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6 Jargon-Free tips for your company’s digital website strategy in 2016
- Optimise Your Website for Mobile
Next time you’re walking along a busy street take a moment to stop and look around. The chances are high that many people will be on their smartphones as they go about their business. Look again - what age group do they fall into? The likelihood is that the vast majority will be in their late teens or early twenties. If this audience (known as Millennials) represents a market for you then you need to make it easy for them to see and engage with your website therefore it must be enabled – or optimised (in digital speak) - for mobile devices; which includes tablets as well as smartphones. Even if this is not a target audience for you at the moment it will be in years to come and habits, as we know, are formed early. The moral of the story is to have your website mobile enabled now and reap the rewards both now and down the track.
- Update Your Website
Just as you don’t judge a book by its cover, you shouldn’t judge a website by its landing page – but you will, and you’re not alone. When it comes to websites, first impressions absolutely count. It is said that you have between one tenth of a second and seven seconds to make a good first impression at an interview, depending on which source you read. When it comes to websites it takes, according to Google, around fifty milliseconds to make a positive first impression which is about the same time it takes to blink. Content is king; however, to get to the content we must first bypass the gatekeeper – which is the landing page or homepage. So make yours aesthetically pleasing to the eye but more importantly allow the user to trust your brand. They will then feel comfortable enough to take the next step which leads us nicely on to tip number three.
- Make Your Website Easy to Navigate
User Interphase (UI) and User Experience (UX) are buzzwords in the web design industry. Basically UI is the ease of navigating the site so that the visitor can achieve what they logged on for in the first place, quickly and intuitively. UX is the overall experience the website delivers – graphics, relevant content, building trust with your brand and so on. Read more on UI and UX on our other blog.
- SEO – Avoid the Bad; Embrace the Good
SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, which is the art of getting your website to the top of search engine rankings, is best left to the experts – but choose your ‘experts’ wisely. SEO is an art form and a good SEO strategist is up to date with the way in which search engines like Google operate. Terms like Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird may lead you to reach the natural conclusion that an SEO practitioner would also need to have a degree in zoology but rest assured this isn’t the case. These animal names refer to the type of ‘algorithms’ or automated searching techniques Google employs to deliver the right websites to the user who has typed in some keywords or phrases. Some SEO people may still use dodgy or ‘Black Hat’ techniques which concentrate purely on bucking Google’s system to get your website to the top of the rankings without giving a thought to delivering good content to enhance the User Experience (there’s that UX phrase again). Unfortunately (or fortunately for the high integrity and wise SEO exponent who despises this method), this can have the opposite effect of dropping your website down the rankings like a stone. So in summary – you need an SEO expert, but a good one.
- Put a Social Media Strategy in Place
The term Social Media Strategy isn’t about picking every platform from Facebook to Instagram and continually self-promoting. An effective Social Media plan involves problem solving and a two-way engagement with your audience. Think about an instance when you received a complaint via the normal channels – maybe someone has e-mailed your company and they’ve been given the automatic ‘we’ll get back to you in 24 hours’ type of response. Now think about someone making a complaint to your company publicly on a Social Media site but this time you get an instant (positive) dialogue going in which you try to solve that customer’s issue. According to an NM Incite report on Social Customer Service, 71% of those who experience a quick and effective brand response on social media are likely to recommend your brand to others compared to 19% who don’t receive a quick response. Also, don’t underestimate the power of an army of followers who will be quick to defend you by stating ‘we’ve used them lots of times and we find their service excellent.’ The upshot is be authentic; use Social Media for the right purpose; be a problem solver for your customers and you’ll reap the rewards.
- Your Brand is your Greatest Asset
Most think your people are your greatest asset but before the people comes the brand. If you have a brand identity your staff can trust and feel proud to represent this will be reflected in their conversations with potential or existing customers. So what does your brand say about your company? Is it honest but exciting? Does it instill a warm, fuzzy feeling in your audience? Because, here’s the thing – the more technologically advanced your website becomes, the more important it is to make your brand personal. It should virtually leap out of the screen, wrap its little digital arms around the user and say ‘it’s all right, you’re in good hands.’ Before you do any further marketing for your company take a step back, look at your brand and decide if it’s perfect the way it is or if it needs a complete re-boot.
For more tips or advice on digital marketing; or to discuss any of the points raised above speak to Basestation – we’ll be glad to help.