In 2023, we’re well beyond asking if a business needs a website. Whether you’re starting a new business, rebranding, refreshing your website, or just stepping out of your smoking Delorean into the 21st century, what you need to consider is what that website must have to accomplish your business’s goals.
There are 3 main questions to consider when evaluating your website. First, does it accurately represent your brand and voice? Secondly, will it perform well SEO-wise (rank on Google)? Lastly, will it convert visitors into leads or customers? Here are the top 5 elements that will help you answer all those questions with a resounding yes.
1. Channel Your Inner Hemingway (Authentic Copy that Meets User Intent)
When starting a new website-build project at Anvil, your Greenville marketing agency, one aspect that clients often overlook is the copy that will comprise their website. While engaging graphics and fun animations might be visually appealing, the vast majority of value your website will provide is actual original, high-quality copy that resonates with your target audience. Creating content that answers user queries, provides value, and keeps visitors engaged will not only enhance your search engine rankings but also foster a positive user experience.
Search engine’s reward original copy and punish plagiarism, so even with ethics aside, copy-and-pasting from your top competitor’s website is off the table. With the tidal wave that has been AI-generated content in 2023, it’s tempting to just extract filler content from ChatGPT and call it a day. However, that’s dangerous for two reasons.
First, while AI tools are good at consolidating information, it’s not a guarantee that they will spit out unique content. Google has released guidance that AI-generated content is fine if it answers user intent and provides value, but if your copy is just the same robotic content that’s on every other website in your field, you’re going to earn yourself a bad mark from Google. AI content is best used to supplement human-written copy, brainstorming, and content outlines.
Secondly, as smart as AI is getting, it’s still going to read as a lot more authentic if it’s written by an actual person with a clear understanding of your brand’s voice, mission and values.
2. Work Smarter (Mobile Friendly, Responsive Design)
As of May 2023, 67.81% of US web traffic is from a mobile device and in some industries that number can be much higher. Due to this, it is of utmost importance that your website is mobile-friendly. The dominant form of mobile-friendly website design is responsive design (which long-ago killed out the mobile-alternate website). Responsive websites adapt their layouts and elements to suit various screen sizes, providing a seamless user experience regardless of the device used.
Google and other search engines place a high emphasis on mobile-friendliness when ranking websites, making it crucial for your site’s search engine optimization.
By incorporating a mobile-friendly approach to web design, you ensure that your website remains accessible and functional, regardless of the device visitors are using. This adaptability will help you capture a broader audience, improve bounce rates, and ultimately contribute to better SEO performance.
3. Fast & Furious-ly Secure (Fast Loading & Encrypted)
Another factor that is firmly in both the user experience and SEO worlds, page load speed is one of the most important factors contributing to a website’s success. A website that takes too long to load not only frustrates visitors but also leads to higher bounce rates and decreased user engagement. Google’s Core Web Vitals, which measure your website’s performance, are now key to their algorithm’s ranking of your website.
To optimize load times, consider compressing images, leveraging browser caching, utilizing SVG graphics, using a lightweight WordPress theme, and using a content delivery network (CDN). Regularly monitor your website’s performance and make necessary improvements to ensure it runs swiftly and smoothly.
Additionally, website security is paramount in 2023, as cyber threats continue to evolve. Implementing an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate on your site encrypts data transmitted between your server and the user’s browser, safeguarding sensitive information and earning your visitors’ trust. Search engines also consider SSL as a highly important ranking factor; if you’re getting the red “not secure” alert in your browser bar, your website won’t see the light of day on Google.
4. Easy to Navigate… But Not Boring
User experience is at the heart of website design, and an intuitive navigation system plays a vital role in enhancing it. These days, users expect websites to be easy to navigate, with clear and logical menus that lead them to their desired content quickly.
However, this understanding led to an onslaught of very boring, identical looking websites in the mid twenty-teens. Thanks to recent advancements in browser and web technology, you can now have a website that’s easy to navigate, loads quickly AND doesn’t look like paint drying on a beige wall.
Opt for a simple, uncluttered layout that guides users through your site effortlessly. Avoid overwhelming them with too many options and aim for consistency across your pages. Employ descriptive and user-friendly labels for menu items to ensure visitors can find what they need with ease.
Distinguish your website with original design elements and branding that align with your company’s identity. Incorporate visual storytelling, custom graphics & icons, and compelling professional photography of your actual team or product–don’t rely on the same stock images you’ve seen 100 times.
Striking a balance between ease of navigation and originality will set your website apart from competitors while keeping users engaged and coming back for more.
5. Call Me… Maybe? (Clear and Effective CTAs)
In 2023, clear and effective Calls to Action (CTAs) remain paramount to guide visitors towards the desired actions on your website. (This is the part that turns those website visitors into leads or customers!) Whether it’s encouraging them to subscribe to a newsletter, make a purchase, or fill out a contact form, prominent and strategically placed CTAs can significantly impact your website’s conversion rate.
Design your CTAs to be visually distinct, using contrasting colors that draw attention. Keep the text concise and action-oriented, motivating users to act without confusion or hesitation. Employing persuasive language that addresses user pain points or offers valuable incentives can also increase the effectiveness of your CTAs.
Additionally, optimize your forms to be simple and easy to fill out. Avoid asking for excessive information upfront and use smart form fields that adapt based on user responses. Shorter forms reduce friction and increase the likelihood of form completion, improving your lead generation efforts.
Concerned about coming off too “salesy”? For our luxury-oriented clients, we usually add a subtle form to the bottom of the page and sleek, sticky contact information in the header to keep the CTA easy to find, but not too in-your-face.
All-in-all, building a successful website in 2023 involves focusing on elements that prioritize user experience, search engine optimization, and security. By incorporating original, user-centric content, implementing mobile-friendly design, ensuring fast-loading and secure measures, creating intuitive navigation, and utilizing effective CTAs and forms, you can create a website that effectively represents your brand and voice, is visible in Google search and actually converts visitors into clients or customers.
Ready to elevate your online presence? We’d love to help! Get in touch with us today.