Managing an online presence is an in-depth process that involves making vital decisions about your brand. But how do you know if it's working? Learn more here.
An online presence is an essential tool for any size business, so investing in a website is an excellent way of promoting your brand, engaging with new and existing customers and opening up more opportunities for your business.
However, simply having a website isn’t enough to create positive results; whether it’s a promotional website or an eCommerce platform you want, there is a lot that can be done to achieve success.
What to Avoid
Imagine a real-life marketplace filled with various stalls selling their goods and trying to attract the most customers. Each seller will want to present themselves in the most eye-catching way to attract customers and leave a positive impression for referrals and returning sales.
Imagine a stall with mislabeled products, fallen over and out-of-date signage; in other words, a mess. Also, imagine there is no apparent activity behind the stall, with people impatiently waiting for service before abandoning the stall.
In comparison, a nearby stall sells similar items but has all its products lined up neatly. Furthermore, each product is accurately labelled and can easily be purchased or queried thanks to the eagerly awaiting staff. Generally, most people will choose the second stall to go to, and this metaphor can also be applied to websites.
A website with confusing or unappealing designs will be a hugely negative first impression; the same goes for slow loading, incorrectly priced services or items and many other easily solved problems. So here are some great places to start to make major improvements.
Decreased Loading Times
Slow websites are abandoned websites. In our fast-paced lifestyles, the average person is reluctant to wait around, so ensuring your website loads as quickly as possible is essential. In addition, optimising your site’s performance will significantly increase your page’s loading speeds.
Overly large images will slow your loading speeds unnecessarily; compressing the images you choose will save important data without reducing the quality of the images. Make sure to cache your pages to reduce your loading times. By caching, you are storing copies of your site’s files and considerably reducing the amount of data the server needs to send. Unnecessary plugins, especially outdated ones, will potentially cause havoc on your website, including extending loading times. Reviewing your plugins and limiting them to just the up-to-date and essential ones will optimise your site significantly.
Websites are often the first impression a prospective customer will have for your brand; this is your biggest opportunity to wow them and encourages a sale, as an uninterested customer will click away after just three seconds. Great website design will ensure your site pushes past three seconds of interest and sufficiently grab the viewer’s attention.
An effective website design should be visually and aesthetically appealing, professional, and consistent with your overall company image. Great design also has to exist behind the visual aspects. A responsive design will adapt to work on any device, whether it be mobile, tablet or desktop.
Now that you have your first impressions sorted on your website, you need to consider encouraging customers to return. Again, this is not just related to your commercial products but is heavily connected to the content you publish on your site.
Unfortunately, too many businesses will overlook the importance of regularly updating their website with fresh new content; the result is that their website appears abandoned or outdated and even ignored by search engines. As a result, Google is increasingly pushing websites that publish new, relevant, well-written content addressing the reader’s intent.
Simply filling every page with keywords erratically won’t push your website up the rankings. Instead, your page and blog content must be carefully created to promote your website and provide a useful user experience.
Engaging Calls to Action
As part of developing the content for your website, you should consider what it is you want the reader to do next. For example, should they complete a contact form? View a product or service? Or review a case study? It would help if you clarified what you want people to do on your website through a call to action (CTA).
Websites that get great results are created around their CTA requirements, affecting the design, navigation and content that is created and should be given considerable thought. For example, one effective way of employing CTAs is to ensure your landing pages display them clearly to help guide users to the places you want them to be.
Analysing Website Audits
There are many ways to check how your website performs, but the most effective way is to conduct an in-depth website audit. By making time to audit your site often, you can identify any lingering issues and remedy them swiftly. Audits should be considered reviews of how your website works and an effective way of acquiring the invaluable data you need to improve your web presence. Factors usually reviewed during a website audit are:
- SEO: HTML tags, body content, image alt attributes and more affect your website’s success, and audits will help show how effective your SEO plans have been.
- Platform performance: this will show how your site appears on different devices and ensure maximum coverage.
- Website performance: unsure about your website’s loading speeds? An audit will reveal where you can speed up loading.
- Security strength: security is important to protect your business and online customers. You can make sure you have sufficient protection of that data by conducting a website audit. It can also help protect against accidents such as data loss or downtime.
- Social media: many brands are supported by associated social media pages. With a website audit, you can check how widespread that support has gotten.
These and many more actions can be taken to improve any web presence and make it a truly effective investment for your business. Contact us to find out more ways to check your website’s performance.