Your website is an important piece of your Digital Marketing strategy.
It may serve as a gateway to gather information or the actual destination where a sale takes place.
It’s an opportunity for a visitor to discover what makes your brand unique, to find the information they’re looking for, and to guide them in their decision to buy.
You may have all sorts of marketing campaigns running: Ads on Google, posts on Facebook, blog articles and all of it is to bring in new customers, and they eventually end up on your website.
All of that attention on your website makes it one of the most valuable pieces of digital real estate that you own.
The better your marketing, the more visibility your website has. Online consumers are fickle, and that’s because digital interactions are so commonplace.
Users are spoiled by companies that are doing it well. They’re used to things working and they expect that the information they want will be available and accurate.
When it’s not there, they’re disappointed and credibility is lost for whatever brand they’re interacting with.
The truth is, if your website isn’t good, you’re going to fall further and further behind as the landscape evolves.
And if your website doesn’t work on mobile, you’re already behind!
Up until mid-2019, mobile and desktop searches were mostly neck and neck, with mobile just edging into the lead every few months. However, June 2019 saw mobile account for 50.71% of searches, with desktop dropping down to 45.53%.
Chances are there is a competitor with a better online experience, and your customers will seek them out if they’re fumbling with yours.
So let’s find out how to make sure your experience is good enough. It doesn’t need to be perfect, it just has to be successful.
An effective website is simple, well thought out, and highly functional.
It should be intuitive and eliminate any and all barriers so your visitor can accomplish their goals effortlessly.
In your Marketing Strategy, you’re aiming for shared value, and it’s the same with your website. Your business goals and the needs of your target market should overlap.
And while we’re drawing similarities to our Marketing Strategy, we’ll also point out that your website only needs to appeal to your target market.
So spend your effort designing it to work for that audience. As you evaluate your current website, take some time to ask yourself the following questions.
First, is it mobile friendly?
The number of people using their mobile devices to browse the web now supersedes those on desktop, so design with mobile in mind.
This is called “responsive” web design and your website is “mobile-friendly”.
You can check to see if your website is mobile-friendly by using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
Does your website work in all modern web browsers?
If your website behaves one way on Safari for a Mac and another way on Chrome for PC, you’re not really controlling the experience.
Test it out on all of the modern browsers. We recommend an online tool such as browserstack.com as a way to quickly test your site across platforms.
Does it answer all the questions my users have or may have?
A good practice is to write down things your customers ask for, whether it’s via phone, e-mail, or even when they come into your place of business.
You can then check to see if those answers are easily found on your website. And if they’re not, then you need to put that information online.
Is the site reflective of my brand?
Within the first couple of seconds, a user is going to decide how the site feels to them.
You need to make sure your brand is carried through. Luxury brands need to feel elegant, whereas discount sites can focus more on sales.
Make sure your logo, tagline, and the colour scheme all reflect your brand. You definitely want this to be consistent.
Check out Hollie Ellis’ blog post, How to create an aligned brand.
Is it up to date?
Nothing is worse than information that’s out of date. It also creates concern with users, so be sure to keep information current.
If you have a blog, try to update content regularly and consistently.
Not just your potential customers, but search engines love fresh content, so if staying above your competitor is important, this is an easy way to achieve good rankings.
Check out Google’s recommendations: Optimize your content
Are all of your services and products easy to find?
Because online marketing is so niche, your target audience is likely looking for something specific. Can they find it on your website?
If they can’t find it, and they call, and you say it is a service or product that you offer, well, that’s a problem.
It really needs to be on your site if it is something that you offer.
Are all of your policies easy to find and up to date?
That is to say, if you ship or handle returns, can the user understand the process clearly.
Do they know how long shipping takes? When can they expect a callback or for that product to arrive?
You want to provide ample feedback so a user knows where they stand in the process.
How does it compare to your competitor?
Are you proud or jealous?
If you’re jealous, it’s probably time to seriously consider whether or not you need to consider a re-design of your website.
Leverage your relationships with existing customers and colleagues as a way to get feedback on your site.
Ask them what they like, what they don’t like, and for any fresh ideas.
As you go about creating an effective website, we also recommend hearing from someone outside of your circle.
Check out usertesting.com. For a small fee, they can have a real person spend time on your website and give you honest and unbiased feedback.
And as we said earlier, your website is possibly the most valuable piece of your Digital Marketing strategy.
Take your time and conduct an honest evaluation.