The 5 Key Elements, Rebooted
We've probably said it a million times over the past few years, but it's simply not good enough just to be online. Because of this, the team at 360 PSG put together what we like to to call, The 5 Key Elements of highly successful websites, to help current and prospective clients to better understand their need for a cohesive and multi-faceted web presence.
Let's be clear that our 5 Key Elements don't utilize trends or fads. They are proven fundamental practices that every website should follow to ensure success online. Throughout our near decade of professional experience, it's become quite clear that the five most important aspects of a successful web presence are: design and content, calls for action, functionality, web tracking statistics, and drawing traffic.
In 2011, we covered each one of these elements individually. Below is an updated version of The 5 Key Elements that reflects our thoughts on what to expect in 2014.
Design & Content
Your website still plays an extremely important role in expressing your business's professionalism and personality, but more often lately it is not always the first impression. For this reason, it is very important that each platform you utilize (social or otherwise) reflects your brand in design and message, not just your website. Each should be relevant and up-to-date.
In 2014, we are also likely to see even more users making the switch to a mobile-first approach to accessing Internet content. This means that non-responsive websites or sites without a dedicated mobile version may find themselves at a competitive disadvantage.
Calls for Action
When users visit your site, there should be no confusion regarding how to complete the desired action(s). For example, if you would like visitors to complete a form, make sure the form is simple to complete and readily accessible. User experience (or UX for short) continues to evolve as the general population becomes more web savvy and develops higher expectations of their interactions online.
Functionality is another major player in the UX arena. When visitors navigate your website, they should be able to do so in any modern web browser. Errors, broken links, missing content, page speed, and many other factors all contribute to how well your website functions, and in turn, the quality of experience your visitors receive.
Web Tracking Statistics
You should always be aware of how many visitors are coming to your site, where they are coming from, and which of your pages are receiving the most visitors. Google Analytics is still our top pick for measuring on-site activity, and like most Google products, it is constantly being improved. Using Google Analytics you're able to track the completion of your goals, website traffic, bounce rates and more. Further allowing you to refine some of the previous elements mentioned above, like your calls to action, information architecture and UX.
This is probably the area of greatest change moving forward. You should still be targeting potential prospects through organic search engine rankings and pay-per-click advertising, however there is a significantly greater focus on social media, content marketing, and blogging as tools to generate website traffic and inbound leads. Google is also cracking down on potentially spammy practices, in favor of relevant and informative content from verifiable authors.
In the coming months, we'll take an in-depth look at each of The 5 Key Elements and how to apply each practice to your web presence. If you feel like your site is missing one of the elements and would like to learn more, please contact an Account Manager at 360psg.com.