Website designers know that people aren’t going to spend much time on a website that’s difficult to use. Good designers, in fact, pay attention to the ways their sites are typically viewed and adjust their work accordingly. In earlier days of the web, this meant restricting a site’s width so that people with smaller monitors wouldn’t have to scroll sideways to see everything, and avoiding the use of effects that were only available to users of a single browser (for example, Netscape Navigator was one of the only browsers available in the 1990s that supported blinking text).
Nowadays, company websites are as ubiquitous as the business card: nearly everyone has one. That means that the standard of quality has been raised. You can’t sit on a poorly designed, eight-year-old site and expect prospective customers to give you the benefit of the doubt. A website that doesn’t do your business justice is worse than no website at all: it means you are actively turning people away from your door.
As this week winds down, we come to the end of our first annual marketing clinic series – Giving Back to Our Community: Free Marketing Guidance for Local Small Business. All of our visitors have come to us armed with questions and ideas, looking for solutions to their most pressing marketing challenges. In particular, many of them have asked about website design.
Today’s web is fiercely competitive. Staying relevant is no longer simply a matter of having a website – you need to keep a close eye on your competition and see what they are doing, and ensure that your own efforts do not fall behind. And don’t think that because you were ahead of the curve a year ago that you are still there today, either. The web is evolving at an ever-increasing pace, and technologies and practices that were once cutting-edge can (and do) quickly become dated.
It is impossible to deny the continuing growth of mobile computing. Nowadays, more and more people rely exclusively on smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices to browse the web, shop online, and stay in touch. I have asked my colleague Ian Marquis, Creative Director at Pulse Marketing Agency, to give us some tips to help you ensure that your company’s mobile website puts its best foot forward:
Fifteen years ago, simply having a website meant your company was ahead of the curve. Many big companies (multinationals, even) gave little thought to their web presence, and people were only beginning to realize the potential of the web as a vehicle for delivering information from company to consumer (and vice versa). But to say things have changed since 1996 would be an understatement.