Getting Your Website up to Date Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult…

This was posted on September 28th, 2015

update

Fashions change all the time — that’s true in everything, but on the web it’s even more pertinent. The online world moves so much faster than everything else and new technologies and standards are constantly being introduced to improve everyone’s lives. As a website owner, it’s vital that you keep up with these trends.

The web is the origin for the vast majority of business in this country, and that’s growing all the time. We’re getting ever more connected and using technology to our advantage, and if your business isn’t making the most of that technological change you’re going to be missing out — big time.

You’re likely to be worrying a little and panicking at the thought of all that time and effort, not to mention the cost. Fear not. Getting your website up to date doesn’t need to be difficult or even expensive. There are a number of ways you can keep on top of the zeitgeist and ensure that your website is kept as up-to-date as possible at all times.

Keep an eye on what’s going on

This might sound obvious, but keep tabs on the leading sites in your industry to see what they’re doing. If it’s working for them, there’s probably a very good reason for that. We’re not just talking about design, either. Look at the sales process, how orders are handled, search functions, the way in which the information architecture is designed.

You should also look at leading sites that aren’t in your niche, as there are certain industries and sectors which tend to lead in terms of online technology. By keeping fully abreast, you could be the first early adopter in your industry.

Test, test and test again

This is more important now than it’s ever been. It used to be the case that new websites were tested on three different monitor resolutions. That’s now been blown out of the window by people using laptops and desktops and anything from a 13-inch screen to an enormous 4K retina display. The variation is huge.

What’s more, Macs are much more popular, as is Linux and other operating systems. Mobile browsing has taken over desktop and laptop browsing too, so ensuring that your website displays effectively across all of these media is vital to capturing your whole target audience.

Get feedback

Find out what your customers and your target market think of your website from a variety of angles by asking them. Set up a survey or ask them individually, looking at the design and layout, sales process, information and ease of navigation. In any other area of your business you’d want to know what your customers and target market thought, so why not your online shopfront?

Sometimes it just needs a complete overhaul

If you’ve let things slip for a while, you might well just need to bite the bullet and get your website completely overhauled. Maintenance and constant attention is always the best way to keep your website up to date without the large costs or efforts, but if it’s been a while since you’ve given your website some love you might be better off starting again.

That doesn’t need to sound daunting, though. A complete overhaul can bring your website and your company right up to date and help to boost business from the off, showing your company to be a modern, forward thinking business which cares for its customers.

Moving forward

Keeping on top of things is vital. If you’re on the ball and constantly monitoring what’s going on around you, you can implement these changes in your business and use them to your advantage.

Let’s face it: that’s the same as you’d do in any other area of your business, isn’t it? You have to adapt and keep your eye on what’s going on, changing things so that your business can continue to operate and grow. The web is no different, and with it being (potentially) responsible for such an enormous chunk of your business, you really can’t afford to be slack when it comes to keep your website up to date.

No Comments » - Read More

The Tricky Problem of Quality Website Content

This was posted on September 21st, 2015

web-content

For as long as SEO has been around, the importance on quality content has been touted. In fact, quality content has become more and more important as the web has evolved, with Google prioritising good quality websites and articles in their results pages. Sounds straightforward, right?

Unfortunately not. Writing quality content is actually very difficult and is a refined art. It’s actually surprisingly common for people to get a web design company to create the layout and design for their website and then write the content themselves. The result is a fantastic eye-catching design and a load of stuffy content that bores the socks off people.

Would you hire a professional copywriter to create your website’s content and then quickly knock up a website layout for it in Microsoft Paint on your laptop? No, of course you wouldn’t, so don’t do it the other way round!

It could easily be argued that the content of a website is even more important than the design. After all, people aren’t coming to your website to look at your colour scheme or menu design; they’re coming for your content. They want to know how you can solve their problems and offer them what they want, why they should choose you and how they can get in touch with you.

You should, at all costs avoid:

  • Content that’s been generated automatically
  • Pages with very little content (under 350 words, generally) or unoriginal content
  • Hidden text
  • Content that has appeared elsewhere on the web

These are the biggest no-nos in creating website content. Put it this way: Google will know if you’re trying to be sneaky. Doing things the right way will always get you the best results. And it’ll allow you to sleep at night.

Above all, your content needs to be readable. In other words, sentences such as ‘Our innovative team of executives is experienced in providing corporate redistribution solutions to the expanding global marketplace’. *Snore* Put some life into it! Show that an actual person has written the text! (Look at that paragraph there for an example.)

People’s attention spans on the web are extraordinarily limited. They won’t read websites in the same way they read newspapers or letters. They’ll just disappear off elsewhere, to a website with far better and professionally written content.

Your focus should always be on the reader; not the search engines. If your readers love your content, search engines will follow. That’s the holy grail. Your content needs to be interesting, informative and entertaining or people just won’t want to share it. And, let’s face it, the internet is all about sharing these days. We get more and more of our online input from social media than we do from Googling our own stuff.

And remember: keeping the quality of your content as high as possible doesn’t mean getting your thesaurus out and showing off at all the big words you can use.

If you want to make sure your website’s content is professional, engaging and designed to help you get more business through your website, give us a call and speak to us about our content creation services.

No Comments » - Read More

Get Your Website Ready for Christmas!

This was posted on September 14th, 2015

christmas-website

Don’t worry, we’ve not lost the plot. We know it’s only the 14th of September, but the fact of the matter is that if you’ve not already got your website ready for Christmas you’re going to be losing out on business.

With the growth of online retail, consumers are getting their Christmas shopping out of the way sooner and sooner each year, preferring to get it all done so they can concentrate on the finer details of Christmas preparations closer to the time.

Consumers are shopping earlier

It’s true to say that consumers are trying to spread the cost of Christmas more and more, and November and December is an expensive time for families buying decorations, travelling to see family, ordering the Christmas turkey and all of the other expenses that come with the festive season. With most people wanting to avoid the Great December Rush, you need to have your website ready for Christmas long before November has even reared its ugly head.

The good news is that there’s still time. It’s worth pointing out at this stage that readying your website for Christmas isn’t a case of reactivating the JavaScript code that puts falling snowflakes on your homepage or popping a Christmas tree in the corner as if it’s your living room. We’re talking about a deliberate concerted effort to entice users to get their Christmas shopping done as soon as possible.

Stand apart from the competition

The competition during the run-up to Christmas is huge, so you need some way of standing apart from your competition. One of the best ways is to get in there earlier, perhaps by offering discounts for customers ordering their Christmas shopping online before the end of September or October.

Research shows that customers are likely to spend more on their Christmas shopping earlier in the year as they’ll be able to spread the cost. When it comes to December, most of the Christmas budget will have been spent on decorations, food and other miscellaneous festive items.

Make sure your website’s infrastructure is sound

The likelihood is that the hits to your website will increase over the Christmas period, so you should be sure that your server will be able to handle the load. If you’re on a shared hosting platform you’ll be sharing your server load with other retailers’ websites, too. The last thing you want is for users to be unable to access your website and to head to your competitor instead.

Likewise, if your website is not optimised for mobile viewing you’re going to be missing out on a lot of business. The majority of web browsing is now done on mobiles and a huge percentage of people buy products using their mobile phones.

If your website does not automatically adapt to the user’s device, they’re not going to waste time scrolling and zooming; they’ll go to your competitor’s more accessibly-designed website instead and give them the business. The number of people using mobile devices to buy online is growing each week and will very quickly eclipse the number of people using laptops or desktop computers, leaving you catering only for the diminishing minority.

Make it accessible

And we’re not just talking about mobile accessibility either. Accessibility in terms of payment options (credit/debit card, PayPal, Google Checkout, Bitcoin) will open up the likelihood of purchasing to more and more people. Flexibility is key online, and making the user’s purchasing journey shorter and easier is what’s going to get you their business.

The days of people being impressed by websites and the technology is, largely, over. The internet is now an everyday part of our lives and we want it to be as simple, convenient and comprehensive as we want everything else in our lives to be. Quicker, easier and more complete is the way forward and you should ensure that your website embodies those three key values.

Getting some help

If you know your website probably isn’t up to scratch for the Christmas rush, you don’t need to worry. We’re on hand to help get things ship-shape and get your website ready to ensure your business makes the most of this Christmas.

No Comments » - Read More

Click to Contact Us today or call on 01604 790007 during office hours