When giving out your company’s website, do you cringe a little inside? When you look up competitors’, vendors’, or even friends’ sites, are you a little jealous of what you find? If so, you are not alone. Less than ten percent of NY Report’s survey respondents said they are completely satisfied with their website. Here are four ways to improve your website that you can start working on today.
Update more often. Jennifer Shaheen, president of The Technology Therapy Group, a web communications company that offers design, marketing, and development, the first step to a better website is to make the most of what you already have. Update your website with new content as often as possible. “Your customers need to see that your business understands their needs and changes with them,” says Shaheen. “Additionally, updates and changes are part of a search or social media strategy, or both. Staying up to date is a big reason why some websites do better than others.”
Get a new pro. If your web design expertise is limited, a professional design firm is the way to go. Make sure you choose a company that has a wide range of skills, says Shaheen. “If all the firm does is Flash or one style of design, it’s the same thing as doing it yourself. Remember, a website is a marketing tool, so a marketing person and a salesperson from inside and outside your business should be involved in the project. The design and function should support the marketing goals.” If you already use a design team and you’re still unsure if your website is meeting your goals, it may be time to part ways.
Become mobile-friendly. Check your analytics frequently to keep up with how customers are using your website—and what they’re using it on. “You don’t need to have a mobile app or even a full mobile website yet, but I do think all websites should load on mobile devices. That means iPads, too,” says Shaheen. If you can’t afford a full mobile design, make sure the most important parts, such as the contact details, are easily accessible to mobile users.
Just ask. With technology constantly shifting and changing, it’s no surprise that your website should be, too. But make sure it’s for the right reasons. “So many businesses get caught up in what their competition is doing,” says Shaheen. “Ask your customers what they want and need from your website. Don’t just redesign for the sake of it.”
5 Easy Updates for Your Website
Are you making the most of these web basics?
Here’s a quick run-through of simple tools that can help your website engage prospects and clients.
- Facebook offers a host of tools for you to integrate into your website, from the simple Like button to live streaming. LinkedIn has a few options, too. Even if you’re not using social media yourself, have social sharing tools and buttons on your website so your visitors can share your content with their network with just a click.
- Event plugins, offering automated listings for important industry and community dates, keep the content current and rotate off old info—your web platform should have an option for you. Use them to post events you think your visitors would be interested in.
- Have automatically updated news and other appropriate content appear on your site via widgets and feeds. A jeweler client of Shaheen’s, for example, has a feed of the price of gold on their website.
- Make things fun with gamification technology like Badgeville. The idea is that your visitors are motivated by rewards, whether that be a virtual badge they can share on social media sites or access to more content on your own website. Think outside the social media box and build a community yourself.
- Good old fashioned video is a great way to connect with your visitors on a personal level. If a written blog isn’t for you, a video blog may be just as popular. Photos of your staff, your office, or even your pets can work too—just keep it appropriate for your company.
Michelle Court is the managing editor at The New York Enterprise Report. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.