As you make your list of priorities for your business this year, don’t neglect updating your website. A new study highlights just how important an updated website is for your business.
81% of Customers Distrust a Brand With an Old Website.
Blue Fountain Media surveyed 1,013 respondents in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 60. The results were quite revealing.
81% of survey respondents said they thought less of brand if they saw its website was not updated.
39% of survey respondents said they would reconsider purchasing a product or service from a company if its website was outdated.
If you aren’t paying attention to your website, you’re falling behind. You’re losing business, losing credibility, and damaging your brand. An updated web presence is CRITICAL. But first you need to understand what it means to have an updated website. Let’s talk about what are your customers looking for in a website.
What Your Customers Want On Your Website
The survey found that the following factors were most important to customers when surfing the web.
- User-created content – 50% of those surveyed said reviews, photos, and other user-generated content were the most helpful factor when online shopping. 24% said user content including forums, photos, and reviews mattered most to them when browsing content websites.
- Ease of use – 43% of respondents said user-friendliness and clear navigation was a main priority in a website experience.
- Search box – 42% named a search box is THE most important factor on a content website; in fact, almost one-third of respondents said no search box on a site is the biggest turn-off.
- Left-in-cart alerts – 25% said their favorite feature on an e-commerce website was when the site followed up to alert them about products left in their cart.
Read the full survey results here.
Your 2019 Website Checklist
Remove outdated design features. Start the new year right by cleaning up old, outdated features from your website. Some examples:
- Visitor counters
- Drop-shadow text
- Autoload music
- Flash animations
- Cluttered sidebars
Take a good look at your design. Design is (almost) everything. In fact, 94% of a user’s first impression of a website is related to design, according to a report from Kinesis Inc. It’s important to have fresh, clean photography; plenty of white space; easy to read font; no more than two (or at MOST three) fonts used, etc. Consult a web designer to see if it’s time for an entire website overhaul.
Make sure your website is responsive. Your site needs to function and look good on mobile devices, iPads, and all screen sizes and browsers. 8 in 10 viewers will stop using your website if it doesn’t display correctly on their laptop or device, according to an Adobe report. Google prioritizes responsive websites in search results, and 2 out of every 3 online minutes are spent on a mobile device, so it’s more important than ever to make sure your site has a functioning mobile version.
Check your blog and content. Check and make sure your content isn’t dull, old, or unclear. Update for any changes to your business or the services and products you offer. Don’t have “Welcome!” as your H1 instead of a keyword phrase or sales point! Add a new blog post or news item. It’s important to ensure that your site looks fresh and touched instead of dusty and neglected. Users are much less likely to stay on your site or come back to it if it’s clear you’re not providing current information. Make sure information is easily scannable with clear headers and sub-headers.
Get rid of keyword stuffing. Listing batches of keywords in clunky paragraphs is an outdated practice that looks and feels spammy, and could get you penalized by Google. Remove
Add “call to actions.” 70% of small business websites don’t have clear CTAs on their home pages. One of the most important things you can do is identify and promote a clear call to action. Tell your viewers where to go and what to do. Don’t leave them confused and give them a reason to get out of the site. Examples of CTAs include:
- Contact Us
- Schedule a Free Consultation
- Shop Now
- Download Our Free E-Book
- Request an Evaluation
- Buy Today
Examine your site’s navigation. I can tell when a website is outdated or poorly designed when it’s not easy to navigate. It immediately makes me think less of the brand behind the website. Companies that put thought and intentionality into the layout of their information come across as authoritative and trustworthy. Customers shouldn’t have to spend too many clicks before reaching their objective.
Speed up load times. A Kissmetrics study found that 40% of users will abandon a website that takes longer than three seconds to load! If your website takes a long time to load, you’re losing customers.
Plan for Change.
The only constant is change. As trends in websites, changes in SEO best practices, and tech developments continue to roll out, it’s crucial that you plan for these eventualities and stay ahead of the curve in order to present the best web presence for your business. Set up a meeting with your marketing team/web designer to make sure your website and ongoing website plan is set and ready for the new year!