It goes without saying that websites play a crucial role in almost every facet of modern life. From information sharing and education to commerce, websites have served as a perpetual communication vehicle throughout humanity’s modern technological revolution. However, as vital as they are, many businesses still ignore the importance of making sure their websites keep pace with the current state of the internet and ultimately, Google.
Every year Google makes (literally) HUNDREDS of changes to its algorithm (essentially, the key factor in determining where and how websites appear in search results). In 2018, they reported 3,200+ updates (a daily average of more than eight updates per day). While this may seem like a massive (and insurmountable) number of updates, our team manages optimizations and updates to campaigns, websites, and strategies daily. Google has shown no sign of slowing down changes to website ranking factors and frankly, our adoption of advanced technology (Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Digital Currency, Semantic Search, etc.) coupled with accelerated mobile usage suggests that we’ve only just begun to see the sweeping changes that will ultimately result in a need for more frequent web design and development.
“But I just updated my website two years ago!” is a common rebuttal often heard daily during conversations between developers/designers and business owners. While this may be accurate, we are all at the mercy of user behavior and each search engine’s response. Consider how frequently major smartphone providers roll out new hardware. Often, this hardware is (re)designed around key focal points, such as increased speed, AI usage, enhanced user experiences, etc. When analyzed closely, one can draw direct correlations between these new hardware advancements and recent updates to search algorithms. As an example, our team at Brawn Media noticed a significant spike in ‘Natural Language’ search terms with the increased adoption of virtual assistants, like iPhone’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google’s Assistant. While these may seem like points that don’t pertain to you or your website, take a look at your site traffic over the last two years. If you haven’t taken the time refresh, redesign or redevelop, you may find that you’ve missed opportunities that you didn’t even know were there.
Brawn Media prides itself on establishing and nourishing mutually beneficial partnerships with our clients. With that in-mind, we’ve outlined a checklist we’re using to ensure our most successful websites are operating at optimal levels. We thought we would take the time to share these as a resource for making sure your website is getting its fair share of traffic and that your business is connecting with customers every day.
Is your website designed in a way that leads to conversions?
While visual appeal is a key factor in first impressions, it also has a major impact on a website visitor’s propensity to engage with your business. According to market research, more than 1/3 of users will leave if your website content and/or layout is “unattractive”. While this suggests some level of subjective reasoning, it also suggests that you take the time to analyze how the design of your website correlates with your brand and your intent behind the VISUAL representation of your business.
Statistics also suggest that HALF of internet users judge the credibility of a business based on the design of the website. Our design and development team know your website typically has about ten seconds to leave an impression and provide value to users. If you haven’t taken the time to use this type of litmus test to gauge your website’s effectiveness against your competition, you may be missing a crucial opportunity to enhance the overall user experience, and ultimately, the effectiveness of your website’s design. As a trusted partner, Brawn Media is more than happy to help with website and marketing assessments focused on identifying key opportunities for improvement, free of charge.
It’s no secret; our attention spans aren’t exactly increasing, and technology continues to play a major role. In fact, Google research indicates that page load times between 1-3 seconds leads to a probability increase of users leaving your website after viewing a single page of approximately 32%; 4-5 seconds at 90%; 5-6 seconds at 106%; and 7-10 seconds at 123%. In a world of instant gratification, understanding how your website measures up against these statistics will help determine whether or not your website truly holds up against modern standards. Brawn sites are optimized for initial load times, and implement the latest in optimized CDN file serving, server caching, lossless image compression, and file minification and compression. Your site will never be quicker.
In a mobile first world (with an average of more than 50% of online traffic coming from mobile devices), making sure your website is optimized for more than the desktop experience is paramount. Both new and returning users will often attempt to engage with you from their mobile devices before sitting down to use a desktop or laptop. If they can’t easily read or navigate to the content they’re looking for, they’re likely to leave with a bad first impression at the forefront of their mind. Designing and developing for device responsiveness is the only way to ensure your best opportunity for engagement and return visits. Our designers and developers know how to transform your message into a beautiful responsive website that engages with your audience, no matter what device they are using.
While you may fully understand your websites structure and navigation, new users venturing into uncharted territory when they visit for the first time. Intelligent web design never leaves the user experience (UX) to chance. It clearly guides users to your ultimate goal with clear calls to action, leading visitors down the path to conversion. Imagery, headlines and copy all inform and guide users every step of the way. Too many steps and/or unclear navigation can decrease engagement and cause visitors to leave before converting. Our team of UX experts reduce these potential blocks and make converting on your website as easy as possible.
Internet users have become much savvier about privacy and security. They’re aware that hackers aren’t just looking for credit card information anymore. Whether or not you are storing user information on your website, it’s important to ensure security and peace of mind by keeping an updated SSL certificate. This will help build trust by letting your visitors know that you’re doing everything you can to keep their information safe. It can also help with your organic ranking with Google (and other search engines). Brawn sites are monitored 24/7 for malicious activity and security patches are implemented immediately, ensuring your site and visitors are safe.
The latest way google is optimizing web search results is by showing a heavy preference to AMP pages. AMP pages are a stripped-down version of your website that load quickly on mobile devices. With over 50% of searches coming from mobile, AMP pages give you an edge on all your page scores, increasing your position in search. All brawn sites are built with AMP technology, automatically generating the needed AMP pages to boost your page rankings.
Accessibility for Everyone
Can a person whose visually impaired navigate and find what they need on your site? Can a person with physical handicaps use your website without a mouse? Not only are you missing opportunity from potential customers, but you’re also vulnerable to legal actions under the Americans with Disabilities Act. As of 2017, legal precedent was created for people with disabilities suing companies that do not have accessible websites. Brawn sites are built to the latest WCAG guidelines, with a minimum “A” standard, and the ability to build “AA” or “AAA” compliant sites if needed.