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If you want to establish a robust online presence, generate more traffic, and attract a larger audience, your business must have a website with the essential features to achieve all these and more. A website is like a virtual entrance to your business and plays a crucial role in attracting the majority of your potential customers. However, even though it's a prominent asset, a lot of businesses face difficulties in optimizing it effectively.

This post will discuss website must-have features that your business needs to generate traffic, improve user experience, and, eventually, achieve the business’s online goals.

Whether you want to create a new website or improve an existing one, these pointers will help you optimise it for maximum impact.

Top Website Design Features for Digital Success

1 Easy Navigation

Easy navigation ensures that your visitors can effortlessly find the essential pages they are looking for. It includes links to other internal pages such as service, testimonials, blog pages, and contact information. Web designers use easy-to-understand labeling to make navigation easier and ensure the links and pages are logically organized.

2 Mobile-Friendly and Responsive Design

While people use the term mobile-friendly and responsive design interchangeably, they are quite different. A mobile-friendly design means the website will adapt to mobile or tablet screens. On the other hand, responsive design is the one that, irrespective of the device, a responsive website can adapt automatically to fit the screen size.

With Google moving to a mobile-first approach and more than 50% of the web traffic coming from mobile devices, a responsive design is a must-have feature of a great website.

3 Contact Information

Nearly 50% of web searches involve local businesses. Most interestingly, two-thirds of customers prefer to visit the physical establishment within the proximity of five miles if they want to engage with the business.
Hence, it is vital to have complete information, including physical address, contact numbers, business hours, e-mail, and a directional office map (if any).

4 Authoritative Website Content

Website content is the magnet that pulls your target audience and provides ample opportunities for increased conversions. One way of doing this is through authoritative and high-quality content.
For that, blogs prove to be an essential website feature that helps with SEO and establishes your authority in the industry. Other media that comprises authoritative web content are research-backed articles, case studies, testimonials, expert opinions, product reviews, and comparisons. Make sure that your website content is optimised for your target audience.

5 Website Security

Website security is as important as the safety of your business's physical establishments. Security Socket Layer (SSL) certificates ensure your website is completely encrypted. Without an SSL certificate, Google does not label your website as secure, so potential website visitors hesitate to stay on the website.

6 Clear And Strong Call to Actions

A call to action (CTA) is the response you want from your website visitor. For instance, let them know whether you want them to subscribe to the newsletter, register for free trials, or buy a product. With a clear CTA, the visitors have more clarity on actions to take, and ultimately it will improve the conversions.
Too many CTAs can confuse your visitors; therefore, as the best practice, use up to two different CTAs. Also, it would help if you chose the right words and typography. For example, instead of saying "Pay Now," you can use "Get Started.”

7 High-Quality Images, Videos, and Immersive Content

High-quality images and videos make your website visually appealing. Visitors prefer a website with high-definition product images, hero images, and engaging videos over another. With an immersive visual experience, these assets instantly grab the visitors' attention and make them stay longer on the website.
As soon as visitors land on your website, they first notice the large hero images. Therefore, one needs to ensure that they are responsive and can adjust to the device dimensions automatically.
Another tip for immersive content is to use high-quality, high-definition product images. Using images to convey product features and functionality is more effective than plain text. Moreover, original images unique to your business will help establish a real customer connection.

8 Social Media Integration

Engaging customers across the widest range of touchpoints is essential for any marketing campaign in today's digital economy. Your internet presence should extend well beyond your website. Social media integration is a must-have feature for an optimised business website. They should also interact with you on social media. Your visitors can instantly interact with people on all your channels by clicking a “Follow Us” social media button.
Moreover, including links to your business's social media profiles on your website can help users connect with your brand and stay up to date with your latest news and offers.

9 Visual Design

Another crucial aspect that cannot be compromised is the overall aesthetic. This feature is essential for giving visitors a great first impression. Consistent typography, a tidy layout, the appropriate colour palette, and eye-catching visuals are all design elements that give your website a pleasing appearance.
You must maintain consistency throughout the entire website. The appropriate placement of your company's logo and adherence to the colour scheme that goes with your brand produce a professional appearance. Also, you can carefully use white or empty space to add room and cleanliness to your website.

10 About Us Page

Consumers today are more informed and discerning than ever, and they want to do business with brands they can trust and share their values with. Therefore, sharing your story and highlighting core values is critical for your brand's long-term success.

An About Us page on your website is essential for establishing trust and building a connection with your audience. According to a Hubspot survey, one-third of the customers admitted that they consider an About Us page the most important element of a website, which indicates that people want to know who they are doing business with.

Pro Tip: Avoid using auto-play videos that slow down your website. Also, never use Adobe Flash players which can lead to security vulnerabilities, prolong loading times, and increase power consumption. Complex animations, large-sized images, unnecessary pop-ups, distractive ads, etc., should also be avoided to make a high-performing and user-friendly website.

Wrapping Up

Obviously, not every company is the same. The specifics of what makes a website successful for a business are going to vary from one to the next, but this checklist can help you make the most of your website design efforts.

Contact DSM, if you are looking for get a new website or improve an existing one

Rich snippets refer to Google search results that showcase supplementary details, such as reviews, timings, or ratings. Rich snippets utilize Google's algorithms to display structured data (Scheme markup) incorporated within web pages on SERPs. Google extracts this added data from specific coding added in the webpage's HTML. These snippets offer a more visually attractive search result that shows extra valuable data next to the title, description, and URL of individual results on SERPs.

Rich snippets improve your website's visibility, authority, and visual appeal in Google search results, enhance the user experience and boost your organic click-through rates (CTR). The addition of schema markup is essential for rich snippets; however, using schema markup on your web pages doesn't necessarily guarantee that Google will display the search results in rich snippet form.

This article explains in detail why you should utilize rich snippets for search and how it works.

Rich Snippets Enhance SERP Visibility and Boost Click-Through Rates

Most Google search results are displayed in 5 elements: Website Name, Website Favicon, Title of the page, URL, and meta description.

serp results

However, Rich snippets display additional information such as ratings, reviews, or event details and add another layer of visual enhancement that users may find more informative and appealing.

Example of a Google Search results with a rich snippet:

Star Rating Snippets

The above result displays ratings and reviews as added information in Upwork’s results. These two are added pieces of information than the usual 5 pieces of information (Site name, URL, Title of Webpage, Meta description, and favicon) that other search results are displaying.

The research department of Milestone Inc. examined more than 4.5 million search inquiries and discovered that 58% of the time, users prefer clicking on rich results, as opposed to a 41% click-through rate (CTR) for non-rich results. Rich snippets enhance the visual attractiveness of your web pages in the search engine results pages (SERPs), differentiating them from standard search outcomes.

See the below search results for the Pizza recipe; which result has more chances of getting a click by the user?

food recipes snippets

Obviously, the second one as it provides a crucial piece of information (duration to cook) which is a deciding factor when people are looking for food recipes.

By displaying additional information directly in the search results, rich snippets save users time and effort by providing valuable information without requiring them to click through to multiple websites. This enhanced user experience can lead to increased user satisfaction and potentially higher conversion rates for websites displaying the rich snippet.

How to Add Rich Snippets?

Adding structured data markup to your webpage is necessary to utilize rich snippets. provides a comprehensive language for structured data, displaying the various properties and snippets that can be applied to your site. The most prevalent techniques for incorporating structured data include employing WordPress plugins for schema markup or JSON-LD.

Testing and Validating Structured Data:

When you are done adding structured data markup to your webpage, test and validate the markup to ensure it is set up correctly. You can use Google's Structured Data Testing Tool to verify if your structured data is correctly implemented.

Types of Rich Snippets:

The most used rich snippets types are:

Benefits of Implementing Rich Snippets

1. Easier for Search Engines to Understand Website Content

Structured data helps the search engines better analyze and understand website content, and markup is the most widely used type of structured data. By implementing structured data markup, Websites provide additional insights to search engines. This extra data helps search engines display more relevant and information-rich search results. The rich snippet allows an improved display of your product details on search engine results pages and adds your product information to Google Merchant Center.

2. Increases Chances of Higher Rankings

While structured data may not directly influence search engine rankings, it helps improve user experience on Search engine research pages. User experience is the topmost priority of search engines like Google, and therefore, indirectly, it increases the chances of improving your website's search engine ranking.

3 Reduces Competiton

Rich snippets enable your website to distinguish itself from rival sites. They display a larger portion of your valuable content on the search results page, allowing users to instantly recognize that your website contains the information they seek, encouraging them to click. By occupying additional space with your comprehensive listing, you push competitors further down the page, which is the crux of SEO optimization.


Google's rich snippets provide an improved search outcome, offering more in-depth information about a website compared to a standard link. However, implementing rich snippets can be a daunting task, or maybe you understand the value of rich snippets but lack the time, expertise, or resources to begin. DSM Design is here to help! Our digital marketing specialists can suggest the web pages that will profit from schema implementation, incorporate the structured data into your site, and monitor the outcomes for you.

Reach out to us at 01202 048079 or Email us at for more details on how you can get rich snippets for your web pages.

A perfect Call to Action (CTA) can boost conversions by persuading visitors of a website or social media page to undertake a required action. However, writing an enticing CTA may seem to be an overwhelming task considering the brevity and marketing intelligence that one needs to incorporate when writing a perfect and high-converting call to action.

This article explains in detail how to carve out a perfect CTA with relevant examples. The article also details the types of CTAs and their usage in marketing.

What is a CTA and How Does it Work?

CTA is a phrase/statement that serves to direct users towards a specific action, assisting brands in reaching their marketing goals. Call-to-actions (CTAs) help brands with online properties such as website pages, videos, landing pages, blogs, and social media pages to convert visitors into buyers or subscribers. In short, CTAs (usually a button, or link) persuade users to take other specific actions including:

CTA’s usage is not limited to conversions, CTAs are navigation assistants for visitors and help them to browse the website and its relevant pages.

See the below CTA ‘See Plan’ takes users (navigates) to the page where users can find and compare plans offered by the service.

perfect call to action image

How to Create the Perfect and High-Performing Call to Action (CTA)?

A well-crafted CTA is the hallmark of a marketing campaign's success and it:

Therefore, creating CTAs should be a carefully thought process with a systematic approach. The key elements, language structure, and style of each CTA depend on the end result it is trying to get.

Clear and concise CTAs with action-oriented language, a keyword that emphasises value/benefit for the user, and a sense of urgency are top converting call-to-actions.

Examples include:

  1. ‘Download Your Free Guide Now
  2. Sign Up and Get Access to 100+ Free Templates’
  3. Join Now to Avoid Last Minute Rush
  4. Avail 60% Discount on Annual Plan (Limited Time Offer)
  5. Buy Before the 31st of June and Get 30% Cashback

While these above-listed CTAs have a highly positive impact on the actions of the users, making them visually appealing will further increase their intensity. Always make sure CTA buttons are designed well and have engaging graphics. Avoid the use of jargon, complex technical language, or other confusing elements that may dissuade the users from taking the desired action.

Top-performing and high-converting CTAs with Examples

1. CTAs that Offer Value

‘Do Good and Have Good’, the maxim works appropriately in CTAs. Offering any information, data, statistics, guides, how-to-do content, ebook, pricing guide, buyer’s guide, etc. for free in lieu of a desired action (users submitting their contact information) will work in your favor.


2. CTAs that Offer Regular Updates

People have the fear of missing out (FOMO) and any action that enables users to stay updated about their favourite subjects or topics of interest will be taken promptly by them. Therefore, capitalize on this FOMO and offer them free updates and in return get your user to act as per the CTA.


3. CTAs that Offer Risk-Free Trials

CTAs that offer risk-free, credit-card-free, and no-obligation trials can be highly persuasive and lead users to commit to your services. Focus on the USPs in the CTA when you implore your users to commit to a free trial. Free trial CTAs can help you seek more information about the users including contact numbers and business email IDs.

CTAs that Offer Risk-Free Trials

4. CTAs that Offer Exclusive Access

People love to access exclusive things. CTAs that appeal to this inherent desire for exclusivity and a sense of special belonging perform well. For, example a call-to-action button that allows users to access a closed group, special community, or invite-only event. Always mention if the community is free to join or works on a paid basis.

CTAs that Offer Exclusive Access

5. CTAs that Offer Free Newsletter Subscriptions

To encourage more newsletter subscribers, use CTAs that offer free subscriptions by emphasizing the value and benefits of signing up. Highlight any exclusive content, resources, or discounts that subscribers will receive as a result of joining your mailing list.

6. CTAs that Offer a Free Product/Platform/Service

People who are looking for services, platforms, tools, etc. to create or develop something that they require are easily persuaded to join or sign up the same if an attractive and subtle CTA engages them to do so. Below is an instance of the same. Anyone looking for launching his/her own podcast is more likely to react positively to the below CTA.

CTAs that Offer a Free Product

7. CTAs that Prompt to Write/Submit Reviews or Video Testimonials

Review websites usually prompt users to write reviews to help the community members to make informed decisions. These CTAs should leverage the users' inner desire to help their peers and community. See the example below. The line ‘Help over 5 million monthly buyers’ will create a sense of responsibility in the users and will motivate them to play their part in helping millions of other users.

CTAs that Prompt to Write reviews

8. CTAs that Offer Users Booking Free Consultations/Demos

These CTAs dwell upon users' innate wish to get free suggestions, recommendations, action plans, or strategic advice before actually booking any service or product. Always mention ‘free’ as the main word with these types of CTAs.

Other Powerful CTAs with High Conversion Rates:
● Save 10% on First Order: Incentivizing users for the first action and association with your brand
● Claim Your Rewards: Offering benefits for a regular readership, or loyalty
● Receive a Free Gift Voucher: Providing users who act on your CTAs with Gift Vouchers and hampers

How to Write a Perfect Social Media Call to Action (CTA)?

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram provide unique opportunities to use CTAs effectively.

Here are some tips for crafting the perfect CTA for your social media campaigns:

Final Thoughts
Writing the perfect CTA involves a combination of persuasive language, insights about the industry and niche, clear communication, knowledge of the user’s goals and needs, and appealing design. The suggestions in this article will help you frame powerful and compelling call to action.

Remember to test and optimize your CTAs regularly. If you need help in strategizing, creating, optimizing, and evaluating (A/B testing) your CTAs, feel free to contact DSM Design. We are experts in writing and designing CTAs that resonate with the target audience.

Branding has evolved from its traditional role of differentiating businesses on the basis of certain identifiers to its current role as a customer experience entity. Branding is the perception that customers visualize for their favorite brands. Whether you want to shape your products or present your services to your customers, branding stays at the center stage. Branding establishes a lasting competitive edge, an unbreakable moat, and a distinct identity for businesses.

Through innovation, expertise, strategy, and planning, a brand can create a distinct identity that differentiates itself from rivals and resonates with its target audience. It is imperative and advisable for companies of all sizes and verticals to create a robust brand identity right from their genesis.
This article details how important branding is to meet marketing goals and aims to help businesses understand how investments in branding activities beget high returns for their business’s growth and stability.

The Importance of Branding in the Marketing Journey of Businesses

Marketing is the sum of activities that make your offerings visible to your potential customers, while branding sets your products and offerings apart from your peers and competitors.
To ensure a thriving and long-lasting business, understanding how clients perceive your brand and then tilting the perception in favor of your brand is important.

The below points detail the importance of branding in marketing:

1. Branding Eliminates Competition

Branding is no more just a survival tactic. Earlier businesses would merely use marketing tactics to pitch and sell their products and services. Today, customers want to know the idea behind the product, they love the stories that make a product special; inspiring brand stories are appreciated and welcomed by customers, and clients want to be part of the overall experience that a brand provides to its customers. Branding helps businesses earn that space in the minds of their customers.

For instance, Tesla doesn’t just sell a car, they market their brand as an idea of a sustainable and zero-emission future.

Branding is the vibe, the unique selling point itself that differentiates one company from the other, and it helps businesses wipe out their competition. Well-perceived brands are undisputed leaders in the hearts of their buyers.

2. Connects You on a Human Level With Your Clientele

Many people, including numerous marketers, believe branding in marketing is equivalent to a company's visual aspects and properties, such as logos, symbols, signs, boards, brochures, marketing materials, flyers, letterheads, and website colors. However, branding goes beyond just visual representation. Branding isn’t limited to visual identity. It is projected through the combination of visual identity with the human-level experiences you deliver as a brand.

Coca-Cola’s Sunset ad is an example of how the brand conveys its values on humanity and love. Branding includes your values as a business and the emotions you evoke in your customers. It connects you with your customers on an emotional level and humanizes your business endeavors.

3. Influences Buying Decisions

Branding influences how humans perceive things, and therefore people react to the message that brands deliver. Branding can appeal to people and generate their interest in particular things. Branding can affect, control, and completely change the decision-making process of customers. Once your brand's identity is firmly established and easily recognisable to consumers, it effectively and without effort directs their buying choices in your direction.

4. Branding Augments and Complements Product Innovations

Even highly innovative products need branding activities to build their market and gain consumer attention. It is not sufficient for companies to spend huge amounts on research and design activities and create technologically superior products or services. Without branding, there will be no general awareness and visibility in the market. Branding creates the moat, visibility, and awareness around the product that is essential for even the most innovative products that enter the market.

5. Branding Act as a Bulwark Against Difficult Times and Reputation Crisis

Robust brands possess the ability to endure in times of difficulty. Clients harbor a great deal of faith and reliance on brands that have created a positive perception in their minds. Consistent branding efforts, along with exceptional offerings, help brands stand firmly in difficult times as they have their customers’ backs. For example, Samsung survived the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 devices bursting incidents, Subway survived the Jared Fogle-led reputational hit, and Volkswagen survived the emissions scandal. All these brands had years of accumulated brand equity which persuaded their stakeholders and customers to stay with them even after the big reputational crisis incidents.

6. Great Brands Create Loyal Customers and Employees

Establishing a brand does more than just generate devoted clients; it also fosters committed employees. A strong brand offers clients and employees a cause to support and identify with. This enables people associated with the brand to grasp the objectives of the company they buy or serve. Branding fosters a sense of pride among employees, leading to increased job satisfaction and productivity.

7. Creates a Perception of Higher Quality Among Customers

Branding in marketing elevates the perceived value proposition for a brand’s products and services and allows companies to charge a premium price. In the realm of branding, consumers emphasize genuineness, relationships, and quality. With the changing tendencies in consumer behavior towards buying products based on values, businesses that prioritize branding can project themselves as high-value brands.

8. Enables Brands to Launch Umbrella Products

Businesses can capitalize on their existing brand equity to launch and market more products under the same brand name. The identity, trust, recognition, and goodwill the brand has built hitherto can be leveraged to launch products under the same brand umbrella. Brands that have already established their credibility will have to take less pain in positioning and marketing their new products. Companies like P&G, Johnson and Johnson, Unilever, Apple, Nestle, etc., have many products under one brand name. These companies have successfully utilized their brand excellence to benefit and promote other products launched by them.

9. Branding is an Intangible Asset that Helps Businesses Negotiate Better

Branding helps companies create a distinct place for themselves in the business world. It is an intangible asset with a high inherent value. Brands can negotiate better during applying for loans, mergers, acquisitions, lawsuits, protests, and collaboration if their brand is strong and is perceived with reverence in the market.

10. Branding Aids in Customer Retention

Branding revitalizes customer life cycles and implores them to re-enter your product space. Successful brands generally channelise their client’s journey towards positive experiences. A robust brand ensures that customers re-enter the buying cycle following their first encounter with your company.

Manage Your Brand

Ensure a uniform brand experience across all channels, offline and online. Know and analyze your brand’s inherent strengths and weaknesses. Explore chances to enhance your brand's prestige on valuable platforms and review websites. Consider methods to actively participate in your industry as a thought leader and contribute by imparting expertise and experiences.

How Can DSM Design Take Your Branding to the Next Level?

Increase Your Brand Value with DSM Design’s 360-degree Branding Strategies:

Our branding strategy is thorough in its efforts. We offer a comprehensive brand enhancement solution that revitalizes your website design and visual brand elements. If you are seeking all-inclusive branding assistance with a highly experienced team of web designers, branding experts, and digital marketing experts all in one place, then DSM Marketing is your go-to destination.

To avail of a free consultation regarding our branding services or to know how hiring us can be the most prudent investment for your brand, contact us at 01202 048079 or email us at

Since my last tutorial on the Select2 Jquery  plugin using remote data loaded using Ajax and PHP has been so successful, I am updating the tutorial to work with the newer Version 4 plugin.

If you don’t know what the Select2 plugin is : Its a Jquery plugin to turn an input/select field into a dropdown select box with searchable and stylable features.

Head over to to find out more.

So continuing their excellent plugin they have now improved and upgraded the plugin to Version 4. And although the documentation has improved, it still is quite hard to understand the concept of Ajax remote data pulled from a MySQL database into the plugin.

As my last tutorial on V3 of the plugin has been so helpful to many people and I have been asked about Version 4. I am going to show you how to use the plugin with a small PHP script to pull remote data from the database.

If you would prefer to use the Version 3 of this plugin you can view my tutorial here : jquery-select2-ajax-tutorial

Initial Instructions

Firstly, if you haven’t already downloaded the plugin go on over to their website or onto Github and grab a copy of the plugin.

For this tutorial you will need the CSS files and JS files located within the dist folder.

Within your head area make sure you include the location to the .css file.

And within the footer ensure you have loaded jquery and then the select 2 plugin.

So that the basics loaded into the page.

Now for the HTML Instructions

** The old version used to convert a hidden Input field into a select2 dropdown. **

So you add a Select box to your HTML form:

Product Name

And a little bit of Jquery

$( ".productName" ).select2({

ajax: {

url: "/ajax/productsList.php",

dataType: 'json',

delay: 250,

data: function (params) {

return {

q: params.term // search term



processResults: function (data) {

// parse the results into the format expected by Select2.

// since we are using custom formatting functions we do not need to

// alter the remote JSON data

return {

results: data



cache: true


minimumInputLength: 2


So after the input length has reached 2 characters it uses ajax to load the results from our page set in the URL element.
It is going to send the Search String through to the php as $_GET in the field name of : q.
So our ajax request will go : /ajax/productsList.php?q=

Now some PHP Instructions

We will use a small php script to connect to a MySQL Database and search for a matching field.
I always use PDO with MySQL and prepared statements. This should prevent any chance of MySQL Injection which older MySQL queries did not protect against Out of the box.
If you are unsure how to connect to a Database there are plenty of Tutorials on the web on how to do this.

If you view the remote data load on the Plugin page you see the results can be translated in many ways and styled in an image/list results.
Please read the documentation there to learn how to do this.

Hopefully this has helped you if you have upgraded from version 3 to version 4 of the Jquery Select2 plugin.