The fitting of a new air con at our office few weeks ago has changed my view of capital investment. The old AC started showing signs that it needed replacing about three years ago and in that time we’ve made so much use of our service contract that the provider increased its charges for the start of 2016.
That was our signal that we needed a replacement AC, and the benefits it has delivered since its installation make me wish we’d invested the capital three years ago. Not only are we more comfortable in the office as it’s nice and cool but I’m promised that the model is costing less money to run.
Unfortunately, too many individuals and business continue to follow my old mantra of “if it’s not completely kaput, why waste money updating capital assets?”
This is a false economy. Many businesses carry out regular reviews of the performance of their staff so why not do the same for your company’s most valuable asset – its website?
It is more than a shop window or a digital sales brochure. Your website is a living, breathing marketing ally and should drive your digital strategy. But it can only do this if you take control of its power.
But for your website to deliver the acquisition, conversion and retention targets you have set it in a cost-effective manner it needs regular care, attention and updating.
The answers to the following five questions will reveal whether your website is performing as efficiently as our new air con, or if it should be your first company asset that receives capital investment over the next three months.
The days when people accessed the web on a desktop PC are disappearing far into the distance. A growing number of people feel a need to have their smartphone within reach of them 24 hours a day. And more than 50% of your customers are using their mobile devices to browse the web and make purchase decisions. If you site is not designed to automatically resize itself to the screen it is being viewed on, the user not only has a poor experience and is unlikely to convert, Google will unleash its wrath.
In 2015, Google introduced a mobile-friendly label to its search results that website owners can only gain if their sites deliver the same user experience on a smartphone or tablet as a desktop browser. In May 2016 Google rolled out an update to mobile search results that increased the effect of the ranking signal to help their users find even more pages that are relevant and mobile-friendly. This means that your website will no longer appear on Google search results for phrases relating to your business unless it is optimised for mobile.
Sites that gain Google’s approval, and with it a mobile-friendly label in search results, invariably use a technique known as responsive web design to create sites that:
According to Search Engine Journal, 75% of Google users will never go past page one, which means that if your website is not making the top 10 results then you are not going to be getting the traffic that you need to get sales.
There are 3 components that contribute to the ranking of a site:
Technical SEO is extremely important in the ranking process as if done incorrectly can make any marketer’s job very hard or impossible. It’s quicker, easier and more cost-efficient to build the necessary SEO components into the site design and architecture right from the start but if this is not possible, there are ways to improve this on your existing site as well.
Technical SEO looks at things like:
Creating a new website has the added advantage of reducing the load time of pages. You’re in trouble if it takes more than a few seconds for your site to load. Research by Kissmetrics shows that the website abandonment threshold is 5 seconds for mobile and a mere 3 seconds for desktop.
Once you’ve built your mobile-friendly site, it’s important to continue following SEO best practices in terms of link building both internally and to other sites that Google considers to be authoritative, social media activity, video creation, local search and, believe or not, positive reviews on third-party sites.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Your website is very often the first introduction a potential customer will have of your company and no matter how easy your digital asset is to find on Google or how well it can be viewed on a variety of screen sizes, your digital marketing strategy will fail spectacularly if it appears to be dressed in the online equivalent of flares and slippers.
Many of the web design trends that are big in 2017 take into account the mobile user’s needs. This is why sites that make the most of flat design, large images and typography are bang on-trend. Using such elements, plus infographics and scrolling screens, will give out the message that you are as forward-thinking as your new website, and promote conversion.
While Google does not yet rank websites for their look (although the behaviour of your users based on your design and usability does), the search giant lays great importance on its content.
Companies that still consider their website as a sales brochure need to think again. Content is king. By constantly updating your site with fresh, unique and informative content in the form of blogs, area guides, infographics and even video, you are telling Google that you care – if the search giant knows it’s there.
When Google directs visitors to your fresh content, they will receive your clear message that you have your finger on the pulse of developments in your market, which will increase your levels of customer engagement.
The question is, can your current website expand? Can you add more pages, blog posts and other type of content easily and in a logical structure? If the answer is no, this can play against your growth plans this year.
This, of course, is the true test of a business website’s effectiveness. In the unlikely event that this is the only question that is leaving you shaking your head, there’s a three-word fix to this problem – calls to action.
Whether you’re directing visitors to sign up to a newsletter, start a free trial, complete a sale or even a social media button, the CTA is a potent tool to help convert window shoppers into paying customers.
If your website was not planned, designed and build with your key call to actions in mind, adding them at a later stage may look like an afterthought or confuse the readers.
Not all the solutions to the five signals outlined above that you need a new website are quick fixes, or easy to carry out without specialist knowledge and expertise.
Just as it never crossed our mind to turn our AC installation into a DIY project, the benefits of outsourcing your website redesign are clear. It will be carried out by professionals with specialist knowledge and deliver results that can recoup the cost in a relatively short space of time, while leaving you to focus on your areas of expertise.
Tags: B2B Services, Consultancy, Estate and Letting Agents, Professional Services, Responsive Web Design