The year 2016 is creeping to an end and the new era of web design and online branding is already in full swing. Many changes in online marketing and social media are set to take place in the coming year and even so, several companies are still lagging far behind in catching up to the latest trends and platforms. If all your online marketing is solely invested in your website, then you are surely feeling that you aren’t doing enough marketing online. However, if you’ve invested your time, money and resources to managing your social media, then you may be at the point of wondering if you even still need a website.
In the last twenty years, we witnessed websites designed from full Flash sites with loading signs and giant sliding buttons on a 640 x 480 screen, to the more browser-friendly html sites and then change once again to the revolutionary HTML5 and CSS sites. We’ve now settled into a time where open source content management systems like WordPress reign supreme.
Long ago and in a galaxy far away, every website had to be hard coded and constantly revisited with the advent of each new platform. Now, these systems, like WordPress, allow developers to quickly launch CMS sites that are easily customized to fit any platform; layouts are updated quicker and more often; new platforms are integrated easier and with plugins; templates are customizable to screens, phones and any other upcoming device hitting the market.
Google Adwords and SEM
If twenty years ago, you were intuitive enough to build a site based on keywords and search engine marketing, then bravo to you. Your instincts would have put you at the top of Google’s list and it’s been smooth sailing since…..or more like until 6 or 7 years ago.
Google Adwords and search engine marketing is still important. The majority of people still rely heavily on Google to get them diagnosed, get them home, get them through traffic, get them through life. If you want online sales, investing in search engine optimization and search engine marketing is still the best way to go.
But Google is no longer your only option for building brand awareness. And there is nothing more powerful than brand awareness. Brand awareness is the goal behind every commercial on television, every segment on the radio and every single advertising banner, billboard and ad you see during the course of your day. Once reserved for blue chip companies, platforms that allow you to build brand awareness is now available to everyone and on a platform a lot more influential and persuasive than any TV commercial has ever proven to be.
You can hate it. You can blame it for our decline of a civil society. You can even go as far to claim that it has dumbed us down to a trickle of our once social, free-thinking selves. None of it matters because social media is what television was in the early 60s. It has changed the way we access information and directly influences our decision-making. Companies and brands no longer neglect or downplay the importance of their presence online. It is at the forefront of all marketing meetings with bigger companies creating departments that focus solely on social media marketing and management. When 1.6 billion people on earth access Facebook 17 times a day on average, there is no valid reason not to take advantage of the platform to build your brand awareness. It is the equivalent of being flashed the same billboard sporadically throughout the day. Seventeen times. Willingly.
So where does your website stand? Have websites become lost in the online marketing shuffle? Have websites become the ghost town of all your earlier online marketing efforts? Not necessarily.
We no longer have any patience for flying objects on the home page, sliding buttons, fading texts, or long loading animations (or any loading sign for that matter). We have limited patience for web designers who don’t follow the now universal guidelines for user-friendly sites (the contact button is always on the top right and last on the menu list; the logo should always ALWAYS lead back to the home page…c’mon people!). But we do expect every single company to have a user-friendly, mobile-friendly, informative site.
Once your potential client has become aware of your company and has researched your services and products on Google, they will still edge their way onto your website wherein lies the final frontier, the final decision: to purchase or not.
So once you’ve succumbed to the inevitable realization that social media needs to be part of your marketing plan and you need to create relevant content for Google, your site still needs to be up to par.
You website is still your best closer.