Top 5 Must-Haves on
By Jason OConnor
Every Web Page
(The writer is President of Oak Web Works The synthesis of Web
marketing, design, and technology. Jason is a Web expert, e-
strategist, and e-marketer who builds sites and programs for the
There are 5 elements that every page of every Web site must have.
They are standard, and expected by Web users. When one of them is
missing, it screams to a viewer that it's an amateur site. If a
few or all of them are missing, don't expect anyone to linger for
These 5 elements make site visitors' life easier and saves them
time, two extremely important characteristics of an effective Web
1) Consistent colors, fonts, and look & feel.
This is a basic tenant of Web design. If you ran a traditional ad
campaign that used three different creative ads, would each one
look totally different? The answer is `no'. Using the same fonts,
the same colors and keeping the general look & feel consistent is
fundamental to presenting a unified, dependable, and congruent
image. If your look & feel is all over the place, your potential
customers may think you are all over the place.
Try for one main font throughout and maybe a secondary font. Two
primary colors are best with a third as a secondary color. A
shade of one of the two primary colors works well for the
2) Consistent navigation and a `Home' link.
If you present a navigational scheme on your homepage, then your
users immediately start to learn where to find all the ways to
locate elements of your site the minute they arrive. If you then
place the same links in different spots on other pages you are
making it unnecessarily difficult for your viewers. It is
unconsciously annoying to users, and gives the impression once
again that you and your company are inconsistent and
undependable. Don't make users work harder than they have to get
information from your site.
Also, provide a way for a user to get back to your home page on
every page of your site. Often this is the page a user is most
familiar with so they may want to go back. If someone emails an
associate a link to an inner page in your site and they click on
it, it is a good idea to provide a way for that new user to get
to your home page.
3) A search function.
This is another one of those standard features that most people
expect now. If there is a specific bit of information that a
person wants to find, don't make them wade through every page of
your site. Implementing a search function is easy and free. You
can get one at http://www.atomz.com/search/trial_account.htm. This truly makes a site user's life a lot easier.
4) Text, not just images, and text links, not just buttons.
Advertising agencies who also make Web sites have a tendency to
use too many graphics, often at the expense of text. A good rule
of thumb is that if you have words in an image, take it out and
replace it with html text. This is good for a number of reasons;
including making the site more search engine friendly and loading
faster. Search engines can only key off text, not words found in
images. Also, graphic-intensive site take longer to load.
If you don't include text versions of your links, and only use
buttons (which are images) then a number of popular search
engines can't index your site because they can't read links
embedded in images. So it's important always to include text
links as well as buttons.
5) Phone number, logo, tag line.
Don't make your Web site an obstacle or wall for your prospects
and customers by leaving off your phone number. Every page should
have your phone number listed. It is very frustrating to go to a
company's site and have no way to reach them except through a
form or email.
Always include your logo and tag line on every page as well. If
you don't have a tag line, start thinking about creating one,
your site is a great place to repeatedly get your message out.
All of the above mentioned elements can be included on an html
template that is used for every page in your site. Templates make
it easy to include all of these and quickly update or change them
too. Templates are for another discussion, but keep in mind they
are very useful.
Most importantly, make sure every page of your site incorporates
these top five elements; they are a very necessary foundation for
any effective Web site.