All businesses and brands need to have a website. However, just because you have a website and are listed online, it doesn’t mean that you are actually providing value to your audience.
Whether you are a local business looking to bring customers to your retail location, or an online brand trying to spread awareness about what your company or service has to offer, you need to make sure your site is running fast, fully responsive across all platforms and providing value and call to actions in the process.
This might seem easy enough, but if that’s the case, why are so many websites still so horrible? Today we are going to break down each of these three components to make sure your site is as great as it can possibly be from the perspective of the end user.
It All Starts with a Fast Web Site
Few things are more important than having a fast loading web site. This is especially true when it comes to the dwindling attention span of audiences around the world. If a website takes longer than a second or two to load, you may already be missing out a huge chunk of your audience.
The good news is that there are not only ways to check on how fast your site is loading, but also ways to quickly improve its speed in the process. One of the first things to do is run a speed test through Pingdom. The great thing about running a speed test on your site is that you will see the many different factors affecting how fast your site is actually loading — which can consist of image compression, third party applications, online videos, messy coding and unused themes or plugins that might be running in the background.
While it’s important to know how fast your site is loading and what may be slowing it down from peak performance, there is only so much you can do on a granular level. What most sites are doing to improve the overall speed and performance of their sites, is connecting to a CDN provider Incapsula. The way a CDN works is that it hosts the data and files on your website from different server locations around the world, using the servers that are closest to the traffic actually visiting your site. After all, wouldn’t it make more sense for someone in Australia to access your site from a server in their own country, versus trying to pull data from one all the way across the world?
Website monitoring and CDNs have completely changed the way site owners can track, manage and improve the performance of their sites, while also improving onsite user experience in the process.
Responsive Viewing on All Platforms
Like it or not, people from all around the world are accessing your website in many different ways. In previous years, it was enough to simply create a site in HTML and if it looked good on your desktop, it was probably good enough for everyone else. That is no longer the case.
With WordPress quickly becoming the CMS of choice, it’s now easier than ever to make sure your site is fully responsive and loading correctly across all platforms. For any websites not running on WordPress, it’s simply a matter of connecting with a designer or programmer that can make these changes for you. The important thing here is to make sure your site is loading correctly across all devices. A website should not look the same on a mobile device as if it was being loaded on a desktop or laptop. It’s not a matter of ‘looking nice’, it’s more about engagement, interaction and making it easy for your audience to find what they need.
A great way to see if your web site is mobile-friendly and good in the eyes of Google is to simply run their mobile-friendly site test. After doing so, the tool will let you know how your site looks across different devices, while also providing you with any recommended improvements that may need to be made.
Giving Your Audience What They Want
The speed of your site and how it’s seen across a wide range of devices are very important, but even more so is the content that you offer to your audience. With more than a billion active websites on the internet today, there is an over-supply of content, and it’s no longer necessary to put something out there just for the sake of publishing new content. Now it’s all about providing the best content and value possible, while still having a marketable website. This is where your customers are going to find real value when visiting your site.
For a local retail business or restaurant, this is usually easy enough. Provide some details and pictures about your business, while also having location hours, Google maps in place and also any promotional coupons for your audience. In short, make it as easy as possible for visitors to find exactly what they are looking for when they get to your site.
On the flip side, for online businesses, e-commerce sites, and brands, this is where a blog can come in very handy. There may only be so much that you can write about the business or services that you offer, so getting creative with blog content is a great way to reach new audiences, cover various topics and also provide call-to-actions in the process. A perfect example of this would be if a financial business did a weekly blog post on individual celebrity net worths. Not only would this attract attention from a wide range of audiences, it would also relate the business itself and how it may help others better manage their finances or net worth.
This is the type of ‘out of the box’ thinking that is required to make content marketing and user experience work on the internet these days. At the end of the day, your website is the main driver of leads and sales to your business. Run through each of the resources above to make sure your site is loading as fast as possible, looks great on all viewing devices and also has content that provides real value to your audience.