For a business to sufficiently contend with the trials of an increasingly digitized world, they must ensure that their website is up to the task of carrying their online presence into the future.
A company website is so much more than an arbitrary placeholder for a physical business; it is a virtual storefront, a hub of connectivity, and a gateway through which a huge number of users will engage with their favorite brand.
Websites need maintenance to remain valuable and fully optimized; however, this is not always easy to get right.
If the prospect of a bright new year has got you excited for the future, now might be the perfect time to revisit your digital presence and start preparing your website for the year ahead.
If you need a helping hand in your preparation efforts, here are some important points you might want to take a look at.
It is easy to say that the online realm represents global connectivity and convenience, but the reality is slightly different, particularly when consideringthe pitfall of digital inaccessibility.
For everyone to benefit from your website, you need to ensure that it is fully accessible. Sometimes, website owners fall short of the ADA accessibility regulations without even realizing it.
Perhaps this is a result of a particularly exclusionary color scheme or a total lack of navigation assistance.
If you feel like this may be the case for your own website in its current form, it is worth using a tool to test your combinations, as this can prevent you from inadvertently excluding anyone through poor design choices.
Your site may look like a triumph of web design right now, but will it hold up for the future? Perhaps more importantly, is it easy to chop and change should you need to make a few adjustments here and there?
This could largely be down to your CMS or your framework, so it is best to think about whether or not your site can account for any off-the-cuff changes without causing your entire operation to crash or slow down.
If you can think about the websites of yesteryear, with their unsightly banners, popups, cluttered home pages, and low-resolution images, you might be able to visualize just how quickly trends can change online.
Keeping up with the modern aesthetic is vital, it allows your customers to see that you are indeed a brand that moves with the times, surpasses their expectations, and respects progression and development.
- This can directly affect your sales too – imagine if a customer clicks on your site expecting to be met with a fresh new product and is instead hit with a page that would have been more at home in the mid-2000s, they will likely run for the hills rather than trust you to handle their money!
Optimize for Mobile
Some CMSs will be able to optimize your site for mobile automatically, but it is absolutely still worth performing a manual assessment to be on the safe side.
According to The Drum, the majority of online sales from retail websites now comes from mobile, 65% to be exact.
Failing to optimize your website for mobile is essentially hurting your chances of capitalizing on this huge statistic.
The easier it is to access your products and services, the greater the odds of increasing your sales figures, and if this means optimizing your site to meet the audience at their preferred channel, then you should probably jump at the chance to do so.
Streamline the User Experience
The user experience is an intrinsic part of website building. It is comprised of many aspects, including accessibility, design choice, and page loading times.
Easy-to-use websites give a customer an incentive to return, an extremely important element that drives repeat business.
Is your website able to guide the customer through your products with easy-to-follow visual cues? Is the checkout option as seamless and as stress-free as it possibly can be?
The user experience needs to be delightful if you aim to compete with some digital giants from start to finish and even after that.
You need to know what modern internet users expect from your website to surpass said expectations.
Some fundamentals include fast loading speeds, easy navigation, hassle-free checkout, and limited popups.
Meeting the basics is not enough, though, not if you wish to stand out among your rivals. Looking to the world of technology might be the best way to go in this regard, especially for those wishing to future-proof their website, or at least get a head start.
This could include unique animations, virtual reality tools, and other forms of interactive media.
Whatever you end up going for, as long as it does not obscure your product pages and slow down your loading speeds, you should be on the right track to develop a fresh modern look.
Policies and Privacy Statements
For many, big data spells even bigger worry, and as cybercrime continues to run riot throughout much of the online world, taking good care of your customers’ sensitive data is critical to the integrity of your brand and your website.
By writing and clearly displaying detailed privacy statements and data handling policies on your website, you can go some way toward reassuring your users that you are looking after their best interests.
Failure to handle your website’s data successfully with care could lead you to some legal trouble, which can be hard to recover from as a brand.
Link it to Your Social Media Platforms
To increase your discoverability across the entirety of the internet, you should probably consider using social media in conjunction with your website.
By linking all of your accounts together, there is a much greater chance that someone stumbling across your brand online will be able to find your products and services after only a few extra clicks.
Preparing your website for the future means preparing your business for success, so don’t wait until it’s too late.