Ah web mythology. We’ve probably heard it all as an Australian web developer and designer crew. Everyone is looking for the bad guy and the one shining prince or princess to ride on in and save the day so you can live happily ever after.
Using a website to the best advantage isn’t a set and forget process. Nor is it some story about slaying the evil competitor or technology to get the customer. You can’t ride off into the sunset with a few simple clicks.
There’s a whole lot of meaning that often gets lost in the translation when tales are told. And there is a propensity to lean towards the dramatic. We want most of our stories in life to be right versus wrong, villain versus hero- cut and dry with some awesome action and great adventures thrown in.
Marketers and agencies are shocking because they play along with the tales. Probably because it sounds sexy, looks like marketing and gets the jobs. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Here are 3 web myths that have become almost gargantuan in their reach. We’re going to take on these industry fables and translate them down to the true meaning again.
SEO doesn’t matter anymore
You’ve probably seen a million and one blogs stating this very fact. It’s used to say that good content, relatable content, content that consumers consume basically is good enough.
This wonderful fable began for two reasons-
- Google realised that people were gaming the system and have spent a decade or more releasing algorithm updates and changes to stop the abuse
- On a writing level, we’ve had to sit up and take notice otherwise we might cop a penalty
What a lot of these articles fail to discuss is that from an Australian web developer perspective, following along a roadmap to good SEO matters a great deal.
How healthy your website is in the eyes of Google will go a long way to determining how well your rank.
As a minimum, you need to have the appropriate roadmaps for SEO in place such as:
- The sitemap that lays out what page and post connects internally and externally plus optimisation information
- Robots.txt that configures all manner of feature and bit of code and acts like traffic signals on your website and
- Schema mark-up that gives all important meta information during search, improves your HTML and so on
You also have to label and optimise your images and your pages correctly using keyword phrases. Otherwise, how on earth would Google know what your page is talking about if the appropriate words aren’t included?
Plus there are other factors to take into consideration such as how accessible you are to mobile and tablet devices, the speed of your website, localisation to the Australian market, whether it is working (e.g. broken links, old information etc) and so on.
When Google and other search engines and experts say SEO doesn’t matter as much, what they are really saying is we don’t have to stuff websites like Christmas turkeys anymore. They mean that when you are writing content, you don’t have to be quite so rigid about how many times an exact phrase is repeated or worrying about penalties as much as you used to do.
But from the perspective of an Australian web developer, you still have some pretty important homework to make everything work and work well!
People don’t read
The whole “people don’t read online” is another tricky tale. The truth is, people tend to skim a lot of content and may not always pick up on every detail. But they definitely still read when it counts. What has changed is that we self research a lot. Before we buy goods and services that matter, we dig in.
The days of trusting the person we meet in the store are over. We often research before we enter a building with the intention of testing our research and assumptions. Call is cynicism, self education, research, curiosity or whatever you like- we like drinking in information so that we feel in control of our buying decisions.
Take the eCommerce industry
as an example. Here is an industry that makes $2trillion dollars a year. For every $92 dollars spent, only $1 needs to be invested in marketing budget. 58% of people want their first sales call to focus on pricing with 65% preferring it to be about the goals of the sale. This is a dramatic shift from the days when our first sales call was often preliminary information gathering.
Take into account that the average person spends 5 hours shopping online each week, this means a lot of browsing, research and self education has occurred before the dollars hit your shopping cart. In fact, Retailing Today
found 81% of shoppers will self research
extensively before making a big purchase.
This isn’t only about products in a shop. Any NFP knows that potential donors, volunteers, clients and members of the community it services will spend a lot of time comparing options. A whiff of scandal or dollars not going where they should immediately impacts revenue. If a website is hard to use, the language flowery and the user experience lacking, this means research cannot be conducted. That trust may not be built.
Any Australian web developer that ignores the need for proper content on the landing page or space for story does so at their customer’s peril.
Your audience and your customers care about the content that matters to them. Once they get a handle on how to use your website or the features they need, yes, they reduce their reading time.
But that doesn’t mean you should forget about the vital research cycles before they become your customer. This is a time they are hungry for information and if you aren’t there to give it, chances are some other organisation will be.
CMS are hard to use
As Australian web developer and design peeps to NFP and government websites as well as large scale organisations, Webcoda design a lot of websites using Kentico CMS. We have to in order to manage the content appropriately.
What we’ve found is not necessarily that CMS are intimidating or hard to use, it’s that the training is lacking. And that updates are made in a hodge podge way that might add to the confusion.
Full declaration- we are biased. We know that Kentico CMS prides itself on being easy to use and making integration a top priority. The issue with other CMS platforms is that through open source, one person designs a plug-in and someone else designs another plug-in and with changes to the baseline platform needing updates, sometimes those plug-ins argue over the code. Or they cause conflicts. They make the website slow, hard to use and can break anything from the feature that is updated through to the entire website.
The internal customers within your organisation can start to feel nervous about using the CMS as a result. Or they can feel nervous because they have to update sections of the plug-in and different plug-ins for different bits. That becomes fiddly and time consuming.
Kentico uses the power of the crowd but employs quality control through modules. Kentico offers an enormous range of out of the box modules you can use to customise your web experience. You can customise how the website looks to internal and external customers. That means you can choose to share everything various different web users need and none of the extraneous features they don’t. That makes it much easier to navigate and understand.
Expanding from standard functionality to additional features is also simple with Kentico. Each of the Kentico modules are tried and tested to work with your version of the Kentico CMS. You can also use the CKEditor within Kentico
to create additional features with confidence.
Being well versed in the platform plus also having code that you can rely on that has been tested means that when one of the Webcoda gang use something like the CKEditor to build you a feature, we’re working with code we know will be compatible. We also have the ability to thoroughly test it and run it against a wealth of similar code to ensure we’re making you the most efficient and effective custom features.
Quality control means your CMS doesn’t become bloated, breakdown with updates or start to scare your employees. That sort of functionality helps ensure that a CMS is a strong performing tool when it comes to content management now and into the future.
By training your team how to use the CMS while also locking down the features to suit the needs of each department and using stable modules and custom features that don’t create conflicts, the appeal of updating via the CMS doesn’t get lost on your employees.
Avoid the web fairy tales and come hang with us
When it comes to managing content, you have to be smart about it. There are a lot of people out there who are very keen to tell you that content or content management doesn’t work. Or that SEO is dead and people no longer care about the web. The truth is our customers are sick and tired of arduous journeys and imaginary villains.
Your customers want something to rely on. They want to feel empowered and to make solid choices with your help. They want to discover your products on their own terms. Part of that is self education and discovery.
True enthusiasts want to know that you are keeping pace with their desire for knowledge. They also want to be respected as they spend their time trying to gather this knowledge. Gone are the days of being the sales figure with the patter or the magician. We’re far too intelligent, cynical and well versed in the world of marketing to fall for that.
If you can be consistent and provide a seamless path to discovery and usage while managing content in a timely fashion, you’ll always come out on top.
Want an Australian web developer that knows what’s what when it comes to your website? Choose Webcoda and avoid web mythology and write your own story of heroism in the digital age. Contact Webcoda today.