If you have a business website, it is paramount especially in today's digitally-driven world that your site is being updated regularly in order to serve fresh content, design, and structure to your potential leads and customers. We'll discuss several factors to help you determine if your website is keeping up with the times or if it is outdated and needs improvement. Is your home page captivating? Does it draw people in to want to know more about your business from the moment they visit?
The home page of your website is often the first impression your business has on potential clients and customers. If it is dull, unimpressionable, or unoriginal, your business might come seem that way as well. On the other end of the spectrum, if your website is overly flashy, too busy, or crammed with content and images, you will very likely overwhelm the viewer and they will leave your page, not knowing how to navigate the site and find what they are looking for. You want your website to build your brand and identity, acting as an interactive extension of your business. It is your 24/7 employee, constantly working to share valuable knowledge of your company’s products and services with prospective customers. Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab did a study to evaluate how website credibility is determined. Out of the 2,440 participants in the study, 46.1% said that a website’s design is the number one criterion for discerning the credibility of the information presented on a website. With this being said, there are several things to consider to assure that your website is working as effectively as possible to capture a visitor’s attention in a positive way.
Your home page should:
- Prominently display your logo
- Integrate your brand’s color scheme
- Clearly show what your company does (products or services offered)
- Display clear navigation that links to other pages of your site
- Contain contact Info
- Contain quality images that represent your brand and what you do
- Have social media links (if relevant)
Does your website work well on mobile devices?
Mobile responsiveness can have a huge impact on website quality especially considering that almost EVERYONE has a smart phone or tablet that can be used to research products and services with the snap of a finger. If you are part of this majority, take out your phone right now and look up your website. Is it clearly mobile-friendly? Is it easy to navigate and read content from your phone? Responsive website design is a must these days. Not only will bad mobile design negatively affect user experience, but your page ranking and organic search traffic might be affected as well, considering that Google now uses mobile-friendliness as a key factor in determining page ranking. If your website has not yet adapted to this trend, it is behind the times.
Are any of your links or buttons broken/outdated?
When was the last time you went through your website, clicking on and checking out all of the links? Broken links can happen for silly reasons sometimes, but to visitors, it can make a bad impression. It will lower the quality and credibility of your site and, therefore, negatively influence the way your company is viewed by others. Also, making sure your system pages, such as your 404 page, contain relevant and working links to guide users back to where they need to be and avoid further frustration.
Are you still using Flash?
If your site was created using Flash or any components utilize Flash in any way, it is out of date. Flash doesn’t work on many mobile devices and it sucks the battery life out of the devices it does work on. In fact, Google Chrome has stopped supporting Flash entirely in 2016, instead promoting and using HTML5. If you are using Flash on your site, it is time to think about either redesigning your website or replacing any components that incorporate this program.
Do you have good quality content?
High quality relevant content is a necessity for any business website. Good information should never go out of date. Make sure the information throughout your website is free of spelling and grammar errors. If your information wasn’t written by a professional content writer, you may want to have it rewritten. Good content is what gives your business credibility and builds trust with visitors. Great ways to add quality content to your website is through blogging, white paper creation, eBooks, landing pages, and newsletters.
Is your site optimized for search engines?
Creating great content without having a strategy and goal in mind will not be enough to stand out among your competitors and convert leads into customers. You also need keyword optimization and SEO strategies to bring traffic to your site in the first place. What good will all of that great information do if no one sees it? In order for a site to be optimized for search engines, it needs to have a good combination of valuable content and intelligently integrated keywords. Forcing keywords into your text where they don’t work well will only make the wording seem forced and sound awkward and unnatural. Not only that, but your Google page ranking may suffer because of it. The use of strong keywords, search engine strategies, and original content is what will pull in the kind of traffic you desire in the first place. Engaging, helpful, and well-written material, though, is what will keep people coming back for more.
Is your website easy to navigate?
Is the menu on your website as clear as day to see? Your navigation bar should appear consistent throughout your entire site. You don’t want visitors to get “lost” within your site. Make sure that if you have multiple pages or levels to your site, that each one is easy to navigate to and navigate from. Within the navigation bar, each category should be clearly defined and separated from each other section. Also be sure that each category clearly describes the page it is leading to and that every link is clickable, leading to the correct page. This may seem obvious, but there are many websites out there with broken or outdated links which can make a business seem incompetent and unprofessional.
Is your imagery original? Does it support your brand and your message?
According to Thermopylae, visuals improve learning up to 400 percent, and people can process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. This just goes to show you how important visuals are in effectively presenting information. Be sure to include well designed or well photographed imagery and graphics on your website that support your brand. You may need to hire a professional graphic design firm to create unique graphics for your website. If you are using stock images and photography, make sure they're original enough. You don’t want to have an image on your website that thousands of other companies have as well. Also make sure your images aren’t “cheesy,” old-fashioned, or awkward-looking. On the other hand, make sure that if you are doing your own photography, that it is professional and very high quality. Do not use images just to fill space. Every image included on your website should be there for a reason, supporting the content of your pages. They should be there to help the viewer better understand your message, not to distract or confuse.
Is it well designed?
The answer to this question can pretty much sum up everything we have covered in this post. If your website has not been redesigned or at least updated in the last few years, it’s most likely time to consider giving it a look over. You want your website to remain current and relevant in today’s society. In order for that to happen, it needs to evolve with the world around it. It's unlikely that your business has remained exactly the same over the years. By creating new offers, providing current information, and showcasing tasteful design, you will offer potential customers a solid reason to check into your business and your current customers a reason to stay with you.
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