Does Your Website Suck?

We hate to tell you this, but your website sucks. Well, okay – sorry. We take that back. We don’t know for sure if your website sucks, but odds are pretty good if you’re still with us after that rather brutal and insulting opening sentence, you already know the sad truth: your website isn’t a stellar example of online excellence. It’s not representative of your brand, and it definitely isn’t pulling its weight when it comes to growing your business and generating sales. Don’t worry. We’ve looked at a lot of websites and have developed hundreds more. Believe us when we say plenty of websites fall heavily into ‘sucking’ territory. Your terrible website is in good, albeit unfortunate company.

Whether or not your website sucks, the real question is, why does your website suck? Well, it’s likely for a lot of reasons, to be honest. But let’s start with the most basic: Your website sucks because you had no idea why you were creating it in the first place. Oh sure, every Tom, Dick and Harry were creating websites when you decided to create yours, but in your fervor to keep up with those guys, you neglected to put any real thought into what you needed your website to do. Did you develop a business plan before you started your business? It’s the same principle. Without a clearly defined online strategy, your website is almost guaranteed to not function as it should.

Another reason your website sucks is because users can’t find what they’re looking for when they visit it – if in fact, they can find your website at all. In other words, your access and navigation needs some serious love and attention. There are tricks to the trade that eliminate the risk of being missed on a Google search and minimizing user frustration once they find you. If you don’t know those tricks or don’t use them, your visitors will likely get frustrated and leave before they are able to find the information they came for.

Speaking of content, your website sucks because you hired a $100 designer but used a .10¢ content writer. Let’s be clear: websites need to look appealing, but the key to their effectiveness is strong, engaging content. If you outsource your content to some foreign mass production house or hire a writer with little to no online experience, your website is going to take a serious hit.

Did you let your ego get in the way of making your website great? It’s a mistake to think that you know what users want from your website just because you own the business. You are not your customers. If you want to develop a website that truly appeals to them, one that meets their expectations and encourages them to spend money with you, it’s essential that you gather key insights on your target market. No proven user insights = a website that sucks.

You know why else your website sucks? You didn’t take mobile devices into consideration when you created it. Navigating on a smart phone is completely different than navigating on a desktop or laptop computer. If you don’t have applications for both, your website sucks.

And let’s talk about imagery for a second. It’s a widely known truth that people love pictures, but when you cut corners and taint your website with low-resolution, unprofessional photos, you completely crush your organization’s credibility. Of course, we understand the realities of budget, but even if it’s not feasible for your company to hire a photographer to capture original images that match your brand, the world of stock photography is pretty impressive (and a much better alternative than your grainy iPhone photo from three years ago).

Last, but not least (well not really, because we could go on forever with this subject), if your website has any of those kitschy “under construction” or “coming soon” graphics, it completely sucks. Don’t launch a website that’s not ready. It makes you look amateur and you lose credibility with users.

Ready to create a website that absolutely in no way sucks? We can do that for you. Give us a call.

What’s So Important About Your Website?

In a world where everyone spends a good portion of their time online, the importance of having a great web presence can’t be over emphasized. Your company’s website is your first chance to make a good impression. It takes just a fraction of a second for would-be customers to make up their minds about your business based solely on what they see when they click your URL. If your website looks unprofessional or is difficult to navigate, visitors will leave it just as quickly as they found it – or maybe even quicker. Up to 75% of users make judgements on a company’s credibility based on its website, so creating a site that is attractive, engaging, user friendly and contains spot-on branding is essential. In fact, although not having a web presence at all will result in lost sales opportunities, it’s actually more damaging to your business to have a website that leaves users feeling unsure or negative about your company and your brand. Once they do, it’s pretty difficult to win them back again.

If we haven’t convinced you of the importance of a good website already, here’s some stats that will:

  • 94% of website users’ first impressions are design related, and 94% of people say that bad design is the main reason why they either mistrusted or rejected a website.
  • 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the layout is unattractive and the content isn’t compelling.
  • 39% of people will stop engaging with a website if its images take too long to load.
  • Pages that improve load times by just 1 second experience up to 27% higher conversion rates.

As you can see, a well-designed website is worth its weight in gold (or in this case, in the potential sales it can generate.) This is especially true if your business is involved in e-commerce. Let’s face it: window shopping isn’t what it used to be. Most of us go online to do a little research on what we want to buy before we ever set foot inside a brick and mortar store, and depending on the item, we may never even leave home to purchase it. Online shopping is one of the most popular web activities in the world, reaching an astounding $1.55 trillion USD global sales total in 2015. Can you really afford to risk turning off your online customers with a website that doesn’t measure up?

If your website isn’t cutting the mustard, it’s time to make it work to its optimum benefit – with a strategy to grab users’ attention quickly, keep them engaged, get your message across effectively and leave a positive impression that converts to more sales. It’s time to talk to the team at William Joseph.

HTTP vs HTTPs – What Does It Mean For Your Website?

Technology is evolving at a rapid rate. Globally, close to 3.8 billion people use the Internet, which is almost half of the worlds population according to Internet World Stats. The Internet, its infrastructure, and how we as consumers access and connect to information is in an endless state of continuous change. While this presents many opportunities and conveniences in the way that we bank, shop, interact, and consume information, it also presents a new wave of risk. Given the sheer number of worldwide Internet users, it’s no surprise that every day thousands of consumers fall victim to Internet scams, fake or fraudulent websites, or worse, have their data hacked.

With the increasing prevalence of fraudulent websites, hacking, data breaches and cyberattacks, the key to web security is building multiple layers of protection, which is exactly what Google is doing. With a mission to help all consumers and their data to become more protected, Google is beefing up its security with changes to HTTP/HTTPS.

As of October 2017, Google has announced that it is on a mission to decrease the number of HTTP sites as a way of better improving the security of their online user base. Since 2014, Google has made an emphasis to encourage website creators to switch their websites to HTTPS, incentivizing the switch by giving those who switch to HTTPS small ranking boosts.

The difference between HTTP and HTTPS boils down to one element: secure versus not secure.

HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) has no level of encryption between a user and a website. For example, if a website is HTTP, there would be no degree of encryption between you, your data, and the website. That means that if you were to share any personal information, including personal details, credit card information, your email, and so on, it is very possible that this information could be accessed by a third-party somewhere in the non-secure connection that occurs between you and the site. Scary, right?

Luckily, HTTPS, or HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure, is the solution. Sites using HTTPS first encrypt information, and then exchange it. Using HTTPS, computers use a code to scramble messages, data, and information so that no third-party can read the information, keeping it safe and making it extremely difficult to decrypt. HTTPS and codes can only become operational through a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate that ensures the site is securely encrypted. The image below is a great visual representation of this:

Source: Indago Digital

Google has now updated their security so that when a website is classified as HTTP, a warning message will pop up saying the website is “Non-Secure” on both incognito and normal viewing modes in Google Chrome. For those who don’t switch to HTTPS, this message could be a hard-hitting blow to web traffic, impacting click-through rate (CTR) as well as potentially costing sales and brand adoption. Consumers will be more hesitant to enter personal information and payment details on non-secure websites, and could result in higher bounce rates, hesitancy, as well as a complete avoidance of HTTP websites in general. On the other hand, those that do update their HTTP website to HTTPS will display a “Secure” message on Chrome browsers, and will receive a slight rankings boost.

While many appreciate Google’s commitment to the safety and security of its users, the downside of these changes is that there is widespread impact on SEO efforts. Transitioning your website to HTTPS will improve your SEO rankings, and those websites which remain HTTP will likely fall below the rankings.

So, how do you shift your website from HTTP to HTTPS? You’ll need an SSL certificate. While getting an SSL certificate can be done numerous ways, the easiest and most secure way is to go through your host. Depending on your website, your host could be GoDaddy.com, Bluehost or SiteGround. Purchasing an SSL certificate can be fairly affordable depending on your website, its size, and its functionality. However, if you don’t know who your host is, or if you have additional questions, we can help. The team at William Joseph is also able to help you obtain a valid SSL certificate, whether you’re a current client or not.