Currently, there are over 1.2 billion websites (and counting) in existence.
This age of “constant connectedness” we live in has rewritten the rules of conducting business. Now, you aren’t just competing with companies near your geographic location, you are competing across your entire industry.
Keeping this in mind, your website is the first and last impression many people have of your brand. With so many options available, visitors have no problem moving on if you fail to capture their interest. Some argue you only have about seven seconds to do so.
When looking back, it’s truly amazing to consider how fast the standard of quality has risen for web design. For example, here is what Yahoo’s homepage looked like 2012:
Fast forward five years, and at first glance, it looks totally outdated. Here’s what the homepage looks like now:
This just goes to show how important it is keep your interface updated with the times. A company website is meant to serve a myriad of different functions. It’s a resource center, sales platform, promotion vehicle, content hub, and much more.
While the obvious changes to make these days would be in relation to loading speed and converting mobile users, there are a number of relevant factors that tend to be bypassed during this process.
Let’s discuss some lesser known ways to help increase customer engagement on your website.
1. Re-Evaluate On-Page SEO
Popular keywords come and go. Additionally, Google makes hundreds of tweaks and changes to their algorithms every year. Keep in mind, your business is evolving parallel to your online presence.
As new words enter your industry’s vocabulary, people will be searching new queries and the terms and phrases that once helped you rank can easily become obsolete. In turn, it will not matter what renovations you make to your website, you won’t be attracting visitors to see them!
Therefore, you need to keep a close eye on keyword trends and potential drops in demand. While this should be monitored on a daily basis, it’s recommended to revisit your overall keyword strategy at least once a quarter.
Using an SEO tool suite such as SEMrush, you can keep track of how your chosen keywords are currently faring across the web.
Source: Screenshot taken by author
From here, you can gauge the best ways to alter on-page content (like title tags and meta descriptions) to target the keywords your audience is searching for.
Ultimately, your SEO strategy is what guides visitors to your website. It should be done so they find exactly what they need.
2. Ramp up Security
Cyberattacks have been wreaking havoc lately. Last year, the FBI reported that approximately 4,000 occur each day. With everything going on in the world, businesses must spare no expense when it comes to keeping themselves and their customers safe from online thievery.
If your website appears to look outdated, one of the first implications people make is the site isn’t secure, and if they interact, they run the risk of getting their valuable information stolen.
The cost of an attack can be detrimental. Not only will it cost a pretty penny to retrieve your data, you will most definitely lose your visitors’ trust, along with your credibility. As a website operator, you need to do more than just purchase a security software for your platform. It will benefit everyone if you educate yourself as much as possible on the subject.
Even Google takes this issue very seriously, and its search engine and Chrome browser both block sites affected by malware.
As a result, security is no longer the responsibility of administrators alone – marketers, developers and designers, all need to be equally involved to make sure the website is hack-proof. Training in web security, therefore, becomes an essential part of the mix. Simplilearn offers online courses for certificates like CISSP to help you gain a superior understanding of web design IT security architecture. The course fully takes into account that not everyone is tech savvy and can be consumed at your own pace with industry experts available to help every step of the way.
In this day and age, you need all the knowledge you can get to ensure your customers have a safe online interaction with your business.
3. Be Easy to Reach
Going back to the concept of constant connectedness, sometimes, the resources you provide on your website can only do so much. Businesses need to make it point to be easy to contact and available to answer any questions people might have during a visit. Otherwise, you can be sure they will look to you competitors.
No one likes calling toll free numbers, navigating through an obstacle course of recordings, and waiting to be connected with a support agent. For this reason, many companies are incorporating live chat software on their website to better assist customers.
“Working in the legal realm, people are constantly looking for answers. They need them now and they need them to be accurate,” says Jonathan Rosenfeld, personal injury attorney and founder of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers. Jonathan’s law firm makes use of the newest web practices to maintain a great online presence and grow a steady stream of customers from search engines.
“My customers look to me for in-the-moment guidance. With every extra second they wait, my interaction with them is compromised. Including live chat on our site has helped us answer questions at a much faster rate. If I’d realized just how much it would improve business, I’d have got it much sooner!”
A report by Zendesk found that live chat led to 92% customer satisfaction, beating out voice, web forms, and email. Depending on the complexity of your industry, one of the best things you can do to build trust with your visitors is simply being available in real-time.
The “Age of the Customer” is very much alive and will continue to be for the long haul. Every aspect of your website needs to reflect values that make the overall UX simple and intuitive. If you are planning a website redesign in the near future, consider these tactics to help make each visitor interaction a positive one.