The Vital Importance of a Good Website

This was posted on June 27th, 2016

good-website

 

First impressions count for a lot in life. When you’re going for a job interview, you make an effort to look sharp, put on your best suit and comb your hair. We agonise over what perfume to apply when heading out for a first date, and we are taught to smile openly and make eye contact when meeting a client we haven’t met before. This all happens for simple, scientific reasons – our evolutionary biology has an ingrained ‘stay or go’ mentality, and this has led us to making snap decisions within seconds of meeting somebody. It may not be nice or fair to judge so many books by their covers… but we all do it, all the time.

The exact same principle can be, and should be, applied to websites. When a potential customer or client opens your website, they too are going to judge it initially by appearances. As the world gets faster, business becomes more competitive, and now that every company has a site of their own (which probably processes the vast majority of their custom), it has never been more important to have a snappy, good-looking, modern and impressive website.

We’ve all been there – we click on a google link to a site we feel will suit our needs, and we’re immediately faced with gaudy colours, inappropriate fonts, poor formatting or confusing banners and subheading that look as though they belong in the 1990s… and what do we do? We immediately click the ‘back’ button, and choose the next google listing that suits our requirements.

 

Common and deadly errors

  1. Keeping up with the Joneses

Probably the biggest error a company can make nowadays, in the second decade of the twenty-first century, is to have a website that seems to belong in the distant past. This is more common that you’d think, and usually comes about due to the owner of the website simply not giving enough thought to what consumers expect, or what impression their website makes on potential customers.

Perhaps the manager rarely visits their own website, and has other priorities. Perhaps they aren’t aware that their site – and therefore, their brand – is outdated and clunky. Perhaps they don’t care, or don’t feel they should care.

  1. Don’t underestimate the importance of your website

A website is just a tool, just one aspect of a business, isn’t it?

No, it isn’t. Nowadays, a website is your ‘front-of-house’ staff. It’s your virtual reception. It’s the place your potential clients will go to not only to get information about your services and products, but also the ‘feel’ of a company. An outdated website can make a company look out of touch and out of step with the modern business world. It could even look shifty and untrustworthy to those who need to feel safe, should they be making financial transactions through the site. In short, it could be disastrous.

  1. Keep your customers in the know

Other common (and easily fixable) mistakes also include having few or no updates on the website. Let’s say you have a blog, and when the site was launched, you diligently updated your information and the comings and goings of the company on a regular basis. Over time, you became more relaxed on this front, and the next thing you know, you haven’t posted anything for a year or two. A customer might see this, and (reasonably) presume you’ve gone out of business. Bang. Another paying client goes elsewhere.

  1. Take Pride

On top of this, a good website, carefully constructed with the customer in mind and which creates a positive image and brand, is a reflection of the care and pride the manager has in their company. If you were invited to someone’s house for dinner, and when you turned up you found that their home was dusty and old, things hadn’t been cleaned or spruced up for years, you’d come to two conclusions: Firstly, that the owner takes no pride in their home, and so cannot expect anyone else to, either, and secondly: I’ll stop at a takeaway on my way home, thanks very much.

Websites operate in much the same way. You want to exude pride and care through the image you set of your company. The easiest way to do that? Get somebody to help you bring your website bang up to date.

 

New World, New Expectations

The simple fact is that there is more competition than ever before. Companies providing services of all sorts are no longer relying on local customer bases, the old women down the road, or the regular customer who pops in for a chat on their way home from work. Today, companies based in rural England are as much in competition with similar business in London, as they are in Delhi or San Francisco. The internet has connected the world – a great thing for consumers, but a wake up call for the complacent and those slow to catch up. Constructing a decent, approachable and stylish website has never been easier, and there’s no longer any excuse to be left behind.

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Are you 5 times more likely to lose customers?

This was posted on June 17th, 2016

mobile-update

According to Google themselves, people are five times more likely to leave a web site that isn’t mobile-friendly. Hence why last month, Google has been making yet more updates to how it views and lists web sites in its search results. So what do you need to do?

Google’s official statement highlights that its latest update is aimed primarily at non-mobile-friendly web sites, which means there are likely to be more significant penalties for sites that do not offer a good mobile experience to people who visit them.

This could be good news though. If your competitors’ web sites aren’t mobile friendly and yours is, then your site could show at the top of the mobile search results, which means you’ll receive many more visitors.

Some key facts
The update only applied to searches on mobile devices, so desktop and tablet searches were unaffected.

However, in 2015, over three quarters of adults in Great Britain used the internet every day, and a similar proportion (74%) accessed the internet “on the go” (away from home or work).

In April last year Google made an update that became a ranking factor in mobile searches alone. So if Google were to choose between two pages of similar relevance and quality, it will choose to display the mobile-friendly page in mobile search results.

What do you need to do to make your website mobile-friendly?

Responsive Design
You need what is called a ‘Responsive’ web site. This is a flexible design that automatically adapts to the size of a user’s screen. It means that a page will display properly whether your visitors access that it via a desktop browser or a mobile browser.

Avoid unplayable content
Ensure that all content works on Mobile platforms. When users visit a page on your site with content that is not supported on a mobile they will see an error. For example a video that requires Flash, will not work on mobile.

Slow mobile pages
Don’t lose visitors because your site is taking too long to load. According to Google, nearly half of all visitors will leave a mobile site if the pages don’t load within 3 seconds.

Optimise for touch
Pay extra attention to navigation on small screens. Instead of showing the desktop site’s navigation, have a clear ‘thumb-friendly’ menu and buttons.

Remove unnecessary design elements and content
Space is at a premium, so take a good look at all the elements and content on your page. Are all of them necessary to send your message across? If the answer is no, then remove them altogether.

Remember, it’s not just all about Google. When people visit your web site you want them to have a good experience so they contact, or buy from you.

If you want to find out how mobile friendly your web site is and what you need to do to contact in.house.media.

Visit www.ihm.co.uk/getmobile or call 01604 790 007.

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Prove the naysayers wrong with the secret weapon for gaining new customers

This was posted on June 1st, 2016

 

naysayers

 

Social media was once solely a vehicle used by millennials to connect with friends and share amusing videos of cats. Now, it is a marketing powerhouse, fuelled by the fact that 57% of consumers say they think more highly of a business after seeing positive comments online.

 

On social media, word travels at light speed. People may be discussing your business on Twitter, right now. Equally, they may be wondering why you don’t respond to tweets when they experience a problem with your product, or why there is no ‘Like’ button on your website linking to a Facebook profile.

 

If you are still reluctant to devote a significant portion of your marketing effort and budget to social media, we’ve got 6 reasons you should do just that.

 

Here’s why social media ‘just works’ for business.

 

  1. Develop a public persona for your business

Social media presents a unique opportunity to develop an engaging and approachable public persona for your business. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a B2C or B2B industry – you can give your company a voice people will warm to and interact with.

 

  1. Improve customer service

Social media’s greatest asset is that it functions in real-time. From a business perspective, it gives instant feedback from customers and an insight into the way they view your company. It doesn’t always make pleasant reading, but you’ve never had a better chance to monitor and react to murmurings about your business (good or bad!).

 

  1. Build relationships, generate leads

Don’t listen to the naysayers who’ll tell you that social media can’t generate leads – it absolutely can. It just takes time. The more time you invest in your followers on social media, the more you’ll build those relationships and turn observers into prospects.

 

  1. Increase brand awareness

Just like email marketing, social media is a very affordable way to increase awareness of your brand. You just need a computer, internet connection and a little bit of inspiration. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn are just some of the platforms on which you can make a real name for your business.

 

  1. Amplify your website content

If you’re blogging regularly – fantastic, but posting a blog containing a few keywords and expecting Google to start sending new visitors your way will leave you somewhat disappointed. You need to amplify your content and get it in front of people and social media is a brilliant delivery mechanism for your hard work.

 

  1. Reach a new audience

There are now over 2.2 billion social network users worldwide. Get your strategy right, and there is a simply colossal audience waiting to engage with you.

 

Summary

Social media marketing is about one thing: establishing your business as a thought leader within its chosen industry. Get it right, and you’ll draw people in and build a layer of trust which will, eventually, convince them that your products and services are worth spending money on.

 

You may have already dipped your toes into social media marketing, but struggle to find the time and expertise to make the most of it. Fret not! Fill out the form below and we’ll provide a completely free social media audit and tell you what you’re doing right and the areas in which you could improve.

 

 

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