Mobile-Friendly Websites: A Necessity

Mobile-Friendly Websites: A Necessity

Suppose I told you that seven out of 10 prospects and customers in your field can’t find your company. That would be pretty agitating, right?

Now, suppose I shared with you that 75% of the phone calls your prospects and customers want to make are not getting through. Would you go into full on freak-out mode?

As a digital marketer, I often ask: “Does your website adjust to a smart phone or a tablet?” Unfortunately, I often hear: “No.” This makes me equal parts concerned and sad.

Fun Fact: During 2018, over 200 million Americans will use a smartphone, and that number is expected to continue growing in the years to come.

So what are almost all of these people – including you, no doubt – doing on the tiny displays of these magic wands we carry in the palms of our hands? Besides calling, texting and emailing, they are:

1. Online shopping – Deciding what they desire and who to purchase it from.
2. Looking up directions – Hello, Google Maps.
3. Buying stuff – They’re making purchases by one little touch of a button on the screen.

You’re probably rolling your eyes right now while wondering why I’m stating the obvious. Or you may be objecting that prospects can do all three of those things on your regular website. But people don’t like to do either one of those three actions on your regular website while viewing the small screen of their smartphone. And they don’t need to, because there are numerous competitors – *cough cough* – Amazon, whose mobile site fits the small screen while providing a one-touch payment option.


If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, I’ve got more bad news: When a famished Pirate utters these words into a smartphone, “brunch in downtown Greenville”, search engines know what sort of device the request is coming from and move non-mobile-ready sites way down the search results. He or she wants a hot phone number, big directions on a small screen, and one-touch pay.

In the Age of the Customer, one of the best ways to stay relevant is being fully accessible and high-functioning when a customer would like to connect in a way that’s convenient for them. And what’s more convenient than the tiny screen that fits in the palm of a hand?

If you don’t have a mobile website and you’re ready to take that next step, do not fear! We can take this journey together.

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4 Essential Digital Marketing Elements That Your Business Needs

4 Essential Digital Marketing Elements That Your Business Needs

1. Branding:

This is so important because it shows your customers how you’re going to accommodate them. Your brand is your business name, logo, tagline, personality and more! Most popular brands evolve by adjusting to the times. This allows them to meet the ever-changing needs and expectations of the clients and customers. If nothing else, you need a brand name, a target audience, and an idea of how your brand personality is going to connect with your target audience.

(1971)

(2022)

This is a good example of brand evolution. Starbucks is continuously updating their brand and services, presenting a fresh take on a company we’ve known for decades.

2. Website:

If you’re a newbie, you probably don’t have a huge website budget yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have an awesome website. Ideally, your site should be simple and easy to navigate. Fast load times are also vital, or you might be losing people before they even see your site!

You will also want to make sure that your website is mobile-optimized, meaning that if someone wants to visit your site from a phone or tablet, they’ll still get a great browsing experience.

3. Content

Content covers all the things. Anything that educates your customers about your business is content. Potential clients are going to visit your website to see if and how your content is relates to them and their needs. The best content should be non-intrusive and inspire your customers to come to you.

4. Advertising:

A strategically planned-out ad can help your business grow substantially. And the best part? You don’t need a ton of money to get started! Advertising is key- don’t forget it!

If you are just getting started, my suggestion to you is re-marketing to people who have already visited your website. They’ve already shown interest, and all you need to do is seal the deal! Digital advertising is a great way to drive traffic to your site and convert prospects into customers.

There you have it! Four essential digital marketing elements that every business needs to have in order to set you up for success!

If you wish to have more traffic, leads or sales, then it’s time we talk!

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Do I Need a Website for My Business in 2022

Do I Need a Website for My Business in 2022?

 

Do I need a website for my business? 

I find it baffling how many businesses do not have a website in 2022. Whether it’s a simple splash page or an elaborate, feature-filled site and a blog, your business needs a professional website. Business owners have a lot of reasons for not having a business website. Most often, I hear the following:

  • I just can’t afford a website right now.
  • I have a Facebook business page, so I don’t need a website.
  • I don’t have the time or skill to invest in a website.

According to a recent article from Business Know-How, one of the top reasons startup businesses fail is because they have no online presence.

If your business is not on the Internet, then your business will be out of business.
-Bill Gates

Do I need a website for my business? Yes! Here’s why.

Your customers expect you to be online.

This fact alone is reason enough for you to get a website for your business. 60% of consumers perform a local search on a search engine like Google to find the products and services they need before ever stepping foot into a store. If you don’t have a website, how will these consumers find you on a Google search? How will you get any new business? What’s even worse than not being found by a potential customer? When that potential customer finds your competitor instead.

And your customers have high standards. They have no desire to visit your single page website that hasn’t been updated since 2004. Here are a few things consumers are looking for in a business website.

 

Mobile Optimization

  • 52.2% of online traffic was generated through mobile devices in 2018. (Statista)
  • 53% of mobile websites are abandoned by the visitor if the site takes longer than three seconds to load. (Google, 2018)
  • 85% of consumers think that a company’s mobile website should look as good or better than it’s desktop site. (Sweor)

Website Design

  • 38% of consumers will stop engaging with a website if the design is unattractive. (Hubspot)
  • 75% of consumers judge a company’s credibility based on their website’s overall design. (Invision)

User’s Experience

  • 88% of consumers say they won’t return to a website after a bad user experience.
  • Upon visiting the homepage of your site, 86% of consumers want to see product and service information, 64% expect to see contact information, and 52% want to know more about your business.

You don’t need anything complicated. You don’t need to overthink it. You just need a few pages with basic, up-to-date information that your audience is looking for.

You have control over the narrative.

The increasingly advanced features on social media platforms are prompting many business owners to utilize a Facebook business page as their primary online presence. In all fairness, social media does make it easy to connect with prospects, and Facebook now has 80 million business pages across the platform.

Reviews and comments on social media feel great, but you can’t control what others say. Shouldn’t you have control over the stories being told about your business? A website serves as an official online presence so that you can share your real story instead of depending on others to speak for you.

 

Other reasons you need a website, not just a Facebook business page:

  • You have control over the overall experience. A professionally designed website is the place for you to share your company culture, values, and services. A website can be customized, whereas Facebook only allows you to swap out your profile and cover photo. You can have the most amazing cover photo in the world, but when all is said and done, a Facebook page looks and operates like a Facebook page.
  • You make the rules. If you’re using a social media platform as your primary online presence, you’re at the mercy of that social media platform. Algorithms and rules change constantly and unpredictably. Just a few months ago, Facebook changed its algorithm to prioritize posts from friends over posts from businesses in user feeds. When you have a website, you control the content and the message.

My suggestion? Don’t choose one over the other. If you want to thrive, you’ll have a website and social media platforms that work together. Use your Facebook business page to build relationships with your target audience, and then convert them to website visitors, which you can then nurture into loyal customers.

It’s not that hard, and it’s not that expensive.

You don’t need to be a tech guru to get and maintain a website. Most digital marketing agencies offer basic, budget-friendly, starter websites. HighClick even offers training for business owners who want to learn to make updates to their site at their leisure.

Change your mindset.

When you spend marketing dollars on a professional website design, you are not getting a disposable product in return. A website is a gift that keeps on giving. A strategically designed, well-optimized website offers a better return on investment than any other form of advertising. With a website, your business can be discovered online by your target audience 24/7.

Why should you consider HighClick Media to design your business website?

  • We take time to fully understand your business goals and customer needs. We analyze your industry and competitors to ensure your website meets your specific needs.
  • We’re your partner, so we’ll advise you along the way.
  • Your new website will act as a new salesperson.
  • We’ll support you. Even after your website goes live, we’re here to answer any questions you may have.
  • We’ll teach you. If you want full control of your website, we’ll train you on how to make certain changes and updates yourself.
  • Our website builders keep search engine optimization in mind.
  • We regularly update the client during the web design process.

 

Need help creating a website for your business?

Let’s have a conversation!

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How to Know When it’s Time for a Website Overhaul

How To Know When It’s Time for a Website Overhaul

Technology has been advancing at a rapid pace over the past several years, and there’s every reason to believe that it’s not going to slow down anytime soon. What’s more, social media has evolved into a digital marketing hub, which has escalated the competition for businesses to remain relevant. In order to contend in today’s market, your organization’s website may need a redesign, as there are hallmarks that consumers expect in terms of accessibility, new content, and an engaging experience. If your website hasn’t been updated recently, it may be hurting your business both in leads and credibility.

Consider these critical indicators in determining whether it’s time for a website overhaul:

1) Your Website Is Not Mobile-Friendly

More than ever, people are using their smartphones and other mobile devices to connect to the internet. Accordingly, you need to make certain that your website is compatible with a variety of screen sizes without undermining the quality and layout of your site.

The overall appearance of your website on mobile should be congruent with the desktop version to guarantee that customers are capable of accessing links and navigating the page from their tablets or smartphones. 

Having a website that isn’t optimized for different screens can adversely affect your search engine rankings, since Google prioritizes responsive websites in their search results. 

If you haven’t already configured your website to function the same on mobile and tablet device screens, you should modernize the design of your website without delay.

2) Antiquated Content & Lackluster Visuals

No matter what type of business you’re operating, your website needs to have an inviting visual design. Mismatched fonts and out-of-date imagery and content can make your website seem unappealing to customers. Revamping your website aesthetic can give you an edge over your competitors.

When assessing the present design of your website, ask yourself these key questions:

  • Are the images displayed on your site an accurate visual representation of your brand? Poor-quality, stretched, or run-of-the-mill stock photos are a dead giveaway that you’re ready for a redesign.
  • Is your website content easy to read and comprehend? It’s critical for your viewers’ overall experience to achieve the proper balance of text, background, and visuals. 
  • Is your website too cluttered and disorderly? Having incongruous fonts, lengthy paragraphs, or compressed photos can make it hard for viewers to navigate your site.

3) Invalid, Inaccurate, or Irrelevant Content

Do you really want to occupy “prime real estate” on your website with content of little worth to your brand or the message you’re trying to convey? Your content should clearly communicate what your business is about: its core principles, the products and services you offer, and how to get in touch with you. Here are a few clues that your content might need to be refreshed:

  • There are products/services listed on your site that are no longer offered.
  • Your most recent blog or news article was posted over a year ago.
  • Your website contains immaterial content that doesn’t correspond with your brand.

4) You’re Not Putting Social Media to Good Use

As previously discussed, a majority of people use their smartphones and tablets to access the web. They also spend a LOT of time on social media!

Two reasons why you should be taking advantage of this popular resource:

Social Media Can Help Grow Your Brand

Facebook and Instagram are excellent avenues for sharing more innovative content, advertising your wares, and engaging with customers directly. By linking your social media profiles on your webpage, you can create more traffic to each platform, which is likely to grab customers’ attention more effectively.

Consumers Prefer Brands That Are Active on Social Media  

Making personal connections with customers online helps create loyal customers and generate better feedback. Plus, it’s a surefire way to identify what your customers are looking for – this, in turn, can help you answer their questions and make informative content that they want to interact with.

Your Professional Website Redesign Is Only A Phone Call Away!

At HighClick Media, our professional web designers are experts in website redesign! We love solving hard problems with creative solutions! Our website redesign process integrates marketing, design, technology, and digital strategy, to give you the best product possible. We believe that great design inspires website visitors to take action and to take notice of your company. Partnering with us as your web design agency ensures you that you are receiving the most comprehensive web design strategy possible. Give us a call today at 252.814.2150 to schedule a consultation with our web design team!

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How to Expand Your Brand for the Ecommerce Explosion

How to Expand Your Brand for the Ecommerce Explosion

Prior to 2020, the retail industry was projected to continue its gradual shift toward digital and mobile-first purchasing within the next decade. Nearing year’s end, the future has already arrived…a bit earlier than anticipated.

Thanks to social distancing and stay-at-home measures, ecommerce expansion has escalated from 16% of all U.S. retail sales in February of this year to 27% by April, based on data from the Bank of America and the U.S. Department of Commerce. The way that consumers shop progressed ten years in just a couple of months. And it happened before our very eyes!

Some organizations were better prepared than others. Presently, every business – regardless of its scope or size – has the chance to revamp its ecommerce approach.

In this article, we’ll explore four ways that you can transform your brand in order to better connect people with products online:

Redefine Loyalty

While ecommerce brands are notorious for their pricing wars, customers these days are seeking more than simply a good deal – it’s the total value that they want. In a recent global survey carried out by Ipsos, two out of three respondents stated that the way businesses act in response to COVID-19 will influence their spending. Half of all participants asserted that they are inclined to pay more for a product if they can be assured of its quality and safety, according to research by Nielsen.

Having the proper approach to customers can help you further deliver that value. Nearly two-thirds of consumers surveyed assert that exceptional customer service is critical when deciding where to shop online, according to a Kantar study commissioned by Facebook. By being transparent in updating order details and shipping timelines, you can greatly enhance the customer’s experience.

Problem-solving is another great way to build loyalty with customers. Platforms that allow real-time messaging can help make transactions smoother and more personalized. In addition, your willingness to issue refunds, process reshipments, and engage one-on-one with customers can help contribute value to your brand.

Advancing the common good, through nonprofit donations and partnerships, can also help. By demonstrating to customers how their purchases give back to the community, you can foster a sense of community and positivity.

Build for Boomers

Baby Boomers aren’t generally regarded as the savviest ecommerce users. Regardless, their mobile and online purchases have increased 85% year-over-year, based on research from Facebook IQ. Given the magnitude and median income of this demographic, Boomers could very well signify your next big opportunity.

Nevertheless, 78% of respondents in that same study said that they encountered challenges while holiday shopping on mobile devices – which means you’ll have to come up with the proper user experience (UX) strategy in order to engage Boomers.

Major points of conflict include too-small fonts, slow-loading sites or apps, hard-to-understand product info, and too many screens or steps to complete transactions. UX personalization can help improve shopping experiences for these customers.

Consistently poll different groups of people who use your site or app, so you can pinpoint the main barriers to purchasing and make adjustments if necessary.

Promote Agility

In a recent survey from GlobalWebIndex, 80% of respondents report having delayed a major purchase due to the coronavirus outbreak.

You simply can’t afford to wait for the market to bounce back – you have to expedite it. But how? By capitalizing on the opportunity to embrace an agile organizational structure.

Agility allows you to bring your senior leadership team into alignment and make informed marketing decisions in real-time.

Adapt to “FOGO”

That’s “fear of going out,” for the uninitiated. Only half of the people surveyed worldwide are ready to return to stores right now, according to GlobalWebIndex data.

Ready for another marketing acronym? Okay, here we go. Compared to 2019, there has been a 208% increase in BOPIS (that’s “Buy Online, Pickup In-Store”) purchases, with over a third of them coming from first-time BOPIS shoppers, based on data from Adobe Analytics. Consumers are also more receptive to contactless shopping than ever before.

FOGO is a particularly relevant topic if your business involves a sizable brick-and-mortar presence. A number of retailers have effectively fashioned solutions that keep in-person interaction to a minimum, such as mobile payments, self-service checkouts, contactless returns, and improved browsing experiences.

Even if brands known for their large retail presence don’t run their own stores, they are beginning to take the concept of FOGO as a sign to create offerings that can be ordered exclusively on the internet

Conclusion

Don’t settle for “business as usual.” The best brands are established in times of crisis. Pursuing the questions that appear unanswerable today might lead to solutions that could essentially create new opportunities to propel your business for years to come.

If you’re looking to expand your brand by integrating ecommerce capabilities into your website and social media pages, the digital marketing experts at HighClick Media are more than happy to help you along on your journey. Give us a call at 252.814.2150 today or drop us a line here.

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Is Social Commerce the Future of Ecommerce?

Is Social Commerce the Future of Ecommerce?

Over the past few years, the way we use social media has evolved.

Originally, social media was designed as a way to connect with people near and far. But as platforms have progressed, they’ve begun connecting us with brands as well. Nowadays, consumers can complete a purchase on their favorite social media site – from start to finish – without ever having to exit the platform.

Social media has finally advanced enough to play a significant role in the thriving world of ecommerce.

We’ve arrived at the era of social commerce where social media platforms are quite literally becoming search engines for shoppers.

What Is Social Commerce?

Simply put, social commerce is the buying and selling of items and services through a specific social media platform. The entire shopping experience – from product promotion to after-service sales – is incorporated into interactive features available within the social networking site.

Thanks to social commerce, users can shop directly from their social media feeds.

How Is Social Commerce Different From Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing is a technique geared towards steering qualified traffic to an external website or online store.

Social commerce, on the other hand, provides the convenience of one-stop shopping within a social media site or app – an exciting alternative for today’s on-the-go shoppers.

The Emergence of Social Commerce

Shoppers these days are impatient – maybe even a little spoiled. Our attention spans are just 10 seconds long, if that.

Our social media obsession has hardwired us to expect instant gratification in all of our digital interactions. Social commerce is the solution, by virtue of the fact that it understands and accommodates this fundamental change in our preferences.

If we were to pinpoint the primary cause for the emergence of social commerce, it would undoubtedly be the Millennial generation. Indeed, Millennials were the catalyst for the shift toward social commerce in the first place.

Due to the enormous spending power of this generation – estimated at a whopping $1.4 trillion already and projected to be $4 trillion by 2030 – businesses understand that they are duty-bound to cater their efforts towards Millennials.

Essentially, there are just two factors that significantly impact the success of a business:

  • A product or service that fulfills a genuine need in the market
  • A streamlined buying process that makes it simple for customers to make a purchase

The potentiality of social commerce lies in the latter requirement – the whole purchasing process is simplified, thanks to features such as chatbots and auto-fill payments.

Understanding this critical component of online shopping, Facebook rolled out its Shops feature with the sole intention of giving people “a place to experience the joy of shopping versus the chore of buying.”

Let’s be clear: social commerce isn’t some passing fancy that’s going to fizzle out in a matter of months – it characterizes the way online business will be conducted from now on.

For organizations that don’t wish to be caught off-guard, it’s critical that they pivot towards social commerce.

that was easy

 

What Are the Advantages of Social Commerce?

One of the key characteristics of social commerce is its seamlessness. Seamless, in this context, refers to delivering an individualized experience for each customer whenever and wherever they want.

Social commerce meets these criteria in that brands can now have an entire conversation with a customer, instead of shifting from phone to desktop and eventually to a brick-and-mortar store. 

To wit, a shopping experience targeted towards the wants and needs of each individual shopper will become the favored solution. While price and quality still matter, being regarded as a cherished customer is an enormous part of the total experience for today’s shopper.

A staggering 75% of consumers are apt to purchase from a brand if its marketing content addresses them by name and offers suggestions based on their buying history.

Brick-and-mortar retailers recognized this long ago and began installing greeters at the entrances to welcome customers. The attention showered on customers went a long way toward building brand loyalty.

Social Commerce vs. Traditional Ecommerce

Traditional ecommerce models require shoppers to go through an excessive number of steps, increasing the risk that they will abandon the entire purchasing process.

Social commerce, on the other hand, centralizes the whole customer journey in one location. Shoppers can locate the products they need, read customer reviews, make any inquiries they might have, and check out – all without leaving the platform.

With fewer steps required to complete a purchase, customers are much less likely to get confused, frustrated, abandon their carts, and leave the site.

It’s important to note that, with social commerce, you still manage your products and market the way you normally do. However, you must take the added step of linking your inventory with the platform and streamlining the journey for customers engaged via social media.

Which Social Media Platforms Have Enabled Social Commerce So Far?

With an overwhelming number of physical stores having to shut down due to government lockdown measures earlier this year, many businesses resorted to ecommerce in order to survive.

Fortunately, many of the top social media sites had already integrated social commerce capabilities into their platforms or were actively working on doing so.

Facebook Shops

The world’s largest social media platform’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic came in the form of Facebook Shops. This new feature gives businesses the ability to advertise and sell products directly from the Facebook platform.

Brands already utilizing an ecommerce platform on their website, such as Shopify, can integrate it seamlessly with Facebook to sell to their social media followers.

Facebook Messenger

While email boasts the highest return on investment of all traditional digital marketing strategies, social media messaging app sales have now greatly outpaced email.

Open rates and click-through rates of ecommerce emails are, for the most part, relatively low: 15%-25% and 2.5%, respectively. By comparison, Facebook Messenger chatbots generate an astounding 80% open rate and 20% click-through rates on average.

Facebook Messenger’s chatbots come equipped with a number of potent features, including:

  • Greeting capabilities and assisting customers to “Get Started”
  • Allowing brands to send and receive text/images with customized calls-to-action
  • Templates letting customers interact with chatbots with the help of interactive visuals

Facebook “Buy” Buttons

Until recently, brands used call-to-action buttons on social media posts to divert users to a third-party site in order to complete their purchase.

Now, when brands include “Buy” buttons on their social media channel, customers can buy their products easily and then continue on Facebook right where they left off.

Instagram

Thus far, Instagram has primarily been used for brand discovery – the most recent data indicates that 70% of consumers use the platform to find out about new products. However, Instagram has laid the groundwork towards becoming an ecommerce hub – a smart move considering that more than 200 million users frequent at least one business profile each day.

The Instagram Checkout feature enables shoppers to browse through images and videos of products in their feed. Once they find an item they’re interested in buying, they can click on the post, select the dimensions or colors as applicable, and then pay for their purchase – all without leaving Instagram!

With Instagram’s shoppable posts and Stories features, brands can tag images or videos with the name, price, and description of catalog items that users can then click on to learn more about the product.

Pinterest

With more than 416 million active monthly users worldwide, Pinterest is another powerhouse channel for social commerce.

Brands can use Rich Pins to sell their products within the platform. Rich Pins are an organic format providing additional up-to-date information about the Pin itself, including the product’s price and availability.

Buyable Pins allow customers to purchase products directly on Pinterest without the platform redirecting them elsewhere. These Pins are distinctive thanks to the big blue “Buy It” button positioned next to the iconic “Pin It” button.

Buyable Pins allow users to see the product’s price, its seller, and read the descriptions. Once shoppers click on the “Buy It” button, they’re automatically directed to the Checkout page within the platform.

Snapchat

It might be surprising to find Snapchat in this list – but after a number of updates, this Gen-Z-favorite platform is making a pass at social commerce as well.

The most interesting – but not necessarily astonishing – thing about Snapchat’s attempt at competing with larger social platforms is the fact that it’s using augmented reality.

Snapchat’s 238 million users will soon be able to use the app’s lens-altering selfies to digitally try on shoes – whimsically dubbed as “shoefies.”

This is a crucial step in the platform’s ultimate goal of enabling users to virtually “try on” a complete wardrobe.

Given that reality-altering lenses are integral to the app and the fact that its users are predominantly Millennials and Gen Zers – the principal drivers of social commerce – Snapchat figures to become one of the leading social commerce channels in the coming years.

Augmented reality (AR) is a powerful tool that ecommerce companies can’t afford to shrug off. Consider that:

  • 61% of consumers prefer to shop sites that offer augmented reality
  • 49% of online shoppers are willing to pay more for an item if they can preview it in AR
  • 45% of consumers state that AR reduces the amount of time spent on making a purchasing decision

TikTok

The fastest-growing social media site around, especially among younger users, TikTok is also integrating social commerce capabilities into its platform. TikTok recently partnered with ecommerce giant Shopify to integrate in-app shopping features. Thanks to this partnership, brands can create and manage their TikTok marketing campaigns from the Shopify dashboard after installing the TikTok channel app through the Shopify app store.

Brands can create a TikTok Pixel to track actions – such as users visiting their site, adding an item to their cart, and completing their order. Using ad templates designed specifically for ecommerce, brands can also create in-feed shoppable video ads.

YouTube

Even YouTube, the stalwart video-based platform, is elevating their ecommerce game by implementing a more shoppable ad format. By expanding the call-to-action buttons on video ads, brands are able to drive more traffic to specific product pages. Businesses can sync their Google Merchant Center feed to the video ads to create a browsable display of featured products.

Final Thoughts

Social media platforms are perpetually coming up with innovative ways to simplify the purchasing process. Social commerce is but the latest in these continuing efforts.

If your brand is willing to invest the time and resources now to get up to speed on the fundamentals of social commerce while the trend is still in its infancy, you’ll be able to provide superior service to your customers for years to come.

Need help getting started with social commerce on one or more social media platforms? HighClick Media is here to help! Give us a call at 252.814.2150 today to find out how we can help elevate your brand!

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6 Things People Might Hate About Your Website (And How To Address Them)

6 Things People Might Totally Hate About Your Website (And How To Address Them)

Whatever the size of your organization, one of the first things a business owner seeks to sort out is your website – understandably so, given the digital age in which we live.

A good website is an integral part of any business’s success; but for e-commerce companies, in particular, it’s absolutely essential. Notwithstanding, businesses are often quick to launch a website without making certain that it functions in a user-friendly manner. 

Making the effort to ensure that your website is fully operative – both from a design and usability perspective – can help your site become a chief source of both leads and revenue. But neglecting to do so could bring about an infinite number of missed opportunities.

In this article, we’ll take a look at six key components that people generally hate about websites in order to help you avoid making the same mistakes with your site.

Dumbledore is waiting for something to happen...impatiently.

Slow Loading Times

Let’s start with one of the greatest nuisances for web users today – loading time. In this day and age, people want instant gratification in every area of their lives; rapid access to web pages is merely another “necessity” that we’ve come to expect. Indeed, the impatience level of most people is about 3 seconds – with approximately 40% of individuals reporting that they’ve exited a site which has failed to load in that time.

There are a number of ways you can effectively overcome slow loading times. These range from quick fixes such as decreasing the amount of media on a page as well as compressing large image sizes, to more technical solutions – some of which might necessitate the services of a professional web developer.

Jocelyn from Schitt's Creek: So what does this mean?

Keyword-Stuffed Copy

Website content that’s jam-packed with keywords does nothing but lead to haphazard copy providing very little value to consumers. Moreover, it actually undermines your search ranking, as Google now penalizes sites observed to be employing this method – meaning that there’s no good reason for businesses to persist in this practice.

The concept of keyword stuffing came about at the turn of the century when Google’s search algorithm leaned heavily on the amount of keywords featured on a website. This led to marketers incorporating as many keywords into their copy as possible, without regard to the overall quality of the content – which, at the time, saw their websites ascending through Google’s search rankings.

Since that time, Google’s ranking algorithms have progressed by leaps and bounds, and now a considerable burden is being placed on website reputability and user behavior. Regrettably, many marketers are still seeking to optimize their sites through the now-antiquated practice of keyword stuffing.

You ought to have a good idea of the content that’s currently on your site. However, it’s never a bad idea to revisit your copy to make certain that it provides genuine value to website visitors and hasn’t fallen into the trap of keyword stuffing. You can have an in-house employee refresh your copy or hire a professional copywriter to update it for you. The long-term effects of being penalized by Google will outbalance the short-term commitment of time and money in rewriting the content – the sooner you get this taken care of, the better.

Steve Harvey is a bit overwhelmed by all the messages on his computer.

Too Much Text

While it’s important to provide quality content that users will find beneficial, websites should also be visually appealing. Content doesn’t only consist of written copy; nowadays, images play a critical role as well. Not only do images help provide a visual reference, but they’re also ideal for splitting up large portions of text.

Websites featuring an excess of verbiage will instantly turn off many users. In this day and age, when people’s patience levels and attention spans are perpetually declining, it’s unreasonable to expect them to wade through multiple paragraphs of text.

Britney Spears is very confused...as per usual.

It Doesn’t Clearly State What Your Business Does

Having a website that doesn’t explicitly spell out what your business does is a surefire way to suffer defeat at the hands of your competitors. As with many decisions these days, consumers are likely to hop online and research their options before investing in a particular product, business, or service.

When a user visits your website, they’ll expect to quickly find out what it is you do and how your product or service could be of use to them. It’s vital that you communicate this information right away, as consumers are typically only a couple of clicks away from looking elsewhere.

If you know your target audience would prefer to be spoken to in plain English, then you’d be wise to stay away from industry jargon as this could make your product offering hard to understand. It’s always best to keep your message as clear and concise as possible.

Overusing Stock Imagery

Users welcome an image or two to break up sections of written copy. Regardless, businesses that choose to utilize stock imagery have to take into account the types of images they use. A huge number of identical or similar-looking images are being overused these days. Adding to these trends could leave your website looking tacky and outdated while failing to reflect the true nature of your business.

The images you choose to use on your site should add value as far as providing a visual aid for the information on the page – or, at the very least, be aesthetically appealing while still being relative to the page itself.

Stock images (such as the two pictured above) are classic examples of the type of imagery that will leave your business looking dull and unimaginative. Make sure your brand identity isn’t obscured amidst the excessive use of generic images.

girl scrolling on her mobile device

Not Optimized for Mobile Devices

While mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are being used to surf the internet more than ever before, a staggering number of websites still aren’t optimized for mobile. This often makes for a lousy user experience for visitors attempting to browse a site that lacks mobile functionality.

Whether it’s persistent pinching and pulling to navigate each page, multiple clicks on the wrong tabs due to the display screen being too small, or a section of the web page not showing up correctly on the screen – the end result is typically that visitors will no longer wish to return to the website, at least not on mobile devices.

If you have yet to optimize your website for mobile, it’s time to take a look at how much of your traffic is arriving via mobile. If it’s a considerable chunk – and let’s be honest, it almost certainly is – then optimizing your website should be your primary concern. You don’t want to be turning away potential customers due to negative experiences while navigating your site.

Final Thoughts

As demonstrated here, there are a number of elements that visitors dislike or find annoying about business websites. Hopefully, this list will help you identify any trouble spots on your site while also offering some practical ideas for how to improve it.

Before you go about making drastic changes, though, it’s important to take a close look at how your website is currently performing. Doing so will allow you to better track how the changes you make now will impact your site’s performance going forward.

If you’re like a lot of small businesses, the highly technical task of updating and optimizing your website might be a bit outside the scope of your personnel’s capabilities. Never fear! The knowledgeable web designers and developers at HighClick Media are ready, willing, and able to help! Give us a call today at 252.814.2150 or visit our website for more information!

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10 Things to Remember When Launching Your Website

10 Things To Remember When Launching Your Website

Launching a website is a big decision. If you make the wrong choice, it can cost you thousands of dollars and years to correct. Before launching your website, there are a few things you should remember so that you can achieve the desired success.

Ensure That Your Logo Represents Your Brand

Creating your logo design for a website should be simple yet creative and unique so that it can be easily recognized by customers. It should also represent your brand in a way that’s straightforward for users to understand. The best logos usually include text, illustrations, or designs with the company name included in them.

Research Your Competitors Carefully

In any niche market or industry today, it pays to know what your competitors are doing at all times. This will help you come up with better ways of getting ahead of them, by offering something they don’t have or targeting their audiences effectively without being noticed. You can do this through various means, such as social media monitoring tools and third-party trackers among others.

Have Great Content That Is Unique and Informative

Having great content definitely plays a role when trying to attract users to visit your site from time to time. However, this doesn’t mean you should plagiarize others’ work! Just make sure that the content you have is unique in its own way and provides genuine information to your users.

Develop an Effective SEO Strategy

If you want your site to succeed, you cannot overlook the importance of having an effective SEO strategy. This is one of the most important aspects you will need to consider before launching your website so that it ranks high on all major search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

There are many elements that can be used in developing a good SEO plan, but what matters the most is making sure that these strategies stay updated as much as possible. Some of the best SEO practices to include in your strategy include practicing link building, proper keyword research, using meta tags, and much more.

Do Not Ignore the Mobile Market

It’s no longer news that mobile internet usage has overtaken desktop usage worldwide. With this in mind, you should not ignore the importance of having a responsive website that’s compatible with all devices, including tablets and smartphones. Therefore, test your site for mobile compatibility before taking it live.

Be Consistent with Your Content

When it comes to having a successful website, consistency definitely plays an important role as well. You need to make sure that you post new blog posts on a regular basis. This includes updating existing ones from time to time so that they remain fresh for visitors who might be checking out your site after some months of not visiting it. This will also help Google know what topics or categories are most relevant to yours, therefore giving you more chances of ranking high when people search for those keywords online.

Build a Strong Relationship with Users and Readers

Building strong relationships with readers doesn’t only mean posting engaging content, it also means having the patience to reply to their concerns or questions as much as possible. This will help you establish a strong connection with your audience and give them reasons to come back for more. By building a relationship with your audience, you will, without a doubt, gain an edge over your competition.

Focus On Your Users’ Needs and Goals

When launching your website, never forget that users are the ones who matter most! Their needs and goals must be put first before anything else. Meeting their goals determines whether your site will be successful enough in attracting more customers through referrals and retaining existing ones. When you provide value and do everything right, then people might get curious about what products or services you offer and find themselves visiting the site more often.

Remember to Prioritize Content Sharing On Social Media Platforms

Social media marketing plays a very important role when trying to get the word out about your website or its services. In fact, some of the best ways you can use social media for free include promoting blog posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, sharing content with friends and followers on these platforms, joining groups that share similar interests like Pinterest boards and LinkedIn groups, and more. Just make sure not to spam people’s feeds by oversharing!

Have an Email Newsletter Ready for Subscribers

  1. Having an email newsletter ready means that you are taking advantage of one of the most effective ways to interact with visitors on a regular basis without being noticed by Google as “spammy” links which will affect your site’s rankings! An email list allows you to send updates about new posts or products anytime while staying at the top of your mind without appearing pushy whatsoever. This method has been proven successful time and again when done right.

Final Thoughts

Your website is an invaluable tool for your business. It not only helps you attract more users but also provides information that can help consumers make better decisions about the products and services they’re interested in buying. Therefore, increasing your chances of making a sale that will eventually lead to generating revenue should be your first priority. Use this article as a guide before launching your site, and you will achieve optimal success in no time.

Keep in mind that building a professional website for your business is no easy task. But it’s not in which you have to “go it alone.” HighClick Media is here to help! Our talented team of professional website designers and developers can customize your site to your exact specifications. Maybe you already have a business website, but it’s time for an update or a total facelift. We can help with that as well! Give us a call today at 252.814.2150 or drop us a line here to see how we can help you elevate your brand!

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16 Critical Elements of Great Website Design

16 Critical Elements of Great Website Design

Thanks to advanced technology, building a website today can be extremely simple. However, designing a website that marries impeccable functionality with stunning visuals is still challenging. It goes without saying that websites are now a fundamental part of a business’s online identity.

No business can hope to survive, let alone thrive, in today’s cutthroat market without an attractive, easy-to-navigate website. Far too many businesses fail at building a substantial online presence for their brand due to a subpar website.

So, why do some websites fail to attract and hold traffic where others succeed?

Certain elements of a website design contribute the most to building visitor interest in a website. Including these elements on your site gives it a beautiful visual appeal along with flawless functionality and authority. These are also the components that are most often botched during development.

Let’s take a closer look at 16 critical elements for building a great website.

Color Schemes

The color scheme of a website is seldom paid attention to when developing a website. However, you should know how important a role it plays in influencing a visitor’s behavior. Therefore, it’s important to use a color scheme that will best appeal to your visitors while also representing your brand well.

For instance, if you visit the fast-food giant McDonald’s website, you’ll be greeted with a color scheme that combines red, white, and yellow. These colors have been synonymous with the brand for ages.

We suggest first choosing the dominant color that best represents your brand. You can then choose an analogous color scheme that complements your dominant color choice to highlight certain sections of your site, like call-to-action (CTA) buttons.

White Space

Open any website today and you’ll find that a majority of these websites possess white space that divides certain sections of the webpages. These spaces lend an immaculate and accessible design to your site. They make the content or CTA buttons on your site easy to identify and read for visitors.

Some websites also use white space to give certain aspects of the site more emphasis than others. For instance, white space can be used to make certain “special deals” the focal point of a page.

Make sure you’re consistent in spacing the gaps between sections of your site. We recommend beginning with the navigation and then moving your attention to the content of your site. A grid-based layout can help you design a clean interface that maintains consistency across the entire page.

Easy Navigation

Sites that make it complicated for their visitors to navigate normally experience higher bounce rates.

As such, it’s imperative to facilitate simple navigation by giving users an easy-to-use and intuitive website. The website should offer users simple routes to navigate to certain fundamental aspects of a site, recommended pages, along with a way back to the original page.

Take a look at this quick navigation menu bar in Marks & Spencer’s website:

We suggest using parallax scrolling as a navigation system, which includes arrows that make a website’s user interface (UI) easy to interact with. Therefore, you must place a strong emphasis on simple navigation if you want visitors to spend more time on your site.

Distinct Typography

Using unique typography to present content on your site is an ideal way to distinguish yourself from other similar sites online. The fonts you ultimately choose should complement your brand while communicating its message to visitors. It’s also important to consider a font that makes your site look professional without appearing bland.

We suggest using a font size of at least 16 pixels to make your site’s content readable on mobile and desktop devices. You can use different but complementary fonts to highlight the headings and subheadings on the site. Finally, use contrasting color schemes to match your text with the background perfectly. Pairing darker tones with lighter colors will do the trick just fine.

Outstanding Visuals

This goes without saying, but certain visual cues on your site will give any website a distinct edge over similar websites online. Populating a webpage with high-resolution images and beautiful illustrations can make your site more compelling to visitors.

For example, take a look at this high-definition image from Hershey:

Of course, you can’t use just any random visuals on your site. They should align with what your brand stands for.

Use stunning banner images. You can populate your page with custom-made images, which can also be used to highlight certain key focal points of your site. Try to avoid using too many stock photos on your pages.

Site Usability

Aside from beautiful design, you also need to create a site that provides users with a satisfying user experience (UX). Most developers make the critical mistake of compromising a site’s usability in favor of its overall visual design. It’s imperative to optimize a site in order to facilitate smooth interaction between the site’s elements and visitors. A subpar UX design could result in your website’s bounce rate blowing through the roof.

You can enhance the user experience by using animations, readable and engaging content, simple navigation, and more interactive elements.

 

High-Quality Content

Having high-quality content is integral to optimizing search engine rankings for your site and thus generating more traffic to your site. It’s also absolutely essential to populate your site with quality content in order to keep your visitors engaged. Top-notch content that’s relevant to your brand can persuade visitors to spend more time on your site, explore other areas, or make a purchase.

We recommend dividing your content based on its relevance. Always keep relevant information about your website, product, or service at the top. Follow it up with content that explains your services or highlights features that set you apart from competitors.

Finally, use an FAQ section to answer questions that a visitor may have about your service.

Have a look at this FAQ page design from Shopify:

Compelling Calls to Action

A website exists to persuade a visitor to take certain actions on it. CTA buttons on a site trigger this response from visitors. As such, you need to place CTA buttons strategically throughout your site to persuade visitors to perform desirable actions on the webpage. The call-to-action messages themselves must be persuasive. They should explain what you want visitors to do in a few words.

“Buy Now,” “Sign up Free,” “Contact Us,” etc. are all examples of CTA buttons commonly used by most websites.

Make sure your landing page leads users to all the CTA buttons present on the page. You can utilize contrasting color schemes, content, and white spaces to highlight a CTA button.

Take a look at this CTA button used by Spotify:

If you have a variety of CTA buttons on your page, determine which type is more important and use it more prominently.

Mobile-Friendly Design

It is a well-known fact that the majority of websites receive most of their traffic from mobile users. With over 7 billion active smartphone users around the world today, not optimizing your site for mobile devices means losing out on such a massive audience. Suffice it to say, mobile optimization is one of the first things you need to do when building a website.

You need to utilize a custom web design that responds and adapts to various mobile screen sizes automatically.

We recommend using Google Search Console or other free tools like Pingdom or BrowserStack to check whether your site is mobile-friendly.

SEO-Friendly Elements

As you may know by now, search engines like Google take many aspects of a site’s user experience into consideration when ranking a site. As such, a developer needs to consider search engine optimization from the very beginning of a website’s design process. Elements like simple navigation, scannable text, loading speed, and mobile friendliness contribute to the overall user experience.

A problem with any of the above elements will result in a user having a poor experience with your site, eventually increasing its bounce rate. Google will take this high bounce as a sign of bad UX and ultimately plummet your site in search engine rankings.

It’s important to consider how each element will contribute to your site’s SEO. We suggest working with an SEO expert, who will monitor and assess all crucial elements of your site while it is in development.

Right Usage of Ads

You’ll find many websites online that have successfully monetized their websites by displaying ads on them. If used appropriately, display ads can be a great way to earn some revenue from your website. However, such advertisements – if used incorrectly – can aggravate your visitor’s user experience. In short, advertisements have the power to make or break your site.

As such, we discourage using too many ads on websites as it can harm the user experience. You don’t want your website to look unprofessional, which is exactly what will happen if your webpage is littered with ads.

The most effective way to advertise on a site, in our opinion, would be combining banner ads with affiliate marketing. Make sure your ads integrate organically with your site. They shouldn’t feel out of place and interfere with the content on your site.

Security

Online security should be an integral part of any website. Security and privacy have often been a major cause of concern for individuals surfing the web. Security alerts popping up when someone tries to open your site is a surefire way of turning potential website visitors away forever.

Internet security should be given as much focus as the design and overall functionality of your site. It should be mandatory for your website to implement an HTTPS protocol. This will help protect a user’s information, lend some much-needed credibility, and build trust among prospects. 

We suggest buying SSL certificates from reliable hosting service providers. These are cheap to acquire and can be integrated seamlessly with your site.

Integrating Social Media

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have billions of active users from all around the world. So it only makes sense to integrate social media into your site’s design plan. You should have social media buttons that instantly redirect your users to your site’s official social media channel. You can also have buttons that allow users to directly share certain content or products from your website on their private channels. 

Having social media buttons strategically placed on your website is a great way of indirectly marketing your site, opening doors for people to leap in directly onto your site from their respective social media profiles online. 

Adding Internal and External Links

A proper link-building strategy can prove to be a great way of enhancing the brand authority of your website. It is important to learn how to build internal and external links to help boost your website’s performance. For instance, you can direct users to certain content on your site and improve its SEO performance by using appropriate internal links.

Proper link-building research requires a good strategy. We suggest finding out how your competitor’s websites are employing their link-building strategy. Draw inspiration for sites that are using the strategy with productive results.

Comments Section

We’ve already stressed how important it is to make your site as interactive and engaging as possible. Aside from content, you can add a comments section to your site, which allows users to leave their two cents below a particular content or product information. This can be a great way to receive feedback, which can be used to improve your service.

If you are running an ecommerce store, we recommend adding a review section similar to what is found on sites like Amazon and eBay. A dedicated comments and review section will make your site more interactive and improve brand loyalty.

Achievements and Endorsements

This is perhaps the most effective and widely adopted way of building trust among customers. It is in your business’s best interest to flaunt your past achievements on your website for all to see. Displaying your achievements can go a long way towards building a solid reputation for your business and brand.

We recommend having a dedicated section for testimonials, displaying positive comments from at least 4 to 5 past clients.

We also suggest highlighting the names of all the popular brands you’ve served. If you’ve received endorsements from authoritative brands, add them to your site as well.

Final Thoughts

While these 16 elements can seem a bit overwhelming, they’re essential to building a website that not only looks fantastic but functions flawlessly as well.

Are you ready for the good news? You don’t have to do it on your own!

HighClick Media is a full-service digital marketing agency that specializes in professional website design. Our talented web designers will craft your business website with lots of TLC and plenty of technical prowess! We can build you a brand new website from scratch or spruce up your existing site.

Interested? Reach out to HighClick Media today at 252.814.2150 or drop us a line here. We’ll be glad to show you how we can help #elevateyourbrand with a world-class website for your business.

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Guest blogger Joseph Schneider is the Director of Marketing at Haitna, a digital marketing firm based in Texas.

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The Pros & Cons of Using Animation On Your Website

The Pros & Cons of Using Animation On Your Website

Incorporating elements of animation is a great way to make your website come to life. When properly implemented, quality animation can significantly enhance your site’s user experience as well as its overall effectiveness.

Animation in the right place at the right time has the power to capture a user’s attention, improve engagement, secure more conversions, and even increase sales.

That being said, animation also presents its share of challenges. For one thing, it’s easy to get carried away and add an excessive amount of animation. Even professional designers and developers have to toe the line between making the most of all that animation has to offer and creating a site that’s overwhelmed with too much activity.

Instead of attracting more visitors to your site, badly executed animation can actually alienate users. Animation that’s carelessly integrated into your design can create confusion, discord, and chaos for users.

If you’re thinking about including elements of animation on your business website, there are a few things you should take into consideration. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of using animation on your website.

PROS:

Animation Can Help Increase User Engagement

Adding animation to your website design is sure to grab a user’s attention more than just a static screen. Websites that not only function efficiently but look good as well are more likely to enjoy positive feedback and decreased bounce rates from users.

Animation Lends Authenticity and Legitimacy to Your Site

Online scammers don’t generally invest a lot of time or effort into a complex website design. When done well, animation not only indicates to users that your website is legitimate, it also positions your brand as a credible authority in your field.

Animation Enhances the Overall Design of Your Site

The right animation effects can breathe life into your website design, leaving a lasting impression with visitors. Couple an aesthetically pleasing design with interactive elements and you’ll further increase users’ interest in spending more time on your site.

CONS:

Animation Can Slow Page Loading Speeds

Since animation places a heavy load on website resources, it can cause slower load speeds for both individual pages and the site itself. Slow loading times can frustrate users, leading them to move on to other sites that have what they’re looking for but load much faster. Longer loading times can also negatively impact your rankings in Google search engine results.

Animation Can Distract from Your Business Goals

Having too many animated elements can annoy users and cause them to abandon your website without completing a purchase – regardless of what motivated them to visit in the first place. When inexpertly executed, web animation can also draw a user’s attention away from your core message. Instead of focusing on what products to buy, visitors may become overly distracted by the movement on the page.

Animation Might Not Always Improve User Experience

While animation may add to the visual appeal of your website, it doesn’t always enhance the user’s experience. Websites should be designed to function in a way that’s easy for visitors to use. Adding animation where it’s not needed can make a site harder to navigate and ultimately detract from the overall user experience.

Final Thoughts

Before determining whether animation is right for your website, consider the following questions:

  • What is its purpose?
  • Will it enhance or detract from the user experience?
  • How will it benefit users or add to your message?
  • Will it help guide your visitors in the right direction (e.g., making a purchase or booking an appointment)?
  • Will it slow your site down?
  • Can you execute it well?

When it comes to web animation, it’s best to exercise a less-is-more approach. You shouldn’t simply include animation whenever and wherever you want – its use must always be justified. By and large, web animation should always be integrated in ways that align with your broader business objectives.

So, should you use animation on your website? That, of course, is up to you to decide. Ultimately, it all boils down to the user experience you can and want to provide.

By heeding the advice above, it’s possible to incorporate elements of animation into your business website design that will allow you to reap all the benefits of the pros and none of the cons. To ensure maximum results, enlist the services of professional web designers and developers.

If you’re looking to give your business website a facelift (with or without the animation), HighClick Media can help! Reach out to us today at 252.814.2150 or drop us a line here.

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