The Internet is an ever-changing miracle of technology, and it is important that you keep your website up-to-date. Improving your website often makes for a better, more seamless user experience, which in-turn will reward you with a satisfied customer. A website that looks dated or that doesn’t have the latest features ‒ as they pertain to your business ‒ is almost a turn off for would-be customers. Here are some helpful tips to improve your website for the modern world:
- Add a Mission Statement – Also known as a value proposition, this informs visitors to your website about your company. Information to be included in the statement is: the location of your company, to whom you market and serve/sell, what your company does, and the benefit(s) customers can get out of using your company. The mission statement should go on your homepage, and you can add it to your About or Blog page(s).
- Incorporate Social Media Links – If your company has social media profiles ‒ which it definitely should nowadays ‒ you should add links on your website for visitors to follow. Utilizing social media greatly increases the amount of traffic your website receives.
- Use Calls-to-Action – When a visitor first gets to your website, can s/he easily navigate through the various pages to fulfill the purpose of their visit? While there are some basic calls-to-action, such as “call/email for a consultation”, you should strive to update them for a better user experience. Some examples of more advanced calls-to-action are: click here for more information, sign up for a webinar, and view pricing.
- Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly? – The advent of the Internet has birthed new technologies, most notably the smartphone. Almost everyone has a smartphone nowadays, so it’s important that your website be optimized for mobile. You can test this out yourself on your own smartphone, and ask yourself the following: when would someone go to my website on mobile? How is the experience on the website right now? Remember, mobile optimization is all about user experience, so your visitors should be able to navigate your website effortlessly and with ease. Check out the mobile category on our blog for more information.
One of the biggest considerations for a quality website is user experience. Most updates and new features are released to make the whole experience for visitors to your website easier, and more enjoyable and fluid. It’s a smart technique to garner more traffic to the website and, therefore, more potential customers. The content should be flattering and attention-grabbing, but not so flashy that users are turned off. There’s a delicate balance to making a user-friendly website, and getting it right will be so beneficial, not only for you, but also your new customers.
When was your business website designed? Was it the late 1990s or possible the early 2000s? Websites built and designed even just a few short years ago may not have the capabilities and look of a modern website. Your business website is a window into your company where clients, consumers, employees, and vendors can learn about you and interact with you. So, if your “window” is poorly designed, old or just hard to “see” through, then it may be a time to update. Here is a quick list of red flags that may be trying to tell you that it is time for a face lift, either aesthetic or technological, in nature for your business.
- Your key words are not showing up on Google or any of the major search engines.
Search engine algorithms have changed quite a bit over the years, so if your organic search engine rankings are low, it could mean it’s time for an update.
You can’t update your own content. If you have to constantly contact your web design company or harass your IT department to change the content, then you don’t have a website designed to be used by employees. Many companies have switched to platforms such as WordPress that allows them to change blogs, prices and other items on their site easily.
Your website takes too long to load. For every second it takes to load your page, whether it is on mobile or desktop, you lose visitors.
- You have a high bounce rate. If your web analytics show a high bounce rate, low time on site and low average pages per visit, that’s a pretty strong indicator that your visitors don’t find your current site useful for one reason or another.
- Your website is not mobile compatible. According to Smart Insights, over 20% of Google searches are performed on a mobile device, and when it comes to local searches, more than half are performed on mobile devices. In the United States, a whopping 25% of internet users only access the internet on a mobile device. If these stats tell you anything, it’s that the world has gone mobile, and if your website isn’t optimized, it’s officially time for a responsive re-design.
- Your website looks outdated. It’s been proven time and time again that a person’s perception of your company is directly affected by their perception of your website. Think of your website as a virtual storefront on main street. Make sure it looks new, fresh and is easy to navigate.
Not that long ago websites for businesses were the exception to the rule. In 2016, having a website for your company is almost a mandatory requirement when launching a business or growing your customer base. A website is the hub of your business. It contains not only your content, but your logo, tagline, color palette, and access to information about your customers. How do small businesses protect this information? Let’s take a look at steps you can take to protect your company and website.
- Trademark – All business owners and leaders should file for trademarks for their brands and services. It is quick and relatively cheap to do. In most cases, you do not need the expense of a lawyer or any other service. Trademarkia is one of many sites that owners can use to search over 7 million trademarked logos, slogans and names. Most of these sites will offer free searches and alerts if someone is using your logo or slogan. There are also trademark and statutory protections against people registering domain names identical to or similar to your brand for the purpose of confusing people or diverting traffic from your site. Protect your online products, photos and images using a Creative Commons license. You can get one set up in seconds for free to protect ebooks, images and other materials for that extra bit of security.
- Protect your Content – If you have a blog, social media channel, podcast or video associated with your website, you will want to protect the content as well. Talk to your business lawyer about copyright infringement and intellectual property to protect your content. If you have a WordPress site, try a plugin called WP-Copyprotect. This ‘locks’ your blog so text and images can’t be highlighted, copy and pasted. This works on the assumption that anyone wanting to steal your blog post or text from your website will be too lazy to re-type it out for themselves.
- Monitor others in your Field – Set up an alert system online to monitor via Google or other search engines when competitors are using ideas or brand information. TrackMaven and Rival IQ are two of the more advanced tools for tracking your brand online, but simple tools such as Google Alerts and Twitter searches can help, too.
- Use IP Protection – According to Arthur Ebeling of Koi Creative, Inc. “if you are seeking to establish a brand, it is critical to secure the proper intellectual property safeguards. These IP protections can include trademarks, copyrights and patents. It is important to determine which protections are relevant to your brand/company. Invariably, if you are trying to establish a brand name, it is wise to trademark that name. It pays to consult an IP attorney.”
If a picture is worth a thousand words then what must the value of a video be for business? Statistics show compelling evidence that videos are an area that marketing experts can not ignore. According to Video Brewery. . .
- 100 million internet users watch a video that is business related daily.
- 90% of consumers found watching a video helpful in understanding a product or service better.
These numbers should hopefully convince you that adding video to your website can only be a positive for your company. If you need more convincing, here are some more benefits of videos for business.
- Persuasion – 80% of people who watch a video about a product or service say they are more likely then to buy it. Video has the power of persuasion that words alone do not have. According to Wire Buzz, video caters to the brain’s visual and auditory systems, picking up on cues like body language, facial expressions, imagery and music. This elicits an emotional bond that will influence a person’s choices and actions.
- Trust and Credibility – When a consumer watches a video, they make a connection to the business that can not be made over the phone, in an email or in an advertisement. There’s something about seeing a person that connects us on a human level. In a way, watching a video about your business is forming a relationship with you and your brand.
- SEO and Video – Search engines are looking for signs that your content is engaging to determine if it is worth a high ranking. Blogging, dynamic content and of course, video are ways of signalling to the search engine that your page is active and engaged with the consumer. This in turn boosts your search engine results!
- Ease of production – Making a video, whether it is introducing a new product, announcing a sale or new offer, or just showing the proper use of a product in a “how-to” can be as easy as aiming your iphone and pressing play. While many companies hire professionals to produce their videos, “homemade” videos created right in the office can be just as persuasive and show off the inner workings of your business more than a production set can.
- Shares! – One last thing to think about when considering making videos for your business website is that each video can be shared repeatedly with other consumers.
Sunday morning. The perfect time to peacefully read the newspaper over a nice cup of coffee. You settle in, open up to your favorite section and notice the same stories and pictures that were in last Sunday’s paper! There must be some mistake right? You were expecting new information, updated articles, current stories. Well, that is the same feeling that visitors get when they log on to a favorite website only to find the same content, pictures and videos as last time they visited. As a consumer, you would probably stop getting the paper if that happened over and over. The same goes for a website. If websites don’t update and change, consumers will not return to browse — or more importantly — buy.
A dynamic website is one that changes frequently and engages the reader in various ways. It lets the visitor know that your product, service and even brand is active and “keeping up” in the business world. Dynamic content can include items such as descriptions, text, blogs, announcements, pictures, animations, video or audio. This does not mean that the design of the website changes, merely the content which can be done in the back-end through separate databases. Given how often consumers log on to the internet, and the sharp rise in mobile devices, it is no wonder that dynamic content is the demand of the times.
Let’s examine some of the reasons why dynamic is the way to go for your growing business.
- Attract your audience – Visitors tend to return to websites that offer something they want whether it is a new product, educational information, a blog, a special offer, or even helpful videos. Make your visitors curious to come back by posting new information on a regular basis.
- Enhance your SEO – Components of a great SEO involve keywords connected to good content. Search engines are aware of sites with dynamic content. Take for example a regularly posted blog. Hubspot reported recently that, “companies that blog have 434% more indexed pages on search engines than companies that don’t blog. That makes a tremendous difference for search engine rank.”
- Gain Marketing Insights – Dynamic content matched with analytic tools will quickly help your marketing team figure out what consumers are looking for and what are hot button items.
- Creating Revenue – Ultimately, dynamic content brings in more revenue by increasing website visitors, converting more visitors to buyers, and helping to sell more of your products and services.