While investing in a new site is an essential first step in successfully marketing your business, in today’s market, a ‘set it and forget it’ attitude is just not enough.
There are 4 core reasons WHY a website is never truly finished; these include:
- Search engines are continually updating the way they assess websites
- Consumer habits are constantly evolving
- Website trends regularly change and evolve
- Your business position, goals and purpose need to adapt to changing markets
In the next few sections, we’ll explore these 4 areas in detail and discuss what your business can do to address each of them by continually improving your website to stay ahead of the curve.
To keep the likes of Google satisfied, your website needs to be a source of relevant, valuable content for your consumers. Determining factors such as domain authority and backlinks can impact your ranking, and these are vital elements of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Since search engines love a website that has lots of content and is updated regularly, the surest way to get your business found is with a blog or other frequently updated content. However, it’s equally important to consider the quality of the content you’ll be producing and whether or not you’re creating content just for the sake of it, as opposed to delivering genuinely relevant and useful information for your consumers. A blog is an excellent way for your business to get creative and showcase your personality while also answering topical questions and staying relevant.
Other ways to improve domain authority include the number of backlinks your website receives from other reputable sources. To learn more about backlinks, we suggest watching the below video from Sleeping Giant Media: Effective Link Building.
Consumer needs are constantly evolving, and a great website needs to keep up. Once your website is live, that doesn’t mean that your customers will use or even like what you’ve done. Usability and utility are crucial components of a successful user experience. Even if your site looks pretty, if it isn’t useful or easy to use, then visitors won’t convert.
To overcome this, you’ll need to undertake user testing. Here are several examples of how to carry out user testing post-launch:
Use on-site surveys and feedback questionnaires to gauge your visitor’s impressions of your website and how easy they find it to navigate or complete their desired action. A tool such as HotJar gives you the ability to set this up by adding a small snippet of code to your website. Collect this feedback and then analyse it to make an informed decision about what to do next. Common questions include:
- Did you find what you were looking for?
- How did you find the overall experience?
- Would you recommend us to a friend?
- How would you rate your experience?
A/B or multivariate testing
Before releasing new features or changing entire pages on your website, consider using A/B or multivariate testing to determine whether or not a particular change will have the desired effect. These results will ensure that any updates are made based on user feedback and experimentation as opposed to assumption.
We recommend only testing one element at a time, i.e. using a different colour or positioning for your call to actions (CTAs) and running this alongside your current CTAs. A/B testing will do a split test, showing 50% of visitors the original button and the other 50% the updated version. Multivariate testing is very similar, but with more split options. The results of each test will then determine if the change you’ve tested achieved the desired goal (higher click-throughs or conversions) or not. If the tests reveal an option that delivers better results, you can then roll the changes out site-wide.
Card sorting helps businesses determine how best to set up their website navigation. It involves thoroughly auditing the content and structure of the website to assess the current structure and then reworking it to create a new, more efficient and user-friendly way of organising the content. Involving users in the process can often yield insights and improvements that may not have been obvious at first. The results help you determine how your audience would expect to be able to navigate your site and where they would expect to find specific pages. Carrying out this type of testing ahead of a website launch or redesign will help you to ensure your site navigation is fit-for-purpose.
There are different methods of usability testing, such as moderated and unmoderated, as well as online and in-person. However, the concept is the same. The idea of usability testing is to take a group of individuals who are representative of your target audience and ask them to complete a series of tasks using your website. Participant behaviour and feedback are recorded in real-time to understand how intuitive the site is, how easy it was for them to complete the tasks, whether there was an emotional reaction, and what blockers they may have encountered.
Quality assurance testing is the last step before launching a new website or features. You should also keep on top of your website’s performance by regularly testing elements of your website for errors to ensure you find them before your customers. Examples include 404 errors, redirects, broken links, dead-end pages, etc., all of which can negatively impact the user experience.
Website trends are continually evolving in line with consumer habits and technology, so even when you launch your new website, it would be a mistake to think that you won’t need to change visuals or functionality for another two to three years. Instead, it’s best to think of your website as a continuous project in which you use user testing and stakeholder feedback to inform changes over time.
Moreover, it may not be practical to launch your website with all the bells and whistles you desire. You may be working to a tight deadline or budget, which mean you might need to sacrifice certain features or functionality for your initial launch. It’s essential not to put all those great ideas to waste. Instead, create a road map of future improvements you’d like to see as well as the findings from your user research to help you populate it with ideas that will continue to improve the customer experience. As website trends change, you may find that some of your original ideas are no longer relevant, while other new ideas become more important.
Other ongoing updates would include content (explored above) and looking to replace any stock imagery with in-house shots if this isn’t something you’ve already done. As your team grows and changes, it’s essential to use up-to-date imagery to reflect your business. You might also consider introducing video to your website to improve the user experience, better educate visitors or as an alternative to written content.
Your business proposition
Businesses change, grow and evolve. Markets shift, and new priorities and ways of doing things emerge. As a result, you might find that your website’s brand image and content quickly become outdated as your market, values and proposition change.
It’s essential to keep your site up-to-date and refer back to it when your business experiences rapid growth. Be sure to keep your consumers updated on your success with PR pieces, awards, partner logos, case studies and more. You should also reflect on your website’s tone of voice, use of imagery and target audience. You might find that as you grow, these elements may evolve from fun and light-hearted to more educational, serious and corporate.
Garnering feedback from your stakeholders is a sure way to determine if your website is reflective of your company, and it will give you a sense of direction for updates and improvements you should make.
It’s essential to keep your website up to date if you want to ensure both search engines and your consumers are happy. We recommend developing a roadmap of features and ideas using stakeholder input, customer feedback and a series of user research techniques. Content is equally important and should form a part of your broader marketing strategy including the use of images, video and blogs. Using a tool such as SimilarWeb can help you gauge your website’s performance against your competitors.
We hope you found this blog useful, if you’d like to hear more of our marketing tips and tricks, please register for our newsletter.