Back in the late 90s, websites were a fad. By the early 2000s, they were something of a necessary evil. And before long, the business world started taking this whole internet thing seriously, and people finally understood that websites were central to a good marketing strategy. In many cases, they’re the first places customers interact with a brand.
But just having a website isn’t enough. Think of them as living, breathing creatures: they need regular care and feeding. If you haven’t checked in on yours for a while, here are five places you should take a quick look at.
1. Good Design. Having a good design is probably the single most important aspect to your website. But when we talk about design, we don’t simply mean aesthetic presentation. We’re also talking about the user interface, organization of content, traffic flow, and brand consistency.
In fact, if given 15 minutes minutes to consume content, 66% of people would rather read something that is beautifully designed than something plain. More over, 38% of people will stop engaging with a website entirely if the content/layout is unattractive.
Finally, when looking at design, it’s imperative to view your website through the eyes of your users and not let personal preference, opinions or ego cloud your decision making.
2. Fresh Content. Are you feeding your website regularly? If you’re not giving it a diet of fresh content on a consistent basis, your site could be starving to death, the poor little guy.
Here are a few reasons why fresh content is critical to a website’s success:
- For Relevancy. Search engines are increasingly concerned with the idea of relevancy, and newer content is generally seen as more important than old content.
- People Want It. Just as search engines want new and relevant content, so do your users. In the world of a 24/7 news cycle, users have grown accustomed to new information at a moments notice. They have that same expectation for your website.
- It Builds Repeat Visitors. If users know to expect new and interesting content from your website on a regular basis, they’ll come back again and again.
- It Shows Your Authority. Everyone wants to be viewed as being a leader in their industry. One way to do that is to become the reliable, go-to source for up-to-date information in your area.
3. Mobile Friendliness. Today, more people now browse the internet via mobile devices as compared to desktop or laptop computers. The search engines know this, and they’ve been increasingly aggressive about rewarding mobile-ready sites - and penalizing those that aren’t.
But it isn’t just the search engines pushing for a mobile-first approach. Your users want it, too.
- 48% of users say if a business website doesn’t work well on mobile, they will take it as a sign that the business simply doesn’t care.
- 67% of users say they are more likely to purchase a product or service from a site that is mobile friendly.
- 52% of users say they are less likely to engage with a company if their mobile experience is bad.
4. SEO. Search Engine Optimization has long been a marketing buzzword, but it’s more than that. If you want potential customers to find your business, you must invest time and money into SEO.
Why? For starters, it’s a relatively cost-effective form of marketing that generates quality leads. User behavior relies more heavily on search engine activity then ever before. It also encourages you to develop more quality content, which is good for the other items on this list. If you’re still not sure, keep this in mind: your competitors are likely focusing on SEO, and they’re not going to stop anytime soon.
5. Conversion Points. Once you get people to your site, you should be tracking, analyzing and adjusting your content based on their behaviors. One of the best ways to do this is to set up conversion points, or goals that you want users to achieve on your site. These will vary depending on your business, but here’s the key principle: if your users aren’t doing what you want them to do on your site, change things until they do.
Websites and website design can seem scary, but if they’re done well, they can yield huge results and returns. Your customers will enjoy their experience, they will get the information they want, they will convert at a higher rate, they will return on a regular basis, and you will get a positive return on your investment.