Is your business digitally ready?
We are constantly evolving and the digital revolution is gradually taking over. Older generations are becoming more and more tech-savvy and the new generations are coming into this world, surrounded by technology and immersed in a digital environment, some since the day they are born. From cable TV with any show at a click of a button to mobile devices, connected to the internet and with constant access to information and social media, people are now more than ever connected and living through a digital world. And businesses need to keep up.
Technology has evolved so quickly in the past 15 years. From IRC to Facebook, Walkmans to iPods, VHS to Netflix, landlines to the iPhone and the Yellow pages to Google, more and more technology is evolving and we are evolving with it. It is becoming part of our day to day as we breathe and live digital and we cannot live without it - it’s gradually becoming part of who we are.
What does this mean for businesses in general?
Well, this is something that we’ve been thinking more and more about and come to realise that, the importance for businesses to have a clear, professional and above all, engaging digital presence, in today’s world, is reaching a critical point.
No longer will businesses be able to compete or thrive in a cutthroat digital world, where things are judged by how pixel-perfect or how easy and simple to use they are. They will no longer be successful in the digital work with half-thought and watered down experience and websites, that do not reflect their true essence and are a true representation of their brand, business, services and/or products.
With the new digital generation emerges the need for businesses to re-look at their digital presence as a whole and treat it more like their digital storefront. We are reaching a time where any business should spend as much time, effort and money on how their brand is perceived online as they do in their actual physical stores.
Why do we say this?
It’s simple, in today’s busy world, where everyone is living at a fast pace and overloaded with information, people’s attention to detail is increasing but their attention span is becoming shorter. In recent studies, Microsoft discovered that the average person's attention span is now less than a goldfish (9 seconds) at a mere 8 seconds. And another study, recently announced that you have now 50 milliseconds (that’s 0,05 seconds) for users to make a first impression about your business.
This means that users are becoming quicker and harsher when judging businesses by their digital appearance, as found in another study where 94% of negative feedback was design related. All of this results in loss of potential clients and customers if businesses do not give them what they need; simple, clear and engaging experiences.
Simply, businesses spend so much time refining their services and/or products, to ensure these are of the highest quality and to differentiate them from their competitors and some invest so much effort, time and money into creating a beautiful office/store to receive and connect with their customers and provide them with a unique experience. All this can easily be put down by the simple fact that your online presence does not match or truly reflect your business and the quality and experience you’ve worked so hard to ensure your customers know you by becomes futile as they may never reach your door.
Today’s generation is not only time poor but also accustomed to the quick and easy access to information and are quick to judge. They no longer ask their closest friend for recommendations they post it on social for a bigger and quicker response and reach. They no longer call or walk to a business to ask about a service or product, they want to be able to quickly book at a click of a button or an email. They are tech-savvy, quick learners and are evolving with the times and therefore so do you and your business.
So what does this mean for you?
If you already have a website then you should really consider reviewing it closely and ask yourself these 4 questions:
1. Is your website mobile friendly?
Does your website layout and content adapt to mobile devices and the various sizes, from mobile phones to tablets in the various brands and operating systems that currently exist? It is quite important that your website provides users with a friendly mobile experience, as currently the market share is starting to level between Desktop at 54% and Mobile at 36% and Tablet with 10%. It’s becoming crucial that websites can adapt and provide a uniform experience to all your potential and current customers when navigating across devices. In a related study, it was identified that 85% of adults think that a company’s website, when viewed on a mobile device, should be as good or better than its desktop version.
2. Is your website easy to navigate?
Do you have the right amount of information, clearly organised, so that users can easily navigate through? According to Hubspot, 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive. Your website and messaging should be single-minded and well organised. For example, a retail business should engage their customers to browse their products and complete their journey with a purchase. Or a service-based business should engage their potential clients to view their services and book online or contact them for an enquiry. Not only is it important that the content is easy to navigate but that it also provides users with an informative journey through the content, from the homepage all the way through to the final goal, ensuring they have access to all the information and detail they need to make their decision with minimal effort. The aim is to have a seamless and user-friendly user journey, that ensures users enjoy their experience and return to your site, as 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience.
3. Is the information on your website easy to digest and clearly organised?
The saying “less is more” tends to be a rule of thumb when creating and developing content and respective structures for the websites we create. It is usually a hard balance to find, as a business, but in most cases too much information and lack of structure can negatively affect the journey of your potential and even current customers, resulting in a drop off as they get frustrated or confused. Content should be clear and succinct and straight to the point while maintaining the tone of voice that transmits the essence of your brand/business. Recent stats confirm that users spend an average of 5.59 seconds looking at a website’s written content. This reiterates the importance of simple and properly sectioned content with clear gateways directing users to related or complementary pieces of content. This allows pages to be short and easy to read and provide your customers with an informational and guided journey through your website.
4. Does your website truly represent your brand?
We know this is a hard one to answer, especially when you’re viewing it from the inside. Although it can be hard to step away and see it with a different perspective, now is the time to do it. Ask your customers, your friends, your kids or anyone that you’d like and hear what they have to say about your brand, website and how it makes them feel. Ask them if it is clear. Do they feel a connection to your brand or would they trust it? And for those that are close to you and know your business more than anyone else, do they think it reflects who you are, your business and the quality that you stand for.
Why is this so important? Well, according to web credibility research from Stanford, 75% of users admit to making judgments about a company’s credibility based on their website’s design. So we strongly recommend these starting points to get a clear understanding of your website and digital brand and ensure these are a true reflection of your business. Another interesting fact that supports this, is that according to The Real Business of Web Design by John Waters, nearly half of all consumers (46,1 per cent) in the study, assessed credibility based in part on the appeal of the overall visual design of the site including layout, typography, font size and colour schemes.
Long gone are the days that websites were built and set to forget. With the digital revolution that we are clearly living, your website is becoming a living and breathing extension of your business and requires your attention more than ever, because if you don’t get your potential customers to engage with your website, they will never reach your store.
If you are only now looking into creating a website for your business, then you should definitely have all of these in mind from the start and you’ll be on your way to creating something that will be future proof and provide your potential customers with an accessible, clear, simple and engaging experience.
We are here to help, either to provide advice and guidance, assist you with a review and update of your existing website or design and development of your new website, we have all the skills you’ll need to help you grow your business. If you need help don’t hesitate and get in touch.