To succeed online, business, organisations, charities and even individuals need understand the importance of responsive web design. Usability is everything, content is king and those that don’t realise this are potentially doomed to failure.
These were the messages the digital marketing industry was sending out with full force during 2012, and following the demise of several well-known high street stores, blamed heavily on the reluctance to invest in their online offerings (or in some cases, pushed out of the industry by bigger companies that are doing it well), more and more people are starting to understand how important this information is for online success in 2013.
The crux of the issue is realising the importance of good web design and how it can help achieve specific goals, whether that is making more money as a retailer or creating a compelling personal profile. Well designed websites are easy to navigate, give the right information to the visitor at the right time and make the path to purchase or enquiry as simple as possible with as few steps as necessary.
Typical obstacles to the path of completion – from initial visit to conversion – are: difficult navigation, lengthy contact forms, hidden information such as hard to find delivery costs, or product specifications and also bad design. By trying to understand any given website from a new user perspective, it is possible to see how someone may become frustrated and leave, or how they might think that low quality images mean an untrustworthy site.
To make the point more clear – it is essential to understand that the Internet is a virtual high street, and a website is a virtual shop window – the same care and attention to detail must apply to ensure that people will find your website (shop or office) attractive, that once they are inside they can find what they want, that they can ask a question and get an answer if they need help, and most importantly, once they are there – they will convert (buy or register).
By understanding the online environment in this way, it is easy to see how an attractive website will attract customers and clients – it is just the same as a good lick of paint and a tidy business space with helpful staff on hand. There is however one more thing to bear in mind – the competition.
Businesses and organisations with a physical presence can gain an advantage over competitors by having a better location, a bigger space, better access or even free parking. On the Internet, everyone is on a level pegging, so how can one website outshine another? The answer is by being better than the competition.
Competitor analysis is key to ensuring that your website is shining brighter than the next shop or business along. It is no secret that it takes just a fraction of a second for a visitor to decide whether they will stay on your site or leave, so your site better look good; and any obstacles in the path to completion will see them try the next option along in search results. This year more people than ever will opt for finding what they need online, and the business savvy will make sure it is them.