Say you've designed a small business website for a client - very simple, a few pages and a contact form.

Beyond the site functionality itself, what else should be included in a basic website package? What does every site need, regardless of how small or static it is?

  • How many SEO-friendly things should the site include without billing for SEO? Is just meta tags enough?

  • Does every site need a sitemap, even if it is only a few pages? How about if it is just a single page with the "sub-pages" being dynamically displayed in jQuery or CSS3 by parallax/scrolling etc?

  • What basic legal information is required? Does every site need a privacy page, even if the site has no user logins? Does it need copyright at the bottom? Any other legal info required to protect the client (or yourself)?

  • Are there any other best practices or additional information every site must (should) have?

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    Every website should only have content directly of use to the target audience. There is no standard list - you need to gather the requirements for your site by talking to the users to find out what they want / need. – JonW Jan 9 '14 at 8:49
  • Lift hold please. Rephrased the question to be less "what would you do", and more "what needs to be done". @DA01 – John Jan 9 '14 at 13:38
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    Your edit still isn't really addressing the issues here. It's far too broad and subjective to answer in a Q&A site. Also, every website built is going to be different. Also, by my count you have 11 questions in this post. This is a site for single, individual specific questions. Have a read of the tour page to get more advice, as well as the how to ask – JonW Jan 9 '14 at 13:39
  • @JonW Questions like this are asked all the time on graphicdesign.stackexchange.com. I put it here as it was more of a UX type question. If this community doesn't want these types of questions, someone please migrate it to GD because I know it would receive a healthy response there. Also, there may be 11 questions but they are only there to guide the kind of answers I am looking for. Ultimately it is one major question that would be highly valuable to many people starting out in web design. That question is in the title of the post. – John Jan 9 '14 at 13:48
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    We can't migrate this to graphicdesign.se because it isn't a graphic design question. We also can't reopen it here because of the reasons I've outlined above. It's not a highly valuable question because there is no set of content that every site should have; aside from the answer being 'every website should have content of use and interest to the target audience'. But that should just go without saying really. I'm sorry if you don't agree with this, and you're welcome to post a question on our User Experience Meta site stating why you think this should be reopened so others can give their opinions. – JonW Jan 9 '14 at 13:56

I am gonna say - Sitemaps, Google Analytics, Meta Tags all come under SEO and are all essential factors for improving the visibility.

Here are the things you can do to make things better:

  • DOCTYPE declaration

  • Character Encoding

  • Title Tag (unique titles for each page)

  • Meta Description

  • Heading Tags Hierarchy (h1, h2, h3, h4)

  • Keywords in Anchor Text

  • Title tags in Anchors

  • Integrate XML Sitemap

  • Put Keywords in Alt Tags for images*

  • Unique Website Contents

  • robot.txt

  • URL Structure internally / Externally

  • Avoid Flash

  • Social media distribution


Privacy policy page is not really needed if the website/app isn't collecting data. It can be like this in a nutshell - "XYZ app does not collect or share personal information."

Copyright information is necessary. Do not skip that.

Note*: Alt tags should be used to describe meaningful image content to the user. It shouldn't be stuffed with foolish marketing keywords.

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    Actually, copyright information is unnecessary--at least in the US--as copyright is implied at the time of creation. REGISTERING the copyright, however, is something you can do, but is a legal process rather than a web dev process. Also keywords in alt attributes can hamper both your SE ranking as well as cause issues with accessibility. So be careful with that. (But it depends of course, they may be perfectly applicable if used right) – DA01 Jan 9 '14 at 0:17
  • -1 for putting keywords in alt tags for images, this is about UX, this not nice for those using screen readers as the alt tag is used to describe meaningful image content to the visually impared user, also, flash is pretty much universally used to deliver video content, which is an exceptional way of communicating with users – Toni Leigh Jan 11 '14 at 14:17
  • @ColinSharpe Preferably, alt tags should be used to describe meaningful image content to the user. I never said that the alt tags be stuffed with foolish marketing keywords in Alt tags - alt tag keywords can be meaningful image descriptions too. This way it will not hinder UX. – Dhananjay Garg Jan 12 '14 at 14:56
  • perhaps edit it to say so ? then i can undo my vote, which i would if the alt tag thing was clearer. personally i would err wholly on the side of clear, meaningful alt tags, without thinking of keywords in order not to get distracted from their proper UX use – Toni Leigh Jan 13 '14 at 20:52
  • @ColinSharpe Done – Dhananjay Garg Jan 14 '14 at 23:41

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