“The future depends on what you do today.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
You have spent a large budget in hiring a high-profile web agency to build your website, because as a business leader, you know that it’s an essential part of your marketing strategy.
A website is a tool for you to attract prospects, convert them into paying clients, engage them as promoters and perhaps more importantly, retain them in time. It’s a key strategic piece to accomplish the marketing goals responsible for driving and maintaining the success of your business.
However, no matter how strong your website is, it won’t last forever. This is a reality, that you, as a business leader, should and will have to cope with.
Intangible things like love, friendship or even faith endure and stand the test of time. They are perennial no matter the contextual forces at play. But everything tangible, including websites, become obsolete in time and need to be repaired and updated.
Up until recently, the general lifespan of websites was between two and three years. However, given the number of changes and the fast pace of innovations, it has fallen to one year.
One human year equals to four Internet years. Understanding this allows us to fully appreciate the accelerated progress of web applications and solutions. New tools flood the market everyday and before long yesterday’s shiny new website is no longer relevant today. The competition adapts the new tools and your business falls behind.
Director of Content of Marketing at Segment, Brent Summers, says that “websites aren’t meant to be built — they’re meant to be developed. Think about your website as a living, evolving creation”.
It is not about creating perpetual websites; it’s about understanding and taking action to keep your website relevant.
How to keep your website relevant
Andreas Anderskou, president of world's most awarded web agency, Hello Monday, believes that evergreen websites don’t exist. Rather, platforms must be built on strong foundations, which are essential to elaborate on them and make them better in time.
There are a number of basic elements that must be present in every contemporary website:
1. Unique and attractive design
Perception is powerful: A website that fails to create a good impression on prospects transmits the idea that your company is unprofessional and incapable. An outdated website can be compared to a dirty showcase — passers-by will keep away from the store.
According to studies carried out by web analytics company, Chartbeat, 55% of users leave after having spent just 15 seconds on a website. If a prospective client enters your page and finds an ugly and unwelcoming interface, he or she will close the window within seconds and will end up checking out your competitors. Aesthetics is ultimately the funnel that allows prospects to dig deeper.
Apart from being fully functional and reliable, you need your website to instill creativity, knowledge and trust through great web design.
Check out the latest web design trends that were hot during 2015 and will remain relevant in 2016.
Mobile media time in the US stands at 51% as opposed to desktop at 42%. Mobile has become the leader in delivering digital experiences. This growing trend is due to the fact that people are relying more on smartphones and tablets to get the information they need at the exact time they want it. This is a clear indicator that tells your website must be adapted in order to provide direct access through different devices.
Being responsive is one important web design technique that makes your content available in every device, bringing an optimal viewing and user experience. This approach adapts the content so it can respond to different viewports and be easily read, not only in desktops and laptops, but also in mobile phones and tablets.
A responsive website covers the growing number of mobile users, which increases the chances of new prospects finding you, as well as it facilitates your mobile active clients to comfortably navigate your website.
Your marketing strategy strengthens when your clients become influencers of your products and services. This is the main reason why your website should allow your faithful clients to share the great experience your business delivered. Setting up social media buttons allows them to post key information about your brand in their feeds and timelines, converting them into promoters of your brand.
Shareable content complements a responsive and multi-device website: often the users who use their mobile devices to consume information online are also the most likely to share it to their social media followers.
4. Communication channels
Your business needs constant feedback from your clients to remain successful and your website is an ally in making it happen. Client retention can significantly increase when your website includes contact forms and interactive elements such as customer attention messaging. Client retention tools are especially relevant, as acquiring new customers has become 6 to 7 times more expensive than maintaining your current base.
5. Updated content
You can have a top-notch technological infrastructure and innovative design, but keeping fresh content is just as important when it comes to maintaining your website’s relevance.
Content is ultimately the element that communicates what your business offers: It is responsible for delivering the message and persuading your clients to hire your services or purchase your products.
Skillfully constructed content guides your clients within your website – providing the map that includes effective calls-to-action to tell them what to do.
Great and constantly renewed content also helps your website position well in search engines. In addition, it attracts more inbound links, which are helpful in spreading the voice about your business across the World Wide Web.
Consider putting up a blog, as it’s a useful option to keep fresh content running, and allows you to share important information with your audience and position yourself as an expert in your business field.
Sergey Makhno is a designer that works on architectural, interior and product design. Note how on his website technology (namely, HTML5 graphics) is used to support a more engaging, fresh and “alive” design. This website won over 6 international design awards and has taken Makhno’s business to the next level. The bold aesthetics, animations, custom video and the interactive elements combined has delivered the results every business owner wants: inquiries from all around the world.
Clearwater is a premium water delivery service. We developed a brand new website that multiplied the company online sales by 4 times. We achieved it by using modern HTML5 design, that immediately catches the visitor’s attention and presents its content in the most appealing way. This is a fully mobile responsive site, what means that it displays correctly on any device. This is extremely important for positioning your website above competitors in search results. Big search engines like Google favor sites that are mobile friendly and in fact will begin to penalize sites that are non-responsive.
What else to do
Besides having all these elements in your website, there are some side actions you can undertake.
Keep an eye on the competition
It is important to compare yourself with your competitors, but you have to be cautious in choosing the right ones. A way to filter good competitors is by contrasting your rankings in web searches. If they rank higher, find out why.
Take the time to visit your competitors’ websites. Usually, whatever changes they have implemented are precise indicators that there are new and better ways to achieve goals similar to yours. Find out what new features they have inserted and consider working on modifying and revamping your SEO.
Build and maintain a good relationship with your web creators
Excellent results are possible when all teams involved have a deep understanding on the goals they must collectively achieve. This is especially true when you hire and work with a web agency. Without sinergy, there’s no path to follow.
Remember, a website is for the long haul – it will need upgrades to consistently deliver results over time, which is enough reason to maintain a strong relationship with a team you’ll repeatedly need and work with.
Shared values, mutual understanding, similar culture and beliefs create common ground to generate a long lasting association.
The ultimate test of a relevant website
A working website is the one that allows your business to grow, by giving you competitive advantage, attracting and retaining clients. It keeps your ranking on web searches high, which helps in driving traffic. This grows your number of leads increasing your prospective client base and consequently allows your conversion rates to expand.
But your website has another vital function: It’s the reflection of your culture, vision and beliefs. After all, we’re all human beings. We’re all drawn to stories and experiences and your website works as the channel that speaks to your audience’s desires and emotions.
These results are possible when a symbiosis of the following elements combine:
- Unique and attractive design.
- Upgraded and reliable technology.
- Informative and fluid content that speaks to your audience.
A website remains relevant as long as it works as a tool to achieve, maintain and reinforce your business goals… But always keep in mind that your goals will change over time and so your website will have to adapt.