11 website features you can ask your web designer or developer for

11 website features you can ask your web designer or developer for

A good number of estimate requests I get include great details about what the business owner is looking for, but a feature request seems to be given after I’ve estimated the time + cost it would take to create their project.

I know that clients are coming to me because I have the skills + knowledge they don’t, so it is my job to educate on what site features are exactly. So today I wanted to share 11 commonly requested features that you might want to ask for, as long as they are a good fit for your brand.

1. Opt-ins

This is the most common one + usually doesn’t fall through the cracks. But make sure your web guru knows where you want your opt-in forms before you get started. Some site packages might include an opt-in box after each blog post, but not the one that you want in your footer. Others might not include opt-ins at all because not every business owner wants an email list {although they should}.

2. Social media integration

This feature means different things to different people, so clarity is especially important. Do you want your readers to be able to share an article with one click of their mouse or tap on their phone? Do you want your latest tweets, pins, posts + images shared in your sidebar or footer? Is it mission critical for your site visitors to be able to friend + follow you with almost no effort? These are important details to know, since everyone has their own preference.

Dev tip: be careful with how easy you make it for your site visitors to leave. Sure you might want them to friend you on facebook, but as soon as they get to your facebook page new messages, alerts + chats are an immediate distraction that could pull them away from your page before they click the “like” button.

3. Mobile version/responsive

The number of visitors viewing your site on a tablet or smartphone varies greatly by industry + region. But the fact is that more + more people are getting smartphones + tablets, which increases the number of mobile visitors you will have. A mobile version of your site is a separate layout that will display the information more ideally than a full version on a small screen. A responsive site is one that adapts to the width of the viewing screen. That simply means as the screen gets smaller, the width of certain areas of your site {content area, sidebar, header, etc} get either more narrow, or move to display above/below the other areas on the screen.

Dev tip: a responsive site saves you time + money since you aren’t updating/maintaining/tweaking two different versions of your site.

4. Forms

While it seems obvious to some, when working with a web person, you will want to give them specifics on the number + types of forms you want. I’ve built sites with a contact form that had 3 fields + that was it. But other sites I’ve created have 4 different client intake forms with more than a dozen questions based on the service they are interested in, a general contact form for those that want to say “hi”, as well as a project follow-up survey. you get the idea, there’s a wide range of requests just for forms alone, so it can impact time + cost of a project.

5. Blog + comments

What you are currently viewing is the blog feature on my website. I also wanted to include comments for each post so that discussion can continue about the various topics. Your brand might require a news/alert style blog with no comments allowed. Another possibility is that your visitors would benefit from research type articles where they can leave comments about how much they learned. Or maybe you don’t want a blog at all. Consider your business goals + audience, then decide from there if a blog feature is right for you.

6. Ecommerce {shopping cart}

While there are a lot of plugins + software that make it easy to add a shopping cart to your site, don’t underestimate the amount of time it takes to configure, design + add products to a brand new shopping cart. Adding ecommerce functionality to a website is a fairly big deal since collecting credit cards, shipping product + protecting digital downloads from those who haven’t paid is important.

7. Slider/carousel

It’s not as big of a deal as making your site responsive or adding a shopping cart, but make sure you speak up if your new .com must have an animated slideshow on the homepage. It’s also important to note if you want one featured slider on the homepage or if you want to add different sliders to different areas of the site.

Dev tip: make sure your slider/carousel/slideshow works well on mobile devices as well as desktop computers. some of the settings apply only to mouse hovers, which don’t exist on a tablet or phone.

8. Analytics

Do you want to know how many site visitors you have, how they are finding your site + how many pages they browse before leaving? Then you want some form of analytics on your website. There are a variety of options available, but one of the most common is google analytics. It is simple to add, but customized reports + dashboard layouts can take more effort.

9. FAQ page

Letting your developer/designer know how many pages + the types of pages you want is very important, but there are features that each page could have that would lead to time working on the page templates. The most common example is the FAQ page with animated/interactive elements. If you’ve been to a site where you click on the question + the answer suddenly appears below while pushing the other questions lower down on the page, that took a little bit of time to code + style. But you might be content with a static page that has the questions + answers typed out with no animation at all.

10. Member areas

Just like a shopping cart, while it can be easy to install a membership system to your site, styling + setting up can take a lot more time. With member areas, there are new pages to style like login, logout, account management + hidden content error messages. Adding this feature to your site also means that content must be defined as public or for members only. If you have different membership levels, the content needs even further definitions so it displays to the right type of visitor.

11. Forums

Similar to member areas, you might want to add a forum to your site where much more in-depth conversations can happen than any comment section would allow. You’ll have to consider if you want the forums to be open to everyone, require an account to access, require an account + approval from you or require a payment to view + participate.

Dev tip: include ways to prevent spam when adding a forum to your site, otherwise you will be creating the need to spend hours monitoring + removing spam accounts/posts/comments along with the work it will take to maintain the forums.

There are so many options for site features, which is why it is critical to share your business goals + needs with your website designer/developer. Even if you think it is small or obvious, speak up about what you’d like. The person you hired might not be familiar with the features you need, or might provide some ideas for how your ideas can be implemented.

Comment below with the one feature that you couldn’t live without on your site, if you already have one. I’d love to hear what your specific industry requires to best serve your audience.

on your keyboard hit enter to search or esc to close