Excellent photography is a non-negotiable “must”. Pictures bring color and attract interest. Not only must there be pictures, there must be great pictures – and they must be strategically placed and artfully displayed with text and other elements.Pictures evoke emotion and can help to create the “mood” of the site. If you’re not good at taking pictures, hire a photographer for this job and consider it an essential business investment.

Videos are all the rage nowadays, and have become the standard on websites everywhere. Visual elements beyond text and static colors engage your visitors’ attention. Videos use minimal space and have a major impact. You should have at least one video that is directly related to the content and theme of your site.

Excellent and professional content. Don’t just be a web presence – answer questions before they are asked. Consider building your site with a student’s research paper in mind. If a student were asked to write a paper on what you do for a living, what products you offer, and why people should use your business, he should be able to get an A+ because of the information he found on your site. Make his research paper easy to write by having well-written content on your site.

Interactivity. It’s not enough to have a static web page that is rarely updated. A website must be a two-way street in today’s super highway environment. Your site needs to be user friendly, easily navigated, and built to entice the visitor to explore and learn. Don’t just slap information on a page … rather, your website should be designed to “guide” and entice your visitor element by element, until you have successfully imparted the desired message. With design, color and proportionately sized elements, deliberately capture the readers’ attention first to the primary headline, then direct the eyes to the information, and finally to the conclusion or desired action. Build forms and generate feedback. Encourage comments on blog posts, if you like. Place “sharing” buttons on every page that has pertinent information. Update often. Blog weekly or monthly if you can.

Design is huge and cannot be overstated. Good design is good business. Don’t put too much information on a page. Don’t clutter the page with random design elements. Leave white space. Use color judiciously. One picture can change a whole page from boring … to read-able. Left align, center and right align are your friends. Know when to stop. Make things easy to read, easy to access, and fun to look at. Every single page needs up-to-date design elements.

If your business doesn’t do social media, it’s time to get with the program. It’s bad business to be off the grid, and it’s not just for young people anymore. Build the appropriate social media pages and accounts, and make it easy to share from every page on your site. Update your social media pages and accounts regularly, and consider populating your website with feed streams.