Whether you’re building a brand new site for a soon-to-be launched business or revamping your existing website with fresh content and design, chances are that you already know how vital your online presence is. The web is often the first place that potential customers or prospective clients will go to find information about you. And since you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, your website is not the place to take shortcuts or rush to launch.
We’ve helped 19 clients launch or revamp their websites this past year. And while we would love to say it was all rainbows and unicorns, that would be a total fantasy of, well…rainbows and unicorns. Instead of keeping all of the valuable wisdom we gained to ourselves, we like to share the love. In that spirit, here are four common problem areas that businesses run into when launching a website. Eliminating these issues can really have a positive impact on both SEO quality and the visitor experience.
1. The more options for engagement, the better.
The whole point of a website is to showcase (and sell) your brand, products and services. With today’s pressure to market visually and simply, businesses can sometimes forget one of the basics – How can someone contact you to learn more? You want your website to generate leads, so you need to provide multiple touch points. The most effective touch points we recommend during the website design process are:
- Spread multiple contact forms throughout the site – not just at the footer or on the contact us page.
- If you have an active social community, include direct links in the header, blogs and articles, and on product and services pages.
- Offer email sign-ups throughout the site with details about email frequency. Once a month typically performs better than weekly on B2B sites.
2. Don’t let your images drag you down
When you update your website with large, attractive images, the design team loves it. Executives love it. Visitors love it too. Who doesn’t love it? Search engines.
Optimization for speed is key for Google rankings, which we all know is one of the primary end goals of a website. What most people don’t know is that the compression tool in Adobe isn’t enough. Your development team should be using other methods to optimize the file sizes (for an average size decrease of 25-30%), to essentially increase your site speed. Studies consistently find that most visitors will bail on any websites that don’t load in 2-3 seconds. Website speed can make or break user engagement (and ultimately revenue), so it’s worth spending the effort on optimizing your images.
3. Mobile-friendly is a must-have.
When a website ignores mobile users, it will diminish its ranking, visibility and usability. With just 10.6% of web traffic coming from non-mobile devices, gone are the days when a mobile-friendly wordpress template does the trick. There are occasions when the template you bought and paid a company to customize will work, but often the out-of-the-box “stack” simply doesn’t cut it. Don’t be afraid to question and change your mobile site. You might not need all of the content. Or you may want to rearrange images and text for easier readability on mobile devices. A truly mobile-friendly site should go beyond the standard responsive queries to consider the mobile site experience per device.
4. Be ready to learn and teach.
At the start of a website rebuild or redesign, everyone is excited and positive. However, when reality sets in, the process can turn into a struggle for every pixel space. Decision makers don’t all have the same experience or understanding; technical or design team members want to stick to a specific set of rules; and the company may even struggle to define the goals and priorities for the new site. We like to apply a variation of the 5 Whys technique, which is commonly used in process improvement exercises to find the root of any problem or unexpected situation. When a major change pops up, ask why it’s needed or why the change is important. After asking why five times, you’ll get to the cause of the change and uncover some really great solutions to consider along the way. The process is also an effective two-way learning experience: we learn more about the company and the company team learns about the best practices and benefits of the solutions proposed.
If you’re building a new website or thinking about redesigning your current site, contact On Advertising. We have the expertise you need to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible – rainbows and unicorns sometimes included.