Gone are the days when having a static website was good enough – essentially showcasing an online brochure of  a business. The introduction of flash animation and all the other bells and whistles have also run their course, (thankfully going by the wayside) now becoming passé.  The evolution of websites and their role in the business arena has changed substantially; first playing a superficial role to one that is key in the success of  any business. Business websites need to work harder to achieve differentiation and assist Marketing and PR initiatives.

A website’s relevancy in today’s business environment has become a necessity. It is no longer a nice to have to but a need to have. Here are a few elements that websites should have.

Social Media Icons: The integration of social media is key. It says a lot when you go to a site and there are no social media buttons… and at the same time that business site speaks of  being innovative and cutting edge! I am not saying that businesses should include social media icons if they aren’t really doing anything on social media. But then, you must ask yourself,  is this a company you want to start a relationship with?

Fresh Information:  Minimally a website home page  should have fresh content. That’s the only way Google will come over and visit the site.. helping the website ranking within the world-wide web.  A feed from the business blog would be ideal… or a feed from a recognized industry newsletter or publication. The rotation information is also a good way to keep a site fresh, but that too needs to be updated and refreshed.

Page Naming: Website design, website navigation and website user experience are all important. However, how a site identifies and names each one of its pages is an easy way to maximize the performance of the website’s  SEO (search engine optimization). Each page url on a business website should be unique and should be formulated with relevant keywords.

Build Relationships: The business website is the first step in developing some very important relationships. Websites should create valuable information for its visitors. Requesting visitors’ information through special offering such as ebooks, surveys or giveaway offers is a good way to start those relationships.  Events should also be promoted, such a business milestones and contests, integrating the total digital experience for that business.

Websites are the first impression businesses make and they speak volumes about the culture and persona. As we enter the last quarter of 2013… (Bob Dylan stated so eloquently) “Times they are a-changing”. It’s time to take a good look at your business website to assess if it measures up.