How will you make your website stand out in 2016?
If you’ve ever looked up how many websites are currently online, you might find Internet Stats Live’s counter which records new sites at around 3 per second, hovering around the 1 Billion mark since September last year. With 4.6 Billion indexed pages, it’s little wonder that Google has to keep improving its algorithms to ensure that you can find the absolute most relevant and most up to date source of information for your needs. With approximately 3 Billion people with access to the Internet, that’s around 1 website for every 3 people.
So how do we cut through?
In marketing we talk a great deal about Relevancy – right message, right audience, right time. In the days of traditional media it was easy to control the clutter because there were a finite number of tv and radio channels – and if you wanted to get more people to pay attention to you, you simply bought media during prime time viewing or listening and you had a captive audience. Even so, your message needed to be crafted to ensure that it stuck in the minds of the viewer, or else they could simply switch off and make a cup of tea. But our challenge with new age technology is much much harder. At a recent Google conference we were told that
the average consumer looks at their phone 250 times per day.
250 times. It means that the traditional means we marketers had to capture your attention has been reduced from 3 seconds to less than one. So how do you cut through the clutter and grab attention for your site? If you are planning a re-vamp or to finally get your business up online in 2016, here are some things you need to know about trends that will save you from the clutter:
1) Trend away from cookie cutter sites
You can get a site built almost for free – in NZ, if you are a Spark customer, they can build you a website as part of your Internet package. Alternatively there is a proliferation of D-I-Y web builder platforms where you can create your own site from a template in an evening over a glass of wine and some nibbles. Yet one thing that will count against you here is that all these sites will start to overcrowd the market, and it will be those who break from the mould, do something different and create something engaging that will capture those eyeballs.
2) Every page is a homepage
If Google is indexing pages based on key word search and relevancy, then you have to imagine that someone could come into and go out of your site from any page – maybe never seeing your beautifully crafted introduction on your homepage. Make sure every page can stand alone if it has to, and that it tells the users exactly what you want them to do – very quickly.
3) Steal layouts from journalism
Newspapers were the Internet of yesterday. They had to grab your attention with strong, well-written headlines and pull your attention through copy line by line, paragraph by paragraph, always assuming that you would eventually be distracted by something else – their trick? Distract you with something else on their page – an idea, concept or offer that was placed specifically due to its relevancy to the article you were reading. Newspapers relied on eyes travelling from headline to headline, not left to right, top to bottom like a book. Your site needs to do the same – plot and plan where you want to take the reader and lead them there.
4) Short, regular, timely updates
The world wide web is growing faster than many nations, if you stay still, you are simply going backwards at an alarming rate. Since the new MaxMarketing website went live in May 2013, there have been 295 million additional sites join the web. You need to ensure that you are keeping yours fresh and up to date and giving people, and Google, new news to rate and rank. It is a vicious circle of attention – the more you get, the more traffic gets sent to your site, but it needs to stay on your site and engage with your site in order for Google to think that it is a site worth sending people to.
5) Integrate with your Off-line
Finally – don’t abandon your other marketing channels. Whilst it may seem cost effective for you to take the ‘Field of Dreams’ approach – ‘if you build it, they will come’; the chances are they won’t. You need to point people to your site, have a really great reason for them going there, and ensure that you manage their experience whilst they are there, otherwise you risk throwing the doors open to a party that no one knows about. And with 1 Billion other invitations to attend, they actually may never show up at all.
Louise Maxwell, Principal Strategist
Maybe now’s a good time to straighten out your approach to engaging customers online in 2016?
If you need to get to grips with what your business does and looks like online, we can help! The Max Digital Programme will review the context of you website or your online strategy against your business off-line objectives and will help to devise an engagement strategy that sets you apart from the crowds.
- Digital audit of your current activity
- Setting targets for engagement and response
- Checking brand alignment with online assets
- Website review/wireframe planning
- Social media and channel acquisition strategy planning
- Editorial content review and recommendations
NB this does not include any creative refresh or actual coding development of your website.