Is your website ready for 2016? Here are six quick questions to ask yourself.
Question #1 – Are You Mobile Friendly?
In case you didn’t already know…this is a really big deal. It is critical to have a mobile friendly website. More and more people are searching on a mobile device and that trend is not changing anytime soon. Searches from mobile devices continue to rise and are predicted to see big increases in 2016.
In 2015 Google introduced an algorithm update, often referred to as “mobilegeddon”. There was a rush to update to mobile-friendly sites to avoid potential penalties from search engine rankings. In October Google presented an artificial intelligence algorithm called RankBrain which combined with the “mobilegeddon” updates to have a major impact. Having a mobile friendly website is huge part of RankBrain because it really all boils down to one thing — providing a better user experience.
The bottom line is a mobile friendly website provides a better user experience and that is something Google is likely reward you for. But, more importantly a better user experience can translate into a higher converting website which is where the real win comes.
Question #2 – Do You Look Outdated?
Would you buy a billboard and leave it up indefinitely? Of course not, it would begin to look worn out and old. There are rules we would never break in traditional marketing (like letting an old billboard stay up), but business owners can get lazy about updates to their online presence.
Some current design trends include large headers, parallax scrolling, storytelling with videos and images, full screen design, and bold colors. Mobile galleries and slideshows can be engaging. Hover effects also allow a user to have a more engaging experience and should be implemented.
Question #3- Is Your Content Relevant and Current?
When was the last time you updated the content on your website? If you can’t remember it’s been way too long. An effective way to continually add content is a blog function on your website. A blog post allows you to target specific keywords and even service areas with highly relevant content. Want to make your blog even better? Use relevant alt tags with photos and embed rich media such as video.
Articles posted on your blog make great links to share on social media and help drive traffic to your website. It is worth the extra effort to post unique content on your blog. You want each blog to be a minimum of 500 words. Be authentic in your writing and allow readers to get to know you. A blog is a great place to let your expertise show and provide value to your readers.
Question #4- Are You Using Video Effectively?
Cenek Bulbul, Head of Agency Marketing, Google, says he expects mobile video to dominate the video conversation in 2016. He says “mobile devices have redefined the way we live our lives and online video is in the midst of that redefinition. For example, YouTube has seen a 100 perfect growth in watch-time on mobile devices vs. last year. Video is exploding on social platforms like Facebook, it is yielding huge results in digital advertising and video is an important component to storytelling on your website.
Think of it this way, if a picture is worth a thousand words, video is worth 24,000 words a second. According to Entrepreneur magazine video is “uniquely suited to provide visitors with an instant impression of your business and services”.
Question #5 – Is Your Code Sending the Right Messages?
Coding techniques change and evolve just as design trends do. Updating the code on the backend of your site is a critical component to keeping your website in front of potential clients. Google, and other search engines, do not read text and see photos on your site they “read” code. Just as you talk to your customers with your design, you talk to Google with code. Be sure you are speaking the right language. Animations should be accomplished with CSS3 and HTML5.
Question #6 – Are You Likable?
The last thing you want to do is annoy a potential customer when they first visit. The number one no-no here is auto play on videos. Imagine someone is at work. They decide to check out your site and immediately a video starts auto play alerting everyone around them to what they are doing. You do NOT want to have “that” website. Make sure your video is click to play and have text available for those visitors who prefer to read your information.
You also want to be mindful of too much text. Be sure to insert appealing images and infographics to break apart long sections of text. Most of all you want to make it easy for visitors to know and like you from first glance. Make it easy for visitors to find exactly what they are looking for.
How will you use your website in 2016? How well will your website work for you in 2016? Hopefully these questions help point you in the right direction and put you a step ahead of your competition. But, keep in mind that what works for one website won’t necessarily work for another. Be diligent in testing and constantly improving your site. Use cutting edge trends and strategies to make 2016 the year your website leads to high conversions and increased business growth.