As website technologies rapidly evolve, it's easy to get left in the dust. Updating your website every four years is a good rule of thumb, unless your site is built on a system that is scalable and can evolve with the technological updates. If you are starting to think about revamping your current site, there is a lot to think about. It's easy to get giddy about some of the cool bells and whistles that are out there, but they can easily drive your cost up. To help you prioritize certain features, we have put together a list of the website functionality your site needs to have.
It's hard to deny the need for a mobile interface on your website. These days doctors are concerned with people's spinal health because they spend so much time looking down at their cell phone. When this is a concern, you know mobile compatibility is important. Smart Insights put out some great data on mobile usage that reinforces the need for mobile compatibility. Responsive design is the process of a website adjusting and scaling to fit the device it is being viewed on. When a site is responsive, you can make your browser window narrower and you should see the site automatically adjust to the narrow screen resolution. These days, this is a must and a new site should not be designed without this capability. As I type this our own company site is still not on a responsive framework as we are working on final edits for a new company website. (A bit of the old "Cobbler's Children syndrome.")
Built On a Content management System
Content Management Systems (CMS) are pretty commonplace anymore. It's difficult to find a website that doesn't have some type of backend that will allow admins to login and update content. For us, it's a no-brainer and more often than not, speeds up the process in building a new site. However, providing easy access to the backend of a website can be a double edged sword. Many content management systems come with what we call WYSIWYG, or "What you see is what you get," editors. These can give the user full control over styles, layouts, image manipulation, and more. This controls how the site looks and can easily be missused, impacting the consistency of the site's aesthetic design. WordPress, one of the world's most popular content management systems is notorious for this. You often spend more time fighting the styling than updating content. We favor content management systems like Craft and ExpressionEngine which give us control over how much we allow users to edit. This often takes the headache out of trying to make a site "look good," because it's controlled through the CSS, so the user just has to focus on adding quality content.
As content has become king, having fresh quality content on your website is crucial. We often hear the excuse that clients just don't have time to blog-but you need to make time. What your website looks like is a great way to represent the image of your company and attract people to dig a little deeper on your site. But if your content is lacking, it's hurting your ability to generate business from your site. Blogging gives you the ability to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in your industry. If you are struggling with what to write, check out these 9 different types of blogs that should apply to any industry. In July of 2014, we launched a brand new website for a client and got them on a regular blogging schedule to post two to three blogs per week. They had the same concern as most clients about finding time to blog, or not knowing what to blog about. They reluctantly agreed and quickly found the value as their organic traffic began to see a lot of benefits. Fast forward to July of 2016 and they have increased their organic traffic 362% in a span of 24 months. Great growth and improved engagement on their site.
As you start to think about your new website and how to make it work best for your business, think about these three aspects of website functionality. A little planning can go a long way to improving your end product. There is a lot of cool functionality, which can be added to your site to improve the user experience or capture more leads, but these three things should definitely be part of your site.
If you found this blog interesting be sure to check out the following:
- 11 Benefits of Content Marketing
- 5 Reasons You Need to Invest In a Custom Website
- The Evolution of Mobile Responsive Websites