I’ve lost count of the number of websites from known brands where I have been left horrified at the lack of effort. Not only am I wading through treacle thanks to the bad user experience, but the information – or lack of – has caused me to bounce off a site quicker than I can actually say exit. This is often a result of considering websites as an afterthought, where more focus is placed in improving their physical offering, development of products/services, or perhaps focussing on traditional marketing activities.
Failing to understand the impact that an effective online space can have on your business will severely hamper your company’s progress. It’s without doubt a critical component of the buying cycle today, in both the consumer and B2B spaces.
The great thing about a website is you are essentially able to take users down the path YOU want to take them down. But what happens if you fail to take this into consideration?
Poorly organised or irrelevant content on a site, coupled with a lack of understanding of the value of your online platform can all result in low conversions, limited page sessions, and a diminished brand identity in the eyes of your consumers. Many agencies may profess the necessity of marketing and design 101s such as incorporating company branding, call-to-action buttons and online visualisation to help achieve business goals, but a far deeper understanding of interpreting brands into a web space is crucial.
Carefully planning and strategising what your business goals are and what you hope to achieve, can help shape the flow of content on a site as well as identifying the online customer journey. Each website will serve a different purpose. Do you want users to understand and learn more about your brand/products? Do you want your users to share interesting content? Or do you want them to make a purchase?
For either of these actions, increasing click-thru rates, page sessions and dwell time are all factors that will keep users on your site – boosting the chances of conversions. But this requires a tailored offering where content and brand story are effectively combined into a comprehensive package with a string of relevant information for users. It’s not a simple copy and paste job from a company brochure onto WordPress, but a thorough understanding of what the user wants. Take for example, a clothing retailer that offers a brick-and-mortar store. The physical store will be organised in a way that will help consumers go from one section to another in the aims of completing a purchase. This same time and investment in making sure the layout and products are visible and clear for customers, is also required for the website.
Though, perhaps one of the most interesting aspects that a website has been able to offer companies is the ability to analyse how well it is performing in real-time. Analytic programmes can show what are the most visited pages, products, what isn’t working well, ways to improve etc., as well as provide the opportunity to amend your business to boost interest, and in return, conversions. Seeing how websites are viewed from the eyes of your visitors emphasises what having a strong online presence can have on wider business goals.
The next time you’re in a board meeting and thinking ‘how can we boost sales?’, maybe start by considering your website. Are you really getting the most out of it? Does your content appeal to your audiences enough? Are you able to take users down the journey that you envision?
A website should never ever (ever!) be considered an ‘add-on’. To understand how your online space can form one of crucial pieces of the business puzzle that will effortlessly integrate and enhance your company offering, give us a call.