First impressions are often ever lasting, it is therefore important for your website to grasp the attention of readers at first glance. A website is a virtual representation of your business which is instantly translated in many underlying thoughts about your business’ philosophy.
Unfortunately a website isn’t equipped with an alert system notifying you with the ideal time to get to the drawing board, but luckily for us there are some crucial signs that shout out ‘Revamp me’!
Out With The Old, In With The New
It’s not necessarily a question about time but rather a question about the technological advancements that occur during a certain period. The following are a few pointers that ought to be present in your business website:
1. Make statistics your best friend - How do you decide on the effectiveness of your site? Are the goals that you initially set being reached? Of course these questions cannot be answered blindly – you need to be able to take calculated risks. It’s not about throwing a dice and counting on your lucky stars.
It is of critical importance that your site has Google Analytics installed to it so that you can have a clear overview of how your audience is responding to it. Page views, unique visitors and bounce rates (the percentage of visitors who enter your website, view one page and immediately leave) are all imperative indicators of what your next step should be. Get rid off the pages and content that is clearly not of any interest to your visitors and replace it with information that seems to be attracting your readers (and more so encouraging them to continue discovering your site). Of course, Google Analytics provides a wider spectrum of useful information which you may read more about here.
2. Videos & Images – We are constantly faced with tons of paper full of written information. At times it is nice to break out of the literal phase and focus on the visual (even if it’s just for two minutes). People enjoy watching video clips, they create a more intimate and real atmosphere. However, if not tackled correctly, videos can be as ineffective as having none at all. Life is a constant race against time, if you can’t visually communicate something in a few minutes (preferably 2-3 minutes), it might be best to find another communication channel. When noticing a lengthy video, chances are that the visitor won’t even click the play button. Being concise applies to video clips too, not just writing!
3. Get in the social loop – we are no longer living in a one-way channel of communication, so much so that many businesses rely on social media to get a rough indication of what consumers expect. One of the main reasons of being part of the virtual world is to engage users and turn them into potential clients. This is done through communication and networking, giving them a platform where they can have their say and generate feedback. Social networking plays a great part in listening to, and understanding your customers’ needs. Ultimately this increases their sense of loyalty making it easier for you to communicate your message and brand.
4. Invest in a responsive or mobile site – There is a rapid increase in surfing the net from a smart phone device, Therefore it’s important that we move along with the advancements of technology (unless we want to be left behind).
“So far in 2013, 17.4% of web traffic has come through mobile, representing more than a 6% increase since 2012 when 11.1% of traffic came from mobile” (Source: Mashable).
“Amazon, Wikipedia, and Facebook all see about 20 percent of their traffic from mobile-only users, according to comScore” (Source: Harvard Business Review).
The above statistics are all the more proof that we must provide users with one experience across multiple devices. We cannot afford to ignore the users who access the net primarily from their smart phones. Desktop, tablets and smart phones should be treated equally if we wish to reach a large audience.
5. Emphasise ‘Call to Action’ – whatever it is that you intend on promoting (purchasing online, subscribing to your mailing list, creating a social community), it must have a clear cut call to action in order to keep visitors engaged. Having a website just for the sake of having one doesn’t bring any use to your business, there must always be a desirable behaviour accompanied by ways to inspire it – find it and focus on it!
6. Search engines must know about you – The existence of your site must be known by giant search engines like Google. If you are virtually nowhere on search engines then it’s probably time to make some adjustments - your site must be easily found by consumers. It’s unlikely for visitors to directly type in your URL; they will commonly find you through a Google search. It is therefore important to act friendly with search engines in order for them to find you and add you to the search results.
7. Quality content – Content writing and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) go hand in hand. Not only is content a businesses virtual mouthpiece, but it is an essential tool by which search engines rank your website.
Here are some fun facts that highlight the value of content:
• 52% of consumers say blogs have impacted purchase decisions.
• 57% of marketers have acquired new customers via their blogs
• 42% of consumers look to articles and blogs for info about potential purchases
• 61% of consumers are more likely to purchase goods from businesses that offer custom content.
(Source: Brafton Fuel Your Brand)
8. Visual spacing – It’s understandable that you try and squeeze as much content as you can in order to communicate large volumes at one go. Unfortunately chances are that you will be communicating nothing at all. When visitors land on a jam packed site they may feel overwhelmed and leave the site (reducing the probability of ever visiting it again). We must try and guide a customer’s virtual visit rather than scaring them away.
9. Improve the functionality – Getting one-time visits isn’t the most challenging part, it’s turning visitors to frequent viewers that entails greater effort. Viewers need a valid reason to re-visit your website – give them one!
10. Browser compatibility – Browsers like Internet Explorer, Safari and Mozilla Firefox are updated often. It is essential to make sure your website adjusts appropriately to these updates. Keeping an eye out for these updates will help you identify changes in browser technology and proceed with the necessary steps (by reassessing your website).
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Does your website miss a number of the aspects highlighted above? Webcraft provides all the tools and advice you may need.