As the MD of a marketing firm I often speak to a lot of small and medium sized companies across many sectors. At Big Cat we help businesses and organisations grow, sell more, get better known, increase donations, improve reputations and heaps of other good stuff.
Our job is to find the problem and exploit the opportunities to achieve goals and objectives faster and more sustainably than if they did it themselves.
It sounds counterintuitive but stripping back the problem and boiling it down to its most simple form brings clarity and gives everyone involved: agency, client and customer alike a single minded purpose.
Many people are bamboozled by digital. But like everything else the simplest solution is more often than not the most elegant and effective. An organisation’s website is now their most important marketing channel. It is a shop front, it is your brand guardian, it’s your company brochure; it is an appreciating asset where the more you invest the more value you receive.
However most websites aren’t as good as they could or should be. Many websites are seen as a one off project that needs addressing every few years. To some, digital is a black art and a website is something to be endured or at worst ignored.
Google’s algorithm decides where your website is shown in relation to your competitors on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). And since Google attracts nearly 70% of all internet searches we tend to follow the website design and development best practice that delivers the best results with the market leader.
If you haven’t updated your website for the last three years or your website isn’t performing as well as your competitors perhaps it is time to build a new one. Below are some simple observations that probably mean it’s time to build a new website.
You Can’t Find Your Own Website on Google
No matter how hard you try, you can’t find your website via a Google Search. Most companies should appear several times on the first results page when typing in their company name. Most customers will type your company name into the search bar rather than remember your exact website address. If your homepage isn’t appearing in the top five results then it’s time for a shake-up.
Your Website Takes an Age to Load
Waiting for a website to load is incredibly frustrating. You may not be even be aware that your website takes over a minute to load because your computer helpfully caches websites you visit regularly. If your potential customers are made to wait to view your website they are very likely to leave and go somewhere else, resulting in a missed sale.
Websites with poor page speed are being penalised by Google – the slower the site the harsher the penalty.
You Can’t Update it Yourself
Do you have to contact your website developer every time you want to add a blog or update a page? Search engines like Google reward websites that are updated regularly and if you don’t this will affect your site’s visibility. The lack of current product information makes your site look very dated and will result in low sales.
I’d recommend that your website should use a good content management system to enable non-technical people (like me) to add content themselves – WordPress is the market leader and our favourite.
Poor Experience on the Move
Surfing the internet on mobile phones have now topped the search charts, so now it’s time to make sure your website works well on these devices. A responsive website will change how it looks depending if visitors search via a desktop PC, tablet or mobile phone. Having a responsive website means it is easier for mobile and tablet users to navigate your content, offers and services.
If your website doesn’t adapt for mobile you will be penalised by the search engines and given lower visibility compared with mobile responsive competitor websites.
Visitors Can’t Find What They Need Easily
This is a very common problem I come across: over complicated websites that do not clearly highlight what you offer or the most important parts of your site. Great websites have a very clear purpose and visitors intuitively know what to do and where to go to get the information they want.
The best websites offer the fewest clicks possible to get to the most important content. The first phase of this process is to ensure you really understand your audience needs then identifying the goals of your website, and finally implementing them.
You Like Your Competitor’s Site More
Do you find yourself sniffing around your competitors’ websites and getting a sinking feeling? Does it look more appealing, offer a better experience or embed fancy social or video feeds?
If your competitors’ sites frankly make your site look like old hat and a little embarrassing then it’s time to gather the senior team together and start the ball rolling.