Signs your website is working against you
Many years ago, Bill Gates famously said, “If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business.” However, as the digital landscape continues to evolve, merely having a website is no longer enough and ensuring your online presence works for you, rather than against you as never been more critical.
The role of your website should be to build trust with your audience and ultimately increase revenue by enticing new customers. But if your site is working against you, it could be responsible for you losing both potential business and money.
Your company website is much like the shopfront or reception area of your business and responsible for making a good first impression. A site that hasn’t been updated or maintained since it was launched will provide the same reaction as arriving at an old run-down building. In an instant, an online visitor will make a snap decision if you are trustworthy or not, so how do you know if your website is working against you?
Your website is not secure
In July 2018, Google marked non-HTTPS websites as ‘not secure.’ If your website address does not begin with https, your visitors could be faced with a message advising them that your company website does not take online security seriously.
The reality is that Google is giving the entire web a gentle nudge towards secure and encrypted online experiences. In a digital world where passwords, credit card numbers and sensitive information are submitted to websites, business owners are being encouraged to step up to their online responsibilities.
Websites that fail to adapt to these changes will result in Google punishing its search engine rankings. A combination of this lack of visibility and existing visitors being greeted with a warning that your website is not secure could quickly result in your site working against you.
Your website is not mobile friendly
In 2016, mobile web browsing overtook desktop for the first time. A quick look around at your surroundings will reveal crowds of people staring down into their smartphones. Welcome to the mobile-first digital world where the majority of our browsing now takes place on a smartphone rather than a computer.
It no longer matters if your website looks fantastic on a giant 5k iMac screen if it looks like a cluttered mess on a Huawei smartphone. We all now expect the same online experience as we seamlessly drift from a myriad of devices.
Ensuring that your website performs the same across smartphones of all sizes, tablets, laptops and a growing number of browsers is essential in making your site work for you.
Your website is cluttered
When we walk into a supermarket for the first time, there are a variety of overhead signs making it easy to navigate around the store. When online, Amazon make it incredibly easy to find the product we want and order within one click. Does your website offer the same experience? Does it meet the rising expectations of your customers?
From the moment, a visitor arrives on your site, they will decide in an instant if they can easily find the information that they need. If faced with cluttered pages, confusing menus or a lack of logical and focused flow, they will leave your website in seconds.
Your website is slow
Anyone that has encountered “Your video is buffering” message will tell you how their frustrations result in leaving the website quickly. Not everybody has access to a 70mb fibre broadband connection, and when browsing from a smartphone on a 3G connection, there are few things more annoying for users than a slow loading website that eats into their limited data plan.
The harsh reality facing business is that any web page that takes more than half a second to load will result in a loss of revenue. Another stat from Google suggests that if a site takes longer than 3 seconds, 50% of visitors will have left without viewing the page.
These home truths should be more than enough to convince businesses to prioritise making their site as fast and accessible as possible.
Popups and auto-playing content
As a consumer, you are searching for answers to your questions or solutions to your problems. If your visitors arrive on your website, only to be prevented from accessing the information because of a popup ad that is almost impossible to close on a smartphone, users will go elsewhere.
Equally, auto-playing content that nobody has requested will hog bandwidth and slows a website. It will also annoy your visitors who are trying to work out which tab is suddenly playing audio at a high volume. Unsurprisingly, your visitors don’t want to wade through pop-ups to get to the information they need.
Poor SEO and stale content
Our digital world is moving at breakneck speed, but the reality that businesses must face up to is that it will never move this slow again. When we need help, we all turn to the internet for quick answers; it’s crucial that your business is waiting to provide solutions to your customer’s most significant problems with timely, relevant and valuable information.
Content that is natural and engaging will always perform better than generic posts stuffed with unnatural keywords. Google will also punish websites that try to game the system by putting keywords and old-school SEO tactics at the heart of their strategy.
On the first page of Google’s search results, users expect to find valuable and engaging information. Do not shortchange your potential customers with cheap tactics that make your company appear like a dodgy used car salesman.
Your business website needs to reflect your habits as a member of the global online community. When browsing the web for products, services or useful information, we all have the same requirements.
A fast and secure website that is easy to navigate and find the information that we need in the shortest amount of time possible on the nearest device we have to hand. Our requirements are simple, but ensuring that a business website delivers on all of these promises will require you to invest in your company website.
Those that choose to ignore these customer expectations will unwittingly direct traffic to their competitors if our browsing habits at home prove.