If there’s one given in the world of digital marketing, it’s that everything changes and then changes again. Search engine algorithms change. Hot social media platforms change. And, new technology you may never have dreamt about two years ago will likely be the new iPhone in the coming years. To succeed in the online world, you need to be flexible and to be able to pivot as these new websites, tools and technologies enter the digital universe. One of the best things you can do is make your website “future-proof”, able to withstand the changes the future make have in store. How do you make your website future-proof? We have a few tips.
How to improve your website and make it future-proof
It’s not difficult to make your website immune to disaster that change can bring. It just takes a little planning and a little effort at the beginning when you are setting up your site. We suggest you…
1. Keep things simple. Keeping things simple is a good idea with any type of marketing, but it’s essential in digital marketing. You need your readers to be able to navigate your site and access the features they want easily or they will exit your site and find a competitor’s whose site is more intuitive. According to “Forbes” magazine, the average web user makes a decision about a web page in just one second and 70 percent of consumers say that page load speed affects their willingness to buy from a particular site. One additional bonus of a streamlined website, the simpler your design, the stronger your marketing message will be and less likely to get lost in all of the peripheral noise.
2. Create a thoughtful sitemap for easy navigation. Good, easy navigation is also necessary to allow those who love your pages and your products to find the way to make a purchase, download your ebook or request a quote for your services. You don’t want to work this hard only to have your customers get confused right when they are ready to take action. To make sure your navigation is intuitive, It might be a good idea to have a friend or family member who is outside of your business to “test drive” your navigation to see if they can move within your site the way you intend.
3. Maintain cross-platform compatibility. Approximately half of all internet users view websites via their mobile devices, either cell phones or tablets, and that number is expected to grow in the coming years. If your website isn’t easily viewed via these types of devices, you’re likely losing business right now and certainly aren’t positioned for success in the future. As you add to your website, make sure that your functions, navigation and graphics are just as spectacular on a cell phone and tablet as on a PC or laptop. Perhaps it’s even time to build for mobile devices first.
4. Implement clean code. It’s tempting to use personal shorthand and shortcuts when you are creating and coding your website. However, as your business grows, you may need to hire other designers and coders to work on your site. It’s a good idea to keep your coding clean, so that those who come after you will be able to interpret and add to what you’re already set up. Plus, clean code means you can make changes and updates quickly, even if you are working on your own pages.
5. It’s never too early to think about security. You may just be launching your website, but it’s not too early to be concerned about security. Your readers and customers deserve this from you. Follow the advice of Werner Vogels, the CTO of Amazon and “encrypt everything”. It’s also a good idea to get at least a basic SSL certificate for your website. This shows customers that their purchasing information is encrypted and unlikely to be compromised by a third party. Many buyers won’t even consider purchasing something if the website doesn’t have that “https” prefix.
6. SEO, SEO, SEO. You may not be thinking about being searchable on Google, Bing and other search engines when you first create your website. Maybe you want a site to complement your other marketing efforts. Maybe you need a website because your customers are asking for one. Maybe you just want an online showcase for your products. However, at some point in time, you’ll likely want to attract new customers and realize the power of internet search. Setting up your site from the very beginning to be attractive to search engines will save you a lot of work in the long run and help internet surfers find you easily amid a sea of millions of other websites. Good SEO practices include focusing each page on a single topic; writing your text so that it’s easy to read and broken up into sections with subtitles; making sure that your content is unique, of high quality and relevant to your topic; including keywords (but not too many) in your text, title and sub-titles and linking to other pages within and outside of your site. You’ll also want to include good “back office” SEO practices, such as adding a keyword-rich META description to your images, making sure that the page’s META title and description include your keyword and optimizing your site load speed.
7. Research trends regularly. Knowing your website data can help you make informed decisions about your e-business rather than just guessing. Google and most marketing software offer detailed reports on who is visiting your website, where they found your site, how long they stay on the site, what pages they viewed while they were there and whether they clicked through to purchase anything. For example, if you see traffic coming from a specific location or during a particular day or time of day, you can adjust your marketing to best suit that traffic. Keeping an eye on your reports will also give you early notice on trends that can affect your business. For instance, if traffic to your most lucrative page is suddenly dropping off, or an obscure page is suddenly getting a lot of traffic, you can make adjustments to capitalize on those trends.
8. Don’t sacrifice speed for the latest bells and whistles. One of the most important aspects of any website is its loading speed as we mentioned above. If your site visitors have to wait too long for your pages to load, you’ll lose them to another site. So-called enhancements like music and videos can slow down your loading speed by quite a bit, so much so that your visitors may never see those great enhancements you were so enthusiastic about.
9. Opt for evergreen content. Writing about things like the 2020 economic downturn or how COVID-19 has affected your business may be timely now, but in a few years, these references will make your content seem dated and irrelevant, not to mention unattractive to search engines. Better to focus on topics that will be of interest to your readers for years to come. For instance, instead of talking about a specific economic event, take about how to “recession-proof” your business.
10. Build your pages with responsive design. A responsive design makes sure that your website can be viewed well on any type of device without having to adjust your code. It automatically resizes your pages to fit whatever size device your customer or reader is using. Using responsive design can help you be ready for whatever device will be popular in the future.
The inevitable future changes in the digital marketing landscape don’t have to be scary and cause you stress. You can inoculate your business by creating a future-proof website. Do this by setting yourself up for success with clean code, simple and easy navigation and evergreen content that’s optimized for search engines. The time you spend in the beginning will save you hours and hours later on, time that you can spend interacting with your customers and building your business.
To learn more about Denver web design and how your website can best “roll with the punches” that the future will inevitably bring, visit (insert company name and link to URL) or contact us at (insert contact info). Our Denver SEO and e-marketing firm wants to help your business excel at e-marketing today and in the years to come.