There are currently in excess of 30 billion indexed web pages held within Google servers and this figure is increasing every single second. This means that your website noticed by a significant number of prospective customers is almost impossible if all of your marketing ducks are not lined up. The dynamic nature of the Internet means that things change fast, consumer patterns change and so do access devices, consider smartphones, tablets and smart televisions where were these five years ago?
If you want to stand out and get noticed in this ever evolving online marketplace of today, here are a few things you need to constantly keep track of:
I am on a personal crusade about security, it absolutely amazes me how otherwise sensible business people leave their websites and online identities open to abuse and damage, you wouldn’t leave your car running with the keys in and the doors open in the worse part of town, yet this is exactly what many business people are doing online. It’s not as hard as you might think to hack into most websites, it wouldn’t take more than five minutes to get a list of thousands of websites that can easily be hacked.
Security is a crucial aspect in maintaining your website. Phishing is a common security risk due to insecure cryptographic storage, wherein a hacker tricks users into giving information (such as passwords and credit card numbers) by pretending to represent a trusted entity.
Using methods such as injection flaws, hackers can manipulate your SQL coding to perform unauthorized commands and steal data. Browsers and search engines will blacklist your site when they detect malware, affecting your search rankings and ultimately, your credibility and don’t forget if your domain name is blacklisted your emails are blacklisted also and most won’t get delivered and those that do will often have a warning message attached to them.
Your website needs to stay functional across a wide variety of devices, browsers and their versions. That means, designing with all screen-sizes in mind, checking to ensure that any new features do not break the compatibility, and constantly upgrading your site to stay compatible with new devices and browsers introduced in the market. The easiest way to do this is to ensure you have a fully responsive website, this means the website automatically resizes and structures itself to suit the device viewing it.
Content is king
Content is king and as far as search engines go this is perfectly true. The more quality content you have on your website, the more chances of customers finding you within the search engines (long tail keywords). Writing an original article and posting regularly is not enough, the words you use in your post, the way you structure your post and tag your images impact your ranking in search results. The tone and message of your posts impact the way customers see your offering, however something is always better than nothing and I would suggest that everyone reading this looks properly at content marketing, this is something we are doing now for all of our clients as we rate it so importantly.
Website Structure and Usability
Tracking which areas your users are focusing on is critical to get them to click where you want them to. The layout of your content and the hierarchy of clicks that a user goes to get you a sales conversion, shapes his/her experience about you or your firm. Getting this right is crucial, and usually means that you’ll need to incorporate Heat-maps and A/B Testing to get the user into the perfect flow.
I am going to have to write a few articles on this, but know your target market and focusing your website to meet there needs is the most critical thing you can do, make it usable to this group. Target the content to meet this group’s needs, answer their problems and solve their issues… and know how your customers want to place orders and allow them to easily. As you can imagine not many people know how to do this, most developers don’t and almost all business owners don’t… yet it is the one thing that can increase your sales, leads and conversions exponentially if implemented correctly and monitored and adapted.
Analytics can help you determine the kind of people who are accessing your site, and getting your content to attract your intended audience takes a winning combination of look, feel and the right terminology that takes months to perfect and stay that way.
If all of this looks like a lot of work, it is, and in today’s world where your specialization is what counts, managing your online presence can be a costly, significant distraction from your core activities as a professional. You make money when you increase value for your customers, and lose it when you can’t focus on what you do best; so, directly increasing value for your customers should be your main focus. The costly mistakes made, time and energy spent managing your online presence yourself will only drain you and keep you from successfully completing the most important part of your services.
Web Designers come in all shapes and sizes, some are good, some are awesome but most are mediocre at best, they do what they do well however they don’t do enough they allow clients to make decisions they are not qualified to make and they don’t correct things that should be corrected for better website performance and better conversions. This is done through ignorance and for simply wanting an easy project to design, it’s often easier to give in to a demanding client than saying no, that isn’t the right way to do things.
Having played on the Internet for twenty years now, I’ve learned a few things and my view on designers is simple, if you need help you might want to contact me via this website or websitedesigns.com.au