The Biggest Challenge in Marketing is Still Your Website
By Steve Ohanians, CEO, and Co-Founder of WebEnertia
Twenty-plus years after the dot-com explosion, you’d think most brands would have their website strategy figured out. After all, companies have reached customers via their websites for two decades. Most leaders understand the basics of digital marketing. Unfortunately, brands are still struggling with their websites. This is largely due to the fact that the digital world is in a constant state of flux. SEO priorities change regularly, design trends quickly lose their relevance, and platforms and systems are constantly rolling out new features to explore.
The biggest challenge in marketing is still the effectiveness of your website. How can you keep your website relevant, updated, and interesting to your consumers? How can you manage content, create a proactive engagement strategy, and explore new digital opportunities? These are the questions on marketers’ minds as they navigate the complexities of digital life.
Your website is still the most important avenue through which you connect with your customers, but websites can quickly lose their relevance. Think of your website’s effectiveness through the lens of your high school chemistry class: every website has a half-life. This means that, as time progresses, your website starts to lose its impact—just like a radioactive substance starts to lose its radioactivity. Marketers should anticipate the steep decline in their website’s effectiveness and be ready to make proactive changes. Here are three critical mindset shifts that marketers must make if they want to maintain their website’s effectiveness and convert prospects into customers.
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Understand that frequent redesigns are necessary.
Marketers struggle with this, but it’s true: You need to redesign your website on a regular basis. Let’s go back to that half-life concept. If we use that as a general rule to judge website effectiveness, you should redesign your site every two years to get something in the works before your website becomes totally obsolete.
It’s important to regularly update and redesign your website for multiple reasons. First, design trends come and go, and you don’t want to stick with anything that will make your company look dated. If you’ve used a certain color palette, logo, font, or even website layout that was distinctive to a design era, it will quickly lose its power. And while your customers may not nit-pick the colors used on your website, they will note the overall message conveyed by your design. They will notice, perhaps subconsciously, that your site has not been updated for years.
Second, your brand goals and priorities will shift and change over the years. For example, perhaps in 2020, you were focused on just making it through the pandemic, so you cut costs, stopped devoting time to owned content like your company blogs or social posts, and those pages became static. Now, in 2022, everyone is talking about how content is king, and you want to be part of the conversation. You will, as a result, prioritize those things you set aside—like blogs and social content—and you may need to update those blog pages to make sure that they’re reaching your audience and easy to use.
Redesigns are part of the process, and you won’t have an effective website without them.
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Remember that your website isn’t static.
An effective website isn’t a one-and-done situation. It’s not static. Even after you’ve launched your latest website redesign, you will still need to make updates. Bugs happen, SEO rapidly changes, and you may even find an error or need to update a section of copy with new information. Too many marketers believe that once they’ve checked off the metaphorical “website” box on their to-do list, they won’t have to address it again. This isn’t true. It takes time, energy, and resources to manage a website and ensure its effectiveness. In 2022, your website is like a living organism. There are new things to observe every day.
A living website is a good thing because you can learn from it and create better marketing strategies overall. For example, the data that you pull from your website—about bounce rates, leads, conversions, and time spent on web pages—can help you understand the needs and interests of your consumers. If you put your website on the back burner, you’ll miss out on incredible opportunities to learn about your prospects. Invest time, energy, and money into your website regularly, and it will yield data and information that supports your marketing strategy.
Commit to consistency above all else.
At the end of the day, the goal of your website is to convey a consistent message so that consumers understand your brand, your values, and your products or services. Consistency is the key to success with web design, and the best way to create a consistent message is to regularly evaluate your website to ensure that it is aligned with your goals. Marketers should commit to consistency across platforms and commit to creating a cohesive experience for their customers. Practically speaking, this means that you must understand how your customers are getting to your site and which devices they’re using (the chances are high that they’re using a mobile device). This may change over time, but you must keep your website updated so that it functions properly on those applications and devices. Consistency will help you build trust with your customers.
Your company’s website is often the biggest and most important investment you’ll make as part of your marketing strategy. Don’t let it go to waste. Consistently update, redesign, and revamp your website so that you can provide a positive experience for your prospects and communicate your brand message.
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