In Our Fast-Moving Digital Age, a Website That’s Stale is a Website That Fails
Time to face the new reality: while brick-and-mortar stores are still popular and will always have their place, the Internet is fast becoming the center of commerce throughout the world. Frankly, if you’re not aware of that fact by now, to quote John McLean, “Welcome to the party, pal.”
Post-Covid, more people than ever favor online shopping compared to in-store. Recent surveys show that nearly 57% prefer to shop online and 59% research online before they buy to ensure they’re making the best possible choice. And those numbers will only keep rising. Meanwhile, a 2021 survey reported that e-commerce websites led to online purchase intention in the U.S. among all other digital sales channels such as email, social media, and targeted ads.
What does this mean for you and your brand? Whether your goal is to get your target audience to buy your product online or ultimately at your store, your company website is often the first impression people have of your brand, so it’s important to make it as impressive, persuasive, and user-friendly as possible.
Furthermore, as your digital storefront, your website is the epicenter of all your digital channels and, typically, the one with the most to offer — from showcasing products and their features to providing purchasing options, expert insight, and ways to connect with you post-purchase. Of all your marketing channels, your website should be the top priority, as it’s the omni-channel glue that holds everything together.
This significant business driver requires careful, deliberate attention, starting with making sure it’s modern and fresh in order to meet the expectations and needs of your audience. Just like your wardrobe, your website must keep up with the times, or else you risk looking unprofessional, out of touch, and worse yet for business, inferior to your competition. How do you know your website could use some refreshing?
Consider These Top 5 Reasons:
Ineffective Branding Elements
The images and copy that fill your pages should always reflect the essence of your brand and revolve around your well-crafted unique selling proposition from which all your messaging should naturally flow. Whether your overall brand needs work or your website design just isn’t matching it, your branding elements play an important role in hooking your audience and pulling them through the sales funnel.
From lifestyle photography that lacks diversity and modern clothing to antiquated colors, design effects like starbursts, or fonts that scream the 1990s, your branding elements shouldn’t feel stuck in a different time. You should be incorporating the latest styles, website technology, and best practices of today, while always keeping an eye on what’s next.
Is your logo polished and professional looking or does it look like your teenage nephew designed it? Is your copy clear, concise, and captivating? If there’s too much of it, it’s boring or confusing, you may lose the shorter attention spans that exist today.
Today’s designs lean toward being more minimalist, clean, and concise to adapt to the digital age and younger generations’ need for clear, quick-hitting messaging. Incorporating new tactics you may not have tried before such as videos showcasing your product’s look and features.
One of the least understood but vital keys to increasing traffic and meaningful leads is search engine optimization. More than just packing your website copy with industry keywords, SEO is the science and art of increasing your site’s visibility and preference on Google, Bing, and other popular search engines.
Local SEO and ranking at the top of “near me” and “local” searches is especially important for smaller businesses with brick-and-mortar stores. Finding sustained online success and winning more conversions by improving your search marketing efforts requires a comprehensive and data-driven approach built on a unique blend of organic, paid, and strategic methods.
Few things turn off visitors more than content that’s outdated, whether it’s your blogs, infographics, statistics, product descriptions, or product images. Not only is stale content less useful, but it can also be downright misleading if you’re promising things that aren’t accurate any longer or leading customers to dead ends. This is a big turnoff for both potential and existing customers.
Brands that keep their messaging, insight, and inventory up to date are ones that build long-lasting, trusting relationships with customers. An effective way to help do this is to create quality evergreen content, blogs, and other information that stays continually relevant and fresh. How-to guides, glossaries, and “history of” information are examples of evergreen content. Even content that’s not exactly forever relevant can be refreshed with a quick update now and then. Meanwhile, it’s important to add topical information that addresses new ideas and trends into your site when possible.
Slow to load. Dead links. Confusing menu. Illegible fonts. These are all indications of a site that is not very user-friendly and therefore not very likely to keep visitors around for long.
In this day and age, it’s essential that your site is welcoming and easy to use. Heck, there are people who major in UX/UI, user experience, and user interface.
People’s attention spans are shorter than ever, especially with Millenials and Gen-Xers, who grew up glued to their smartphones and countless choices at their fingertips. If your site isn’t fast and simple to navigate, you’ll lose them in a matter of seconds.
That’s why mobile optimization should be a top priority. According to a recent survey, in 2022, smartphones accounted for 71 percent of retail site visits in the United States and generated 61 percent of online shopping orders.
Furthermore, your brand’s social media pages, emails, lead magnets, digital ads, and more are all intertwined with your website. Creating a cohesive, smooth omnichannel experience with your website at the center will go a long way in attracting customers and bringing them customers back for more.
One of the downsides of technological advances is that, no matter how quickly they occur, hackers, thieves, and other bad actors are especially good at keeping up.
Not only must you keep your site protected from malware and phishing attacks, but you also have a responsibility to your customers when it comes to protecting valuable information like credit card numbers and home addresses. This is a 24/7 everyday process that requires the latest technology and due diligence.
A major security breach can cripple your site and spell doom for your brand in the form of lost trust, customers, and revenue. While there are many different options out there to help with security, leaving it in the hands of experts who can keep up with it.
From branding elements to security, a fresh and effective website is one of the most important factors in running a business these days for most brands. If yours isn’t quite up to snuff, you better refresh it or your brand can forget it.
Whether your site needs a little polishing, a security upgrade, or a whole new rebrand, M:7 Agency’s team of creative visionaries, master storytellers, and expert strategists specialize in one-of-a-kind websites that are the center of a great customer experience. For help with your website, start a conversation with us today!