WRITTEN BY: AUTHOR
As a Project Design Manager at the AroundCampus Group, my morning usually starts with designing an advertisement for a company located on the other side of the country. The very first thing I do before starting a design is checking a company’s web presence. About 30% of the time, I don’t find anything, which is a huge loss considering I can’t even walk out my door without seeing someone glued to their cell phone. Out of the 70% I do find online, a low 20% keep their website updated and modern. As someone who sees these things everyday, here are a few observations about what your website is saying about your business.
When marketing to anyone, especially the college market, it’s extremely important to stay up to date with design trends and technology. It’s all about first impressions when it comes to your web presence, so it has to get the point across quickly. Modern technology makes it easy and fast for customers to look you up, and if anything about your website is out of date, it’s just as easy and fast for them to close out and never look back. The web has also provided an ever-expanding market for consumers. When I shop online, I can usually check at least five different sites that carry the same product. Consumers may view a weak web presence as a sign of laziness and detachedness from the modern age. If you don’t look the part, most consumers will turn away.
A website also needs to translate well to other platforms. A website that looks good on a computer doesn’t necessarily look good on an iPad or a mobile phone. It is important to create a design that is responsive, or one that reacts quickly and effectively across platforms. Once a customer has decided to visit your site, it’s monumental to keep them there with responsive design. Can they easily find a specific product? Do they know who we are and what we do? Will they get what they came for?
Here’s another situation I have ran into more times than I can count. I have looked up a new restaurant online and something on the menu caught my eye. Then when I go, they tell me that they don’t serve that item anymore. Bottom line: the food might have been good, but the overall experience still left a bad taste in my mouth. To avoid this, make sure you prioritize updating the content on your website. Once you have developed a responsive design, it’s time to pick the best and most relevant content for your customers. Three keywords to keep in mind: manageability, accessibility, and relevance. Too little content and credibility will be lost. Too much and they’ll be overwhelmed. Having a plan for what content you keep on your website will also help you manage your website better. You will always know exactly what to update and can update more frequently without being overwhelmed.
Lastly, it’s important to make sure as a business owner that you are making yourself available to your customers online. Our world is becoming less and less personal because of technology. Despite this, most people are looking for an individualized experience online that makes them feel like a company is just as loyal to them as they are to the company. Many times there is a contact button on websites and they either don’t work or inquiries fall on deaf ears. It is important to always respond to your customers, especially online. Something as simple as answering a two-minute question can drive business to your door.
So did your website pass the test? If not, it is never too late to go in and update your company website. The great thing about a web presence is that it can constantly change at the click of a button. Finally, one last analogy: Always pretend your website is a sales person. It is directly responsible for bringing traffic and income to your business. If it delivers on its promises, looks sharp, and consistently stays with the times, then so will your business.