New Year, New Online You

Website Updates for 2021 | Essential Website Updates

You’ve made it! What kind of year will this one be?

Will it be the long-awaited year when you finally renovate and redesign your website that you’re proud to show the world, or just another year of awkwardly saying “yeah, we haven’t updated it in a while…”?

Hard is as it is to believe, some people have already rain-checked their website redesign for the next few months until things “settle down”. But no one knows when that will be, so these people might as well shred all of their cash. The outcome is the same.

Truth is, You Can’t Afford to Leave Your Website as is

How many more lockdowns do we need to undergo for entrepreneurs to realize that their websites (and newsletters, and eCommerce) are their biggest stream of income? It’s true – internet use has risen up 70% during the pandemic, and this percentage tends to increase in the years to come. Just a subtle wake-up call – in case you’re one of the sleepyheads out there.

It’s understandable, though. It’s scary. A new year starts and BOOM, you get sucker-punched with yet another batch of rules to avoid being weeded out of the search engines. You’re terrified you won’t be able to follow up with them all, so you freeze. What to do?

Let’s start this article (and this year) on a positive note: you can only control so much when it comes to website optimization. What you can control is how you put your website together and organize your content, in a way your visitors and search engines will be like “hey, this site is useful. We could use it”. Bluntly speaking, the rest isn’t up to you.

To keep your site in top shape this year, we’ve condensed essential website updates for 2021 you should focus on to get your website the recognition it deserves (and the ROI you deserve!)

Stay True to UX Design Principles

  1. User experience is all about giving website visitors the smoothest navigation through your website, while benefiting search engine crawling just as well.
  2. Google should grasp what your site is about in a blink. According to the Digital Marketing Institute, “this will increase the chances that the search engine will use your content to answer voice search queries”. (Scroll to tip #4 to learn more about voice search)
  3. When focusing on ease of use for your visitor, website design and colors are key, and so is information hierarchy (location, phone numbers, opening and closing hours, CTAs…). That’s why updating your website to a design that reflects your brand’s personality but it’s still easy to use is paramount. We can help you with that, by the way.
  4. If your prospects can’t find what they want in seconds, they’ll go somewhere else. But you already knew that.

Speaking of which…

Make It Fast, Or You’re Gone

It’s frustrating. Users have become lazy and demanding when it comes to how long they wait. You can either pout over it or work to make the entire site (both on mobile and desktop) load in 5 seconds or less. Or are you trying to give your users a taste of early-2000s internet performance?

If you’re procrastinating a load speed test, afraid of what you’ll see, hop to it. The sooner you speed up your site, the better.

Optimize for Mobile ASAP

  1. Around 60 percent of searches are done in mobile devices. Horror. How’s your website looking on the smaller screen?
  2. Are images and CTA buttons overlapping each other? Is text hard to read? Now’s your time to fix that, though you should’ve done it the moment Mobile First update came along.
  3. It’s not rocket science. Several templates and web designers will give you a responsive design, meaning the template of your site will adjust perfectly to any screen size.

Two Words: Voice Search

If you’ve caught yourself saying “Hey, Google” or calling Alexa’s name repeatedly, you know first-hand what these virtual assistants are about: direct, short, yet useful answers.

Users don’t want to go to another website to find an answer. Ideally, yours would be their one-stop solution.

Aside from making your site easily scannable, what can you do to increase your chances of voice search to pull answers from your website?

Focus on long-tail keywords

If you’re familiar with questions people usually ask virtual assistants, you’ve noticed they tend to be longer. Focusing on long-tail keywords on your blogs and knowing your audience’s doubts will help you answer their questions in a useful way.

Write conversationally

Talking to AI is like talking to a person. Therefore, make sure your writing doesn’t sound robotic and stuck. If you’ve hired a content writer, make sure they’re aware of that.

Make your content scannable

Avoid annoying pop-ups. Break up your text with white space and headings that succinctly wrap up what a paragraph is about. Make location, phone numbers, opening and closing hours available front and center.

Even if virtual assistants don’t pull answers from your site, you’ll be doing a fine job of optimizing your website for SEO.

Sounds like a whole lot of stuff to keep track of. It is, especially if you’re a business of one or a very few. Sooner or later, the to-do lists will stack up.

Not to worry. The above tips sure can take you a long way from where you are now – but if you need an extra pair of hands (or several), we’re here for you.