In web design & development, there’s a fine line between set and forget websites and feeling like you’re at your websites beck and call. With all the shrieks about yearly Google updates and major algorithm changes, tastes in design, technology impacts such as voice search, mobile responsiveness and more, it sounds like a great time to find a corner and hide.
But you can stop your website from being a one year wonder without tearing out your hair or making it the centre of all your marketing energy.
Here’s how you can stop your website from being a has-been while also maintaining a healthy, inter-dependent relationship via web design & development
Staying up to date requires planning
One of the most obvious things you’ll notice with a craptastic website is that it’s all over the shop. Bits are poking out everywhere, the intentions aren’t clearly evident and you have to dig. You have to dig so much it hurts. That pain is often reflected in abandon rates from your website and specific pages, abandoned shopping carts and customers getting to a certain point with sign up or research and not continuing.
You can avoid that by choosing a solid base for your website in the first instance. Websites do grow. As a business or organisation becomes more successful, they usually expand. They increase the amount of customers they serve. In turn, that often means expansion in staffing levels, departments, the amount of information required by different customer segments, new products and services and so on.
Growth is a healthy part of business. So planning your website through proper web design & development processes to meet that growth is essential. Looking at the present content needs via an audit plus pondering future goals makes life so much simpler.
You also need to choose a solid platform that’ll grow with your needs (hint: Kentico
is great for this!) and allows you to stay up to date. Being backwards compatible to your systems while looking forward to the future influence of technology is a balancing act. But it’s a lot less painful than trashing your website every few years and starting again!
Use a good content management system (CMS)
Business evolves. We’ve all had the experience of seeing old content, long dead blogs and completed events hanging about. It gives a bad impression when your website is old and your content is out of date.
That’s where a content management system (CMS)
sets you free. Instead of static websites that rely on gatekeepers from web development companies or IT department leads, any department can take ownership of their contribution to the flow of information.
A CMS creates autonomy and ownership. You can react to PR disasters in real time, help people understand concepts that have received good press and you can bring services, sales and products to people the minute they land. Marketing, managing branding, using content and distributing info is so much simpler with a CMS.
NOTE: Not all CMS are created equal (Kentico at a glance)
Kentico CMS (the one we choose to work with in web design
& development projects
) has numerous advantages over other ones available on the market.
For example, it’s designed to work with large scale, enterprise style builds. That means it’s quicker to create a large scale project with Kentico CMS than say WordPress. It offers features to streamline the workflow and the handling of content. That means if you have a large volume of information you need to share with your customers, whether it’s through downloadable files or on the website itself, Kentico CMS can help you minimise confusion and present the information in an easy to follow format.
Handling a lot of information can also create issues with site speed. Google wants you to have quick pages because they know that you only have a few seconds before the customer will click away. Think of your own browsing. We rarely wait around for pages that won’t load. We’re not that forgiving with slow technology and this is especially true when we’re looking for answers. If the size of your website and the volume of the information you have to supply matters, Kentico CMS will see you through.
From a backend perspective, Kentico is easier to follow. Pages and posts are found in the same area to reduce confusion when creating new content. Everything is laid out so that you can see what you need to do right from the get go. Managing the website is also a lot easier because things like Google Analytics, eCommerce
, systems integration
and Cloud Hosting
Plus, Kentico CMS has a lot of features and modules at standard that other CMS need to have added to them. We chose to work with Kentico CMS because it easily allows for events, databases, document management, customer service chat features, galleries, wiki pages and FAQ management as standard, integrated features.
That way, you don’t face the issue of not receiving the wonderful Google juice your blog generates by it being seen as a separate entity. And you don’t have to worry about bits and pieces breaking other areas of your website as you update it. That’s smart web design & development, don’t you think?
Play the SEO game
SEO is still steeped in mythology unfortunately. But what you can count on is that SEO is about remaining ethical and encouraging customers to trust you. Most of the signals Google lists for the health of a website are about ensuring your customers know you are on the level. So what are the basics of ensuring you look trustworthy on an SEO level?
- Think about how you optimise content. Choose the terms your customers use to describe your business and products and include them on pages, posts, image classification, product descriptions and video
- Make security a priority. Have appropriate SSL certificates and a HTTPS website for starters
- Include a working route to customer service on your website. Have a map, contact details and an address. Add fixtures such as chat and use contact forms for added security
- Have great site speed. And remember that you have to take into account varying internet speeds in Australia when delivering content and downloads
- Be mobile responsive and accessible across smartphones, tablets and consider your presentation for disability aids and associated technology
- Make sure your pages and posts are labelled correctly and contain useful information. This lowers your abandon rates and brings people back to your website
- Look for opportunities to link to trusted sites and for trusted sites to link to you. Produce quality content, foster good relationships with others in your field and select links based on relevance and authority, not quantity
Need help with your SEO? We approach web design & development with SEO in mind. Webcoda can advise you on ways to improve your SEO from both a content marketing and a web development perspective.
Your website is the foundation of your customer relationship management
Even if you have the best team in the world, if your website is failing to function or looks dated, it will always put your organisation behind the eight ball.
Websites form one of the biggest building blocks in marketing strategies. They are the foundation to search and discovery via Google and similar engines. They act as the backup to word of mouth as proof of those word of mouth claims. Your website is the place where you can share your story, educate your customers, help customers overcome issues and become better informed. It’s your organisation’s playground where you can start the conversation you need to have with your customers. And unlike social media or other forms of marketing, it lasts as long as you want it to.
You have to have an easy to use website to stay ahead of the game because it’s the place people look for when they need you the most.
Is it time to retire your website and put the old ways out to pasture? Webcoda can help get you with web design & development. Find out how now. Photo by Jeremy Bishop