5 features the next version of your website should absolutely have
We’ve all been there at least once: You’re busy running your business and it’s been a while since you last updated your website. Upon closer inspection, it’s actually been 3, 4 or even 5 years since you last did anything on it. The firm you hired to design and develop your website years ago promised it would stand the test of time, but as technology evolves, so do web standards and usability. You look at what stands before you and realize that website is now effectively outdated.
Maybe the interface isn’t mobile and tablet friendly. Maybe your old WordPress plugins slow down your website considerably. Maybe your website’s loading time is so abysmal that search engines are dropping your site lower in their search results. Or maybe your website is just beyond its prime, somewhat functional but not effectively communicating your product, services, message or offer very well anymore.
Whatever the reason for a redesign, to reap the maximum benefits and turn this expense into a worthy investment, the next iteration of your website should have the following features:
1. A mobile-friendly interface
We’ve talked in the past about the importance of having a mobile-friendly website. Globally, as of December 2019, mobile and tablet users represent a 55% share of the market. In the United States alone, the share of mobile and tablet users is even higher, at almost 60%. These figures mean that in all likelihood, over half of your visitors are browsing your site from a mobile device. If your website is not built to provide an ergonomic experience for mobile users, this oversight will translate into a definitive loss of leads.
If alienating your visitors and losing out on sales aren’t enough, you should also know that in its 2018 Mobile First Indexing announcement, Google has started passively penalizing websites whose user interface is not adapted to mobile devices.
When developing for mobile web, ask your developer to test for all types of devices as different phones (and tablets) have differing resolutions, resulting in many discrepancies. Test, test and test again!
2. Fast loading speeds
During the last few years, the web has seen an increase of websites built with spaciousness and minimalism in mind. These roomy designs are often supported by stunning large-scale photography. While many would agree the web has been embellished as a result, these trends, propelled by the availability of faster cable internet and mobile 4G (and now 5G) speeds in large cities and suburbs, unfortunately gave rise to the creation of websites plagued with heavy high resolution images. Bloated and badly coded plugins are yet another culprit of slow-loading websites.
Even as we globally benefit from higher speeds than ever before, not everyone experiences the internet at the same pace. Depending on location, time of the day, internet service provider, browser and device, the loading time of a website can vary immensely. That being said, in all cases, less (time) is more. Data shows that the longer it takes for a page to load, the more likely visitors are to leave the site and go elsewhere. The effects of sluggishness are so drastic that a mere 5 seconds delay can increase your bounce rate by 90%! Mobile browsing, often slower than cable or fiber internet, suffers most from slow loading speeds.
Those heavy 4 megabyte images in your website’s home page slideshow must be resized and optimized. Those laggy plugins that take an eternity to load must either be updated or replaced. The cheap but slow web hosting plan you subscribed to years ago may do your business more harm than good. It’s time to speed things up!
Your new website should load in under 5 seconds or less on 4G/LTE for mobile, or else you will be losing potential sales.
3. Strategic calls to action
Gone is the era of text heavy websites featuring long paragraphs, few images and, buried deep in some sub-menu, an invitation to contact you. A good website in the era of interactive web is a marketing tool that promotes your organization 24/7. As such it should have obvious strategic calls to action that invite visitors to keep up with your products or services, invite them to purchase, contact you and/or signup to a special offer.
We’ve written about popular types of calls to action before. It would be a pity to miss such an opportunity to connect with your visitors and encourage them to interact with your message or offer. Every visitor is a potential lead, and every lead is a potential sale. So make sure the next iteration of your website has a well thought-out marketing strategy that is then carefully implemented.
4. Core services overview
It is a well known fact in the industry that visitors only scroll so far before they click on a link or leave the page altogether. “Above the fold” refers to the visible portion of a website before the user has to scroll to see the remaining content. Whichever content or offer is placed in that visible section has much higher chances of being seen and clicked on.
For clarity’s sake and to reduce the number of visitors departing from your site, your organization’s core services (and/or core message) should always be visible above the fold on desktop. While working on your message’s placement, consider the resolution of both laptops and larger monitor screens. If you have some analytics at your disposal, use the data available to you to produce the best possible solution for your average user, whenever possible.
When it comes to mobile interfaces, the meaning of above the fold can be more flexible. Visitors usually expect to have to scroll down as portrait is the prefered orientation. That being said, your services and main offer should still be as high as possible on the page for maximal impact.
Before you launch your next website, ask yourself, what is it that your visitors should know and see first? Make it easy for them to see and purchase your services or products early on.
5. Data Analytics
While most clients we’ve worked with over the years keep track of their visitors with analytics tools (Google Analytics is what we use), we quickly realized that few of them actually look at their analytics reports and even fewer act on their findings.
Data analytics is incredibly useful for many reasons. It enables you to find out: who lands on your website and where they come from; how visitors behave once they’re on your website; which pages they visit and how much time they spend reading your content; all the links they click on and the path they choose; who is browsing your website in real-time; how many visitors convert into leads, and more.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. We guarantee that you can lose yourself in data and learn more about your website than you thought possible if you dedicate yourself to reading and understanding the reports.
So make sure you use a good analytics tool to track your next website’s performance and take time (weekly, biweekly or monthly) to read and analyze the data. It may seem daunting at first, but you will soon be able to reap the benefits.
Building a new website from the ground up is no easy task. Work with experts to ensure that your next website or e-commerce meets your targets.Contact us today to start