Thu Dec 17 2015
With the new financial year just around the corner, most businesses are now well underway with their 2015-16 budgets. One area of spending that seems to increase year-on-year for most businesses is digital investment. Understanding when to make updates to your website and how much to invest in these updates can be a difficult decision. We’ve put together a 5-Point Health Check that you can use to review the health of your current website and determine whether a complete or partial redesign might be necessary in the coming financial year.
“Mobilegeddon” is no surprise to anyone now. The changes made by Google in April to begin ranking sites based on their mobile-friendliness was perhaps one of the biggest game-changers to SEO in recent years.
Even forgetting about Google’s Algorithm for a second, the absolute number one health check for your website coming into this financial year is its mobile responsiveness. Why? Recent studies have shown that over 80% of internet users are now choosing their smartphones to search the internet. Just under 50% of internet users use tablets. This indicates the huge number of internet users choosing to search with mobile devices. Having a website that is not responsive and doesn’t work properly across mobile devices can be a real frustration and an overall poor user experience.
And, of course, Google now punishes your mobile unfriendly website is search rankings.
When was the last time you updated your content? Is it old and outdated or have you been taking regular care to update it with new text, images, videos and more?
SEO loves content that is both regularly updated and relevant. Even if your products or services haven’t changed in 5 years, you should still be investing time into changing your website content to suit changing (and trending) keywords, and to provide engaging and educational content for your visitors.
If you haven’t changed your content for over 6 months (or a year!), the new financial year is a good and timely reminder to take a look at your content and make some adjustments. Do your keyword research, update the text and add some new images. Social media feeds are another great way to provide content on your website.
Page speed is important for two key reasons (which do interlink):
Firstly, Google has previously indicated that site speed is one of the measures they use within their algorithm to rank search results. A slow-loading page takes longer for a search engine to crawl which can negatively affect your SEO.
Secondly, people HATE waiting for websites to load. We are so accustomed today to quick site loads that even a smaller loading screen can become the cause of not just a user’s leaving the site before it loads but also a lost customer. Some research has been conducted into site speed and user experience and studies have shown evidence that a faster site speed can help increase customer and user experience as well as conversions.
Check your site speed by using this: Google PageSpeed Tool. This tool will provide you with a speed rating out of 100 as well as an indication of the areas to improve to help speed up your loading time.
What is it that you want people to do when they reach your website? Do you want them to buy something? Do you want to capture leads? Do you want them to join your mailing list or subscribe to something?
Define the number one thing you want people to do when they get to your site. Most businesses may have more than one conversion goal but there is usually one that is more important than all others. With this objective in mind, take a look at your site objectively. How easy is it for a new user to navigate or do what it is, you want them to do?
For example, if your key objective is gaining new leads through an enquiry form, how hard is it for users to find and submit the form, and how enticing are the pages that take the user to this point?
Your website is a tool for your business and needs to provide users with an easy means-to-an-ends when it comes to meeting your key objective. Are there any sliders or images you can add a CTA click-through on? Does your landing page provide enough enticing information to encourage the objective to be met? Think also about the page layout, navigation and generally just how a new user would use the site. Make sure everything is in place for bold CTA’s and user-friendly completion of those CTA’s.
Finally, the last step in our digital health check refers to saving you time. You might be surprised by just how many technologies you can integrate into your website to save you a heap in administration and other business tasks.
At the most basic level, look at integrating your mailing list or newsletter sign-up with your mass email provider (for example, MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, or Exact Target). This simple integration means that rather than you having to individually enter new email contacts into your email database, all subscribers are automatically added to the list.
Another huge area to look at when it comes to time-saving is integrating your website and CRM (Customer Relationship Management system). One benefit of this integration allows any enquiry received through the website to be automatically assigned to a person in your CRM. For example, assume a person visits your website and enquires to the sales team about a service you offer. With integration, this enquiry is automatically assigned to a member of your sales team as a lead. Automating this process ensures you’ll never miss an enquiry or any feedback sent from your website. Perfect for all sites from B2C to B2B, product, service and e-commerce!
Another easy integration (useful for e-commerce stores) is the addition of a credit card payment gateway such as Stripe. You wouldn’t believe how many sites still think Paypal will do as a payment gateway. Enabling a secure credit card payment facility on the website can build confidence and trust, and save time by allowing automatic payment for products and services which are fed into your bank account without any required actions from you. Not to mention the dollar saving on gateway fees!
Ecommerce Stores can also look at integrating their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system into the website. This is a fantastic time-saving integration that basically involves any sales made online automatically updates in your inventory tracker with your ERP. This is great as it removes the need for any manual inventory processing or stocktakes from online sales.
For those companies using Sitecore, DMS (or Digital Marketing System) is certainly a feature that should be investigated and integrated. This system performs many tasks but none is better than allowing you to personalize a website’s visitor experience based on real-world data such as time and their location. For example, let’s assume you’re a large FMCG with different products available in different states. DMS can be used to read a user’s location, and then show them only the products available to them. In the same way, you might choose to show users different products during the day as you do later in the evening. For example, if someone visits your website during lunchtime, they see a range of microwave-friendly meals and quick snacks featured. However, the same person visiting at 9 pm at night sees features of deserts and wine on special. This type of personalization allows companies to get more highly targeted content to their visitors and is especially useful for any company that has different offerings based on location. DMS can help out in many other ways so this is just the tip of the iceberg on this front.
And there you have it! A quick 5 Digital Health Check for your website. We hope this helps you identify any updates and improvements for your website as you develop your strategy and direction for FY15-16.
If you’re unsure where to start or which solution is best for you, drop us a line here.
We’d love to hear about your digital requirements. Even if you don’t quite know what you need, get in touch as we can help formulate a whole digital strategy to meet your business objectives.