The Internet continually evolves and there are a number of important considerations every business person, marketer and ecommerce manager should be paying attention to this year.
Whether a user is currently travelling, at work, in a meeting, at home, watching TV, or lying in bed will all affect their behaviour, expectation, and current personal objective for using the Internet at a particular time. As Internet users’ behaviour develops the offering to audiences must continue to reflect not only people’s expectations but their browsing environments. Internet connectivity speed, browser device capability and individual situational objectives need to be taken into account if you, the provider of content and utility, are going to achieve your own objective of effective communication and transaction.
Some of these tips are new, whilst some have been around for some time, however changes in technologies or user behaviour have made the latter important in the current climate.
1. Learn three new things about Analytics. Whether you use Google Analytics or another client side statistical analytics system, it’s imperative that either you personally, or whoever reports to you, are including more detail and consideration of new areas of statistical analysis. Mobile activity will probably be included in this but there are other more in depth areas to analyse.
2. Load times. One of the factors Google uses to influence rank position is page load time. This fact attracts attention but probably a more important issue is to make sure your site is faster than a majority of other sites. After replacing an old site in 2010 and reducing total page content load times from 10+seconds to 2-3seconds, we noticed an immediate increase in direct sales of over 50%. Better navigation, design and usability obviously helped here, but the most obvious change was simply a consistently faster site. It can be difficult to achieve, particularly if a graphic designer without any more advanced digital knowledge gets to design a site without any technical advice or guidance. However, it’s seriously important. Make sure you get the right balance here!
3. Screen size and small screen navigation. Different phones, pads, laptops, notepads, desktops, and monitor sizes will display proportions of any website. Also remember about touch screen navigation which requires larger navigation buttons and clickable menus as opposed to hover-over menus. Borrow an iPad and iPhone as a bare minimum and ideally test at least 5 different screen sizes and aspect ratios.
4. Get your business listed on Google Maps, Google Places and Google Local, at least. The listing costs nothing, and if set up carefully you can really position your business to gain far greater levels of traffic and visitor numbers. Just like valeting a car, you can do this yourself, pay a vacuum cleaning equipped general handyman, or pay a specialist to maximise the results. Remember, the work is normally done only once but your appearance there will last for years. Our advice is to invest very little relative cost in getting this done perfectly.
5. Content is, and will always be, king. For every minute you spend thinking and considering the design and look of your site, spend at least the same on ensuring you have great content. So £1000 on graphic design means at least £1000 on content whether it’s copy or photography and if it’s video content then at least a factor of 3 should be applied.
6. Mobile. Apart from the technical layout and usability of designing a site or multiple sites for mobile devices, try and think what your audience will be looking for whilst using a mobile. If there is a predominant common content set then you may wish to consider a dedicated site with this content at the forefront. For example, a train company will get a lot of mobile visitors looking at live departure and arrival times.
7. Geo-location Social Media placements. This is really simple. If you have premises or a place of work, just register your location using 4Square and Facebook Places at least. There are numerous others available if you like, although the usual advice about quality over quantity prevails. This follows into making sure you monitor, engage, and follow all other advice any good Social Media specialist consultant will keep you informed of.
8. Google Search Preview. Users now have the option to see a small page preview of your webpage along the side of search results. How enticing does your website look when a smaller screen view of the page appears? This creates another issue for the web designer and should be taken in to consideration.
9. Consider video content seriously. As mentioned quality content not only draws additional direct traffic but also holds people’s attention for longer. This can potentially benefit your natural search engine positioning.
10. Appropriate social media usage. Promoting a Twitter feed, a Facebook page or a content library with your content on will fail if you simply don’t have enough of the right type of content being posted through each of these. It’s very important to ensure you use Social Media feeds appropriately. Again, the highest quality specialist advice you can afford will pay off in the longer term.
We hope you find these useful for reflective purposes. There may be instances where they are not appropriate, but, we feel they should at least be considered for all projects in 2011.