In today’s global marketplace, it’s no longer enough just to have a digital presence. To capitalise on potential prospects and opportunities, a fully interactive and immersive website is now a must.
With that said, many poor websites are clogging up the internet, missing the mark both technically and verbally.
Why? Usually, it comes down to a lack of knowledge towards; what a website should be, and what functionality a website should and can deliver.
One prime example is design.
At present, some people underestimate the value of going beyond the basic aesthetics of a site, with the assumption that as long as the site “looks alright”, you will capture your audience’s attention and will receive a deluge of enquiries.
Sorry to disappoint, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Google’s algorithm indexes sites dependent on the user experience it provides. Therefore, graphics cannot be “for graphic’s sake”. They must hold a purpose, offering value to the user, and be correctly labelled with a reliable and considered SEO infrastructure.
Only now are we scratching the surface of a high-quality website.
“But, isn’t the quality of a sites design down to personal opinion?”
You’re not wrong.
However, with Google’s ruthless pursuit to guarantee a positive user experience, they will examine all websites (which relate to your search term) and rank the pages for you.
So, what ranks a website?
Through years of creating websites, evaluating industry insights and adopting some of the latest digital developments and trends, we have come up with our top six focus points to help you get noticed!
Sounds silly to suggest that people once believed social media was a passing fad? Especially when you hear that as of the start of 2018, there were just over 4 billion internet users, with over 3 billion engaging on at least one social media platform.
Social channels are the most extensive free marketplace where you are exposed to a global audience. Fabulous mediums in which to present your content for your engaged audience to navigate back to your website or share their discovery with others. Take Instagram for instance, 60% of their users say they have discovered entirely new products, services and brands through the platform.
Social media allows your business to promote themselves as a Thought Leader within your industry. A Thought Leader has no distinct definition, yet the movement is similar to that of brand advocacy. Research by LinkedIn, found that 80% of buyers said the type of content produced by Thought Leaders enhances trust and buying behaviour.
In 2010, Google’s algorithm began evaluating site speed as a determinant towards ranking. To this day, it continues to serve as one (of many) influences towards how your website is placed among Google’s database. Site speed isn’t just for website owners, but for all internet traffic.
How long would you wait for a website to load? 3…maybe 4 seconds?
Well, according to a recent study by Neil Patel, 47% of consumers expect a website to load in 2 seconds or less. Not much room for error. This feedback has been integrated into Google’s latest algorithm, in pursuit of offering all users with a positive experience.
Site speed does not just play on Google rank, but conversions also. For every second of delay, whether this is the first-page load or download of content, it can reduce transactions by 7%.
“Communications should be secure by default”.
This was the message back in 2014 at Google’s I/O Conference, in an attempt to push “HTTPS Everywhere”.
So, where is the internet today?
4 years on, 75% of websites viewed on Chrome are using HTTPS and are, therefore “secure”. Sounds promising.
However, when you think that as of September 2018, there are just over 1.9billion sites on the internet, it means there are approximately 475k unsecured websites out there. This is still quite a concern.
The advantages of a secure site hardly need explaining, from increased Google Ranking to uplift in consumer confidence, you have to ask yourself why these thousands of companies have not yet updated to the trusted HTTPS.
When smartphones first came around, the need to access the internet was minimal. Only in 2014, Ofcom revealed that 22% of phone owners turned to their device first to browse the web – this stat alone provides an overwhelming case for how much mobile use has grown. In comparison, 62% of time spent online is now through mobile devices.
Responsive web designs are now expected to be fully optimised across all mobile platforms, in reward, this contributes towards a website’s ranking signal. Of late, Google introduced a ‘mobile-first indexing strategy’, based around ranking and indexing sites on their mobile accessibilities, rather than a desktop version. This, once again, is another factor towards Google enhancing the user experience.
Consumers are savvy, they know when a site is being false in their SEO titles and stuffing keywords into their content. Essentially spam.
Creating and uploading new pieces of content throughout the week is vital, as it promotes your Thought Leading brand advocacy (as discussed earlier), as well as maintaining a strong rank position in search engines.
Content can’t be ‘content for the sake of it’, this won’t get you ranked. Plus, content should never be written and published for the purposes of search, but for those who we want to engage and inspire with our subject matter.
It has to provide value and build on the hottest trends within the industry. Consumer’s do not want to receive one sales pitch after another, as there is a renewed expectation for brands to connect with the audience on an emotional level. Relevancy will not only build solid foundations for business to consumer relationships but also trust and willingness to engage.
So, which types of content will get you the best results?
Internal links help users navigate through your website to other relevant pages [on your site]. Search engines also favour internal links, as it supports their crawl through web pages as they move from one page to another in pursuit to find the most valuable information to the user’s query.
Keywords are the terms you want your website to be found for, and what summarises your content, product and/or service best. Each page will be different.
For instance, at Cloud Ten, we produce wonderful blogs (if you haven’t seen them before, you’re in for a treat), around the themes of creative, brand, digital and marketing. Our most recent, ‘Web Design: A Modern-Day Perspective’, the key word here is ‘Web Design’. This aids search engines to understand exactly what the blog is about, and what value it will provide.
Call to action, otherwise known as CTA, are impactful ways to ask your audience to complete an action with you online. Commonly, CTAs can look like; add to cart, contact us or download. Alongside personalisation, HubSpot found that CTAs can convert 202% more effectively than standard CTAs.
Death of Flat Design.
Subtle Scrolling Effects.
Just a small collection of website design trends which came into full swing this year, and which cause a designer and web developer alike, a headache. If you don’t have a combination of just some of these, your website is going to be left behind.
The famous adage, “not one consumer is the same”, could not be any more correct when designing and developing a website. For instance, 38% of people will expect content to be displayed attractively, whereas 39% of users leave a webpage dependent on load time of images. The solution, ensure your website optimises effectively across all functions.
So there you have it, 6 simple aspects towards a successful “high quality” website…simple! (pffff yeah right!).
Cloud Ten hate leaving a problem unresolved and have therefore created a service to measure how your website performs against Google’s crawl criteria.
So what’s the price for all this? Nothing.
That’s right, absolutely nothing.
We give your website a proper assessment. From our two experienced web developers to our three degree educated designers will thoroughly inspect your site, and we will create 3-4 bespoke recommendations for improvements.
Why is this free?
All too often businesses give out something for free once you have committed to a monthly subscription or because it is utterly meaningless. Here at Cloud Ten, we don’t believe in the norm, nor do we like following “every other business” and we think you should break the mould too.
This is why we give you the satisfaction of understanding the areas for improvement and only then choosing if you want us to fix them. Businesses should be working together to create a community, helping each other enhance their value proposition.
So that’s us, we’d love to get to know you.