A fast-changing landscape
It’s been nearly 30 years since the wild west of the web began, with companies like Google, Amazon, and Apple leading the consumer-facing website charge. While website design sure looks a lot different now than it did back then, there are some key components that remain very much in place:
- Websites need to provide useful information to the right audience
- Websites need to load as quickly as possible
- Websites need to be accessible and user-friendly
- Websites need to provide clear direction on next steps
What your customers expect from your website in 2023.
1. A fast website load time (fewer than 3 seconds)
Yep, you read that right. Anything longer than 3 seconds has your website users feeling antsy, and much more time after that will ensure they are clicking that red “x” and visiting your competitor’s website. It’s also important to note that with Google’s new Core Web Vitals guidance, your rankings can now be affected by poor website performance.
See how you stack up with by running your website URL through the following tools:
2. Your website is secure and your web address begins with HTTPS
Nearly ten years ago, Google made SSL a ranking factor. Later, in 2018, Google began showing a “Not Secure” warning in its Chrome web browser when websites failed to use SSL site-wide (not just on checkout pages).
This was largely in response to growing security concerns and consumer sentiment about how websites protect their personal information.
And in today’s landscape, it’s gone from nice to have to “must-have.” Since 2018 Google has confirmed that having a SSL-secured website would equal a slight rankings boost in the search engines.
3. Your website is easy to read, easy to navigate, and creates a great user experience
It seems obvious, right? Well, accessibility, compatibility and user experience is anything but for many small business websites out there. This is why so many of them rely on experienced web design agencies to help them navigate these critical concepts.
When evaluating how likely it is for your website users to be pleased with the experience, ask yourself the following questions:
- Have ALT attributes been added to images?
- Is my website mobile-friendly?
- Am I using proper font size and spacing on text content?
- Are images properly optimized for speedy website viewing?
- Am I using a consistent, branded color scheme that’s pleasing to the eye?
Read more: 7 UX Principles for Creating a Great Website
New Recommendations for 2023
4. You’ve got a story to tell
Your customers are inundated with hollow marketing messaging every single day. They browse local business websites featuring content that is often uninteresting and uninspiring.
Sure, that’s okay sometimes, but if you want to build a brand that stands out from your competitors and engages your customers meaningfully, you’ve got to have a story to tell.
Remember, effective marketing and lead generation is all about tapping into emotions and customer sentiment:
- Why did you get into business?
- Why is what you do so special?
- Are you showcasing customer stories?
5. Overall look and functionality feels modern
You may not think your small business plumbing website needs to feel modern, but you’d be wrong. Technology is completely taking over service-based business these days, from appointment scheduling smart phone apps to high-tech billing solutions.
If your website still looks like it was built in the .com era, and your competitors are building websites featuring engaging design and automated chat bots, you’ve got some work ahead of you.
If your website doesn’t feature (or you’ve never heard of) the following, you’re likely not doing enough to prepare your website (and your small business) for success this year:
- Mobile-first, responsive design
- High quality imagery
- Custom messaging
- Optimization for retina (high resolution mobile) displays
- Cohesive color palette
- SVG graphics
- Subtle movement and micro-interactions
Don’t know what some of these digital marketing terms mean? Check this out: The Ultimate, Ultimate Glossary Of Digital Marketing Terms & Definitions
Where to start?
With so many new web standards that seem to change and evolve with the wind, it can be difficult to know where to start. We get it.
If you’d like to learn more about how LeadCardinal can help equip your small business with an effective, secure, and highly engaging website, reach out to one of our small business marketing experts!