In today’s world, every and any business has a website to either sell goods &/or services or to just market their company. And if you are somehow reading this as a business owner without a website, I am not sure what you are waiting for other than to soon go out of business. Gone are the days where having a single retro page looking website will suffice (like this You’ve Got Mail website that somehow is still functioning http://youvegotmail.warnerbros.com/cmp/0frameset.html). It’s not enough to simply just be one the internet, instead in order to generate more business you have to be active and constantly up to date with the latest trends and marketing techniques. From studying many of the world’s biggest websites from every industry I came up with my top 4 trends for effective websites and how you can do the same:
- Design- What is the very first thing you notice about a website when you are perusing the internet? It’s overall design, just like you judge a person you are meeting for the first time by the way they look and dress, the same is being done billions of times a day when people view a new website for the first time. The first place people go to research a company is….of course the internet and if you don’t impress them within the first 15 seconds then there is nothing stopping them from going on to the next option (your competitors). Let’s take an example in the printing industry, let’s say you wanted to purchase some printing services for a new product and you need some custom packaging. First you go to http://www.affordableoffset.com/ and your first impression is…blahh. Looks like they haven’t updated the site since the mid 90’s, for that much you can’t even tell if they are even still in business. Okay let’s try our next option, http://www.contemporarygs.com/cgs/, this is a whole other story, the website is obviously updated daily, they have a great design and are active on social media. They both provide the same services but you would never know that from researching the companies online and in the end ContemporaryGS.com would probably end up getting the job over AffordableOffset.com.
- Mobile-Friendly- While smartphones have already been around since the first iPhone in 2007, only recently has the importance of a mobile business strategy become that important. But with the speed at which things move on the internet, a mobile strategy is now a necessity. As you can see from the graphic below, mobile and tablet traffic increased a whopping 20% in just one year which will only increase moving forward. Just think about your daily life and how many times you receive and email which you view on your phone instead of your desktop computer. If you are redirected to a website that site needs to either have a dedicated mobile app or have a responsive design so that no business is lost trying to navigate a full desktop website on a tiny phone screen.
- Social Media- This is an easy one, everyone should know what social media is at this point and if you don’t…where have you been? While everyone may know what social media is, they might not know how it can be used to help their business. Social media may help some industries more than other’s but no matter what type of business you are in, Social media can help increase awareness to new and current customers. As you can see from the chart below, Social Media advertising will continue to grow each year through 2015. Not only can Social Media increase awareness but it is the best way to connect with your customers and to see what they want. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, Youtube, Google+…the list goes on forever and they all appeal to different audiences, you just need to find the one which is most relevant to your company and industry.
- SEO- SEO, otherwise known as Search Engine Optimization is a very broad term. In it’s most simplistic form, SEO are methods of getting your website to show up in top results in Google. But how is this done? Well there’s no real formula but rather it is a combination of all of the above topics I just spoke about. The design and more importantly the structure of information must be easy to read for both a human and google bot. It helps to be mobile-friendly to get more site traffic which in turn helps SEO. Social media, is also great for SEO as it creates back links to your site and content.
If you are still a doubter that these are important to your business then take a minute and look at your competitors. Are they on Social Media? Do they have a visually appealing site? Do they show up in a Google Search? If not then this is your chance to pull ahead and win over more business. If they already do use these techniques then what are you waiting for, in order to keep up with the rapidly changing business world you need to adapt. And to adapt you need to apply the 4 techniques above to your overall marketing strategy NOW!