If you operate a business, it is only natural for it to be represented by a website. Even if you don’t directly sell your products and services online, a well-crafted site can provide a large assortment of benefits for your company.
A business website can be an excellent marketing tool. It can be a hub of information for potential customers to learn more about your company. It boosts your credibility, provides a 24/7 presence, allows you to gain consumer insights, and so on.
However, there are diminishing returns if your current website hasn’t received any notable updates in years. An outdated site will struggle to show up prominently in search engine results, which means it will be difficult to reach users organically. Furthermore, if a person does end up on your site, they could be dissuaded from becoming a customer due to its obsolete appearance.
If you have an old website or are preparing to create a new one for your business, make sure you follow these five steps to bring your online presence into 2021.
1. Check everything is working
Before you start changing up the design and functionality, it is recommended you check everything that is currently present on your website – both big and small. This can be achieved by conducting a comprehensive site audit. An audit can reveal issues like:
- Broken URL links
- Outdated themes and/or plugins
- Out-of-date content
- Broken features
- Poor-quality and/or missing images
- Formatting problems
Now some of these may not seem like big issues on their own, but they can be damaging to the overall success of your website. Not only can broken or outdated elements affect the usability of the website for visitors, but they can even have a negative impact on its ability to appear high in relevant search results.
2. Analyze current design trends
The appearance of your website is essential. You only get one chance with a first impression. Add in the fact that your business is likely one of many within the same industry, and it only takes a couple of clicks for a visitor to leave and head over to a rival’s more aesthetically pleasing site.
Due to these points, you need to stay up-to-date with current design trends. These trends can change on essentially an annual basis, so don’t be complacent and feel your site is modern and fresh if it was created, say, five years ago.
So, what are the important design trends to incorporate in 2021? Even though parallax scroll animations are not exactly new, this element is growing in popularity where original and creative usages help bring a website to life. Multimedia experiences, such as videos appearing on a site’s front page, have also proved to be an effective way to grab people’s attention.
For more inspiration, Webflow has put together a list of 21 web design trends to consider for 2021.
3. Refine communication
When you send a message to a business with an inquiry or information on returning a product, how long do you expect to wait for a response? 30 minutes? Three hours? Three days? Well, according to statistics, 82% of shoppers expect an immediate response to their questions.
As a result, if your website is still stuck in time with just an email address and contact form, it is time to improve and refine your communication. This starts by introducing as many communication channels as possible for that added layer of convenience. Along with email, your website should incorporate phone, live chat, and links to your social media accounts. The more routes you have available, the greater chance someone will reach out and contact your business.
However, there is one problem with this approach: the added workload it brings along for the ride. Trying to effectively manage all of these communication channels can be difficult, especially if you operate a small business with limited resources. Fortunately, solutions can be utilized to make this task easier.
For instance, there is specialist software that allows you to place all of your communication platforms in one place. Then by using the software application on your desktop or mobile device, there’s no need to worry about different windows or constantly checking inboxes. You can communicate with customers efficiently and without distraction.
However, it is unlikely you’re going to have employees available 24/7 to offer support to customers at all times. In this case, it makes sense to implement a chatbot on your website. A chatbot is AI software that can answer questions and inquiries automatically. If a customer only wants the answer to a general query, for example, the automated chatbot will be able to provide a solution instantly. Furthermore, you can customize the chatbot to such an extent that some users won’t even realize they weren’t talking to a real person.
4. Reassess your SEO strategy
How long ago did you implement your current SEO strategy? If it was more than a few years, it is time to reassess your entire approach. This is because Google constantly updates and changes its algorithm. The result: what worked a year ago to gain a prominent search ranking might not necessarily work today.
Aside from algorithm changes, keyword trends can also fluctuate as time goes on. This means the current keywords you’re targeting may no longer bring in the search volume you anticipate. If you need to fix this issue, simply spend some time performing a fresh set of keyword research.
Also, don’t ignore adding new content to your website when possible. Even if the site is static for the most part, posting frequent blog posts can boost its visibility, reach new audiences, and keep your current customers engaged.
5. Analyze speed
You can never leave a visitor waiting around for your website to load. The longer it takes for pages to load, the higher the bounce rate. Being unable to retain visitors will not only hurt conversions but also your reputation with the search engines.
The good news: there are various steps you can take to improve this aspect of your website. If it is currently sluggish to load, ensure you make the necessary changes to ensure the site’s speed is optimized.