Online marketing has evolved to be a competitive industry. In this technological era, examining user engagement with a website and determining which variables are considered to be successful can be difficult. Below are 10 simple ways to determine if your website can stay ahead of your competition in 2014.
- MOBILITY-Is your website compatible with smart devices?
The Monetate Q1 2013 Ecommerce Quarterly gives insight on smartphone vs tablet vs desktop share of audience for large Ecommerce brands. You can see that tablet and smartphone use nearly doubled in the year based on 500 million visits for these retail clients. Mobile share is now around 25% on average.Importance of Mobility : Consumers spend an average 30% on their smart devices a day. Smart devices require a more detailed responsive web layout design as well as adaptive layout design. To improve your website to work well with mobile devices the adaptive layout design is recommended because it utilizes scripting to assist with adapting to various devices and screen sizes. Below is breakdown of what the current trend most consumers are using their mobile devices for
- INTERACTIVE-Does your website have enough user engagement? As mentioned above, responsive web layout is critical for smart devices. Since searching for goods and services via the internet lacks the personal humanistic approach, responsive web layout is critical to convert potential prospects. The use of EMs, flexible images, flexible videos, and fluid type, allow the responsive website to adapt its layout to the viewing device, user agent, and environment. The responsive web design is that it will fluidly change and respond to fit any screen or device size.According to a CEI survey 86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience, which means having a strong user experience on your site could lead to more conversions and profit! Tip: Use HTML coding vs. Flash since majority of smart devices are compatible with HTML and smart devices do not work with Flash.
Importance of Interactive website:
As some internet bloggers say design your website “Build for users, not search engines.” When users have a bad experience at your site, when they can’t accomplish a task or find what they were looking for, this often correlates with poor search engine performance.
Below is a useful website “Web Designer Wall” that provides tips for a interactive website : http://webdesignerwall.com/trends/30-great-interactive-sites
3. SEO-Search Engine Optimization
- SEO is one of the basics to online marketing. You can design a perfect website, but if viewers are not accessing it, all your hard work into the website goes to waste. Due to the search technology, the metrics rely on relevance and importance when displaying results.Importance of SEO: There are ten positions on search engines, ordered by rank, with click-through traffic based on their relative position & ability to attract searchers. Results in positions 1, 2 and 3 receive much more traffic than results down the page, and considerably more than results on deeper pages. The fact that so much attention goes to so few listings means that there will always be a financial incentive for search engine rankings.
4. CONVERSION-If you have a website that has a great adaptive layout design and web layout design can only effective if the content can draw in your audience. According to Search Engine Journal below are 4 great ways to increase conversion rates on your website.
- #1: Explain the benefits : provide captivating insights and reasons why customers should choose to do business with you
- #2: Collect Customer Feedback: Use survey questions to improve the website. No business website is perfect, but the old business adage, “business only gets better when you cater more to what the customer wants and needs.”
- #3: Make the website mobile friendly : Simplicity is key especially when statistics show users stumble upon your website through mobile devices at first. Mobile devices have a smaller screens so make sure the layout is adaptive.
- #4: Contact the visitors that abandon the website through email marketing
5. TRUSTWORTHY-Marketing your website online is a great and affordable method to reach new customers. However the transparency of trust to convince someone with a website and touch of a mouse click away to keep them engaged is difficult.
Below are ways to draw the line from transparency to trustworthy.
- Use clear, straightforward content. A lot of people like to “dress up” their websites with complicated phrases and business jargon, but most customers will prefer language and concepts they can easily understand.
- Include facts and supporting details. The more you can back up what you have to say, the easier it is for people to believe in you and your claims. This especially works if you can reference things like university studies, or surveys performed through mainstream media outlets.
- Post real customer testimonials. Simple one-line recommendations don’t cut it anymore, because customers know they are too easy to falsify or embellish. If at all possible, use customer testimonials that have full names, details, and even a few details about the situation.
- Put your successes in the case studies. For more complex success stories, begin by presenting the challenge, the course of action, and the results. The more detailed and specific you can be (without going too long, of course), the more credibility your case study will add to your site.
- Allow customers to post honest reviews. That means not filtering out the ones that don’t say exactly what you would like (although it is fair to respond). Assuming your reviews are mostly positive, customers will appreciate the transparency – they know no company can please everyone 100% of the time.
- Be upfront about mistakes. On a related note, don’t try to hide minor blunders. Instead, address them and show buyers what you learned through the process. Handle things correctly, and you’ll develop a reputation for honesty while showing customers that you won’t make the same mistake twice.
- Make your contact information prominent. Trustworthy businesses want people to contact them with questions and issues; they don’t have any reason to hide behind anonymity. For the best results, include multiple telephone numbers and email addresses.
- Use photos of yourself, your team, and your facility. In the same way, a few simple snapshots – especially those that give buyers a “behind-the-scenes” look at your business – can help reinforce the idea that you are real people, not a faceless company that only exists on the Internet.
- Take advantage of outside verification. From seals that show your site is safe from hackers to endorsements from industry authorities and the Better Business Bureau, you can use outside approval and verification to show that your company is legitimate and trustworthy.
- Explain your processes to customers. In other words, never leave any doubt as to what will happen when a customer presses a button, clicks a link, or signs up for more information. People don’t like surprises, especially when they come from businesses that they aren’t familiar with yet.
- Build a strong online reputation. One of the best ways to be transparent is to let your previous satisfied customers speak for you. Do the right things, and they’ll leave you great feedback on social media profiles, industry sites, and elsewhere online.
6. UPLOAD RATE
If your website is slow, you risk annoying your customers and lowering your search engine ranking. There are lots of ways for a developer to speed up a website. Having a website that is interactive and fast loading will create a great user experience and hopefully create loyalty among new customers.
If your website lacks call to actions, or your landing pages are attracting the wrong demographic chances are you need to redesign your website. Keep in mind the type of search queries customers search using the internet and align your website to fit that demographic.
Three types of searches are
- 1) Navigational:Navigational searches are performed with the intent of surfing directly to a specific website. In some cases, the user may not know the exact URL, and the search engine serves as the “White Pages”, passing along the (hopefully) correct location.
- 2) Transactional : Transactional searches don’t necessarily involve a credit card or wire transfer. Signing up for a free trial account at Cook’s Illustrated, creating a Gmail account, or finding the best local cuisine.
- 3) Informational: The common thread here is that the searches are primarily non-commercial and non-transaction-oriented in nature; the information itself is the goal, and no interaction beyond clicking and reading is required.
8. BRAND ALIGNMENT
Your website is one of your most important business assets. It’s the hub of your online activity and in many cases the first impression a potential customer will have of your brand. If the look and feel of the site doesn’t line up with your current target audience and your current messaging, it’s time to update it so it does.
9. CONTENT MANAGEMENT
Content management goes in line with Brand Alignment. Content management is the administration of digital content throughout its lifecycle, from creation to permanent storage or deletion. The content involved may be images, video, audio and multimedia as well as text.
The usual stages in digital content management are:
- Publishing (making the content available to users, whether Web site visitors or employees)
- Oversight, including managing updates and version control.
Check if your website has had any of the following changes made in the past year or so, if not then redesign of your website is necessary.
Your website is an investment in the future success of your business, and it’s important to view it that way. Having a strong online presence is no longer optional. In addition, your website can be the vehicle that helps you achieve your goals of better awareness, more leads and ultimately more happy customers.