Why Website Maintenance is Important for Businesses
When you hear about a cool new company, what’s the first thing you do? Most people will hop online to check out their socials and website. This means your website is one of your main allies for catching leads, locking sales, and keeping your business running.
Now imagine if your site hasn’t been updated in a while. Maybe the links are broken, or the décor is straight out of 1998. Maybe you even committed the cardinal sin of still using Comic Sans. Let’s chat a bit about how websites rose to such great heights, and how you can use them to your full advantage.
The History of Websites
The first-ever webpage is hardly even recognizable as a page by today’s standards. It was published to the World Wide Web (WW3) on August 6, 1991, by Tim Burners-Lee, providing instructions on – what else? – how to create more web pages. From there, the online user experience (UX) grew exponentially. Advanced design, copy, and functionality became the standard. Search engines – remember AskJeeves? – followed soon after, to help users find the information they wanted.
Web Design History Timeline. (from https://www.webdesignmuseum.org/web-design-history )
Search engines, like Archie and Google, were soon created to help users find the information they wanted. Here is a quick, 30-second summary of three decades of history for marketers and business owners:
- 1990 – The first browser and search engine are created and published with basic page functions and minimal design.
- 1995 – In a twist better than any movie, Jeffery Zeldman and Alec Pollak are the first to use the web for marketing. The reason? A promotional site for ‘Batman Forever’.
- 1998 – The iconic Geocities and Angelfire hosting services are all the rage, making sites more visually engaging. Remember the purple text and bright, flashing backgrounds? We wish we could forget.
- 2001 – Audi foresees the future and responds with a new customer experience (CX): a partially responsive website that modifies content based on the browser window size.
- 2005 – Google Analytics launches. Almost 20 years later, it’s still the most popular tool for analyzing user behaviours and traffic.
- 2009 – Facebook introduces the “Like” button. This unassuming digital thumb paves the way for real-time interactions and layered widget functionalities.
Ever since the first sites pushed function instead of fun, the web has filled up with millions of pages competing for attention. If you want yours to stand a chance, you’ll have to deploy all the tools at your disposal.
The Future of Websites
Since the early days of flashing text and eye-watering graphics, elements like design, UX, SEO, and digital marketing have taken off. You have to do more than just deliver information, after all. Good design and a buttery smooth experience will mean the difference between a sale for you and one for a competitor.
This all comes down to creating an emotional connection with target markets: a connection that leads to brand retention and lead generation. In the world of websites, this depends on three things: design, copy, and functionality. Balance these correctly, and you’re already on the road to success.
With the increase of websites and online advertising, Canada’s Accessibility Act was created to equalize the digital experience. It prioritizes seamless UX design and accessibility by everyone, including those with disabilities. This, in turn, has created conversation around things like neumorphism.
Neumorphism is a buzzword that refers to the move toward more realistic depictions of digital tools, with selective shadows (embossing effects) and flat colours. The trend is satisfying to look at and use, but its reduced contrast can affect your site’s accessibility (and SEO ranking). This is just one example of how sites must be more than pretty. They also have to be human-focused and functional for all.
Neumorphism in user interfaces. (from https://uxdesign.cc/neumorphism-in-user-interfaces-b47cef3bf3a6)
Language is powerful. With nothing more than words, we convince a user to keep moving through your sales funnel. But to even get there, first, they need to find your site – and choosing the best, SEO-friendly titles and topics is the key to that.
See our subheadings on this article? Those are prime SEO siren songs. They’re direct, informative, and don’t get too abstractly creative. Short is better, too, since too much copy can interrupt the function of the website. Make your ideas flow, and people in your sales funnel will as well.
Imagine asking your partner to wash the dishes. They run some lukewarm water over them and say, “Done!” Technically, they did what you asked, but it’s not at all what you wanted. Classic.
This is a good way to summarize website functionality: making sure you can do the intended action that users are asking for. A button that says “Click here to buy now!” should let your users purchase the product/service/thing when clicked. And as websites have evolved, functionalities like animated buttons, chatbots, online shops, and scrolling have all been added to keep up with expectations.
For example, scrolling animations are a great way to keep your users from “bouncing’ too soon. These increase interaction and create a visual feedback loop for users to engage with. It may be as simple as moving text elements, or it could be a masterpiece of holistic page design, but it’s an easy element to adopt that beefs up those sweet engagement metrics.
Even though these cool new options feel exciting, remember to temper them with strategic decisions that maintain the all-important Balance of Three. This means regular audits, maintenance, and strategic direction.
Digital Services from WJ
Most companies (and obviously, even some dogs) have a website now, and a little blip you might remember as “the pandemic” showed how important they are in keeping the lights on. But unlike a baseball field out in the prairies, just because you build it doesn’t mean they will come.
Outranking competing websites in an ever-changing search engine algorithm requires ongoing and deliberate maintenance and assessments. Ensuring a positive user experience in the chaotic digital environment can be daunting, and the more marketing jargon you encounter, the more you’ll wonder if you’re on the right track. Well, wonder no more. WJ is here, and we got you covered.