It’s hard to imagine having any kind of real presence as an organisation these days without a website in place. For many, getting the first version of their website live is one of the biggest milestones in starting their new venture. For smaller organisations, it’s especially important as a cornerstone of recognition and reputability. With the tools and resources that we have available to us, it is becoming increasingly easy to build a simple website, but often it’s effectiveness as a tool to drive engagement and conversion is rarely given much thought. At Fluff, we often hear discussion around where websites fit in today’s varied digital landscape, so let’s explore that.
With many people using such a variety of digital platforms to consume content and engage with their interests, it can be hard to decide where best to place your organisations time and energy in leveraging these for marketing and promotion. Websites are still the place that many ultimately look for when wanting to find out more. Social media and other consumption platforms are an especially good way of being noticed in the first place, however, websites are important as the backbone of a brand, information, and online sales.
Beyond Social Media
Facebook and other social platforms are now being turned to by many businesses as a way to make their presence known, and increase engagement. These platforms can surface the more basic details about a company but are ultimately built with a different goal in mind than most websites. As search continues to be an important part of a marketing strategy, websites are still the best way to promote content for organic traffic. This is going to be especially true as voice search, and more “intent-driven” results become commonplace. When used alongside an effective social media approach, websites are an important backbone of quality content, and as a source of reputability.
A website a requirement for almost every business now, but the difference between a good website and one that’s mediocre can be a big differentiator when comparing how effective it is at driving engagement and representing a brand. Branding is very important for any size of organisation to ensure that products are easily recognisable and easy to understand. That ease of understanding can help prospective customers to rationalise parting with their money. Continually re-evaluating an existing site and asking the question “could this be better?” is an important step in improving conversion.
As with most things, websites are generally subjective. Whether a design is aesthetic, or a piece of copy is good is often based on individual opinions and situation. When evaluating a website, we must look beyond the presentation alone, and instead judge based on its effectiveness. There are some fundamental objective aspects to a website that underpin just how effective it is.
Layout and content are key pieces of attracting visitors to a site, and also aiding them in some way, whether that’s to persuade them to purchase a product, or simply to find out more about your company. Creating content that is fit for purpose is a key part of creating an engaging site, but the layout of that content is also an important consideration. So many sites have great content that’s hidden behind a confusing and complicated navigation system.
For all companies, the website is there to serve a purpose. Often, that root purpose is to simply drive sales, but increasingly it’s also important to also highlight the story and information about the company itself. Finding a metric linked to conversion or raw sales is a great way to start measuring the effectiveness of a website. Tools such as Google Analytics allow us to measure traffic and value conversion with simple integrations. SMEs should be making use of this invaluable data to continually evolve their site, and in turn, improve its effectiveness.
For some, the website will be the first interaction that a customer has with a company. In this instance, creating a great first impression, conveying and promoting the products, and displaying professionalism through good presentation are key aspects in helping the website work effectively. Generally, a good site will be clear, look professional, and give unambiguous actions that the audience can act on to drive sales.
Not all websites are made the same. Often, putting work into creating a truly custom website can pay dividends with regards to standing out. This is especially true when coupled with unified outreach and marketing that presents a strong message well.
Build on the Basics
Not forgetting the basics is also an important step in appearing like a reputable place where people are likely to spend their money. Unfortunately, many websites still neglect to address such concerns as being mobile-friendly, being accessible to all (such as those who are impaired in some way) and ensuring that the site is secure and performant. Accessibility was once seen to be a way of making a site usable for those with more visible impairments, such as sight loss, or dexterity issues. In a busy modern environment, however, accessibility can also cover cases where people who could normally interact with a site without trouble, find themselves in a situation where it’s unusable. Think of the last time you tried to use a site through on a busy train, or tried to watch a video in a loud environment. Implementing good accessibility is not only the right thing to do to be inclusive, but can also reduce friction for all.
Investing in a strong website that’s unique and engaging is as important as ever, and can be an important cornerstone in driving awareness and conversion. When used as part of a digital strategy which aims to drive traffic and improve recognition, they can be a very good tool to improve reputation and trust.