauthorized access to the information.
HTML, or HyperText Markup Language, is not a programming language, which means that it can’t be used to create dynamic functions on the website. Instead, it allows companies to organize and format their documents (in a way similar to Microsoft Word). Therefore, it enables users to create and structure sections, paragraphs, headings, links, and blocks for website pages. In other words, HTML is utilized to build and display a webpage and its content in an appropriate way.
CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets, is a powerful tool that allows changing the visual part of websites. CSS goes closely with HTML, but it’s a completely different language. While objects located on the page are hosted using HTML, CSS, in its turn, is responsible for how these objects look: their color, size, fonts, degree of transparency, the position of elements relative to each other, the creation of full-fledged animation, and so on.
– Website builder
In case when companies do not obtain relevant expertise or technically savvy professionals who can deal with creating websites, they can address this issue to a website builder. The website builder is a system that allows any internet user to make their own or the corporate website of various levels. This system provides users with ready-made design templates, modules, extensions, technical support, and many more features that substantially save time and money (in most cases). Wix, uKit, and Site123 are among the most popular examples of website builders.
– Mobile responsiveness
Every day more and more people visit the internet from their mobile devices (for instance, smartphones and tablets), thus the share of mobile traffic on websites is constantly increasing. Thanks to gadgets, it’s possible to quickly find the desired information, choose products and purchase them. However, it is only achievable if the website is adapted for such devices. After all, if it’s not, such a website will be inconvenient for the users and they will probably leave it right away.
– Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free service for collecting and analyzing website visit statistics. Installing analytics systems on a website is a necessary element in building a successful business since with its help companies can easily track the performance of their website, study how users interact with it, and what they like or dislike about it. Therefore, with this information companies can increase their efficiency and sales.
ESP, or Email Service Provider, is fully focused on fulfilling one task – communication with potential and current customers via email. A mailing list is an effective tool for attracting new clients and motivating regular ones for new purchases. With its help, companies can tell them about new promotions and special offers or send them some useful information. That’s why more and more companies today turn to this kind of service.
– Frontend and backend
Frontend and backend development are closely related and cannot exist separately. The frontend is an area in which user-visible interface elements and all functions for interacting with websites and applications are developed. The backend, in its turn, deals with the creation of algorithms for the website operation, maintenance of their correct work, formation of functional APIs, integration with external services, and so on. Even though these areas of programming are completely different (both in the type of tasks performed and in general applicability), it’s impossible to create a high-quality website without them.
When users perform some actions on the website, for example, add a product to the cart or enter the details of logging into an account, the server records this information and sends it to the browser. Such type of information is called cookies. Cookies are an integral part of customizing interest-based advertising, that’s why they are used to track user tastes and preferences. To sum up, incorporated cookies help businesses learn about their customers and make targeted offers for them.
GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation, is the EU regulation designed to strengthen the protection of personal data of all people from the EU. GDPR is applied to all businesses and organizations established in the EU, regardless of whether the data processing is carried out in the EU or not.
Moreover, even non-EU organizations are subject to this regulation in case their business offers goods or services to EU citizens. Therefore, companies need to comply with the strict requirements of this document since otherwise, they may be fined.
We believe that businesses should seriously consider the points mentioned above as long as they relate to essential aspects both when creating and launching a website. And without them, at the stage of development or during the website operation, various problems that will affect the work of the entire business may arise. And we don’t want that to happen, right?
When it comes to the design and its latest trends, then there are a lot of different options: parallax animation, minimalism, VR, AR, custom illustrations, and many more. You can familiarize yourself with them in more detail in our another article “Digital Design Trends in 2021: According to Ester Digital”. There you will find pretty much useful information and advice on what modern elements to apply and how to make your website effective as well as stylish.
On a final note
The process of developing and designing the website can hardly be described as an easy one as long as the prosperity and success of the company depend on it. Whatever the website is in its structure and features, it’s important to always remember that a good resource is the one that works and benefits both users and the company itself.
Therefore, everything from outlining the needs and goals of the company to determining the target audience should be thoroughly analyzed and taken into consideration.
In this article, we explored how to make the website fascinating as well as effective, and we hope that the amount of information provided was enough for you. Nevertheless, in case of any questions or doubts, contact our team of professionals to work them out.