Digital marketing expert at NUVEW, helping businesses expand their online presence through custom website design and development & SEO.
The internet has drastically changed since its relatively simple and somewhat archaic beginnings. Websites need to reflect a continuously changing society, one that is constantly searching for something bigger and better. As outdated websites are quickly left in the dust, you may wonder how to keep yours ahead of the competition. In many cases, regular updates help you provide a satisfactory user experience. Modern websites may have higher expectations, but by making the following updates, it’s possible to thrive even in such a fast-paced world.
Mobile-Friendly Designs Are a Must
Modern websites need a mobile presence. An easy-to-use mobile site is a major selling point. Laggy, poorly calibrated mobile sites tend to annoy the user and they’re highly likely to hit the back button and leave. In fact, Google is now indexing websites based on the quality of their mobile version. This update means that if you don’t have a responsive mobile site, your search rankings will be affected and may be harder to achieve higher placement.
If your mobile setup is lacking, there are many design principles to keep things simple yet visually interesting. Reorganize the layout, limit large paragraphs of text and use easily contrasting colors to make the page accessible. Test the layout on various devices to ensure it transfers well to different screen resolutions. There’s also a handy, free tool that examines whether your website is mobile-friendly, pinpointing you toward other issues that may be impacting your search ranking.
Design Should Prioritize the User Experience
New studies reveal that visitors judge your website within 50 milliseconds, so your design plays a huge role. When revising a website’s design, you should always think about how the user — your target audience — will navigate it. Most people today expect a customized experience to some degree, as individual approaches to marketing let you address their specific needs rather than pooling them in with others as a statistic. Put yourself in the shoes of a client. Ask yourself the following questions:
• Is the website visually attractive?
• Are the pages easy to navigate?
• Did you find the information you wanted without trouble?
• Is there a clear call to action (CTA) that encourages you to take the next step?
Approaching the website from a grounded view of a prospective client can aid in identifying potential problems. It’s likely that your website has multiple audiences, so be sure to clearly outline what they each gain from your company and integrate that into your content and features.
Keep the Overall Goal in Mind
Updates should be deliberate. Whenever you take the time to improve functionality, update photos or change certain web elements, keep the long-term goal in mind. Websites aren’t there to just look pretty, so skip the frills and stick with meaningful changes that boost its user experience. A website’s role is to convert prospective clients into new leads to grow your business. As mentioned in the above point about prioritizing the user, remember that your website is a marketing tool as much as it is informative. The goal is dual: first, to provide a service for a client, and second, to provide business results.
A modern website will use a combination of funnels and CTAs to convert users into new leads that become the backbone of your company. Use pathways to naturally lead clients to a purchase, phone call or whatever step that turns them from “prospective client” to “brand new customer.” A few possibilities include “free trial” buttons, interactive chat boxes or an easily accessible button to book a consultation.
Fast Page Response
In a fast-paced world, no one wants a slowly loading website. No matter what elements you choose to include, fast loading of all elements is essential to keeping visitors on your page. First impressions matter, and slow loading is enough to make a visitor leave without continuing to the rest of your content, no matter how well-developed it is.
Not only is a fast page response essential to having clients engage with your website, but slow websites take a hit on Google, too. One of the major indexing categories is webpage response, and the less efficient one is, the bigger penalty it receives for search rankings. It’s clear that speed is valued in modern SEO tactics as well as attitudes toward technology, so optimizing those elements that reduce your page speed is a must.
Most of us have encountered outdated websites that include nothing but blocks of text, bland stock images and a few broken links. Nowadays, website visitors are looking for an engaging experience. Interactive features, photos, videos, moving images and multimedia adds variety to an otherwise generic website. You don’t want to overwhelm the visitor but provide enough visual and clickable stimulation to generate interest.
For instance, an online store might use images and a digital cart to let clients explore products. If the user finds something they are interested in purchasing, they can easily do so. This is only one example of how multimedia integration can open new pathways for businesses that want to reach a wider audience.
Know What Your Audience Wants and Deliver It
The internet isn’t static, and your website shouldn’t be either. Websites need regular updates to stay ahead of the competition and properly assess client needs. Consider these tips as you improve your website, and you’ll be impressed by the opportunities you’ll soon discover.