One of the most common conversations we have with new clients is about how their existing websites are working for their business. Many times, the resounding feeling is not well.
Have an honest think about when was the last time you updated your website was. Think about how you got your company started out online, and consider that (in addition to the changes that have happened with website design) your goals may have changed as well. Commonly what we see is that clients have a website that was built a few years ago to initially build their brand awareness. Since then, the online world has changed dramatically, and your business’s goals may have changed as well.
Rather than go into detail about everything that your current website design may be doing wrong, I’d rather focus on what you do need to excel in today’s world of online marketing (and why).
With that said, if your website is guilty of any of the below, you can stop reading right now and get in touch for help immediately:
- Do you have a website that is built in Flash?
- Does you website have content contained in images?
- Does your website takes more than 3 seconds to load?
- Do you have problems accessing your website on an iPhone?
- Do you need to call a developer to update your content?
If your page is built entirely in flash, you will have issues with Apple’s mobile devices. More importantly though, Google’s algorithms will see nothing when trying to index your page, so you won’t have visibility in search engines. The same thing happens if your page contains content in images, rather than in text. Your page may be slow to load, or unable to adapt to mobile devices (a critical segment of online users). These are just the most common issues.
As with all aspects of your business, you want to be competitive. Your competitors may be doing more online, and even if they aren’t, good website design is a cost-effective way to get a huge advantage in the marketplace.
So, website-shaming aside, here is what you need for your website in 2014:
You need a website that reflects your brand
Visually, your website should be engaging and modern. We believe it should also be simple. The path of least resistance is often the best one to take, and with website design, this means having clear content and simple navigation. This will make your customers happy, and it will make search engines like Google like your page as well. Check out some examples of recent website designs we’ve done for examples of what I mean.
You need an easy way to manage your content
You need rock-solid and efficient website design, built with a Content Management System (or CMS). A CMS allows you to quickly and easily update (text + image) content yourself, without needing a developer to make adjustments for you. At Cucumber, we recommend and use WordPress. If you have to contact a developer every time you want to make a change, a website built around a CMS will save you time and money, and keep you in control of your message.
You need a responsive website
Close to half of internet traffic is from mobile devices, and mobile devices have nearly doubled the time spent online since 2010. This means that, more than ever, you need a responsive website — one that re-adjusts fluidly regardless of browser size and looks great on desktops AND tablets + smartphones. Alternatively, you you can go with a design that looks correct when automatically scaled down by mobile browsers. In most cases, responsive design isn’t difficult to implement on new websites, however, if it’s missing, it’s likely a limitation that your current website’s structure cannot accommodate.
You need a blog
Read that one again — You need a blog. Your business can benefit immensely from having a blog. Studies show that websites with a blog attract 55% more visitors. This isn’t even necessarily because the blog has a massive following. The more original, quality, text-based content you put on your website, the more potential there is for Google to see your content and serve it to your potential customers in search results.
You need to be social
You need to connect (at minimum) Facebook and Twitter to your website, and have easy ways for people to share your website’s content on their own social channels. Social Media is the new (or not so new) new reality. Irregardless of where your social stragey is today, people will be talking about your business online, and you will want to be involved in the conversation. You also need a way to capture your customer’s information. At minimum, you need an easy way for potential customers to contact you through your website.
You (may) need a way to sell your products online
If selling your products online makes sense for business, strongly consider having a website built with a dependable e-commece platform. We specialize in this, because we understand how quickly consumers make decisions online. You want to avoid losing potential customers to your competitors just because your business puts an extra step between them and their purchase. An effective e-commerce integration will have your customers buying your products online, minimizing the amount of time needed to complete your buying cycles.
More than ever, your website says a lot about your business. It’s likely one of the first points of contact for your brand. Even if you’re website isn’t the archaic flash based disaster we described at the beginning of this post, there is usually an opportunity to do much more, and to do it better. Today, Google is connecting willful consumers with fresh content, contained in responsive websites that Google’s algorithms anticipate will provide good user experience for them. At Cucumber, we can drive your strategy online, starting with the kind of website that will delight your customers and Google alike.
If you feel like you’re suffering with your current website’s limitations, suffer no more. Reach out and we can help you meet your goals online with a modern website that meets your needs today and in the future — we’d love to look at your business and show you how.