Plenty has been written about how to setup an effective website, from designing a home page, effective SEO management, and promotional lead generation tools.

But in thinking about all I’ve read and written, I boiled it all down to five amazingly simple features that really sums it up: be direct and to the point.

1.      Simplicity – how many times have you gone to a website that was so full and so complicated you became tired touring, clicking, and downloading around? Too much hyper-interactivity without a defined purpose is just activity and sure to turn off your visitors. Offering one simple message is easy to understand, easy to use, and best of all, easy to purchase.

2.      Design – with literally hundreds of millions of active web pages it’s essential that yours be well designed. Good design attracts a person’s attention. This seems so obvious and yet there are millions of websites that have skipped this essential ingredient to success.

3.      Communications – another key to a successful website is to establish a conversation with your visitors. A weekly or monthly newsletter allows you to stay in front of your visitors and allows them to let you know what they think about what you have to say. It’s essential to establish a voice in your market. Not too loud, by the way. But be very sure your message truly represents who you are and what your company offers.

4.      Opt-in – a lot has been written about collecting data on visitors as they download your information or play your videos, etc. With all of the research we’ve conducted there is much evidence to support that you are better off giving away quite a bit of information without asking any from your visitors. This seems to encourage increased visitor visits and their requests, which are many times more meaningful than trying to push them into action.

5.      Be responsive – I admit this is somewhat of a gripe of mine but it never ceases to amaze me when a company receives a request of ours but does not follow up with us. They probably got busy with something else and just forgot about our request or they received so many they had no way to process them. Either way, they lost a potential customer and that’s never a good thing. Suffice to say, it’s important to communicate your interest in all you do and follow through with all of the promises you make in your marketplace.

Following these simple 5 things will help you build a strong platform for everything you do. If you have other thoughts on what are some ‘essentials’ be sure to let me know at tom.marin@marketcues.com.