The online space has only grown in size throughout 2020. More and more people and businesses are jumping online for a variety of reasons. As more people join the digital world, the standards and expectations for websites go up. More customers online mean businesses are stepping up their website game as well. If you want your business website to stay relevant and survive past 2020, there are some necessary steps you must take. Here are six things your website must have to truly compete in 2021 and beyond.
Thankfully, many of these changes are easier to implement than you might imagine, but achieving a 2021 ready website will take time and hard work.
For years, desktop computers, whether they were a tower or a laptop, was the primary way people accessed the Internet. Still, now the mobile market has overtaken the lion’s share of users. More people access the Internet from their mobile devices than desktop devices, so websites must optimize for mobile consumption. It is not enough to take an afternoon and tweak your desktop site for mobile use. The time has passed for band-aid solutions, and it is time to make a good mobile version of your site that works across different sized mobile screens.
You can improve your site all you want, but that effort could be for nothing if no one sees your site. Building the best website you can is part of the problem, but you also need eyes on your site to make the improvements worthwhile. Attracting new prospective customers should always be a business’s goal, but drawing in new digital traffic is a top priority. Use every marketing method you can, such as direct response marketing, social media ads, and even physical mailers, to get the word out about your business-worthy site.
No one wants to fight a website to get to the part they want. Sites that have inadequate navigation systems or broken links will only anger customers who will likely never return. Using your website should be painless and intuitive. Try going through your site, looking at the experience through a customer’s eyes, and see what elements slow you down or make the process more confusing. Each site will be unique when it comes to improving the user experience, but it is a critical step you should not skip.
Issues will inevitably arrive, it is just a part of running a business, and customers need straightforward ways they can reach out to solve their problems. Shipping is one of the most common issues customers run into. Offering a range of shipping options with varied prices and delivery windows can help, but adding more specialized tools can help even more.
Add shipping tracking APIs so customers can keep an eye on their orders during transit. Confirmation emails with tracking numbers are an excellent way to send customers vital information and add extra company branding. However, all the shipping tools in the world will not stop customer issues. That is why email and phone support are the bare minimums your business should meet. Have your contact information and business hours at the bottom of your web pages, so customers always know where to go when something goes wrong.
Every modern website needs to use SEO best practices to achieve anything. SEO is no longer an optional system you can use if you have time; SEO is a key element of how online sites stay alive. Take the time to set out a proper and comprehensive SEO plan, even if it requires bringing in an outside consultant to get started. Do not ignore SEO, for you would do so to your own detriment. You do not need to devote all your resources to SEO, but it is an area that you cannot ignore if you want to or expect to succeed in the digital world.
It can be tempting to stuff your site full of content that may or may not be related to the site’s primary business. Filling your site with content can make you look successful or at least busy, but if the content is not relevant or useful, it is merely a waste of space. Discerning eyes and the all-important algorithms will not be impressed by a full page of blogs that have nothing to do with your business. If the content does not help customers somehow or tie back to your core business, it is fluff that is hurting you more than helping you.
Look at your current and future content with a customer’s eyes and determine what content should stay and what is only getting in the way. Focus on content that provides a service, informs customers, expands your brand, or anything else that is relevant and useful to your business.