Some things are meant to be vintage. Your website should not be one of them.
Marketing today is all about capturing user attention. Followers, friends, visitors, fans, clicks, likes, and shares are all quantitative expressions of attention. To be on top of your game, you need an attractive website, a helpful blog, and compelling visuals. You also need to know how to funnel calls to action and use analytics to assess your website performance.
Let’s audit your website together and decide which elements need improvement.
To be relevant, your brand needs to engage people within seconds of landing on your site. According to Akamai, if an ecommerce site is making $100K per day, a one-second page delay costs potentially $2.5M in lost sales per year. “If you can make the site a second faster, you can drive engagement by 5%,” says Cait O’Riordan, Chief Information Officer at The Financial Times.
With these numbers in mind, how fast should your website be? Here is where you can find the average load time for desktop and mobile in 2020 and compare your website to your competitors.
There are several tools you can use to measure your speed, like Google’s PageSpeed Insights. If your pages take more then a few seconds to load, you should seriously consider revising your website.
What slows you down? Image resolution, interactive scripts, font replacement techniques, outdated website code, CMS platform, web optimization, and hosting options all affect your load speed.
Your website’s speed is a Google ranking factor and a sign of a quality user experience.
Is your website optimized to position you ahead of your competitors? Analyze your SEO coding. Outdated SEO strategies are a red flag for Google’s algorithms, which can hurt your site’s ranking. Once considered popular, keywords are no longer at the center stage of SEO.
If you want to rank high on Google, your marketing efforts need to focus on creating an exceptional customer journey. SEO boils down to producing quality content and aligning your information with the way users search online. “We suggest focusing on ensuring you’re offering the best content you can. That’s what our algorithms seek to reward,” says Google Search.
Google Search has added its own user experience criteria, assessing a set of metrics related to speed, responsiveness, and visual stability to measure user experience on the web, also called Core Web Vitals.
How many of your visitors leave without interacting with your site? If your number is consistently above 50%, or if you don’t know the answer at all, then you need to rethink your online marketing strategy.
If your visitors quickly click away from your page, search engines will assume that you don’t have useful information and will downgrade your site.
There could be many reasons for a high bounce rate — page speed, website design and usability, mobile responsiveness, or the content itself. Knowing what audiences expect can serve as inspiration for an eye-catching, interactive design that engages your clients and draws them to stay longer.
A bounce rate between 30% and 40% is a good target. Use Google Analytics to monitor your site’s performance.
A mobile version of your website is a must. With Google’s mobile-first indexing enabled by default for all new websites, having a responsive design is an SEO priority. Mobile-first indexing means Google predominantly uses the mobile version of your content for SEO ranking. Beyond being “technically” responsive, your design visuals must also display the optimum information and calls to action.
Building a website specifically for people on the go is not as easy as you think. Having to design a full-size website for a small screen forces you to prioritize your content and most essential web features. It’s a great marketing exercise to refine your information to the bare bones of what users are looking for.
Mobile-First = Content-First = User-First
You can find out if your website is mobile-friendly by using the Google Mobile-Friendly Test. You can also use Google Webmaster Tools to evaluate your key website signals. Look for the “mobile usability report” in Webmaster Tools, located within the “search traffic” tab.
If your website is not mobile-friendly, this is a problem you need to fix right away.
The fastest way to create a mobile version of your website is to ask your web agency for help. If this is not an option, you can try using conversion platforms like bMobilized or Duda Mobile, or use mobile plugins like WPtouch and JetPack (on WordPress), Responsivizer and JoomlaShine (for Joomla), or ThemeKey and MobileTheme (for Drupal).
If your website is not mobile-friendly, you are irrelevant.
Is your site easy to navigate? User experience has become the most important aspect of online advertising. Visitors come to you for information. They must find their fix intuitively, or you will lose them to your competition. Your navigation should be logical, easy to follow, and give instant information.
You can use a heatmap tool to help you understand users’ activity on a webpage. A heatmap has the ability to measure many factors like user clicks, scrolls, and visitor engagement. This extremely valuable information is available for desktop, laptop, tablet, and smartphone visitors. Knowing the ‘popularity’ of different page elements can help you improve your design, functionality, and website organization to guide clients toward a better conversion rate.
Security and Accessibility
Cybersecurity is a high priority and an ever-growing concern, given the data consumers share and collect online.
Is your website GDPR compliant? Companies like Facebook, Google, and WhatsApp have received hefty fines over the last two years. This European data privacy law has also been followed by Brazil’s LGPD and the CCPA in California. Canada, Australia, and India are all considering new data protection regulations. You must audit your website on regular basis and stay on top of changes in the law.
Another upgrade you should audit for is the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). WCAG is a series of instructions for making a website accessible to all users, especially users challenged with a disability. WCAG is an internationally adopted standard with three levels of accessibility. For most websites, level AA is the optimum accessibility benchmark as recommended by the ADA.
You must regularly audit your website to stay on top of changes in security laws.
Have you revised any of your website content in the past year? It may be time for a detailed read-through and update.
There are many reasons to review your website regularly. For one, your site needs to catch up with the latest technologies, plugins, security requirements, and browser updates. Any broken links should be amended, page redirects should lead where they are supposed to, and crawl errors should be frequently eliminated.
If your brand has been growing in the past year, you have another reason to update your content. Use your insights and campaign success to leverage what works and what doesn’t. As your company expands and changes, so does your sales strategy.
It’s natural to review pages and create new ones to ensure you remain relevant to the public. Is there a better way to formulate your brand story? Are the products/services you offer in compliance with current regulations? Do you still advertise services you have dropped? Outdated information can be confusing and annoying to customers.
Your copy writing needs scrutinizing too. Is your trademark dated 2017? Was your most recent blog post in June of last year? These are turn-offs for both your traffic and SEO ranking. Creating fresh content is one of the best ways to help potential clients find you online.
Social media is another reason to look closely at your site. Most websites proudly redirect people to their social channels. We think that the opposite is more beneficial for your business. Think of integrating your social campaigns to drive people to your website. Start the conversation on social media, and bring the user back to your home base.
It’s also good to follow the latest visual trends. Updating your design is the best way to keep interesting. It’s like updating the windows of your store, but digitally.
Update your brand’s story and web design to grab user attention.
Older websites tend to have crowded homepages. It’s important that your content has room to breathe. Your message needs to stand out. Your website must be aesthetically pleasing to the eyes, especially in the B2B space. Your fonts need to be easy to read on both mobile and desktop because they appear smaller on newer, high-resolution monitors.
Low-quality images and overused stock photography will downgrade your business credibility. You should use as many personalized photos as possible. For eCommerce websites, custom photography by a professional photographer is a must.
Visitors are looking primarily for information, but they welcome some entertainment along the way. This is the very reason why you should create designs that are both interactive and memorable. An update of your digital presence can do wonders for your business. A positive first impression can set the stage for long term client relationships.
The Bottom Line
A website is an investment. It needs to be up-to-date, interesting, and fresh. Your website should focus user attention and keep visitors entertained to convert your online traffic into paying customers. Otherwise, you’re doing a disservice to your clients, your business image, and your bottom line. Let us help you get up-to-date!