April 9, 2014
Keeping Up With User Experience

How does your website look today? Does the design match up to your competitor websites? Is it relative to your market position?

First impressions count! A dated website will deter visitors, it appears unprofessional, untrustworthy, old fashioned and is far from engaging. As I always say ‘you can only ever make one first impression’. Technology and social media have literally blown up in the last five years, companies need to keep pace with the advancements and the way the industry is heading, or unfortunately they will be left behind.

Ask yourself these questions; overall is the design outdated? Is your home page static? How much text and information is on your home page? Is your business and USP’s clearly outlined on your home page (users want information in a minimal amount of clicks, users will leave your site if they are required to navigate around searching for information that should be on the home page)?
Your home page needs to engage users, giving them the information they want first. Then if they want to know more, they can navigate around. The tip here is to create a good impression right from the home page – showcase what a modern and innovative company you are, perhaps through visuals? Allow the user to connect and engage, so they will be intrigued, exploring deeper elements of your website. A website that is visually engaging, informative, and easy to navigate will lead to better conversions and a return on your investment.

Design
Is the design attractive and modern, does it say hello to the 21st century? Sites can look dated within a 5 year life cycle; A dated looking site can give the impression that your company is behind the times and you may lose out to a competitor whose website looks more professional. Newer websites are making use of larger width screens and tend not to have as many boxed elements.
Tech Advancements
If your site is old, then it is highly likely that it is failing fast on keeping up with the latest technological developments. Does your site work well on mobile or tablet devices? Having a responsive website is absolutely vital today with over 65% of people using different devices while researching online. Do you have a flash element on the website? Flash is an outdated web technology and cannot be used on most tablets and phones, therefor a huge client/customer base may be lost.
Speed (Or Lack Of It)
If your website takes longer than a few seconds to load, you are already at a loss. You may need more modern software for your website, if users experience a long load time, they will click back off your site. We call this a bounce rate, which Google will penalize you for, by dropping your rank on their search results. You can test your website using the Google Speed Check Tool.
Content Management
Do you have an easy way to edit content yourself or are you relying on your web developer? Having a good content management system means you can keep your content up to date and relevant for your visitors without any tech knowledge. Is your Content Management System (CMS) up to date? For example install the latest version, this ensures that hackers cannot find weaknesses or gaps in the security of your software. This will prevent your content from being deleted, or passwords being changed.
Captivating Content
Why does Captivating content help to optimize search success? A good knowledge of rich keywords will really help when writing content, it will result in your site being ranked higher in search engines, in that the words you have on your site are most relevant to what the user has searched for. Placing engaging and informative text on your site is nearly as important as the design of your site., in that it gives the search engines something to crawl! Update and add to your content on a regular basis.
Rich quality content will show Google that your website is user friendly and user focused, users will not bounce back off your site, as you have the exact information they need/want. Even better if they navigate around your site, as Google also monitors the time each users spends on your site.

Article written by Paul Mc Cann Founder and President of CDG Brand.

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