Humans are visual creatures, and the first experience visitors experience when they come to your site is the “look and feel” of your website design. We process visual stimulus 60,000 times faster than text, as a result, people form first impressions of your business in less than 0.05 seconds based on your website design.
The design of your website is instantly related and perceived as a direct representation of your product, brand and business. As such, having a beautifully designed website is the most important opportunity for a business to make a good first impression and influence your target audience.
According to the Stanford Guidelines for Web Credibility, researchers found that 75% of users make judgments about a company’s credibility based on its web design.
“We find that people quickly evaluate a site by visual design alone. When designing your site, pay attention to layout, typography, images, consistency issues, and more. Of course, not all sites gain credibility by looking like IBM.com. The visual design should match the site’s purpose.”
Fogg, B.J. (May 2002). "Stanford Guidelines for Web Credibility." A Research Summary from the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab. Stanford University.
In another study, Guidelines for Developing Trust in Health Websites, 83% of participants attributed the rejection and feelings of mistrust towards a website to website design factors. Content may be important, but, good content on a poorly designed website does not get read, indicating that design comes before content in terms if importance.
Responsive Web Design – Size does matter
In early 2005, Google announced mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor in its search engine algorithms. The Mobile-friendly Update as Google calls it greatly affected search rankings of web pages on mobile devices. What it essentially meant was that web pages which were not mobile-friendly would be less likely to show up on the first page of Google search results.
Fast forward to March, 2018, Google started rolling out Mobile-first Indexing which will typically start to use a web page’s mobile version for indexing and ranking (in the near future). So even though your website’s ranking may not be directly affected by Google’s Mobile-first Indexing at the moment, it most certainly will in the near future. You can use Google’s Mobile-friendly Test Tool to see where your website stands at the moment.
It makes sense for Google to start focusing more on mobile users as it is shown that mobile users spend double the time online than desktop users, as such Google needs to serve better content to mobile users.
If your site is not mobile-friendly yet, it’s best to get started in preparing your website to be responsive to avoid any ranking issues in the future.
You may have heard the saying “Content is King” before, it is true, and content is most likely to stay on that throne for a very long time. The reason is simple, stop for a moment and think what’s the reason you visit websites? It’s for the content naturally, be it to view the latest music video, or listen to the latest podcast to staying updated on your favorite celebrity or on a more serious note, to keep abreast of the business world and the market you are doing business in.
We consume content daily, just as we consume food. It has become a staple of our daily lives since decades ago, people have been reading newspapers and books. Today the amount of content available for consumption has increased multiple times, and it is our duty as website owners to provide not just relevant information to our visitors, but content that is useful for them.
Content on your website needs to address six major points as a business to visitors to improve their user experience:
Your value proposition needs to be clearly stated on the home page in short and concise sentences. People have short attention spans, and studies show that averagely, people spend 7 seconds or less on more than 90% of the websites they visit.
Your content should also serve as a guide to conversion, providing visitors with a logical pathway to eventually make a purchase, inquiry, subscription etc. The effects of conversion can be further increased by having a personal tone unique to your business which can connect to your visitors, potentials and customers. Great content coupled with beautiful web design will create an experience that is easy to navigate and understand, remember that your content needs to be presented in a simple and clear way to make it easy to understand.
Which would you prefer if you were given the choice of renting a room against owning your own home? That is the significant difference which we will be discussing today between using social media for business vs owning your own business or corporate website. Today we will be looking at the importance of websites for businesses.
It is undeniable that having a web presence is paramount to the competitive edge and success of your business today. However, in this age of social media, often times business owners are finding themselves neglecting the need of maintaining or even having a corporate website for their company. Instead they focus fully on their social media channels such as Facebook pages, Linkedin pages or Twitter and Instagram accounts. Who could blame them really? It is way easier to get started on social media, and the upfront cost and resource requirement is significantly lower.
Before delving into the pros and cons, let us understand the mediums first. What are websites and what is social media? Aren’t they both online? Isn’t Facebook a website as well? People can still find me on Facebook and that’s where I get my business from.
Social media are undoubtedly websites in their own right, however it is a public platform website, where everyone can sign-up as a member and interact with members of the community. Popular social media platforms today are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, Snapchat. These are but the tip of the iceberg as there are many more smaller platforms which may serve a smaller more targeted niche. Let’s not forget the social media of China such as Weibo, which could rival Facebook if Mandarin was an international language.
Everyone knows what a website is right? Yes and no, any site you view in a web browser is in essence a website, but there are different types of websites for different purposes. There are search engine sites like Google, portal sites like Yahoo, MSN, and who can forget the ever popular social media sites like Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest. Some websites provide SAAS (Software as a Service) where you pay a subscription fee to access it’s functions, examples are Mail Chimp, SiteGiant, SeRanking to name a few.
Businesses would usually utilize either a brochure website or an eCommerce website, depending on the nature of the business. Photographers would do well to have their own portfolio site to showcase their masterpieces, corporate businesses utilize websites as their online business profile to disseminate information about the organization and the products or services they offer.
Now that we have a clear understanding of the difference between social media and websites, let us dive into the pros and cons and why SMEs should have a proper website for their web presence instead of fully relying on social media platforms as their primary online presence.
Many business owners are relying solely on social media as their primary online presence, why is that so? What are the reasons that drive SME owners to believe that using social media is sufficient to sustain their business in the long run? Let us find out below.
Everyone can see how many followers, likes or fans which you have as it’s all laid bare to see. There’s also not much statistics you can gather from the tools provide by social media sites in terms of analytics.
You can’t sell ad space on your social media page, those spaces are reserved by the third-party site for their own ad spaces which they are hoping to sell to you! As such, you can’t monetize your social media page even if you have millions of visitors each day.
Posts on social media sites are timeline based, which means older content will keep getting pushed further down the page. This not only makes it difficult for your target audience to find relevant information on certain products or services, they may never find it as let’s face it, who would scroll all the way down to your very first post just to find that piece of information?