Here’s the thing, as the proprietor of a website design agency, it’s funny that I should dislike the term “website.” Sure, everybody understands what a website is. It’s a reference point for a conversation.
Perhaps this is the problem, and the source of my own personal bias towards the word. Websites have been around long enough that even the most jaded technophobe has an intuitive sense of how they work. That being said, a misconception exists about how websites should properly function.
Websites are not a limited fixed product, they offer fluidity in the way content is displayed. Ideally, they should encourage conversion and engagement at every level. Websites are no longer merely a digital brochure for businesses. A fact that is lost on many of today’s business owners seeking answers in a post-responsive web world. Content delivery systems (CDS) not only represent the future of digital development, they are very much the here and now. Today’s business leaders need to view websites as the content hubs they truly are.
Canadians (like myself) are fickle consumers. With the Internet at their disposal at all times, people are free to research anything and everything they want before cracking open their wallets. Not only are product and service reviews easy to find, they are plentiful. Everyone has an opinion. Others offer similar products and services. Opinions matter not only to the pocketbooks of Canadians—who tend to research future purchases more than anybody else—but to consumers everywhere. You need to evaluate how your website is helping matters. It’s tough to compete when the entire Internet is screaming out like carnies peddling games on the midway. How does your business stand out in a good way?
Too bad you can’t just plunk down your best salesperson in front of every website visitor.
This is what websites should strive to do. People don’t want to be talked at. They want to engage. Whether they are in the showroom or online, consumers demand a positive experience. With so many options, people appreciate a little personality. For the business that provides this, they are rewarded with conversion, and perhaps something even more important: customer loyalty.
Gone are the days of, “If you build it, they will come.” Websites are so ubiquitous now they need to appeal to the consumer on a more sophisticated level. In their efforts to pull in organic traffic, businesses need to focus on authority, not popularity. The difference stems from the quality of the site’s content. Content is king. Your content needs to be ever changing in order to keep up with ever-evolving user expectations.
Here’s an analogy for you. Let us visit the wonderland of the World Wide Web. Outdated websites rely on a series of rabbit holes, inviting visitors to delve into a particular subject before popping back up in a series of steady clicks. Modern users instinctively hate the experience. I mentioned fluidity earlier, this is in reference to a site’s lateral navigation, which permits movement better suited to today’s tech-savvy expectations.
Strongly branded, closely-related chunks of content in various formats, housed within a centralized location, offer a true utopia of choice. The upside is good SEO. Easy navigation and quality source material quickly gets pegged to the brand. Curated, centralized content becomes a valued wealth of knowledge. In this sense, the content becomes your best salesperson. Your content relays your product and service story in an entertaining way. This is what keeps people on your site, and this is what brings people back.
Like the best salespeople, thoughtfully constructed content hubs not only create a desire, but also a need.
I’ll be speaking at the Digital Buzz Canadian Internet Marketing Conference in Squamish, BC at the end of the month. It should be a great weekend. Stop by and say hello, or visit me again online.
To be continued…