The bottom line nowadays is that every company must have a website. Even if the business is not doing e-commerce, a website is still a must. Usage of the internet is fast multiplying. According to DataReportal, 298.8 million active internet users in the United States as of January 2021, representing 90 percent of the population. This represented an increase of 3.7 percent, or 11 million more users compared to 2020.
Most internet users check out companies for goods and services online and compare them even if they later transact with these companies offline. A company with no website will get left behind. Consumers get the impression that a company with an outdated website is similarly outdated in its products and services. Even worse, they may get the impression that a company with no website is not legitimate.
Website Design Matters
According to Statista, among all internet users in the U.S., 269.5 million actively use mobile internet services. Therefore, company websites must be optimized for use on both mobile phones and laptops, as well as tablets.
The first thing the visitor notices upon opening a website is its design. With high competition among websites online, a company cannot afford an unattractive website that looks unprofessional. An unimpressed visitor can quickly move to another website.
Large images make a website pop. Never rely on stock images for a company website, though. Remember that these images will reflect the company, and generic stock images can be found elsewhere. A company must invest in a professional photographer service to develop original and unique photographs that are striking and engaging. These must be highly representative of the brand’s image and must connect with the brand’s target market.
Every page of a website must have photographs because text-heavy pages are boring. Hire a professional website designer to integrate the professional photographs with graphics and text on the website. Headings must be large, and text must be in bold fonts that are easy to read. The information must be complete but presented in short chunks that are easy to digest. Remember that netizens have a short attention span.
The company website must reflect the company’s official colors. The company logo must be prominent on every page. The website design must be easy to navigate. On each page, the visitor must be able to find links to other pages at a glance. No one wants to go back and forth across pages to find a link.
Interactive Websites are More Popular
Current websites are no longer static. The newest trend in websites is artificial intelligence (AI) to personalize each visitor’s online experience. A company’s digital marketing team uses AI to gather information on what each user searches for on the website, what pages the user visits most, and what products or services the user has inquired about or purchased in the past.
Using this data, AI presents a different version of the web page to each visitor based on their preferences. This makes the visit more convenient for the consumer and increases the chances of a sale.
Interactivity is also a valuable characteristic that consumers love in websites. For instance, some apps can be embedded on the website to enable a consumer to try on various shades of hair color, lipstick, or blush using the consumer’s photo. Some apps enable consumers to try on various paint colors on photos of their rooms. Others enable the consumer to see how certain pieces of furniture will look like in their homes.
For certain companies, online calculators can be embedded on the website. For instance, a legal firm that handles divorce can have a calculator for alimony and another for child support based on state guidelines. A mortgage company can have a calculator for monthly amortizations for certain loan amounts based on the current average mortgage rates. These can offer initial estimates to consumers, with more accurate information given upon personal consultation.
Ensure the Website’s Ranking in Search Engines
Finally, the company website consistently must rank high in searches. Search engine optimization (SEO) services can ensure this. For SEO to work, however, the website needs to measure up to Google’s standards. Previously, these included being mobile-friendly, having HTTPS security, providing safe browsing, and having no or very few pop-ups called intrusive interstitials.
In June 2021, Google added healthy core web vitals to its standards. The website’s largest contentful paint (LCP) or the time it takes for the page to load must be 2.5 seconds or less. Its first input delay (FID), or the time it takes for the page to respond to a user’s click, must be 100 milliseconds or less.
This covers pages that require log-ins and other interactions from users. Its cumulative layout shift (CLS) or page instability while loading must be lower than 0.1. All these requirements must be considered in the company’s website design, development, and maintenance.