As the holidays proceed and the new year approaches, it’s time to prepare your web design wish list. These items won’t get done this month or even next. In fact, it’s not completing the list that matters now; it’s making the list. By reviewing your website, making a list (and checking it twice), you get an agenda to bring to your next meeting about the website. Making a wish list can also reveal the broad outline of where you want your Internet marketing to go next.
Want some ideas to get started? Here’s a few commonly requested features for new websites.
Mobile responsive web design
One of the big ticket items on any web design project is the website’s ability to adapt to mobile devices. While the world doesn’t need another blog post about mobile apps and sites, that doesn’t change the fact that your information needs to be legible and useful on large, medium and small screens.
The best way to do this is to build your website that way from the start or redesign the site that you have. However, there’s a variety of techniques and plugins that work as stopgaps if you’re not ready to redesign right now. Want to know more about your options? Get in touch with us.
Online forms to collect information
Clipboards are a tried and true way to get email addresses for your email marketing. A clipboard alone is also kinda sad. Upgrade to an online form and get ready to see your email list grow. Build a form built with Formstack or Wufoo, embed it on your website and invite customers to join your list. The form collects all the information for you and automatically adds the submission to Constant Contact or another mail marketing service.
There’s nothing like gathering with your whole family to ooh and ahh over dear uncle’s vacation photo albums for an hour. Or click through them all in a minute on Facebook while you’re at work. Whatever.
Point is, people love pictures. Even with the popularity of Internet videos, pictures are a valuable way to engage customers. Display before and afters of recent projects and show off your best work with images you can shoot and add to your website in minutes.
Easy-to-update food and drink menus
Services like Google, Yelp and Foursquare all give business owners the option of posting their menu online. With so many platforms to manage, it’s easy to have multiple, slightly different and out-of-date menus published across the Internet. Locu is one way to solve that problem. This service lets you build a menu once and distribute it through their service, effectively syncing the information across the most popular ways to find local businesses.
Improved blog comment system
On its own, WordPress comes with a nifty little blog comment system. If your WordPress site uses Jetpack (it should), the comment system is a little easier for visitors to use. For simple blogs with few comments, these built-in systems are good enough. But a bigger, better blog deserves a better, easier comment system. Talk to your web designer about Disqus if you want to improve your site’s commenting experience.
Better “Meet the Team” page
Roundpeg uses UberGrid to make our bios look slick. However, the key to an effective staff page is good photography. Invest in a portrait session with a professional photographer. They’ll make sure you look cooler than you really are.
Super-cool event calendar
Want a better event calendar? You can embed a Google Calendar widget almost anywhere. But then it looks like a Google Calendar widget. There’s a number of free and premium plugins that give your website visitors a more polished experience. Try out Timely for WordPress. It imports calendar feeds from several sources, displays events in five different views and lets visitors filter events by category.
The first step towards an awesome testimonials section is provide incredible products and services that your customers want to talk about. That’s the easy part. The hard part is gathering those stories and choosing which testimonials to feature. Then you can start talking about how to display them. Start asking for reviews and testimonials now if you ever want to make this wish a reality.