BUT WHAT DOES AN ONLINE PRESENCE MEAN IN 2022?
Is it better to consolidate your time and resources into growing and maintaining an engaging and proactive social media presence where billions of people engage every day? Are websites even relevant in this era of short attention spans and long hashtags?
Here’s a simple truth…
Social media is where you start conversations and own narratives.
Websites are where you solve problems and give answers.
Answers to questions like…
- How will you solve my business challenge?
- Why should I partner with you?
- What services can you offer my business?
- Even basic information like, where are you based? What are your credentials? Who heads up your teams?
Even if people LOVE what you say on social media, they still need to know you have the right team, skills, experience and resources to solve their specific business challenges.
Which is where a kickass website comes in…
The only problem is…there are nearly 1 billion active websites on the internet, so a few cool images and strong SEO-friendly content will not be enough to make your website stand out in 2022. You need a strategy, one that starts with understanding the story you want to tell/sell and the problems you want to solve and answers these with practical applications that make your website stand out in a way that resonates with your audience.
10 WAYS TO MAKE YOUR WEBSITE STAND OUT (AMONG 1 BILLION):
1. Create content, not distractions
Using bold images and cool animations are great ways to both showcase creativity and create engaging content, but there is a fine line between telling a story and distracting your audience to the point of confusion. Websites that are full of stock photos or have animations popping up every few inches annoy customers. Every GIF, animation or image must serve a purpose. If you can’t answer why it’s there, chances are your audience won’t either, which means they’ll quit your website out of sheer frustration, never learning of your cool products or services you could offer them.
2. Find a balance between “show and tell”
Ever heard the saying that people remember only 20% of what they read, but 80% of what they see? The truth is that many people learn and process information visually, which makes finding a balance between text and visuals key to your design process. And that doesn’t mean just breaking up the text with images. You could turn some content into a visual infographic or boring stats into a visual chart or story that shows rather than tells. They key is to approach every piece of content with a view to balancing the text and visuals in a way that makes every page more informative, engaging, and memorable.
3. Typography is more than just a cool font
More than just the font you choose, typography refers to how type (letters and characters) are arranged and presented on the page in terms of spacing, size and even leading. And it’s not just about making fonts bigger or reading easier. Typography has been shown to not only impact how we read content but how we feel about the content we read. So it’s important to make sure you think about how your typography (and even the use of white space around it) not only matches the look and feel of your brand, but also enables practical elements like skim reading and emotional ones like how you want your audience to feel about your brand.
4. What’s your signature colour?
This might be an oldie (but also a goldie), but have you considered the impact of colour theory? Like typography, colour has a big impact not only how we engage with content, but how we feel about it. So make sure your colour scheme and use of colour as a design element not only reinforces your brand identity but also makes your site easy to read and navigate, evokes emotions and yes, looks good. For example, yellow and red are “hunger colours” and often used by food brands (eg McDonald’s and KFC) or used to grab users’ attention, while the colour blue is associated with trust and often used to bring more credibility to a brand or a section of content on a site.
Did you know: The average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000 (around the time smartphones landed) to 8 seconds today. That’s officially lower than a goldfish, which is said to have an attention span of 9 seconds.
5. Make navigation simple, not creative
Navigation is not an area where you want to be unique or overly creative. You want it to be simple and user friendly. You have to remember that your users are well versed (trained even) on navigating websites. They do it every day. So if they can’t navigate your site in the way that they know and expect, they’ll get frustrated and leave no matter how creative you make it. For instance, if you’re going to use icons, make them easily recognizable and make sure they lead users to the places they expect.
6. Optimize for mobile
Your website must be mobile friendly. Mobile devices dominate the internet (over 57% market share) and will only increase in the future. If you don’t optimize your website for mobile, you’ll not only miss out on a huge portion of your audience, Google will penalize website and within search results.
7. Make your website SEO sexy
There are a few ways to make your website search engine optimization (SEO) friendly. The first is to make sure you integrate responsive design into your site. This allows your website to adapt to whatever device a user is using, ie a mobile phone, tablet or desktop. When creating content, certain keywords are more SEO friendly than others. To find the right key terms, conduct a keyword research to find relevant phrases for your SEO listing and see the value of those terms. Using keywords in header tags (ie section/ content headings on a page) are key to helping search engines better understand your pages. Your most important keyword should be incorporated into your title page. Lastly, don’t overlook internal linking! This is often overlooked as a key part of SEO but essentially it helps search engines discover new pages on your website and index them in the search results.
8. Meta descriptions matter
You know that short line of information below the blue link of a search result? That’s a meta description. It lets Google know what your webpage is about and influences where Google ranks you in the search results. And of course this matters because readers usually only look at the first page of results. So you need to get your meta description right by following a few simple rules: they are short (1-2 sentences), descriptive, and use keywords to summarise the content within your web page, ie they tell the reader what they can expect to find after clicking on your link. Top tip: Keep your meta descriptions between 140-160 characters in length to stay visible to Google.
9. Make your CTAs stand out
Subscribe now! Start a free trial today! Contact us! Every website will have at least one Call To Action ( CTA). Make sure yours is not only visible but stands out by making sure you think carefully about how your use of colour, background colour, surrounding images, and surrounding text work together to make your CTA a key focal point on the page.
10. Be Proactive
Lastly, don’t think of your website as something that is ever finished. And especially don’t wait for changing regulations or minor bugs to make updates to your website and keep it relevant. Be proactive about updates, trends, and ways to improve your user experience.
At the end of the day, have fun, be bold and make sure you add in an element of creative play! It’s your website after all. The rules are meant to be followed, but also broken in a way that (hopefully) breaks the internet.